Monthly Archives: March 2015

Elvis Movie Madness — The Plot Thickens

Elvis Movie Madnesss Logo

Voting has now narrowed the field to eight choices in Graceland’s promotion to determine the fans’ favorite Elvis movie. It’s a fairly predictable group, containing two serious dramatic films, four comedies, one concert film, and one semi-autobiographical movie. Here is the Elvis Elite Eight.

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Loving You:

Loving You Poster

Loving You, Elvis’ second film, contains elements that parallel his own career. The selection of songs is great, and if you are fans of Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black, you will enjoy their considerable presence in this film. Loving You had to knock off Follow That Dream and Love Me Tender to make the final eight, probably the toughest challenges any of the finalists had to face.

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King Creole:

King Creole Poster

While King Creole contained many wonderful songs, without question it presented Elvis’ most serious dramatic role. Most fans lament he was not given the chance to really develop his acting talent later in his career, so this movie is very unique and special in their hearts. This could be seen in the voting, where King Creole clobbered Double Trouble 86% to 14% and Kid Galahad 81% to 19%. Two slam dunks.

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G.I. Blues:

GI Blues Poster

Elvis’ first movie after he returned from Army service in Germany, G.I. Blues has plenty of songs, not much plot, and a nice love story. It also swamped the competition so far, beating Kissin’ Cousins 83% to 17% and It Happened at the World’s Fair 74% to 26%. The next round is against Viva Las Vegas. Good Luck.

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Viva Las Vegas:

Viva Las Vegas Poster

There was never any question Viva Las Vegas would make it to the Elite Eight, and we can reasonably expect it to go even higher. It has been the second most dominating winner so far, clobbering both Spinout and Tickle Me by 88% to 12%.

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 Jailhouse Rock:

Jailhouse Rock Poster

Who doesn’t like Jailhouse Rock? You knew from the beginning that it would go far in the voting. Of course, it didn’t have tough competition so far, beating The Trouble with Girls 87% to 13% and Girls, Girls, Girls 92% to 18%. If Jailhouse Rock survives the next round, it will have the honor of knocking off all three of Elvis’ movies with Girl in the title.

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 Girl Happy:

Girl Happy Poster

 This might be the surprise entry in the final eight, and it survived the closest contest of any winner in the first two rounds. Girl Happy barely nudged past Roustabout 51% to 49%, after having no trouble with Live A Little, Love A Little 70% to 30% in the first round. It was Elvis’ seventeenth film. None of the fourteen films made after Girl Happy in 1965 ranked in the top eight. No surprise there.

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Blue Hawaii:

Blue Hawaii Poster

Blue Hawaii has been the powerhouse champion of the first two rounds, starting with a 91% to 9% embarrassment over Paradise Hawaiian Style, then drubbing Fun in Acapulco 88% to 12%. From the start, the odds were great that Blue Hawaii would go far. It’s unfortunate that it now has to go against a non-acting movie, because the criteria would seem to very different.

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Elvis — That’s The Way It Is:

Elvis - That's the Way It Is

This is certainly a fine movie, capturing Elvis in top form while rehearsing and performing at the Las Vegas International Hotel in 1970. It had little trouble in overcoming Charro 77% to 23% and Change of Habit 72% to 28%.

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A Contrarian Point of View:

I understand why EPE added Elvis — That’s the Way It Is to the ballot. They needed one more film added to Elvis’ thirty-one acting movies to make the brackets work out. However, I would like to consider what movie would replace it if we want a top eight list of just Elvis’ acting movies.

Follow That Dream

My pick for the top eight would be Follow That Dream. It had the misfortune to be paired against Loving You in the first round, and barely lost 53% to 47%. Follow That Dream is a little weak on good songs, but it’s funny, Elvis’ acting as the family’s lawyer in the courtroom may be his finest acting scene ever, and the sweet love scene at the end with Anne Helm is just perfect. Among Elvis movies, I think Follow That Dream is an underappreciated gem.

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis’ Worst Movie — Who Needs Brackets

Elvis Movie Madness

Have you been voting in Graceland’s new promotion, Elvis Movie Madness? It is a pretty clever idea inspired by the NCAA Basketball Tournament, commonly known as “March Madness.” They even copied the famous tournament brackets so millions of fans can determine Elvis’ Best Movie.

