My friend, Joel Kraushaar, constantly reminds me that I shouldn’t trust the reviews when it comes to new movies and TV shows, but that’s precisely what I did when the movie “Elvis” was released in June. I was on Rotten Tomatoes (a review site that complies a score based on all the reviews a movie or TV show receives) and saw a few of the not fresh or negative reviews. Those critics and I were wrong.
I watched “Elvis” via HBO Max on my phone (I know, not an ideal device to view a big film on) the day it was made available on the streaming service. I was immediately blown away by Austin Butler (who plays Elvis) and his performance in the film. That guy totally immersed himself into the role and along the way picked up a lot of unfair and lousy press about how much he was trying to emulate Elvis. Listen, I’m not an actor, but it would seem to make sense that if you’re job is to play a real person to try and learn as much about them and portray them as accurately as possible.
I recently listened to a podcast interview with Tom Hanks who discussed his role as Colonel Tom Parker. Hanks mentioned having, “never heard the Colonel’s voice,” and how much, “time was spent on watching old interview and talking to people that knew him.” While the Hanks performance has also been labeled by some as over the top, I would encourage you to jump on YouTube and watch a few interviews with Colonel Parker. I think you’ll find that Hanks did a fine job with that portrayal of someone that ultimately had too much influence and power over Elvis.
I would be remiss if I didn’t praise the director, Baz Luhrmann, who did a spectacular job cutting the film together. Baz certainly has a unique style when it comes to directing (his previous films include “Romeo & Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge,” just to name a few). I’ll be curious to see what Baz does next. You have to imagine he’ll be offered a variety of options after the success of “Elvis.”
So, if you’ve read this far please, stop and go watch “Elvis.” I’m going to wrap this up and re-watch it on my TV this time, unless my kids take it over–then it’ll be back on my phone!