By Herb Kane | March 1, 2001

CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: James Berardinelli (, Bill Diehl (, Andy Klein (, JoBlo (, Jay Carr (Boston Globe), Jay Stone (, Michæl Dequina (, Chris Hewitt (Saint Paul Pioneer Press), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Peter Stack (San Francisco Chronicle) and Mervious (

* * * out of 4 stars (R)

I liked “3000 Miles to Graceland” because it reminded me of a good ole Elvis film – a dumb movie with a lot of rock-n-roll! If the critics didn’t take this movie so seriously, they might’ve actually had fun.

“3000 Miles to Graceland” is a movie about five ex-convicts who dress up like Elvis impersonators to rob millions from a Vegas casino during “Elvis Convention Week.” Three of the rocker’s get killed – leaving bad-guy Murphy (Kevin Costner) and semi-bad guy Michæl (Kurt Russell) to fight over the jackpot.

James Berardinelli ( said he left the theater and uttered “unprintable things” under his breath because he “hated,” “despised,” and “loathed” the film. He said, “Some movies are bad; ‘3000 Miles To Graceland’ is excruciating. It should be banned from theaters on the grounds that anyone unwittingly seeing it is being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.”

Reading your review, James, is cruel and unusual punishment. Did you go home, tinfoil your windows and shoot your TV set, too? For the love of God, man! It wasn’t THAT bad. I can’t defend the movie’s weak plot, but plot doesn’t really matter in this film. It just pure, dumb fun – and it succeeded.

Berardinelli also said Costner isn’t capable of playing a villain: “It’s something he has never tried before, and hopefully won’t attempt again.” Bill Diehl ( also said, “For Costner, ‘3000 Miles To Graceland’ marks another downturn in his career.” This is absolutely ridiculous! As Elvis would say, “You’re all wrong, baby.” Other critics got it right:
– “He makes a riveting villain: He should do it more often.” Andy Klein (
– “He sure played a great unstable Elvis impersonating robber here.” JoBlo (
– “Costner doesn’t get to work this side of the street often, and his over-the-top performance here makes you think maybe he ought to. There’s a whimsy in his psychotic heavy, Murphy.” Jay Carr (Boston Globe)
– “Costner is entirely new to a film like ‘3000 Miles to Graceland,’ and it benefits from his unexpected role. Murphy is a homicidal maniac, and in his long sideburns and unshaven grin, Costner is as nifty a slice of insanity.” Jay Stone (

Michæl Dequina ( said, “Without a particularly hissable villain nor a ‘hero’ that holds any rooting interest, ‘3000 Miles to Graceland’ doesn’t even get the basics if a standard action thriller right.” Chris Hewitt (Saint Paul Pioneer Press) got it right: “There are no good guys in ‘3000,’ just bad guys and worse guys, but the worse guys kind of make the merely bad guys seem sympathetic. It’s an entertainingly heartless movie, made with style, energy and a modicum of humor.”

Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) does make a valid criticism about a scene where a young boy sneaks into a bedroom to steal money while his mother, Cybil (Courteney Cox), is having wild sex with Michæl, “The movie never questions the wisdom of showing the kid in the room while his mother is in bed with a stranger. One imagines that the filmmakers were so tickled by the plot point that the moral questions just didn’t occur to them.” I thought it was strange, too, especially since the kid seemed immune to this type of situation.

There are other quirky scenes, but it’s moot to discuss it. I simply had fun watching the movie. Yet Peter Stack (San Francisco Chronicle) cries, “It’s a tedious caper saga of ultraviolet macho gunk, apparently aimed at pea brains.”

Excuse me? Are you calling me a “pea brain,” Stack? How insulting! Wait a minute. I almost forgot. You said in your review, “Nobody ever gets to Graceland, and the whole idea of suggesting such a thing in the title seems shameless and shabby.” Listen up, pea brain. Did you by any chance read the name on the boat where Michæl and Cybil meet?

Mervius ( summed the movie up best: “‘3000 Miles to Graceland’ is an exciting, over-the-top ride. Costner and Russell ham it up big-time, heading up a cast of actors who clearly enjoy the silly time they’re having. Eat some popcorn at this one, and let yourself revel in the quirky (and pulpy) ways it has of winking at the audience and smirking at itself.”

“3000 Miles to Graceland” gets three fun stars from me. When all these Elvis’ finally leave the building, they leave you with a smile. Go see it.

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  1. Eric says:

    Fantastic article! I’ve always been a huge fan of 3000 Miles to Graceland. I’ve NEVER understood the hate. The film is an absolute blast from beginning to end with an excellent cast who are all great. A word on Kevin Costner. Admittedly I wasn’t a fan of Costner’s and never saw a Costner film before 3000 Miles to Graceland. Not only do I think Costner plays one of the greatest villains in film history here but the film also made me a huge Costner fan ever since. I never understood all of the attacks (to this day) on the violence in the film either. Sure it’s violent but not so much so that it’s any worse than a Tarantino or especially a John Wick film. 3000 Miles to Graceland is sadly underrated and misunderstood. I’m just thrilled it’s finally on blu ray! Rock on!

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