Greatest movie Elvis never made
Guild Theatre2828 35th St.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Any serious collector of amusingly insipid rock ’n’ roll miscellanea has to love Elvis movies, those slapdash and misogynistic musical exemplars of “good, clean fun” that slowly deteriorated Elvis Presley’s musical career (not to mention his soul).
If you’ve seen almost every Elvis movie and you’re not ready to commit to Charro!, then Joel Goulet’s feature-length home movie The Legend of the Snow Buddies—making its Sacramento premiere this Sunday at the Guild Theater—is like funding lost Sun Sessions recordings.
Jay Baker (a.k.a. Johnny Diamonds) plays Johnny Tapsalottapuss (“I’m Greek”), a wandering balladeer and surly sweet loner in the vein of Elvis’ stock character. Snow Buddies is very canny about replicating the tried-and-true features of Elvis movies—long, pointless karate fights; an Arthur O’Connell-esque old man; and “lighthearted” ethnocultural thievery like the deliberately insulting “Primitive Rhythms.”
The songs are the real selling point of Snow Buddies, with a cast featuring members of Knock Knock, Rock the Light, the Bananas, the Four Eyes and many other local bands. Pitch-perfect highlights include the rollicking opener “Yukon Soul” and the doo-wop-inflected “Snow Buddies.”
Even the film’s creators would admit that Snow Buddies had script and budget problems from the beginning, largely due to the lack of either one. Props fly in from out of nowhere; laughing extras can be heard off-screen, and the monster Snookum is clearly a guy in a suit. Fans should appreciate cheap production, however, and an inconsequential plot as necessary parts of the Elvis movie package.
In the end, The Legend of Snow Buddies has better cinematography than Paradise, Hawaiian Style; superior set design to Easy Come, Easy Go; more racial sensitivity than Harum Scarum; better creature effects than Tickle Me; and finer songs than nearly every Elvis movie.