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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Xanadu (8)


Turkey Leftovers

What's your favorite terrible movie? At least two movies that are regularly cited in "bad movies we love" lists don't truly belong there. Elaine May's Ishtar starring the funny chemistry of Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty is not a bad movie but idiosyncratic and hilarious. Paul Verhoeven's trash epic Showgirls is actually a masterpiece that's only masquerading as a bad movie. So for truly terrible movies that are in fact awesome the correct answer is and always will be Xanadu (1980)... at least for me.

If you're not in the mood for bad movie love, consider this an open thread. How's your holiday weekend been?


Random List-Mania: 40 Best Original Movie Songs of the 1980s

We did this once for the 1990s and you loved it, so here's round two. 

Young Oscar fanatics might not have tripped over this tidbit yet but in the 1980s they were still giving out an award for "Original Song Score" - an old vestige category of the decades when a dozen plus movie musicals arrived each year. Three of these Oscars were handed out in the 1980s for Victor / Victoria (1982), Yentl (1983) and Purple Rain (1984).  None have been handed out since even though it's technically still a category... just not one that they invoke anymore. Though it's a pity they didn't consider giving one to Moulin Rouge! or Hedwig and the Angry Inch for 2001 as the category can also be awarded to "Adaptation Score"

The presence of this category in the early 80s probably explains why Purple Rain and Victor/Victoria had no "Original Song" nominees in their years (why double dip?) but it does not explain why Yentl had nominations in both categories. Because of these films I only allowed myself 2 songs per movie so as not to let these five films hog this entire list.

Beautiful Song Craft and/or Cheesy Epic Ballads For the Wins
* Oscar nominee | ** Oscar winner 

  1. "Nine to Five"* -Nine to Five (Dolly Parton)
  2. "Le Jazz Hot" - Victor/Victoria (Henry Mancini)
  3. "Purple Rain" - Purple Rain (Prince)
  4. "Into the Groove" - Desperately Seeking Susan (Madonna)
  5. "Xanadu" - Xanadu (Jeff Lynne)
  6. "Fame"** - Fame (Michael Gore & Dean Pitchford)
  7. "When Doves Cry" - Purple Rain (Prince)
    33 more numbers after the jump...

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Top Ten: Movie Shoes

The new Cinderella really goes all out in fetishisizing the glass in glass slippers, in a way that few renditions of Cinderella have, from their translucency to their refracting beauty, to the way one of them shatters when Cate Blanchett's wicked Lady Tremaine has had it with the talk of them.

She will cut you!

It reminded me of an anecdote I shared a few years back about a brunch conversation with a friend's daughter when I asked her who her favorite Disney Princess was:

The question rendered her completely shy. I had given up hope of an answer, reverting my attention to the food when she shouted "CINDERELLA" at the top of her lungs over her waffles. "But why" I say? This answer came much more swiftly, like it was the silliest question any adult had ever asked her. "The glass slippers."  She didn't add "...duh" but it was right there, loud and clear, in her squeal of laughter

So for today's top ten let's celebrate the best of movie footwear from slippers of ruby or glass to fake legs to super boots. What lurks beyond the jump? Do they come in your size?

Be as curious as rollerskating Kira and find out... 


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Top Ten 1980s

for discussion fun

Tootsie, one of the inarguably great American comedies

"The Tuesday Top Ten will get more article-like soon," he said (again). "It really will." But it was so much fun to discuss the 1930s and the 1970s, which are arguably the two most respected decades (critically speaking) of American cinema. So how about a decade that gets no respect? The 1980s. The '80s are tough for me to feel discerning about because I lived through them and was a) young and b) just falling in love with the movies and c) just falling hard for the movies so how could the cinema possibly have been hitting its nadir? I still have inordinate fondness for movies that might more safely be called guilty pleasures like Yentl, Superman II, Splash, Return of the Jedi, Clue, and about half of the filmography of John Hughes... and so on. I even like revisiting really bad movies from that decade. 

Off the top of my head my ten favorites of the decades. 

A Sean Young polaroid from the set of Blade Runner

  1. The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen)
  2. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott)
  3. A Room With a View (James Ivory)
  4. Tootsie (Sydney Pollack)
  5. Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears)
  6. Amadeus (Milos Forman)
  7. Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen)
  8. Aliens (James Cameron)
  9. Law of Desire (Pedro Almodovar)
  10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg) 


With apologies too... Silkwood, Reds, Diva, The Empire Strikes Back, The Little Mermaid, The complete works of Michelle Pfeiffer, Moonstruck, Raging Bull, Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring, The King of Comedy, Heathers, sex lies and videotape, The complete works of Kathleen Turner, The Shining, Victor/Victoria, The Right Stuff, Bull Durham, Little Shop of Horrors, The Terminator, Witness, Broadcast News, Running on Empty, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Raising Arizona. I could go on and on and on but I'd better stop before I start singing Xanadu again.


I'd love to hear your lists, both guilty pleasures and critically lauded efforts you think deserve their reputations.


