I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for micro-budget movies. These clear labors of love are typically much more admirable for their dedication to the creation of art than for the finished product itself.
Put more simply, they’re usually not very good. It turns out money buys a lot of quality when it comes to things like experienced actors, precision cameras and sets that aren’t your mom’s kitchen.
In spite of all these limitations, there’s the occasional micro-budget miracle that if you squint super hard you can almost see a studio-funded feature film appear before your eyes.
“The Issue With Elvis” is one of these little gems.
Writer/director/producer Charlotte Wincott made a simple little movie during the pandemic starring her husband Jeff Wincott and her son Wolfgang Wincott.
Jeff (a seasoned “working” actor who has enjoyed a career with lots of television appearances) stars as Dr. Mercer, a retired botanist living by himself in a cabin in the West Virginia woods, just on the outskirts of town.
Dr. Mercer leads a solitary life and spends most of his day hiking in the woods looking for fungi to research.
One day he comes across a young boy named Elvis (Wolfgang) living in an abandoned school bus in the woods. Dr. Mercer decides to bring Elvis home with him and in the process of trying to track down the boy’s parents, the two form an unlikely bond.
Elvis is a weird kid and Dr. Mercer is a pragmatic scientist, but they just might be exactly what the other one needs.
“The Issue With Elvis” certainly has its warts, but what elevates it above the typical micro-budget film is Charlotte’s screenplay, which is surprisingly smart and simple.
Jeff is a solid enough actor to anchor the movie and brings some complexity to the role of Dr. Mercer.
“The Issue With Elvis” is not a great movie, but it has a lot of heart and proves that moving cinema can be created with nothing more than a camera and some creative talent.
“The Issue With Elvis” is not rated but does feature some adult themes.