RE-Thinking Elvis

I would like to see a movie that focuses on Elvis later years – Elvis and the Beauty Queen notwithstanding – but there needs to be a balance between the good and bad in terms of story – but the Don Johnson bio pic was a bad we all could have done without.

 

Don Johnson as Elvis

 

I think that no matter how much any person achieves and especially if they are admired, that they feel more like a fraud waiting to be exposed while imaging being a better, more powerful, more helpful or “whatever value they have” more than were they are in their life at any given point.

To us, Elvis seemed to have it all, to Elvis, not so much – and perhaps that cost of losing his Mom, never having a true partnership in any relationship, and generally being so out of everyone’s league and alone no matter what he accomplished was part of why drugs were an attractive escapism.

In the Million Dollar Quartet recordings, Elvis impersonates Ernest Tubb and sings a few lines of “I’m in a crowd and oh so alone.”
Elvis was rarely physically alone, but on many other levels, he was extremely isolated. Which is part of why he resonates so deeply – Elvis was a study of contrasting extremes – so can be referenced as an uplifting story of poor boy made good or a tragic figure of a successful person who burns out too early. And every story in between.

 

Elvis' first girlfriend and the marriage certificate he forged

 
Elvis’  adulthood was the polar opposite to his childhood where he was alone, isolated and girls didn’t give him the time of day, so fell for any girl who did – to rich, famous and girls loosing their minds over him making it impossible for him to choose.

Famine, Feast was the common theme of his life.
I think Elvis was at a critical time in the late 70’s, and, had he lived, he may well have made sweeping changes – he seemed to long to be able to help people on an individual level more than using entertainment to let people forget their troubles for a while.

Perhaps the childhood comic book heroes that inspired his clothing and his personality a lot are what later in his life, inspired all his roadside stops to break up fights or help at accident scenes.

 

Elvis and Captain Marvel Jr

 

The problem with focusing a movie on Elvis’ last years is that the events are more understandable in the context of understanding his childhood.

But neither his childhood or his final years have ever been fully explored as a film.

There’s thousands of books about Elvis – usually a life/career overview or focused on a particular aspect of Elvis’ story. But few really explore his formative or final years.

Perhaps that’s the movie we need to see to really begin to understand Elvis and why he impacts us so strongly decades after his death.

3 thoughts on “RE-Thinking Elvis

  1. Thank you for Very good, thoughful comment about Elvis’ loneliness.

    Truly when we are very lonely we are more susceptible to making poor decisions.
    May God Triune continue to bless your life!

    Josef Sefton

  2. DH!

    Did people know what that visit was about when it happened?

    I thought that came out in the later 80’s what it was about.

    From my reading, Elvis’ main motivation was the badge and he’d be willing to say whatever it took to get it.

    On the other side, he was stopping at accidents to help or stopped along the road to brake up fights, he also would force people to pull over so he could lecture them about speeding.

    I think he was bored with being an entertainer and was acting out his superhero fantasies.

    It was less about ‘doing something’ the “counter culture” and more about him playing the here and smart enough to play on Nixon’s paranoia.

    On the flip side, despite the way media played Elvis up as the rebel, he never was.

    He always respected authority, even to his own detriment.

  3. I loved Elvis in my early teens. Then he lost my admiration when he offered the Nixon administration his services as a spy to infiltrate the anti-war movement, the hippies, MY people. From then on I just saw him as sad, pathetic, and a total sell out to commercialism, capped off with his album of sacred songs. He was a GREAT blues singer before he went all middle of the road. I think a movie about his later years, no matter how insightful, would depress the hell out of me.

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