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Almost Elvis (2000)

  Directed by: John Paget
Links: Almost Elvis on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Documentary

This movie gets: 6.00 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 129th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Could have been better" - a review by pearly

Sitting here in my luxury office chair with the arm-rests and wheels, it's easy for me to say that a documentary could have been better. But, damn it, Almost Elvis could have been better. Fundamentally, filming a bunch of crazed Elvis fans who are so mad about the guy that they choose to fill their days practising being him makes for a good documentary. It should have been a given. But, for some reason, Almost Elvis doesn't live up to expectations.

The film follows a half-dozen or so Elvis impersonators, all in heavy training for the nation-wide "Images of Elvis" competition. Similar to a beauty contest, we see the contestants discussing each other - sizing up the competition, as it were ("he's got the moves, but his voice is a bit weak" etc.). We also see their struggles (one will probably never win, despite his amazing voice, because he's black; another is struggling to lose weight before the competition).

Other than watching the contestants and their friends though, there is the supporting cast - the manager of the Elvis Entertainer's Network, a woman that realised it was necessary for America to have a sort-of Elvis impersonator's union, so that those wishing to hire an impersonator could be assured of quality. Also, the guy who runs B & K Enterprises; the place to buy your Elvis costume and accessories. I think the filmmakers missed a great opportunity here, as these two people alone held my attention more than the impersonators themselves, and a slight switch in focus may have made for a better documentary.

If you love Elvis (which I don't), then never fear. You're bound to weep with joy at these hip wigglers. But if you're just interested in watching a bunch of obsessed freaks, you could do a lot better than this doco (Cinemania (2002) springs to mind).

pearly gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 5 Aug 2002

"Strangely Fascinating" - a review by mino

OK. I'll start off by saying that I've never understood the charm of Elvis Aaron Presley. I mean, in the old 'Beatles vs. Elvis' debate, I'm a Beatles man all the way. I'm not an enormous Beatles fan, but hey: Elvis wasn't even that good, as far as I can tell, so where's the competition? You'd think that this would make me less inclined to like a movie about a bunch of Elvis fanatics competing for the crown of 'best Elvis impersonator' in the home of all things Elvis, Memphis, Tennessee. In fact, I think it makes me like it more: most people would look at Almost Elvis and think "these people are idiots". I, on the other hand, not liking Elvis as I do (or don't), think "these people are bloody morons", which I think made me find the movie even funnier.

Almost Elvis follows the fortunes of four or five Elvis impersonators in particular, but there are many more who have bit parts. There are all sorts of impersonators trying to win the 'Images Of Elvis' competition: from the one who's a great dancer, but is too young (at 15) to be taken seriously; the one who looks the part but can't sing that well; the slightly creepy middle-aged woman. Best of all, there's the one who can sing like an angel and move like the King reincarnated, but has one slight problem which makes him continually the 'Images Of Elvis' bridesmaid: he's black. Being black is considered, for some reason, a handicap in the world of Elvis impersonating. But having all the other impersonators (and they are a pretty tight-knit clique) poking fun at you doesn't stop any of them; they all want that title badly enough that they don't much care what the others think.

This is another one of those documentaries, like those of Errol Morris, which is fascinating purely on the basis of the rather loony subjects. Elvis impersonators, per se, aren't that funny. But these particular Elvis impersonators: well, they're hilarious. There's bitching and sniping, aggression and contempt, joy and sadness: but above all, there are a lot of very very tragic old men (and ladies). It's a little depressing in a way: and don't even get me started on the Elvis impersonator groupies (I'm serious).

It's a very well-made doco: you really get a feel for all the characters, and grow quite fond of them very rapidly indeed. It doesn't really focus too much on any one person: I think everyone in the cinema was probably barracking for different people in the finals of the competition. And if you can make people really feel for your characters, then you're half-way to making a great documentary. Luckily, Almost Elvis doesn't just go half-way: it really is very enjoyable and more than a little educational (even if you think Elvis was an overweight hack).

mino gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 2 Aug 2002

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 6.00
Lowest rating: 4 (by pearly)
Highest rating: 8 (by mino)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. je chercher image de fond avec elvis et il y a une grosse terrre dans le milieux et en bas cote gauge il ya elvis 68 combak et a cote en gros il est avec une chemise carater foncer jaimerais bein la retrouver merci

    A comment from lisette on Mon 24 Oct 2005 02:21 #

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