Top Ten: Strange Golden Globe Musical Snubs

Glenn here with a tuesday top ten on a topic dear to my heart, and Nathaniel's too. We both have a strange fondness for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards. Beyond the gif-ready celebrities-getting-drunk setting and the organisation’s occasional flurries of bonkers brilliance (too many to list), I think I like most of all that their splitting of films between drama and musical/comedy means so many very worthy films get big awards and nominations that they otherwise wouldn’t have. The general rule of thumb is that musicals have a much easier time getting a nomination because there are far fewer of them and, thus, stick out more. Sure, Burlesque, Across the Universe, Nine, and Mamma Mia are recent examples of none too acclaimed musicals landing big time best picture nominations.

Forgotten Awards Trivia: The Globes didn't consider "Dancer in the Dark" a musical (???) and Björk's awards show bird fetish didn't begin with the Oscar swan dress. Note that owl purse!

But what about those that didn’t? There’s more than you’d think!

11 with an Asterisk
Given the somewhat lax definition of “musical” by the HFPA – Ray? Coal Miner’s Daughter? Walk the Line? The Rose? – it’s a surprise that Robert Altman’s classic Nashville and Lars von Trier’s masterpiece Dancer in the Dark weren’t classified as such. The former because, well, it’s also pretty funny, right? The latter because it was a true, honest to god MUSICAL in the tradition sense. Altman’s ode to country garnered a whopping 11 nominations (including multiple for the now defunct “Best Acting Debut” category) and Dancer in the Dark snagged one for Bjork’s performance. Still, it’s about as dramatic as you can possibly get so we’ll let it slide.


10. Xanadu (1980)
Nominated instead: Airplane!, The Coal Miner’s Daughter (won), Fame, The Idolmaker, Melvin & Howard
Oh sure, laugh! Yes, this infamous movie was scorned upon release, but so was Burlesque and they had no trouble nominating that fabulosity twenty years later. Given the universal acclaim for, if nothing else, its soundtrack you’d think it could have at least gotten an original song citation for the title track. No, it’s not great art but who’s ever heard of Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker since?

Nine more increasingly acclaimed and tuneful snubbees after the jump

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Personal Canon #99: XANADU (1980)

From now until the end of August we'll be celebrating Gene Kelly for his Centennial (August 23rd to be exact) so let's revisit Xanadu, which opened 32 years ago last night! It's a member of my Personal Canon... also known as "The movies I think about when I think about the movies"

"A Movie That Nobody Dares To Love"

A Broadway version of this 1980 classic opened on Broadway a few years back marking yet another jokey acknowledgement of Xanadu's kitsch value. It was high timeto rediscover the film in all of its enduring time-capsule glory. For Xanadu, you see, is not the tongue-in-cheek comedy that it was reworked as. It's a completely sincere endeavor and, I'd argue, endearingly so. It's not one of those films that are so intentionally bad that it's subversively excellent (see: Showgirls). No, Xanadu is the real deal: a straight-faced musical. It just had the terrible misfortune to celebrate a number of things that would be out of style almost immediately thereafter: roller rinks, disco, legwarmers, greek mythology, album covers … and Olivia Newton-John.

The album art within "Xanadu" though not the movie's soundtrack album coverIt's easy to dismiss Xanadu for the very things it shamelessly loves but it's a shame to dismiss the shameless if they're also compulsively watchable. What other movie gives you a glimpse into the lost profession of album cover illustration? None that I know of. In what other movie will you see Greek muses come to life from a painting on a brick wall? Even Clash of the Titans didn't have that. What other movie has the wacky chutzpah to give you a pop star as A list as Olivia Newton-John (she is strangely disregarded now but don't be fooled: she was an enormous star with dozens of hit songs) and put her on rollerskates and in only one outfit for almost an entire film?


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Madonna Bowl

I was trying to make Sunday the ultimate day of productivity but finally I succumbed to laziness/excitement and just tweeted through the Superbowl. Or, well, half of it at any rate en route to Madonna's much awaited Half Time show.

So let's relive the whole experience right here (in case you aren't following me on Twitter and if you aren't, why the hell not?) since I am too lazy to write up a whole article and there are movie ads and movie references to discuss. Though strangely Madonna's whole Cleopatra inspired entrance didn't occur to me till just now. I was too excited to process anything (still reeling from meeting her).

Below are tweets from me and others. 

  • my entire adult life I've heard the Oscars referred to as "the gay superbowl"... so I'm trying to watch 'the straight Oscars for the 1st time
  • so far it's really boring. they didn't open w' a comedy routine. no beautiful gowns. you can't even see the celebrity faces. (Helmets. Boo!)
  • Tom Brady=the prettiest football star of all time! That's an assumption but a confident one.
  • I don't like 'The Straight Oscars' ... too many ugly old men, not ANY pretty actresses #GaySuperbowlOnly21DaysAway
  • @StevenMCuevas: If the Oscars at the Gay Superbowl and Rooney Mara's dad owns the Giants, does this mean Rooney wins an Oscar?


One of many incomprehensible Battleship images that could be Transformers cutouts

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