Elvis Movie Madness Brackets

If you aren’t familiar with how these brackets work, you pick your favorite movie from each pair of choices down the left and right sides. The winners then pair off in the second, third and fourth brackets until there are only two movies left to battle for the crown. The shot of the brackets is too small to read, so here is a bigger version of the first round pairings. The losers in each pairing have been marked with a slash.

Elvis Music Madness Round 1 Region 1Elvis Music Madness Round 1 Region 1aElvis Music Madness Round 1 Region 2Elvis Music Madness Round 1 Regions 2a

Elvis Music Madness Round 1 Region 3Elvis Music Madness Round 1 Region 3aElvis Music Madness Round 1  Region 4
Elvis Music Madness Round 1 Region 4a
Here is a list of the sixteen movies that were eliminated in round one.

Flaming Star
Follow That Dream
Easy Come, Easy Go
Double Trouble

Kissin’ Cousins
Wild in the Country
Spinout
Stay Away Joe

The Trouble With Girls
Clambake
Live A Little, Love A Little
Frankie and Johnny

Paradise, Hawaiian Style
Speedway
Harum Scarum
Charro

There are some real stinkers in this list, and it got me thinking about what might be Elvis’ worst movie. Just for kicks, I Googled “Worst Elvis Presley Movie,” and lots of results came up. However, it is interesting to look at that top three sites Google found.

IMDb:

IMBd Elvis Movie Rankings

The Internet Movie Database is a treasure trove of information about films, television programs, and video games, including cast, production crew, fictional characters, biographies, plot summaries, trivia and reviews. In 1998, it became a subsidiary of Amazon.com.

Ranker:

Ranker Elvis Movie Rankings

I never heard of this site, but Ranker is a lot of fun. They have lists of the best and worst for every subject you can think of.

USA Today:

USA Today Elvis Movie Rankings

This national newspaper is certainly a credible source. While Ranker and IMDb ranked all 31 of Elvis’ movies from top to bottom, USA Today picked just the Top 10 and Worst 3.

So, here are their picks for the worst Elvis movie.

IMDb: Harum Scarum, Double Trouble, Spinout

Ranker: Harum Scarum, Easy Come, Easy Go, Double Trouble

USA Today: Harum Scarum, Easy Come, Easy Go, Paradise, Hawaiian Style

Elvis in Harum Scarum

 

Well, we have a consensus here. Harum Scarum is the runaway choice for the worst Elvis movie. The nod for next worse seems to go to Easy Come, Easy Go, followed by Double Trouble.

Although IMDb does not publish official critiques, it does encourage comments from the public. In fairness, it should be said that there are some positive reviews included for the movies ranked as Elvis’ three worst. However, there is a preponderance of negative comments, and some of them for the consensus winner (loser?) you might find interesting.

Harum Scarum:

“Even Elvis haters looking for a cheap laugh will find themselves bored by this exercise.”

“The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.”

“This is not the Elvis of folklore, nor is it the Elvis that will return one day and save us from mediocrity. This is the dry Elvis, milked fully, udders raw, yet ever sedated.”

“Colonel Tom Parker, who usually took great care in the movie properties acquired for Elvis, must have cringed with the lemon he got Elvis stuck in here.”

“Reportedly lensed in a mere 18 days, and for the sake of cost-cutting, everything was shot on back-lot MGM soundstages instead of actual locations in the Middle East.”

“There’s one jaw-dropping musical scene that’s borderline soft-kiddie porn when Presley watches as a pre-teen girl with slits in her dress that are WAIST-HIGH gyrates and flounces around faux-seductively. It’s really bizarre, inappropriate, wildly politically-incorrect, and sure to invoke discomfort in some viewers. It’s also just about the only thing in the film that can guarantee that the audience is awake!”

“Should be called Yawnum Snorum”

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© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

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A Look at Riley Keough’s Movie career

Riley Keough Modelling

Three weeks ago, I surfed the internet looking for information about Elvis’ first grandchild, who had just gotten married. I found very little about the marriage, but there was plenty about Riley Keough’s modelling career and her movie work.

