Elvis 2022 is not just the best Baz Luhrmann film in ages, it’s also the only film that matters this year. Why is that? Hmmm?!? Why would a biopic be the most important film of the year so far?
If you don’t like Elvis 2022, you can Ehrlich my balls
There’s a reason why scores of rednecks keep thinking Elvis is alive. That’s because if you live in the lands that time and God forgot, you’d keep hoping for the one glimmer of light to return to your lives. Such a glimmer has changed throughout the eras attracting the many tribes of forgotten people in the Wildlands of America. Those places were sensitive coastal types would die without access to a Shake Shack or Erehwon.
So, when Elvis first got announced back in 2014, people got hyped. I say this as someone that had to run a revival screening of the 1972 “Elvis on Tour” in an auditorium that was too small for the unexpected horde of people that turned out. Not being from the Memphis area, Elvis was never a constant in my life as much as Fried Chicken and Spring Time Gambling.
Yet, the specter of Elvis was always there. I never lived in Tennessee, but the legacy was there. Hell, I’m not from Indiana and I spent my elementary years seeing plenty of dudes rocking the Bobby Knight red sweater look. So, when you’re sandwiched in that era and area, a bloated redneck that died on the toilet naturally seemed more appealing.
You’re getting Cloud Atlas level Tom Hanks in this movie
Tom Hanks is so good that when he’s bad, he’s cosmically delightful. Some will give him a break because he’s playing the rare real world villains. Others will say that COVID threw him off. Honestly, it’s more distracting than Baz Luhrmann being listed twice in the writing credits. Check out the poster and then watch the film, he’s in there twice.
Back to Tom Hanks acting like he had a traumatic brain injury and is reliving The Ladykillers. If we’re at a point where people realize you can’t act other races, let’s make the move to get people off certain accents. I’m not saying that if you’re not from the area, don’t do the accent. But, studios should make their featured actors do the accent for a test group. If more than a third of the room laughs at it, immediately recast.
In Elvis 2022, Tom Hank plays Colonel Tom Parker as a bit of the historical Tom, the fan theory villain and a walking talking Mel Blanc style character. The real Colonel Tom was a Dutch man who hopped from musical act to act to promote. While he didn’t sound like Foghorn Leghorn trying to do Goldmember, he still didn’t sound this cartoonish.
Elvis as film star
Elvis movies are such a mixed bag. While, Elvis 2022 skews to the better end, the overall legacy on film is shaky as hell. What’s funny about the negative responses the film has been receiving is that those few naysayers are responding to the culturally historic figure and not the man. These are the people that want Elvis 2022 to answer for any misgiving seemingly done by the man.
He married young, he culturally appropriated and Elvis had the gall to become a superstar. There’s nothing that modern cultural critics hate more than someone having the drive to succeed at anything. Naturally, a biopic that honors the complicated man that bridged African American music to the masses is seen as an affront to their delicate sensibilities. They might be so offended that they’ll discover the music of Big Mama Thornton, Leadbelly and others.
But, they would require doing more than whining on social media about how the non dinosaur or jet pilot movie didn’t do what they wanted. Luhrmann keeps threatening the masses with the good time of a 4 hour Elvis cut, but what are we missing by not seeing Austin Butler acting scenes from King Creole or It Happened at the World’s Fair?
Elvis as misunderstood culture
Elvis 2022 highlighted something prominently for me. If Chuck D could forgive Elvis and claim that he was used as a scapegoat for a larger issue, why can’t the whiny 26 year old Rotten Tomatoes blogger? During my time away in the wilderness, it was this scope of issue I thought about a ton. That’s not to say I care for the new generation of Film Criticism that offers little to the cause other than satiating their personality cults.
What I’m trying to understand is the Royal Court performative theater these types have with their groupthink. As much as Elvis 2022 followed a set biopic pattern, these same people judging the film follow the same setup. Their diction, syntax and overall stance is so cloned and repetitive that they should have jobs waiting for them at Sinclair Broadcasting.
