A team of ex-cons successfully rob a casino
in Las Vegas during an Elvis convention.
3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
Directed by Demian Lichtenstein
Written by Richard Recco and Demian Lichtenstein
Starring Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox,
Christian Slater, Kevin Pollak, Thomas Haden Church,
David Kaye, David Arquette, Bokeem Woodbine, Jon Lovitz, Ice-T
For years, I have never understood the wave of critical hate this film got back in 2001. It fell off the radar very quickly, and I'd like to believe it's earned cult status. Right off the bat, we get an epic battle between two horrifically CGI-ed desert scorpions while Filter's "It's Gonna Kill Me" blasts in the background. That's our opening credits. If you're not onboard for something stupidly awesome at that point, there's nothing more that can be done for you. This movie has everything. Casino heist, greed, murder, double-crossing, and of course, lots and lots of Elvis.
Michael Zane (Russell) just got out of the joint and is looking for some action. He hooks up with a motel owner named Cybil (Cox), who nearly kills the movie along with her nosy little shithead son Jesse (Kaye). But I digress. Michael takes a job with his old partner Thomas Murphy (Costner), a complete and utter psychopath obsessed with Elvis Presley. With a crew of five guys dressed as the King, they rob the Riviera casino in Vegas during an Elvis convention. Of course, shit goes south quickly and Murphy turns on everyone, killing them all except Michael, who was wearing a vest. Now the race is on between old friends turned bitter enemies with three million dollars on the line. Sure, the film is a bit too long and changes tone pretty frequently, but Russell and Costner's dedicated performances more than make up for it.
3000 Miles to Graceland is a criminally underrated gem that deserves another chance. It's a fun, exciting heist thriller that evolves into a road movie and is peppered throughout with an obsession with the King. I've never seen Costner go this hard as a villain before, and it really makes you wish he'd do it again.