This past week I saw the Elvis movie in the theatre. I don't consider myself a big fan of Elvis Presley, but I was treating my friend to a night out, and the choice was hers. So, I settled in for 2 hours and 39 minutes of TBD only to experience one of the best movies ever! I have since purchased the movie through Amazon and streamed it four more times. Yes, I liked it that much. The last movie I repeatedly watched was Star Wars, in 1977. Elvis was impactful and transformational to me on numerous levels.
First, my father adored music. Watching Elvis's jet-black hair, stage presence, musicality, and vocals reminded me of him. Yes, Charles was quite the crooner! He even recorded CDs of his songs, and we spent hours singing karaoke when I'd return home for the holidays. Those who heard him speak know that his voice was a significant factor in his success. And his singing ability was as beautiful as his spoken words.
Second, music was one of my father's therapies. In his life-changing classic, The Three Therapies, Charles listed music as one of the things that ministered to him the most. He was so tired and broken at times that he could barely go on. That's when music would soothe his weary head and heart. There's a great line in the Elvis movie where Austin Butler (who brilliantly plays the King) repeats a quote, "when things are too dangerous to say, sing.” My father said it this way, “There’ll come a time in your life someday, the crises, the humiliation, the tragedy will be so severe, there will be few things that can reach your need like music.”
Third, this movie unpacked the lifelong relationship between Elvis and his manager, Colonel Parker. I had no idea who “Col” Parker was, but we all know of his type. The evolution of their partnership takes center stage, as each “lives” off the other. But it is not a healthy relationship, albeit an incredibly profitable and record shattering one.
As Elvis matures, he begins to see that the “Col” has different ideas for the singer's career. So each time Elvis is ready to make the separation, Col Parker (played equally brilliantly by Tom Hanks) reels him back with a promissory sleight of hand. Parker calls himself The Snowman, a term he picked up from his early career as a carnival employee. My father had his word for Snowmen in his vocation. He called them Hucksters or Charlatans.
Elvis, the movie, is a feast for the eyes and ears. And you get to learn so much about the young singer's start, influences, and life. The designers and cinematographers got the look and feel perfect. But this movie's power is indeed a leadership case study of the highest order. When Parker spins his sales pitch to Elvis, one can hear the snake hissing in Eve's ear.
We've all been there. We have someone in our lives, and we become intertwined. Then, things start giving us pause and concern. We brush these feelings off or acquiesce when conflict arises. We keep coming back, hoping our suspicious minds will be wrong and all will be right. But that never happens. And there always comes a time when you've gone too far, and the only thing left to sell is your livelihood, life, or soul.
Make sure those closest to you want your success more than their own and are who they say they are. Next, turn on some tremendous Elvis Gospel songs to lift your spirit, and gather a group to see this movie!