The Billy Ray Cyrus-starring comedy Still The King makes its debut June 12 at 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central on CMT, and to mark the occasion, we’re drawing connections to other works that echo Still The King—examining some of the ingredients in the show’s pop-cultural cocktail. The show features Cyrus as “Burnin’ Vernon” Brown, a washed-up country music star looking to make a comeback of sorts as “the second best Elvis impersonator around.” After crashing into an old country church sign during a drunken bender, he is arrested and sentenced to return and serve as the church’s handyman as part of his parole—although he ends up posing as the congregation’s new minister. Here are some forebears, both obvious and not, to Still The King.
If anyone knows how hard it can be to find redemption, it’s Eastbound And Down’s Kenny Powers. After a disastrous run as a big league pitcher, Powers heads back home with his tail between his legs. He takes a job as a P.E. teacher, and only once he accepts that he’s hit bottom is he able to rise again.
Life often doesn’t go as planned. Just look at Sister Act’s Sister Mary Clarence (Whoopi Goldberg). After being placed in the witness protection program, the one-time lounge singer is forced to don someone else’s clothes—specifically, a nun’s habit—to keep herself safe. It’s here that Sister Mary Clarence realizes that sometimes you learn the most about yourself by playing the role of someone else.
The stage comedy My Three Angels—itself an adaptation of the French play La Cuisine Des Anges—yielded two separate Hollywood treatments in the latter half of the 20th century. Both follow escaped convicts assuming new identities, though the identities vary by version: 1955’s We’re No Angels casts Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov posing as faux-handymen assisting a needy family at Christmas, while 1989’s We’re No Angels places its ne’er-do-wells—Robert De Niro and Sean Penn—in a monastery.
Forget the plot of this Nicolas Cage-Sarah Jessica Parker rom-com—most of the people who saw it did. What remains of Honeymoon In Vegas in the public imagination is the film’s platoon of faux Elvises: Nic Cage-as-Elvis, Skydiving Elvises, and a young Bruno Mars as the littlest King of them all.
If you need a king, first make sure he’s not the thieving type. Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, David Arquette, and others provide a movie-length tribute to (impersonating) the King. Of course, in this movie the faux-Elvises are robbing a casino, which is almost the opposite of being a preacher, but still: It’s good evidence that the King is always the best at whatever he does.
Tune in to the debut of Still The King June 12 at 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central on CMT.