Elvis & Nixon (2016)


Our Weekly Entertainment Dispatch

The King is on a mission

Elvis & Nixon (2016)

Inquiring readers want to know: “How is a movie about Elvis suitable to make the grade as a cop movie worthy of the elite pages of the Weekend Buff?” 

It turns out the The King of Rock and Roll is perhaps our nation’s most famous police buff.

Elvis wanted to be a cop since his days as a first grader at East Tupelo Consolidated School in Mississippi — and he didn’t let his success as a rock star get in his way. He was a buff extraordinaire. He collected police badges, honorary appointments, uniforms, and even guns. He was an honorary member of numerous police departments across the country and had perhaps the largest collection of badges ever. He could sometimes be found cruising around with a flashing bubble light on top of his car, responding to radio runs.

In 1970, Richard Nixon announced his war on drugs and Elvis was a big supporter. (He never saw his pill addiction as a drug problem like heroin or cocaine – although it eventually killed him).  Nixon’s campaign made Elvis realize that he had just about every badge and honorary appointment there was from local sheriffs to large city agencies (he was a Captain in the Denver Police) to state police departments. But there was one thing he was missing. A federal badge….and this was the spark for Elvis & Nixon.

This film is written by actor Carey Elwes (The Princess Bride), Joey Sagal, and Halana Sagal and is directed by Liza Johnson. It tells the story of Elvis Presley’s relentless pursuit of a federal police appointment and badge. It stars Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water, Nocturnal Animals) as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon. Shannon as Elvis seems an unlikely casting, but he is excellent as the quirky, somewhat unassuming yet pushy, relatable superstar. Spacey, recent legal issues aside, is excellent playing the stuffy and impatient Dick Nixon.

Elvis starts his mission by showing up at the White House front gate with a letter for the President requesting an appointment as a “federal agent at large”. He is rebuffed but promises to come back. He makes a visit to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (the precursor to the DEA), where he is told the disappointing news that federal badges are not simply handed out.

The King is not dissuaded; he is a cop hot on the trail of his objective. Shannon’s antics as Elvis are both hysterical and sincere. His dealings with the Secret Service (Elvis was usually armed) and federal bureaucracy are priceless. Naturally a King outranks a President… and the rest is history.

Elvis & Nixon is an excellent combination of history, comedy, drama, and Americana. I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, but I loved it. If you are not an Elvis fan you should take some time to re-evaluate your life, but it is not necessary to enjoy this film.

Elvis & Nixon runs a little under 90 minutes, a quick hit that keeps moving. A fine supporting cast and surreal story make for solid and unique entertainment. For a change, you can find it for free on YouTube. 

So Take Care of Business, do it My Way, and check out Elvis and Nixon this weekend.  You’ll be entertained — and a little bit amazed that all this really happened.


Enjoy the movie and Stay Safe!



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