Without a doubt, releasing Elvis during the heyday of our cultural True Crime obsession is kismet. Many True Crime fanatics like myself are now dipping their toes in conspiracies surrounding his death while seeking answers to plot holes in the film. And, for previously skeptical consumers, Elvis served as a gateway drug, a catalyst into the world of conspiracies. Because, its central theme, rebelling against society to stay true to oneself, plays into speculation that he may have faked his own death when it all became too much… And, what a great sequel that would make!
The pacing of this film is way too fast to touch on complexities of Elvis’ inner dialogue or facets of his character. Die-hard Elvis fans remember public reflections not portrayed in Elvis such as: “I sure lost my musical direction in Hollywood. My songs were the same conveyor belt mass production, just like my movies were.” Or, that his drug abuse actually started while he was in the army, which Elvis inaccurately depicted, and that he experienced stage fright upon returning (also not mentioned). It felt like a two hour and thirty-minute highlight reel or music video. And, the ongoing theme of rebellion becomes rather played out, each scene’s outcome increasingly predictable. However, we cling to the edge of our seats, continuously rooting for the King of Rock, for his story strums a nostalgic chord in our hearts.
Elivs lavishly gives us a taste of his stage presence and insatiable sex appeal but leaves a lingering hunger for the untold truth. Most notably, this “highlight reel” omitted Elvis visiting Nixon, asking to become an undercover federal agent to join the war on drugs, and skimmed over his mafia ties. For instance, it failed to mention that the International Hotel where he held residency was infamously mob infested or that the Lansky Brothers, who Elvis bought clothes from on Beale Street, were related to crime boss Meyer Lansky. But it did reveal Colonel Tom Parker faking his identity, which set many Redditors reeling. Most believed, given his manager’s history and shady influence, Elvis clearly had the means to disappear. If Elvis (the real Elvis) still haunts you after watching this film, quench the urge to play detective with the following seven flicks:
Elvis Presley: The Searcher. Watch this documentary for a more in-depth, accurate look into his personal life and career.
Elvis Through The Years. A self-proclaimed “rockumentary” that shows unreleased footage of the star in news clips and comedy sketches.
Elvis: The Final Hours. A collection of interviews with his “Memphis Mafia,” documenting the end of his life.
This is Elvis. Narrated by Elvis himself, this four-hour documentary contains real interviews of Colonel Tom Parker.
Elvis, The Early Years Vol. 1 and 2. Whereas Elvis casts him as a superhero, this CBS miniseries humanizes him.
Elvis and Nixon. A comedy drama starring Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon. It focuses on their meeting at the White House and the preceding events.
Elvis Found Alive. This mockumentary spoofs what would happen if Elvis’ suspected 1970’s alias, federal agent “John Burrows,” was in fact him.
And, for a last fun “what if,” watch Bubba Ho-Tep, a horrifying comedy that grimly portrays Elvis in a nursing home. He and a black JFK battle a wayward Egyptian mummy.
Noel Leon is an LA-based writer and standup comic. She performs standup comedy all over the place. She’s been seen at the Comedy Store, Hollywood Laugh Factory, the Hollywood Improv, Caroline’s on Broadway, the Stand, and more! She has a large social media following for her sketch comedy and recently acted in Sherman’s Showcase on Hulu.
Noel is a regular contributor for Bust Magazine, the Westside Current, Futurism, Weekly Humorist, Whalebone Magazine, Westside Current, and more! She recently released a book of short stories called, A Very Inappropriate Short Story Book, which is being republished through Humorist Books.