Film / 3000 Miles to Graceland
No, cash is king.

3000 Miles to Graceland is a 2001 crime/action film directed and co-written by Demian Lichtenstein, starring Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, and Courteney Cox.

Michael Zane (Russell) and four other criminals — Thomas J. Murphy (Costner), Hanson (Christian Slater), Gus (David Arquette), and Franklin (Bokeem Woodbine) — execute a heist in which they steal $3.2 million from the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas by dressing up as Elvis Impersonators whilst the casino hosts International Elvis Week, thereby making it difficult to identify them since hundreds of people in the building would be dressed in the same manner. The heist is successful, but when Franklin is killed, a dispute occurs over how his share should be divided among the survivors. It isn't long before it's just Michael and Murphy; with the latter pursuing the former across the western United States as he flees both with the money and with a woman named Cybil Waingrow (Cox), with whom he has fallen in love, and her son Jesse.

The film clearly attempts to emulate the style of Quentin Tarantino.

Prior to the film's opening, Warner Bros. released a series of animated prequels voiced by stars Costner, Slater, Woodbine and Howie Long. The Road to Graceland prequels marked the first time a major film's cast members contributed their talents to the creation of original Internet content for a film website.

This film provides examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: Despite being a thief, Michael is more humane than the others; he doesn't take lives during the casino shootout, opting to knock guards out or back them away with suppressive fire.
  • Berserk Button: Murphy does not take kindly to anyone disparaging Elvis, especially when Gus suggests that Frank Sinatra would beat him in a fight.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Franklin, the African-American member of Murphy's gang, gets killed just as they are about to make their getaway with the money. Even Roger Ebert in his review couldn't hide his disdain for the movie invoking it.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Murphy's "golden rule" is "Fuck the gold. He who has the nickel plating [on his gun] makes the rules."
  • Bulletproof Vest: How Michael survives Murphy's shots. Twice.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Particularly jarring from Kevin Costner.
  • Elvis Impersonator: The robbers dress up as Elvis impersonators to avoid getting caught.
  • Hypocrite: Murphy chews out Hanson for dividing up Franklin's share of the spoil four ways, accusing him of secretly wanting all the money for himself... which is exactly what he was planning to do, as he promptly murders Hanson and Gus and tries to do the same to Michael.
  • Informed Ability: Ice-T's character Hamilton shows up at the climax of the movie, introduced as some sort of badass mercenary/assassin. During the final shootout, he jumps in by spinning down from the ceiling upside down with dual P90's. This looks cool and manages to kill a few of the attacking federal agents, but it ends up getting him killed for his trouble. Beyond his initial meeting, this is just about all he does in the movie.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Immediately after trying to kill his compatriots, Murphy hits a stray wolf on the road and careens off-road, knocking him out. This gives time for Michael to get back to the money and take it.
  • Male Gaze: There's a shot focusing on Cybil's rear when she gets up on a step ladder to collect something from the crawlspace in her ceiling.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: What basically sets the film's story in motion. It says something about how cutthroat they are when the main villain isn't the most dishonorable among the group (Hanson tries to take part of Franklin's share), although he shoots Gus (fatally) and Michael (non-fatally) anyway.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Murphy gives one to Hanson just before killing him.
    Murphy: Sweetheart.
  • Primal Scene: Jesse goes into the bedroom as his mom is noisily having sex with Michael, going on to his business without concern, indicating it isn't the first time he's seen this.
  • Rule of Cool: Tries to invoke this with hyperactive cutting and an attempt at Rated M for Manly, but the consensus is that it fails.
  • Serious Business: Murphy's infatuation with Elvis runs so deep that his partners believe Murphy actually thinks he's Elvis.
  • Smoking Is Cool: The two Federal Marshals trying to catch the casino robbers always light cigarettes after they walk out of a building. Except the sidekick Marshal is always having to fuss with his lighter before it lights. Finally, towards the end of the movie, the main cop (Quigley) lights his cigarette for him:
    Federal Marshal Quigley: Either quit smoking or get a new lighter.
  • Those Two Guys: The two FBI agents pursuing the robbers, played by Thomas Haden Church and Kevin Pollak, are competent investigators who spend most of their time bantering. If you watched just their scenes of the film, you'd swear it was a pilot for a buddy cop show starring them.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The casino shootout that results from security trying to stop the robbers' exit is set to and intercut with an Elvis impersonator performance.
  • Villain Protagonist: The main characters are not heroes; they are robbers.