Riley Keough Movie Credits

According to AllMovie.com, Riley has appeared in five movies so far and has number six coming out in May – Mad Max: Fury Road. Let’s take a look at them in chronical order.

 

The Runaways – 2010:

The Runaways

Riley Keough already had a successful modelling career going when she got her break in the movies. In 2010, she appeared in a small part in The Runaways, a film about the groundbreaking 70s all-girl band. She played the Marie Currie, the sister of main character Cherie Currie (played by Dakota Fanning). Riley’s character had to stay home and take care of their sick dad while her sister went on the road to tour with the band.

Dakota Fanning and Riley Keough

Although Riley was twenty at the time of filming, she was very believable as a sixteen-year-old in the movie. She would play teenagers in her next two films.

 

The Good Doctor – 2011:

The Good Doctor

Riley graduated to a co-starring role in her next film. She was very credible as a sick teenager in The Good Doctor. Her condition required a soft-spoken, often frail-sounding dialogue, and she was easy to accept in the role.

Riley Keough in The Good Doctor

The doctor turned out to be a real slimeball, and he eventually killed her. That’s not really a spoiler – you can see it coming a mile away. But, I won’t reveal if he gets away with it or not.

 

Jack & Diane: — 2011:

Jack & Diane

Riley also co-starred in her next film, and it was a bold leap into a radical role. See the dark haired person at the top of this picture. That’s Jack, a butch lesbian, played by Riley.

Riley as Jack in Jack& Dianne

Here’s a better shot. Talk about transforming yourself to fit the role. I must admit, I enjoyed this movie the least of Riley’s movies, especially when it veers off into horror movie territory at the end.

 

Magic Mike – 2013:

Magic Mike

Next, Riley took a supporting role in a big movie. She played a stripper in Magic Mike. I couldn’t find a clip from the film showing her, but here she is with the whole cast.

Magic Mike Cast

You can see that Riley is not playing a teenager in this movie. Scroll back, and see how different her characters look in the films.

 

Kiss of the Damned – 2013:

Kiss of the Dammed

I’m not a real big fan of vampire movies. This one confused me with the concept of good vampires and bad vampires, but Riley was neither. She appeared near the end in a minor part as an innocent foil of an older female vampire.

Riley in Kiss of the Damned

 

Mad Max: Fury Road – Premiering in May 2015:

Mad Max Fury Road Poster

Riley must be thrilled to have sixth billing in this new installment of the Mad Max franchise. It is her first role in an action-adventure film. Hopefully the crazy special effects leave her some room to show her acting chops.

Mad Max Cast

Riley plays one of the “five wives” that Charlize Theron’s character must transport across the desert.

Mad Max Clip 4

That’s Riley right on the right. She’s changed her look again, this time as a redhead. Here’s another look, with Riley in the middle.

Mad Max Group Shot

 

And one more look of Riley in a shot containing one of the less freaky-looking male characters.

Mad Max Clip 5

The trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road sure makes it look like it will be a big film, a summer blockbuster. Riley’s role in her only other big movie, Magic Mike, was very brief and she didn’t stand out. This time could be different. A credible performance in a meaty role could move her up in the Hollywood hierarchy of female actors.

 

Lee Jeans Ad 2011

If not, Riley can always fall back on her ultra-successful modelling career. Either way, Elvis would be proud of what his granddaughter has achieved.

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Graceland to Muscle in on the Vegas Elvis Wedding Chapels

Elvis with bible

 

Did you see this recent announcement on Graceland.com?

Graceland Presents Elvis
Part of it could be good for Elvis fans going to Las Vegas… if you bring enough money. “Elvis Is Back in the Building” refers to a partnership between EPE and the Westgate Las Vegas Resort. If that name is unfamiliar to you, it used to be called the Las Vegas Hilton, and it is where Elvis performed over 600 concerts from 1969 to 1976. The showroom he once dominated is now renamed the Elvis Presley Theater. From April 23 to May 31, it will be home to the “Elvis Experience,” a large-scale production replicating one of Elvis’ legendary Las Vegas shows. It stars Martin Fontaine and features 24 musicians and eight-member choir. According to the press release, “This critically-acclaimed production will take guests back to the early 1970s to fully experience one of the king’s sold out Las Vegas concerts.”

