Elvis Presley is one of the most famous musicians ever. What happens when you take the music out of the equation and choose to focus solely on his movies? Enter Viva Pod Vegas: The Elvis Presley Film Podcast! Hosted by Joey Lewandowski and Mike Manzi, Viva Pod Vegas is a deep dive into the 31 films that Elvis Presley starred in, plus specials and some surprises. Uh, thank you very much for listening. Presented by the CageClub Podcast Network.
Wild in the Country (1961)
The Viva Pod Vegas train is back on the tracks with another (surprise?!) dramatic Elvis Presley performance in Wild in the Country! After talking about the (not great) title (and a better alternative), we dive deep into the unbelievability of the plot in Wild in the Country, and the absolutely crazy way that the movie begins. We also talk about parallels to The Godfather: Part III, the many (many, many…) characters in the movie, and what this movie made us hope we see in future Elvis movies. We also review our guesses for this movie (including Mike’s shockingly accurate ideas) and see what Riley Keough has coming out in the next few months. We also sort of preview our next movie, Blue Hawaii, even though one of us may have accidentally watched it before we recorded this episode. (You’ll have to listen to find out who that was!)
Flaming Star (1960)
Elvis continues to surprise! Flaming Star, his sixth film, is far more violent (and far less musical) than we ever thought it would be. In this episode, we head back to the mid-1800s in Texas to find Elvis trapped between two worlds: that of his white father and that of his Kiowa mother. Given the premise (and the era in which this came out), we've got to say: it's far less problematic than we thought it would be! We talk about the (very, very few) songs in Flaming Star, Elvis Presley's turn as a more serious actor (which earned him some well-deserved praise), and the surprising (and frequent) bouts of hyper-violence found in the film. Plus, we look ahead to the next episode (after we figure out what's *actually* coming next) and check in on Riley Keough, now that Zola is out in theaters.
G.I. Blues (1960)
Much like Elvis took two years off between movies (albeit to go to war), we're back after an extended (pandemic-fueled) hiatus with Elvis's return to Hollywood: G.I. Blues! We talk about how this movie is likely to set the tone and pace and plotting for most of Elvis's future movies, what this movie really should have been called, and the two (absolutely insane) things that this movie will/should be remembered for. We also compare G.I. Blues to Fury (even though there's really very little in common), compare this to other Pygmalion/She's All That-esque stories, wonder why a baby seems to fix this narrative's conflicts, and find ourselves confused as to how this movie wasn't able to land the most obvious ending in cinematic history. Plus: what's Riley Keough up to? We check in on Zola.
King Creole (1958)
We're headed down to New Orleans for King Creole, which many (including Elvis himself) consider to be The King's best movie of all-time. Are we peaking too early, or are we lucky just to get a movie this good? In this episode, we talk about the most natural use of Elvis songs in a movie so far, the differences between a hoodlum and a hustler, and the connections that King Creole shares with both King Kong and Furious 7. We admire the stacked cast (Walter Matthau! Vic Morrow!), the fine directing (Michael Curtiz!), and great noir vibe. We also note that if Elvis's characters only realized they loved Dolores Hart sooner, they could inevitably avoid a whole lot of trouble.
Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Jailhouse Rock continues our Viva Pod Vegas journey from black-and-white to color (and now, again, to black-and-white!), as well as Elvis’s journey from "movies about country boys" to "movies NOT about country boys." Joining us to talk about Elvis's least likable character so far is Cara Gael O'Regan of the Wistful Thinking Podcast. After starting the episode by getting a gauge of Cara’s history with The King, we talk about whether or not the "Jailhouse Rock" set piece will be Elvis's greatest moment ever captured on film, the many (many) ballads in this movie, and the movie's many similarities to its predecessors. We look ahead to King Creole, which is a secret and surprise potential crossover for another podcast on this network! We also do our episodic check-in on Riley Keough's career, revealing her royal lineage to Cara in the process.
Loving You (1957)
We're back at it with another episode of Viva Pod Vegas! Loving You is not only our first colorized movie, but also our first to truly star and showcase Elvis Presley! That focus on our main man means that Loving You is a totally different type of movie than Love Me Tender, in both good and bad ways. In this episode, we talk about Elvis's filmography transitioning out of the western genre (and into the... musical genre?) and striking a balance between showcasing his music and creating a movie with an actual narrative. We also talk about Loving You's confusing love square (and whether or not there actually are any romantic entanglements), the first (of many?) run-ins between Elvis and a jealous boyfriend, and the difficulties of being Elvis's on-screen friend. We also create a few new games, see what's going on in Riley Keough's career, and look ahead to Jailhouse Rock!