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"3000 Miles to Graceland"

Directed by Demian Lichtenstein.
Written by Demian Lichtenstein and Richard Recco.
Starring Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner.
Release Year:  2001
Review Date:  2/25/01


Yes, yes, I know.  “Long time, no see.”  It's been a busy last 10 days and now, after responding to all of the Singles Awareness Day e-mails and taking a trip to New York City this past weekend, I got back itching to see a flick.

My roommate Keith and I were at the casa and I thought about what had come out in the last two weeks.

  • “Sweet November”--Yeah, right.

  • “Down to Earth”--Chris Rock in a PG-13 movie?  Hmm, that means no profanity.  Skip it.

  • “Saving Silverman”--My friend Kristin said that if I went to see this film, our eleven-year friendship would have to end.  So, I skipped that one, too.

  • “Recess:  School's Out”--My kid sisters wanted me to see this one; I would rather eat rice cakes and listen to Enya than see that shit.</p>

So, that left the new Kurt Russell/Kevin Costner actioner “3000 Miles to Graceland.”  It looked cheesy enough, and hey, sometimes my guy impulses take over and say “Justin, see the movie with the most guns!!”  Keith and I rolled over to the multiplex and, after suffering through the ridiculous preview for “Exit Wounds”--the upcoming Steven Seagal flick--our movie began.

It should be noted first off that this film is straight garbage.  It's not the bottom of the barrel, but it's scrapin' big-time.  The plot:  Five criminals, led by the villainous Thomas Murphy (Costner), hit a casino during an international Elvis Presley impersonation convention and rob it of marked bills held in the casino's safe.  In his gang of crooks is Mike Zane (Russell), a former cellmate of Murphy (or, as he is known in the film, “Murph”) when they did time together at a penitentiary.  Essentially, this heist goes awry when Murph's gang is seen robbing the safe on video...and the gang decides that rather than run, it will shoot it out with the casino's entire security force and Las Vegas police officers.  From there, double crosses ensue and the majority of the film is spent watching Murph and Mike chase each other, the stolen money and a “woman” (or, more appropriately for the film, “ho”) that wants to spend the rest of her life with Mike...played by Courtney Cox.

I will admit that the first half-hour of this movie is pretty good and has some laughs, some cool action and Bokeem Woodbine.  After the initial heist, though, all of those things disappear and the movie gets horribly atrocious.  One of its biggest problems is its cast:  the number of actors that show up looking for a check is too high to believe; Christian Slater, Kevin Pollak, Jon Lovitz, David Arquette, Howie Long, Ice-T...all get a sliver of screen time and so many of them get wasted quickly that you aren't even sure they were in the film!  And, because all save Slater can't act, it is hilarious watching them die.  Sorry to blow it for you, but Long (football analyst & star of the former Oscar nominee “Firestorm”, about a guy who can fight the hell outta some fires) dies so grandly that as he is trying to ask another character a question, you are laughing so hard you can't hear what he is saying!  It is that funny!  And then, to chase that, Ice-T comes flying in through a warehouse hanging upside-down and firing machines guns in a twirling motion...and he is hitting SWAT cops 50 feet away square in the chest!  I was falling out of my chair!

And, so were a lot of other people in my least, the ones that were still there.  You see, I would say about 25% of my audience walked out of the movie theater before the end sequence.  I can't think of the last time so many people walked out of a movie.  And, from the look on one guy's face, he was PISSED that he had dropped $8 on that bad boy.  Man, he was angry!

Russell could do a lot better and Costner clearly enjoyed playing this ridiculous character Murphy; all Costner does the entire movie is walk around spouting bad action movie cliches and firing weapons that are so large they are justifiably “artillery.”  But, as a road movie, “3000 Miles to Graceland” is lost in a sea of confusion.  Maybe I should have gone to see “Sweet November” after all...

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09