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Elvis and the Power of Creatives

Some spoilers ahead

By Mae McCreeryPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
not my image

WELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

You will have these songs stuck in your head, and you won't complain about it.

Spoilers Ahead

Now, I'm not a huge fan of Elvis or his music, I found him tacky and kind of annoying. Not to mention the fact that he often took music from Black creators and his, um, specific intimate proclivities. I won't go into detail about that but careful if you google it, you might get put on a watchlist.

So, when my friends wanted to go see the movie late one night, I initially didn't want to waste the money but they were so excited and I was the only one in our group that had been to Graceland so they wanted to ask a million questions about it. Before I knew it, we were waiting in line to see it at a basically empty theater at 10:30 pm.

I did not expect to cry and cheer and sing a long like it was a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Tom Hanks is frightening to say the least, a master of manipulation and a con artist of a degree few could aspire to be in one lifetime. He plays Elvis' horrible manager Colonel Tom Parker, and he's perfect.

Austin Butler embodies Elvis in a way that I have never seen before, sometimes it was impossible to distinguish if it was Butler or if they were using old footage of Elvis from time to time.

The Director is the incomparable Baz Luhrmann who also directed The Great Gatsby with Leo DiCaprio. Luhrmann has a specific flair to his films, and especially movies that are set in a specific time frame. He romanticizes them and gives them a dazzling shine that makes us yearn for them. This style has worked incredibly well for this movie as it's primarily set from the 1950s to the 1970s.

I mean, we still have milkshakes and racism, but this movie kinda glosses over the nasty bits and makes everyone seem like the hero of their own story. Except Tom Hanks character Tom Parker, you want him to burn in hell. It's kind of wild how Elvis and his family trusted Parker so much because the second you see this character who looks like the Penguin from the Batman movie with Michael Keaton, you're like:

"Oh, this is a bad guy."

You know that feeling when you see a documentary of a serial killer and there's a picture or video of them smiling or something, and that cold shiver runs up your spine? That's what you feel when you see this guy onscreen and you have to wonder how anyone trusted this car to run a bath let alone someone career.

There's definitely something else you feel when you see Elvis onscreen. I finally understand what those girls were screaming about when Elvis or the Beatles or the Rolling Stones came on stage, Elvis was selling something forbidden and dirty and immoral and deliciously wicked that you wanted to consume until there was nothing left. Seeing him dance and sing and sweat and reaching out for fans in this film, is not just watching it, you experience it.

There's also something else that happens, you feel inspired.

This movie does something that I rarely see in other films, it tells you that a career in the creative arts can mean more than most people realize today.

I am a Graphic Designer and I've been told since I started designing in High School that it was a useless career. That it wouldn't mean anything. That I would be broke and useless and living paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life. People tried to convince me to become a nurse or a doctor like most kids ended up doing at my school; but that ended up being equally useless as there were too many nurses to employ where I live and then when the pandemic hit a lot of them died.

So, watching Elvis on screen start not just a music revolution but also protest against racism with music and do his part for the right causes; it's beautiful to have validation that if it can work for some people, it can work for others too.

Yes, this movie is pretty and fun and glosses over a lot of really bad shit to give you a fairy tale version of Elvis' life, but even Baz can't rewrite the ending. That's only for Thanos and Quentin Tarantino.

The ending will make you cry, and if it doesn't I'm not sure you have a soul. To see someone at talented and charismatic and hungry to see the world be brought down by the Piggly Wiggly version of the Penguin, it broke my heart.

The one thing I hate most about this most is that Tom Parker is the narrator, that his character has the power over the story that way feels like killing Elvis all over again. I would've had the voice over narration done by a woman, who you see the silhouette getting ready for a performance. Her voice would be like velvet, giving clues here and there about who she might be. And I'd have the movie end with her walking on stage and it's the clip of Lisa Marie singing onstage with the holographic projection of her father.

I'm crying already, why wasn't that the ending? I think it would've at least given the audience hope that while his life was painful, at least his legacy lives on with his music and people who still love it today. Instead what we got was Parker having the last word and the final performance of Elvis in Las Vegas.

movie review

About the Creator

Mae McCreery

I’m a 29 year old female that is going through a quarter life crisis. When my dream of Journalism was killed, I thought I was over writing forever. Turns out, I still have a lot to say.

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    Mae McCreeryWritten by Mae McCreery

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