Movie Magazine International

3,000 Miles to Graceland

USA - 2001

Movie Review By Casey McCabe

From the very opening of "3,000 Miles to Graceland" — a computer graphics animation of two scorpions fighting — you get that tingle.

This is going to be a bad movie.

So you immediately start rooting for horribly, wonderfully bad. "Showgirls" kinda bad. Then comes the first exchange of dialogue between our two stars, Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell. Alarmingly bad. And the introduction of Courtney Cox as our love interest: the most attractive single mother ever to live in a crappy desert motel because she's waiting for the right mass murderer to sweep her off her feet. Now we're talking wretchedly bad. But there's still hope. Perhaps it will be Patrick Swayze versus Ben Gazzara in an afternoon showing of "Roadhouse" on the USA Network kinda bad.

Oh no. "3,000 Miles to Graceland" is so much more than bad.

By now you've probably seen the images of Elvis impersonators pulling off a daring heist of the Riviera Casino, using an Elvis convention as cover. If I may spoil the details of that heist — and you should thank me for doing so — this devilishly clever scheme consists of one of the gang members holding the elevator open while the other four walk into the cashiers room, take the money, and then when security is alerted — as they had brilliantly anticipated — they will mow down everyone in the casino in a thunderous slow-motion volley of automatic weapons fire. And at this very early juncture, Elvis leaves the building, the film exits Las Vegas, and new depths of sheer awfulness are left to be explored.

Listen, it's a little embarrassing to be using precious oxygen to talk about this monstrosity, so I'll try to make it brief. "3,000 Miles to Graceland" appears to have been written and directed by hormonal, unsupervised 16 year old boys who are making it up as they go along. Let me just offer one sequence, in no way key to the plot. Kevin Costner, in a cherry red '57 Cadillac, has just killed and robbed the owner of a desert gas station for beer. A tawny young woman at the station — the dead guy's daughter maybe? — rushes in, looks at the bullet riddled body, then at Costner with the beer and smoking gun. And breathlessly asks...."so where are you headed?" Seconds later, the gas station is going up in a massive fireball, the girl is performing oral sex on Costner, and a motorcycle gang is passing by, nodding their approval. This is not film noir. Nor does it have a cheap B-movie's sense of willful awfulness. This is just plain Grade A bad. You could complain about "3,000 Miles to Graceland" being misogynistic. But the truth is, this film actually gives mammals a bad name.

According to the credits, Demian Lichtenstein cowrote and directed "3,000 Miles to Graceland." This is Demian's feature film debut. Demian had only directed music videos previously. Demian was handed tens of millions of dollars in production money and given a cast that by any application of logic should have known better. Now I'm not necessarily saying Demian sold his soul to the devil. All I'm saying is that this is exactly the kind of film Satan would produce. A film young guys like the late Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris might have appreciated. And if you think I'm making light of a tragic event, or possibly overreacting to the amoral, disassociated violence "3,000 Miles to Graceland" tries to pass off as spirited fun, I can only tell you to see the movie for yourself.

But I beg you not to. I would rather see the money spent on this film given to charity. Any charity. I would rather see the money spent on this film given to Bill Gates. That is what I'm trying to say when I say that "3,000 Miles to Graceland" is a bad movie. I believe that if you can stop one person in the world from seeing it, your life will not have been in vain.

© 2001 - Casey McCabe - Air Date: 2/28/01

"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index

"Movie Magazine International" Home Page