Scott Marks 12:30 p.m., July 26
Elvis & Nixon
Historical flight of fancy suggesting that if only Nixon could go to China, then perhaps only Elvis could go to Nixon: a rock ’n’ roller beloved by America who loved America right back, right down to her squaresville commander-in-chief. In 1970, the King surveyed his dominion and was dismayed: riots, drugs, communists, and the Beatles were destroying the youth culture he had labored so mightily to create. So he resolved to go undercover to save his people — with the backing of the Federal government. (Either that, or he just wanted a cool badge for his collection.) Step one: stop by the White House — uninvited, unannounced, and mostly unwanted — for a chat with the leader of the free world, and task his two buddies with making it all work out. Michael Shannon effectively makes his tender voice and feline movements cover for the physical discrepancies between himself and Presley, but it’s Kevin Spacey’s Richard Nixon who slouches into the spotlight as a man determined to understand and engage the strangely dressed creature sitting in the Oval Office, eating his candy and drinking his Dr. Pepper. Director Liza Johnson (Hateship Loveship) brings warm humanity and delightful tension to the proceedings, and even slips in a point: something about what the mighty must do for the rest of us to live happy. 2016.
- "Best films of 2016" • December 28, 2016