Elvis Experience

A little research shows that Canadian entertainer Martin Fontaine is a solid member of the top tier of Elvis Tribute Artists. He has been performing for almost twenty years, and has had an ongoing show at the Capital Theater in Quebec City.

Priscilla and Martin Fontaine

Priscilla took in his show last year and had great things to say about him. Here’s a shocker. That is Martin Fontaine next to her. He wears an Elvis wig when he does the show.

Elvis Wig

Here’s what he looks like when wearing a jumpsuit and the wig. He looks pretty good, doesn’t he?

Martin Fontaine as Elvis

The “Elvis Experience” will be a single show every evening Tuesday through Saturday from April 23 to May 31. Cheapest seats are $59.85, and the near-stage ones in those semi-circular booths will go for $93.95. So what do you think, will enough folks fork over that much money for an Elvis Tribute show to fill up that large venue five nights a week? EPE is hedging their bets. After this five week trial run, the theater will feature “other limited-run, Graceland-produced live shows.” Who knows what that means?

 

The other major feature mentioned in the EPE news release is “ELVIS: The Exhibition.” The Las Vegas Sun reported it “will encompass more than 28,000 square feet of the former Star Trek:The Exhibit space and include hundreds of artifacts from the Graceland archives.

ELVIS The Exhibition

Some of the artifacts include Elvis’ high school yearbooks, first gold album, 1957 Harley Davidson motorcycle, 1962 Lincoln Continental, 1971 Stutz Blackhawk, jewelry and stage wear, including the outfit worn onstage for his first concert at the International Hotel in 1969. Select artifacts will be rotated regularly with those in the Graceland archives to keep the exhibit fresh. Graceland-produced videos will be prominent, including a 26-minute retrospective on Elvis’ greatest performances.

The exhibit will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and tickets are $22, plus taxes and fees, but they are being sold only for the same five-week period as the tribute show. Why?

 

The Elvis Presley's Graceland Chapel

The last item in the news release really caught my eye. “Another exciting feature will be the new, “Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel.” It is also scheduled to open on April 23, but information on the chapel and its special packages will not be announced until later in March.

It is safe to say that this will put a hurt on the Las Vegas wedding chapels with an Elvis theme.  So, let’s take a look at a few of them and spotlight some of their unique offerings that might help them survive.

 

An Elvis Chapel:

An Elvis Chapel

I’m not sure how these folks got away with that name without hearing from Graceland’s lawyers. One of their packages includes an Elvis/Marilyn Monroe combination wedding. I doubt that the official EPE sanctioned chapel will do that.

 

Graceland Wedding Chapel:

Graceland Wedding Chapel

These clever folks have a package that includes dueling Elvises: You know, EPE might actually try that idea.

 

A Little White Chapel:

A Little White Chapel

See where the sign says 24 Hr Drive Up Wedding Window? We can be pretty sure Graceland’s Elvis Chapel won’t include that.

Little White Wedding Chapel Drive Thru Window

This window is inside what they call The Tunnel of Love. So, if you want to get married inside, it provides a covered shelter for your friend’s bikes in case of rain.

Bikes in Tunnel of Love

 

Chapel Bar and Elvis Shrine:

Chapel Bar and Elvis Shrine

This is my favorite. A travelling party bus where sixteen of your friends can join you for your marriage ceremony and reception. Then you get a tour of Las Vegas with return to your hotel.

 

Although the “Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel” won’t be doing most of this stuff, you can be sure they will attract a lot of business away from the established chapels in town.

Vegas Wedding Chapels

 

It does seem that Graceland likes to control or at least dominate all-things-Elvis. We’ve seen it before with the tribute artists.

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

 

Then came the auctions of Elvis memorabilia.

The Auction at Graceland

 

Now it’s the Vegas Elvis Wedding Chapels.

Hot Elvis Wedding Chapel Special Offer

 

What’s next? I have an idea.

Velvet Elvis

Velvet Elvis

 

I can just see it now: The EPE officially sanctioned Velvet Elvis Art Gallery

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.