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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Superb acting and an iconoclast event give “Elvis & Nixon” a passing grade

    Bleecker Street
    Still from Elvis & Nixon starring Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon.

    The back-and-forth narrative in “Elvis & Nixon” and the interesting cast power the movie to a passing grade. Although the movie is geared toward history buffs and Elvis Presley fans, its humor and quirks make it worth watching. Overall, the film set in the 1970s had its good and bad moments.

    “Elvis & Nixon” follows the timeline between the moment Presley (Michael Shannon) decided he wanted to grab his group of friends, Jerry and Sonny (Alex Pettyfer and Johnny Knoxville), and to fly to Washington D.C. to meet President Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey). This decision would end up with the historical meeting between the king of rock ‘n’ roll and the president.

    Presley and Nixon’s different personalities, but similar political opinions, made the movie humorous and odd. While Presley was arrogant and outlandish, Nixon was grumpy and conservative. A moment that illustrated the differences of personality was their meeting, when Presley showcased his karate skills while Nixon just sat back and watched the singer. This difference made the movie quirky and eccentric, but the cast of the film proved to be its most interesting characteristic.

    Spacey stood out as Nixon. He encapsulated the stiff and rigid personality that you would visualize the president having. Unfortunately, the movie failed to capitalize on this by mainly following Presley. Nixon could’ve used more screen time. Not to say that Shannon did not excellently play Presley. He pulled off the rock-star persona with all of the diva tendencies, but the film failed to showcase its other characters played by Knoxville and Ashley Benson.

    Playing Presley’s friends, Pettyfer got a narrative behind his role, while Knoxville had a less significant role. The producers could’ve given the role a better storyline or gotten rid of it entirely.

    Benson, on the other hand, had a fun little role playing the star-struck airport ticket agent. Although the role was minor, Benson played it well and showed how big of a celebrity Presley was back then.

    In total, the movie receives a “C+” because it could have been shorter and explored more than just Presley’s storyline. The cast did a good job throughout the movie with the roles. This ultimately made it worth seeing.


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