Allow me to open a vein and bleed praise all over the screen.
Elvis blew me away.
I laughed out loud. I teared up. I had to resist the urge to stand and cheer.
Maybe it was the twenty ounces of Mountain Dew, a treat reserved for hangovers and special occasions.
This was a special occasion.
Where to begin?
I’ll start with my litmus test: Priscilla liked it. The whole thing was pretty accurate.
The young rockabilly Elvis lit the screen with his gyrations. Austin Butler looks more like John Travolta than Elvis, but he’s as handsome as both, and I think he can wiggle even better than Elvis.
Tom Hanks? One person behind me on the way out said his performance as Colonel Tom Parker made Forrest Gump look middling. I’m not sure I agree, but I wouldn’t argue it.
The Memphis Mafia? Great, if assigned a very small collective role.
The soundtrack: It kept the story going 120 mph for over two hours, merely slowing down enough at the end to let us watch Elvis die. Rap, blues, rock. It kept the throttle at max.
Early carnivals in the South to the International Hotel: throttle at max.
The Elvis Hollywood years were a bit tough to watch, but hey, they were tough to watch back then too.
I liked the cinematography . . . a lot. Graceland when first purchased. 1950s Beale Street. Gin joint on the Delta. 1960s Hollywood. 1970s Las Vegas. I think the movie nailed every single one.
Especially the gin joint. There’s something about that gin joint, with one dude on a guitar and eight people in the shack. “Authentic” isn’t a strong enough word. I just wanted to yell, “Little. Insignificant. Only a loser would be found in such a place.” But the losers there didn’t care. They came for the music.
But Elvis cared. He watched through the cracks and sucked it in.
It sowed seeds in his heart.
I took my father to see Walk the Line when it came out. When the credits came up, we sat for a minute. I looked at him and said, "Ready“?” He startled and said, “Oh, yeah. Okay. . . . Wow, that blew me away.”
That’s exactly how I felt after this movie experience. I didn’t want to leave. My lower back was screaming in pain and only credits were rolling down the screen, but I didn’t want to leave.
I suspect I’ll be going back again in a few days, which will be the first time in my life I’ve paid to see a movie twice at the theater.