Another "made-for-Showtime" original movie that wildly exceeded expectatations (see also my review of the Patrick Stewart vehicle "Safe House"), "Elvis Meets Nixon" details the two days in December of 1970 when Elvis Presley, for reasons known but to himself, left his home in home in Memphis, Tennessee on his own for the first time in his adult life, criss-crossing the country to Washington, DC, then to Los Angeles, CA, and finally back to DC for a meeting with...President Richard Nixon.
Of course it's all a dramatization of events, and perhaps more than just a bit of artistic license has been taken with the two main characters' personalities. But as an Elvis fan who holds the artist and the man with reverence, I found this to be one of the funniest movies I have ever watched. The almost child-like detachment from reality with which Elvis and Nixon lived their lives at the time is incomprhensible at times. Bob Gunton's portrayal of President Nixon rivals that of Dan Hedaya in "Dick" (also made by Canadians, by the way) for sheer genius of comedic timing, and Rick Peters is so amazing as Elvis (the "doughnut shop in DC" scene is one of the most amazingly surreal moments I've ever seen on film...and I own "Bubba Ho-tep", as well) that it took my about six viewings of this movie to realize that he has brown eyes rather than the King's royal blue (how did that detail get overlooked in pre-production?).
Everything that occurs in this movie takes place from a slightly skewed angle; of course it could not possibly happen today (could it?), but to the amazement of everyone, Elvis was able to pull it off some 35 years ago ("Watch and learn, son...watch and learn"). The "interviews" with contemporary artists Wayne Newton, Tony Curtis, and Stephen Stills(?) as well as Dick Cavett and the surviving "characters" associated with Elvis and Nixon at the time are hilarious, as well. The documentary angle is well-played, but the individual performances of Peters and Gunton (try to keep a straight face whenever Nixon swears in this movie, I dare you) are really what carry this movie.
For better or worse, Elvis and Nixon did more to shape the culture of the second half of the 20th Century than practically anyone else; it is natural that they seem somehow inevitably drawn together, and this movie tells the story the way I truly and dearly wish it had actually happened. I'll be watching it tonight (16 August, "Ascension Day", as I call it) eating doughnuts and cheeseburgers. You'd do well to check this one out, as well.