As kids growing up in the 80’s, Elvis Presley the “musician” was as culturally poignant to us as Elvis Presley the “bobble head” or Elvis Presley the “bedazzled ashtray” or Elvis Presley the “velvet squeezie doll.” If anything, Elvis was more a conceptual construct than a person or thing we could tangibly appreciate.
For us, Elvis was that guy synonymous with jump suits, bad hair, shot-gun weddings, Vegas, cheap and gaudy things; he was that rock & roll icon to blame for those legions of insipid impersonators (drag-queen Elvis, fat Elvis, asian Elvis, Uncle Jessie on Full House); he was that guy who’s daughter married Michael Jackson for that blip of time in Hollywood history, resulting in that infamous naked Grecian M.J video (which was just wrong and weird on so many levels.)
It’s brutal what Hollywood, coupled with the destructive forces of mass media, can do to a human being. Hollywood can turn a legitimate legacy into something perversely comical. It can bury an icon under a pantheon of plastic, made-in-China kitsch. Indeed, Hollywood buried Elvis alive.
What we discovered in watching this documentary (which captures the year during Elvis’ comeback tour), was that Elvis was a true star till the very end. Even after his decade-long string of critically panned Hollywood romance flicks. Even after his weight gain and subsequent weight loss. Even after he got old, tired and depressed.
Long after Hollywood beat the art and inspiration out of Elvis Presley with a thorny wooden spoon, Elvis was still “The King.” He could still belt out a tune like the blackest of white men, could still provoke pandemonium of the highest degree with his on-stage pelvis thrusts, and could do it all with unbridled passion and serious swagger.
We were deeply (and surprisingly) impressed. Above is our new favourtie Elvis tune.