Why would I see a movie about two people I don’t really like, you ask? Well, it was just one of those things when my schedule matched the time it was showing at the theater. I started this with a shrug, but I confess, the film won me over a little bit. I mean, I won’t be rushing to the Nixon Library anytime soon (or will be playing Elvis Presley albums non stop) but the 87 minutes it took of my life wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.
Directed by Liza Johnson, this ‘Elvis & Nixon’ explores that fateful meeting of the two figures, and since the meeting was never recorded or documented, it is fodder for imagination. Apparently, in 1970, Presley personally delivered a letter to Nixon, and you will see how in a couple of hers, that delivery triggered a meeting of the two at The Oval Office. The whole set up is fun, and when they finally meet, there is great chemistry between Michael Shannon (who plays Elvis) and Kevin Spacey (paying Nixon) The two infuse the characters with warmth and charisma that the characters jive on-screen, and the fateful meeting becomes a comedy-of-errors gone right. It was fun to see a President acquiesce to The King, and Spacey, goofy and hunched, almost gives Nixon a good name. I mean, I laughed with him, and I normally even smile when the name Richard Nixon is mentioned. This is one of those films that feels half-done: it breezes too quickly to make a big impression. I won’t even necessarily recommend this to be seen at the theaters. In a couple of months or so, this should be a good Saturday afterrnon stream from Netflix.