What I Learned from Elvis Films
By Tom Bielavitz
Let's be straight--Elvis did not become Elvis the Icon because of his Top Ten Hits or his box-office draw. The Elvis Myth became such a large part of our pop culture because his life, perhaps more than any other, typifies the Rise and Fall of a Star. He truly lived the American Dream, full of requisite misappropriation and ridiculous pose.
How many people remember more than a handful of his tunes? Who can name any film other than Jailhouse Rock? No, the Elvis who is remembered is a country-boy turned plump pill-popper. The man who hurled a pool cue at a woman's breast. The man who ate fried pb&j sandwiches. The man who died on the shitter. Elvis is the American Dream. Not the dream of working hard and seeing the fruits of success; rather, the dream of hitting the Lotto and telling your neighbors to kiss your ass while you overextend your credit and still end up in the gutter.
So why bother with the movies? They're hardly the critics' faves. They're barely more than a string of music videos hanging tenuously around a threadbare plot. Well, you can still learn a thing or two from these films. For one, I learned that the world of Elvis--on film--is a world I'd much rather live in. I've gone to some pretty incredible lengths to stave off reality, but unfortunately--unlike Elvis--I can't just sing a little ditty and turn that frown upside down. Elvis' film world is one of sunny, carefree days and nights of kissing the prettiest girls in the world. And it gets crazier from there, each movie insulting my own real life a little bit more.
Here's what I learned from watching Elvis films.
Viva Las Vegas
--Elvis could take a
punch, but couldn't throw for shit
Change of Habit
Live a Little, Learn
Stay Away, Joe
Girls, Girls, Girls
The Trouble With
Easy Come, Easy Go
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