Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Guest Blogger: Sarah O.

New DVD Collection featuring: The King

The passing of Michael Jackson brings to mind another music icon that is no longer with us. I am speaking of none other than Elvis Presley: the King. The United States was never big on having a monarchy, but when we say “The King,” everyone knows who that is. We don’t picture a foreign land or a government leader. No, we picture Elvis (one name rule is in effect). Hey, we could’ve done much worse. Is it a coincidence that if you rearrange the letters of Elvis’ name, you can spell “lives”? I am not one of those who believe Elvis is still alive, but his work remains and is as entertaining as he ever was. Because of this, Mentor Public Library just received a hunk-a hunk-a Elvis movies that everyone is sure to enjoy.

Which of our performers today has the charisma Elvis had? I can’t think of one. I can’t speak for the qualities of Elvis’ acting, but let’s face it – it’s not like he ever performed Shakespeare and he never tried to be Olivier. He just kind of plays himself and then sings and shimmies, which is really the best reason to give these a second look. Many singers try to make their way into acting, but aren’t they really best when they can accentuate all of their talent? This is where the musical comes in.

I believe musicals are probably the most absurd genre of film, and I say this in a nice way. It’s not very often that you’re in line at the grocery store and the cashier breaks into song to give you the total. It would be odd to say the least. But maybe just once I would like a good looking guy to take me for a ride in his convertible and sing a love song to me…and then he would turn out to be secretly wealthy. (sigh)

I will not vouch for every movie he ever made, but just because they’re not my favorites doesn’t mean they won’t become yours. I love the movies he’s known for, such as Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock, but I didn’t know much about some of the more obscure ones. I thought, “How bad can they be? Elvis is in them.”

I started with Clambake, which promised to be a “Funbake.” I’ve never been to a proper clambake, so I thought I would gain some insight into that iconic 60’s party. Well, the actual clambake in the movie lasted only 4 minutes and featured a song called “Clambake.” That song is in my head to this day; oh, the curse of a pop hook and memorable lyrics! All in all, I don’t know much more about a clambake today than I did yesterday, but all the characters testified to how delicious the food was, even though we never see them eat a bite. Having a clambake is now on my summer to-do list, only problem is which of my friends is up to doing a musical number.

Then, I watched Fun in Acapulco. I don’t know about anyone else, but it sure looked like fun. I will try to visit there one day. Again, I thought the highlight was the “Bossa Nova Baby” number, but the cliff diving wasn’t half bad either.

The last one I watched is called Tickle Me. For obvious reasons, the title intrigued me. I’ve always loved the live version of the song “Are You Lonesome Tonight” when Elvis starts laughing and just can’t stop. I was soon disappointed as there was no tickling going on. Elvis is a rodeo rider following the rodeo circuit, when he is hired to work at a spa to help women lose weight. Elvis’ martial arts skill makes up for the lack of tickling, though. I get a little weak around a man who can fight, dance, and sing. Triple threat! He ends up in a haunted house searching for lost gold and the movie has a Scooby Doo-ish ending. I guess you can’t judge a movie by its jewel case.

These movies offer escapism, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not ashamed of my love for Elvis, even though I’ve been ridiculed for it on several occasions. I will defend America’s “King,” and some of his slightly below-standard movies, because he’s the only monarch we’ve ever known. Eat your heart out England! Why not honor the King as his death date approaches on August 16th with one of our recent acquisitions?