Don’t waste your time on ELVIS – I’d recommend just watching Autin Butler highlight videos on YouTube. He’s excellent in the movie, and that’s the single redeeming factor.

I was introduced to Elvis when Stitch was; LILO & STITCH highlights the singer, and I grew up listening to that soundtrack. But, honestly, I may have learned more about the icon in that film than the one dedicated to him. Of course, I’m half joking – but my only other exposure to Elvis was in a Black Pop music class I took at UCSB, learning how Elvis and other performers of his era stole and sanitized music that was already popular, the modern equivalent of slowed and revered TikTok songs and acoustic covers.

I don’t think Baz Luhrmann knew what story he was trying to tell. We have an odd Tom Hanks portrayal of the Colonel, who claims that the film will be his story (it’s not, really). There are too many montages of random newspaper headlines while “Hound Dog” plays in the background.

Music biopics don’t work. Biopics don’t work. No one’s life can be compressed into a cohesive story – that’s not how life works. Instead, creators should tell stories about specific moments, like SPENCER, that took place over three days but showed me so much of Princess Diana’s character. As a rule of thumb, it’s probably not a great movie if your biopic follows the structure of WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY.

ELVIS is available on HBO Max.

Tarush Mohanti

Tarush Mohant is a playlist curator and music explorer, the creator of illussongs (illustrations of songs), and has a fitness plan motivated by action movies (running, climbing, swimming, hiking). Tarush is also a Product Manager at HBO Max.

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