3,000 MILES TO GRACELAND
Director: Demian Lichtenstein
Cast: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courtney Cox, David Kaye, Kevin Pollak, Christian Slater, David Arquette, Bokeem Woodbine
MPAA Rating: (for strong violence, sexuality, and language)
Running Time: 2:05
Release Date: 2/23/01
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Review by Mark Dujsik
To paraphrase Pulp Fiction, there are two kinds of people: Elvis-people and Beatles-people. 3,000 Miles to Graceland is guaranteed to immediately change Elvis-people into Beatles-people. If you’re one of those people, welcome!
I will throw out the basic premise of the movie now. There’s a group of criminals led by Murphy (Kevin Costner). Another member of the gang, Michael (Kurt Russell) just got out of jail and joins the gang after meeting Cybil (Courtney Cox Arquette) and participating in some wild sack-rocking. You see, this gang, that also includes Christian Slater, David Arquette, and Bokeem Woodbine, has planned to rob a casino during international Elvis week, and to make it easier, they’re all disguised as Elvis-impersonators. At least, it should make it easier, but somehow they manage to be noticed on a security camera. You would think that with whatever preparation they went through to plan the robbery, they would consider staying out of the view of the security cameras. Well, they don’t, and then to make matters worse, they walk through the casino with automatic weapons drawn in plain sight of anyone who isn’t completely blind. Now, it seems obvious that during international Elvis week, five men disguised as Elvis-impersonators would be able to blend in, but remember, this is a crew that is dumb enough to be in plain sight of security cameras.
The shoot-out that ensues proves that director Demian Lichtenstein had no clue how to present this material. The sequence involves extreme violence, a woman in shock from watching the chaos on the security monitors, and an old woman at a slot machine. All of the violence is intercut with a Vegas revue, and the result is visual overkill. How are we supposed to feel about the violence in this movie? It is as extreme as a video game, it upsets people in the movie, and it involves a running sight-gag. Some might call this "style," but I more appropriately call it excess.
All of this takes place within fifteen to twenty minutes of the movie’s opening, but I knew this movie was irredeemable within ten seconds of its start. The opening involves two robotic scorpions battling to the death, and I thought maybe it was a character playing a video-game of some sort. No such luck here; it’s actually happening. I would like to make a request to anyone who reads this review. If you can explain to me the importance, necessity, or just plain point of this sequence, could you please let me in on the secret? I would greatly appreciate it.
As the movie unfolds (or more appropriately: folds in on itself), we are presented with one of the most unexplainable characters featured in a movie in a long time. I would like to make a second request. Could someone please find Courtney Cox Arquette’s script for the movie? I would love to see how she marked the beats of her script, giving her vital motivational cues for such inexplicable actions as trusting her son to a man who points a gun at the kid. One moment she’s got a gun in her face, and the next she’s in bed with the guy who was holding it. The movie is almost worth watching to see the ridiculous changes her character goes through to satisfy the needs of the script.
Speaking of the presentation of women in the movie, 3,000 Miles to Graceland is the most misogynistic mainstream movie since Armageddon. The women in this movie exist only for abuse, ogling, and sex. It’s quite despicable, and I hope no one makes the mistake of doing something similar again anytime soon.
I could continue about the failings of the movie, but I will sum it up by saying, 3,000 Miles to Graceland is a mess. The only reason I gave it half a star is because it didn’t offend me as human being; it came close though. It insulted my intelligence, yes, but I still have some hope for the human race after watching it.
Copyright © 2001 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.