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The Elvis-athon: Elvis: That’s The Way It Is

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Sars: D | Grade It Now!
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Before The Fall

Steven Boone: I would trade the beauty and voluptuousness of this film for a Maysles or Pennebaker style x-ray.

MZS: There's something going on here that speaks to the later decline, and this film ain't touching it.

Sars: That's what I was saying before. Something is rotten at the core here. He's starting to just go through the motions.

MZS: Yeah. That scene in Pennebaker's Don't Look Back where Bob Dylan and Joan Baez are in the hotel room, and she's singing and playing guitar and he's typing out lyrics to a song, and the whole thing is done in an almost unbroken take -- this needed more stuff like that. You really feel like you're in the room. You get a sense of the truth of the personality. Here, likable as Elvis is, I feel like he's either not letting the filmmakers inside his personality, or there are too many people around him standing in the way of the process.

Steven Boone: The closer it got to performance, the less Elvis seemed plugged in, present.

MZS: There's a bit of a Chuck E. Cheese quality to the performance. I know that's a Vegas thing, not necessarily an Elvis thing, but it still speaks to the going-through-the-motions thing. Where's the wit?

Steven Boone: Those early rehearsal scenes, even though they're conflict-free, had some warmth, spontaneity.

Sars: From what I've read, actually making music was kind of the only thing tying him to reality at times. But this was the point at which it started to be about making money to support his compulsive spending.

MZS: Elvis's spread-legged posture while introducing his next song is weird. Like he's getting ready to drop some kids off at the pool.

Sars: Something he had chronic trouble doing.

MZS: This version of "Hound Dog" is cooking, though. Even though it looks like he just paused to pick food from his teeth.

Steven Boone: Country diet.

MZS: Is that guy with the straw boater hat in the audience W.C. Fields? Or maybe Satan arrived to seal the deal they made back in Tupelo?

Steven Boone: Yes, Satan incarnate looks like W.C. Fields.

Sars: It's Parker.

Steven Boone: Does he put in more of an appearance in here?

MZS: I think he shows up later, briefly, though it's been so long since I saw this movie that I might be confusing it with a book or a TV movie. ...Elvis sure is pausing a long time between numbers, and giving his band the sort of specific instructions that really should have been worked out in rehearsal.

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Mondo Extra
The Elvis-athon: Elvis: That’s The Way It Is

Episode Report Card
Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
Before The Fall

MZS: There's something going on here that speaks to the later decline, and this film ain't touching it.

Sars: That's what I was saying before. Something is rotten at the core here. He's starting to just go through the motions.

MZS: Yeah. That scene in Pennebaker's Don't Look Back where Bob Dylan and Joan Baez are in the hotel room, and she's singing and playing guitar and he's typing out lyrics to a song, and the whole thing is done in an almost unbroken take -- this needed more stuff like that. You really feel like you're in the room. You get a sense of the truth of the personality. Here, likable as Elvis is, I feel like he's either not letting the filmmakers inside his personality, or there are too many people around him standing in the way of the process.

Steven Boone: The closer it got to performance, the less Elvis seemed plugged in, present.

MZS: There's a bit of a Chuck E. Cheese quality to the performance. I know that's a Vegas thing, not necessarily an Elvis thing, but it still speaks to the going-through-the-motions thing. Where's the wit?

Steven Boone: Those early rehearsal scenes, even though they're conflict-free, had some warmth, spontaneity.

Sars: From what I've read, actually making music was kind of the only thing tying him to reality at times. But this was the point at which it started to be about making money to support his compulsive spending.

MZS: Elvis's spread-legged posture while introducing his next song is weird. Like he's getting ready to drop some kids off at the pool.

Sars: Something he had chronic trouble doing.

MZS: This version of "Hound Dog" is cooking, though. Even though it looks like he just paused to pick food from his teeth.

Steven Boone: Country diet.

MZS: Is that guy with the straw boater hat in the audience W.C. Fields? Or maybe Satan arrived to seal the deal they made back in Tupelo?

Steven Boone: Yes, Satan incarnate looks like W.C. Fields.

Sars: It's Parker.

Steven Boone: Does he put in more of an appearance in here?

MZS: I think he shows up later, briefly, though it's been so long since I saw this movie that I might be confusing it with a book or a TV movie. ...Elvis sure is pausing a long time between numbers, and giving his band the sort of specific instructions that really should have been worked out in rehearsal.

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12Next

Mondo Extra

Comments

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