Elvis Presley-loving Movies to Check out Before Seeing “Elvis”

This weekend, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis punched it out with Top Gun: Maverick for the top earner. That’s no small feat, as Maverick just reached the $1 billion mark in earnings.

With that in mind, once again The King is back on top, and experiencing a new “Elvis year”. Elvis Presley starred in more than 30 movies from 1956 to 1969. You could take your pick of any of these for a sexy swagger down memory lane. The more iconic films like Jail House Rock, and Blue Hawaii have some signature musical numbers if you haven’t seen them yet, but I always liked his racing film Spinout and western Charro. Pick any one and watch the real Elvis for a treat.

Yet Elvis and the legacy of the Elvis impersonator and Elvis super-obsession has found its way into movies for years. Here are three Elvis-loving films to check out before heading off to the theatre:

Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)

I’m not really a rom-com lover, but this one is funny from start to finish. Nicholas Cage plays a man with commitment issues and finally agrees to marry the girl he loves (Sarah Jessica Parker). He flies her to Las Vegas for a quick wedding. Almost immediately, he loses several thousands of dollars in a poker game to a mob leader (James Caan). Caan agrees to forgive his debt if he can have his fiancé as a date for a bit. Weirdness ensues. In addition to a great- soundtrack of Elvis covers, this film is filled with Vegas’s obsession with the Elvis tribute artist. There is a diverse group of “Elvises” appearing throughout the film, including the famous scene with the Flying Elvises — Utah Chapter. When you think about it in a geography sense, it’s actually very logical this group would have a secondary chapter in Utah..but I’m thinking too much into it.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

One cult following the rivals Elvis fans are horror aficionados. Bubba Ho-Tep is a continual cult classic still making its way around the film circuit. The movie is awkwardly hilarious at times, suspenseful and creepy at others, and intelligent and melancholy throughout. An aging Elvis Presley (yes…the real Elvis) is wasting away in a nursing home with a friend who thinks he is JFK. The residents are being fed upon in a vary undignified manor by a risen cursed mummy who ended up in East Texas. Bruce Campbell (44 at the time) does one of his most sympathetic and fun acting jobs in this film Elvis and/or Elvis impersonator Sebastian Haff. Veteran actor Ossie Davis also gave a very worthy performance. This film is one that will catch off guard Go in for the comedy and horror elements, but leave with a bit of a sad and beautiful reminder of how we need to never neglect and always respect our elderly.

True Romance (1993)

When Quinten Tarantino takes a crack at writing a love story (directed by Tony Scott), you can guarantee it will still be filled with violence, clever and profane dialogue and over-the-top nasty behavior…and you’ll love it. The “hero” is a geeky Elvis fanatic Clarence (Christian Slater) who falls in love and marries a sweet call girl, Patricia Arquette. While trying to free her from her pimp, Clarence steels some cocaine and now they two are on the run from the mob. Luckily, Clarence has the occasional guidance of his mentor, the spirit of Elvis Presley (Val Kilmer) as encouragement. There are some great off-the-wall performances by the likes of Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, and my personal favorite performance ever from Brat Pitt, Floyd the lovable stoner! Yes, expect blood, vomit and jokes of hilarious bad taste. There’s a sweet romance simmering throughout.

Elvis still lives, baby!

Maybe not in corporal form, but certainly in the hearts and imaginations of fans and filmmakers everywhere.

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