There are only a handful of artists who are known by a singular name. Their image and influence have permeated the culture in a way that everyone knows who they are and what they represent. Elvis Presley is one of these artists.
The new biopic, Elvis, hit theaters last week. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the film stars newcomer Austin Butler as the title character and Tom Hanks as his manager with sometimes questionable intentions, Colonel Tom Parker. The narrative follows both of them from the early days of Presley’s career until his death in 1977 at the age of 42. The Colonel tells the story, casting himself as the manager who saw the potential of an unknown artist. As Elvis becomes a megastar, he faces criticism for his supposedly “wild race music” and its effect on the nation’s young people.
As the years pass and he becomes a has-been, Presley, and the Colonel pivot. After a very successful television special, he becomes a Las Vegas regular. But while his client is on stage, the Colonel is enriching himself. When everything comes to a head, Elvis has to choose between staying with his manager or trying to go his own way.
Though Butler does not look exactly like the King, he completely inhabits the man and the legend. Playing him from his teenage years until his early 40s, Butler is enigmatic and completely convinces the audience that he is Presley. Hanks, as usual, is up to the task. His character is a man who sees an opportunity and takes it, even if means crossing some boundaries.
What made the movie work for me was the man behind the icon. Presley was a devoted son to his parents, Gladys and Vernon (Helen Thomson and Richard Roxburgh). He was also madly in love with his wife Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge) and a devoted father to their daughter. He respected the black artists whose music he “borrowed” (depending on your perspective) from. What Luhrmann does brilliantly as a filmmaker is to point out that while African-American musicians of the era were largely ignored outside of their community, Presley made a fortune singing the same songs.
My only complaint is that the middle of the narrative could have been trimmed down a bit. Other than that, the film is incredibly good and definitely worth the price of a movie ticket.
When it comes to love and romance, it has been said that opposites attract. However, that does not mean that compromise and putting in the hard work to make the relationship last can be put aside.
In the 1997 romantic comedyFools Rush In, Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) and Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) are as mismatched a couple as you can get. Fate brings them together in Las Vegas. Three weeks after a one night stand, Isabel discovers that she is pregnant. Before they know it, Alex and Isabel are married. The ceremony was the easy part. Now they have to learn to live with each other and get along with their new in-laws. Which as many married couples may tell you, is a battle in and of itself.
This movie is cute. It is the type of rom-com I would watch on a day that I needed to relax and get out my head for a little while. The comedy is also helped by the cultural differences between the main characters. It would be easy to present Alex as a typical uptight suburban white guy and Isabel as a saucy and spicy Latina. While the stereotypes are there, they are merely the backbone of who Alex and Isabel are. They are given ample room to grow well beyond the expectations the audience has for who they are and where their story will go.
Anyone who has ever planned a wedding can attest to how complicated it can become.
The 1994 TV movie, Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, was the conclusion to the fan-favorite 90’s teen show, Saved by the Bell. After years of dating, Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen) are engaged. But not everything is sunshine and roses.
Zack’s parents worry that their son is too young to marry. Kelly’s parents do not have the funds to give their daughter the wedding they would like to. The obvious place to say “I do” is Las Vegas. It all seems so simple. But like every rom-com about an upcoming marriage, there are a few hurdles placed in the way of the couple before they can be pronounced as married.
While there are some conclusions to television programs that appeal to a wide array of viewers, this movie strictly for the fanbase. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. What I like about this program is that it gives both the characters and the fans the ending that feels right and fits in perfectly with the the series as a whole.
Becoming a real athlete takes skill, months if not years of hard work and perseverance.
American Ninja Warrior has been part of NBC’s lineup for a decade. An American spin off of the Japanese program Sasuke, the show is basically an athletic competition that is adapted for television. Hundreds of elite athletes from around the country and the world attempt to complete a series of physical challenges. The winners of the local competitions will then move to the national finals, held in Las Vegas. The ultimate winner is that season’s “American Ninja Warrior”.
I don’t watch this show too often, but when I do, I find myself to be captivated. As a viewer, I am sucked in by the question of which contestants will make it to the top and which will have to come back next season.
A concert is normally an event to savor. It is a few hours to sing along with your favorite artist(s) with thousands of other fans.
Most concerts end with fans going home tired, but happy to have seen their favorite artist(s) perform live. This concert ended with the death of innocent people.
Even though it is a year later, nothing has changed. Our gun laws are still being debated. Innocent people are still being killed. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida happened only months after the shooting in Las Vegas.
To the rest of us, one year is just 365 days. We lived through that night. For those who survived and those who lost loved ones, one year may still feel like one day.
May the memory those who were needlessly killed be a blessing to those who knew and loved them.
Last night, talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel spoke to America about gun violence and the unnecessary loss of life that occurred in Las Vegas 48 hours ago.
The man was visibly crying and pleading with not just the ordinary citizen, but our leaders in Washington D.C. It was as if he was speaking for everyone who was watching the news and felt angry and powerless at the same time. We need sensible gun laws, now. We need to talk about this openly, we need to make sure that this epidemic of mass shooting ends with our generation. If it doesn’t, our children maybe asking us tough questions one day that we wish we had the guts to answer here and now.
It happened again, another shooting of innocent civilians in America. Last night, in Las Vegas, a man shot into a crowd during a concert killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500.
When will this end? When will we put politics aside and put lives over guns?
I’m all for the 2nd Amendment, but we need a common sense approach to deal with the unnecessary loss of life that has become all too common place in this country over the last few decades.
It’s like beating a dead horse. Except that this horse is so dead that it is glue, holding up a macaroni shell on some kid’s art project that is hanging on their refrigerator at home. Unfortunately, the dead horse must continue to be beaten.
While respecting the 2nd Amendment, we must find a way to compromise. If our leaders do not enact reasonable and rational gun control laws, then we will continue to see innocent civilians killed or injured for no good reason.
I would say pray for Las Vegas, but prayer has gotten us nowhere. We need action, from our government. We need it now before another massacre becomes front page news.
Life is sometimes full of coincidences. The stranger on the street could be just that or they could be closer to us than we think.
Author Laura McBride’s new book, ‘Round Midnight, was published earlier this year. It tells the story of four women are who are linked in unexpected ways.
Originally from the New York City area, June left her Jewish family and her Jewish first husband behind for the glitz and glamour of the Vegas strip. She owns the El Capitan night club with her second husband. It’s 1960 and June is in love with one of the African-American singers who regularly performs at the club.
Honorata left the Philippines as a mail order bride. Her groom to be is not exactly prince charming. When she wins a very healthy jackpot, she decides that she no longer needs to marry. But her past and her decision to walk away from the marriage will come back to her.
Engracia is Mexican immigrant who smuggled herself over the border with her son. She makes ends meet as a cleaning woman. While working for Honorota, she becomes more than just the cleaning woman when a gunman forces himself into Honorota’s home.
Coral has always known that she is both adopted and bi-racial. Despite the fact that her adopted mother and siblings treat her as if they were of the same flesh and blood, the question of Coral’s birth parents are never far from her mind.
This book is amazing. Ms. McBride is able to skilfully intertwine not just the multiple narratives, but multiple time periods in a novel that is thoroughly engrossing and entertaining.
I'm a retiree in his seventies. That may not be significant to many, since there is a bunch of us Baby Boomers around. However, in the year 2,000, when I received a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, I expected to be dead in three to five years.