Is Elvis misunderstood in 2022? Not really. Those that wish to shift the culture are trying to butcher the last remnants of the Monoculture into something they want…in the moment. As much as Luhrmann caters to short attention spans, the need for modern music and overall rapid fire edits…even that feels like it will fall short for some.
You can’t ever match the speed of youth, especially when it’s being manipulated by the slightly older generation to get a second stab at a new sense of cultural authoritarianism. These actions take in bizarre variations between the rise of the movie reaction video series, the careful editing of streaming film/TV libraries and the Lucas style reworking of established material.
There’s no history like show business adapting itself to squeeze out a few extra dollars. However, as the theatrical exhibition business remains on fire and no one knows what makes money anymore, why not screw with the kids’ ability to understand media? Hell, we just got them reading again and now we want to futz with media comprehension? Elvis 2022 never stood a chance.
How is the audience going to respond?
The modern theatrical audience is a fickle beast. Hell, I’ve spoken with numerous regular people in the last two weeks who love Elvis but won’t go to a theater. Why? Because they want to know when it will be on HBO MAX. The Batman and Matrix 4 came to HBO MAX, so I’ll just wait for that. By the way, Elvis 2022 hits HBO MAX on August 8th.
The date for Elvis 2022 might change because apparently I’m too busy to count 45 days forward from this Friday. That doesn’t matter for the target audience for Elvis 2022. Most of them are older, still not ready to return to theaters and honestly got spoiled by the changed brought by the streaming revolution. It’s less COVID scare and more cost concerns, as they know they can wait to get what they want. Elvis 2022 will be handled no differently than Jackass Forever, The Batman or Matrix 4 was by these people.
Will Elvis 2022 fail as a result of this? Who knows? But, Elvis 2022 won’t be a failure by theatrical economics alone. It’s something I want to come back in the future to tackle with this movie.
The duality of Film Twitter response
When it comes to modern film criticism and how people view movies, they get divided into two camps. Camp 1 needs aggregators and the Film Twitter horde score to determine what makes a movie good. Camp 2 is so against outside criticism that they rebel and just mindlessly watch anything. The problem with Camp 1 is that between natural isolation and groupthink, they’ve mistakenly grown accustomed to thinking that Camp 2 needs their guidance.
What goes wrong with Camp 2 is that they become so naturally sick of Camp 1, that the studios and others cram any piece of crap down their throats and they embrace it out of spite. Look out into our greater world, this divide exists everywhere and in different aspects of our culture. But, I ask once more…what does it have to do with Elvis 2022?
It’s 2022, does Elvis still matter asks the LA Times this week? While trying to extend its word count by goosing itself over and over again for word count, it returns to a central point. All pop culture needs periodic reintroduction for new generations that become more and more media saturated. As time goes on and those that want to influence taste start rewriting history to crush certain cultural standbys, that path becomes harder.
Will Elvis 2022 be a hit? Who knows?!? But, it’s going to have its detractors sharpening their claws to take a chunk out of the movie for not feeding their hidden and not-so hidden agendas against an artist that doesn’t fit their agenda. Freddie Mercury can get a pass, Elton John can get a pass and even Liberace has a constant push to reshape any creepy thing he ever did. It’s just that Elvis has to stay under the microscope of crushing modern sensibilities.
For those that engage in these biased takes for certain films, but don’t universally apply them to all subject matter…I see you. For the past couple of months, I’ve been having my own Dick Whitman disappears to California moment waiting for something to bring me back. A reason to start caring and return to the fold. I just never thought it would be an Elvis movie.
So, why has Elvis 2022 been the most important film of the year? Well, because it made me see that Pandemic or not and major sites shutting down or not…Film Twitter and all tastemakers need to burn. Does Elvis need to be reintroduced? Yes. Is their an active push by those that want to shape the culture to exclude him? Yes.
That’s the beauty of history and shared experience in pop culture and beyond. It all happened and no matter how much you repress it, people will discover everything in time. It’s still OK to find faults in the movie and not like it, but dislike it for what it is…not what you heard. For the decadent and depraved that know what they are doing with their carbon copy hatchet jobs…if you’re looking for trouble, you came to the right place.