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Elvis and Nixon

Coming Soon

History is a wonderful thing because you never know what moments will be ones remembered and discussed years and years later, particularly for those living in that slice of time. When events occur that are not easily explained away without first-hand knowledge, speculation and conspiracy theories tend to run amok. It is in these moments that fascination is born which stokes the fires of curiosity from deep within. One photograph from more than 45 years ago has had many people scratching their heads and wishing that they could’ve been a fly on the wall during the time it was taken. Thanks to Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street we get to do just that and see what all of the buzz was about with the mysterious Elvis & Nixon photograph.
The year of 1970 was a very busy time for President Richard Nixon as he had many pressing matters on his plate. During this time much focus was given to both the Vietnam War as well as the ongoing tension from what was known as the Cold War which, by the way, lasted more than 45 years. And domestically things weren’t much better with all of the ongoing racial tension as well as women fighting for equal rights. The country was a hot mess and the LAST THING he needed was to be bothered by or distracted by trivial matters that didn’t speak to the greater problems of America. Well that’s exactly what happens when the King of Rock and Roll, yes Elvis Presley himself, just shows up at the gates of the White House and requests an audience with the most powerful man in the world.
Michael Shannon (most recently seen in Midnight Special) portrays Elvis Presley in this historical comedy based on true events…allegedly. Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) is the Commander-in-Chief, a role he seems to be typecast in as of late. Yes, Kevin Spacey is President Frank Underwood….no wait, he’s President Richard Nixon. Sorry, too much Netflix binge watching has caught up to me. Elvis (Shannon) is accompanied throughout much of his time over a 36 hour time period by his really close friend, Jerry (Alex Pettyfer). Colin Hanks (Roswell) and Evan Peters (American Horror Story, X-Men: Days of Future Past) both serve on the White House staff and assist the President as needed. Other actors in supporting roles that you might notice are Johnny Knoxville, Tate Donovan and Ashley Benson.
The idea of Elvis being hell bent on meeting the President for the reasons laid out in this film (if you don’t already know I’m not going to spoil it for you because it adds to the silliness of everything) is more than enough comedy to support this 96 minute trip down memory lane. Elvis & Nixon doesn’t stop there with the comedy though. Director Liza Johnson puts forth a solid and entertaining effort in a story about an “almost past his prime” performer and a president that was never fully embraced by this country. Michael Shannon may not be a physical ringer for Elvis as many of Elvis impersonators of the world are, however he does absolutely capture the essence of the man in every other way imaginable. As for Kevin Spacey’s version of Nixon, it could have been better both physically and in the action portion as well.
Elvis & Nixon will have you taking a lot with a grain of salt, I mean after all, they even tout this film as the UNTOLD story….The bottom line is that whether this is fact, fiction, conjecture or otherwise, the plot is fun, well written and executed on a high level of satisfaction. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to watch the trailer which is conveniently located below and see what this is all about. You might be surprised at how easily you get sucked in because I was. Check it out in theaters now.

Elvis and Nixon is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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