By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Miami's movie history is long, but far from proud. The past ten years or so, especially, have seen a flurry of film crews sweeping across the humid landscape of America's craziest city -- closing causeways, blowing shit up and whatnot. All of this is, we suppose, good news for the local economy. But we can't help but notice that the end product almost always seems to end up a bit fulsome in terms of ... how to put this delicately ... suckage. Face it: For every The Godfather Part II, there's a The Specialist, Fair Game, or Nude on the Moon. Actually the hit-to-clunker ratio is a lot worse than that.
As the dog days of summer send us all scurrying to air-conditioned theaters, we thought we'd remind you all that, while going to movies in Miami is a very good idea, movies about Miami should generally be avoided.
In presenting our 25 Worst Miami Movies Ever, we've broken down these Magic City failures into three basic categories. The first is the hardest sell.
These pictures were, for the most part, widely praised. But bless our contrarian little hearts, each of these films has something about it that is more than just a tad skewerable.
There's Something About Mary (1998)So all our friends are telling us, "Oh my God, you gotta see this movie, it's hilarious, I was laughing so hard I shot Junior Mints out of my nose," etc., etc., ad infinitum. Over and over. Then we finally went to see it, and it was pretty funny. Well, except for the writing. That wasn't very funny at all. And the performances. Stiller actually showed better comic timing in Mystery Men, which should be on every thinking person's Ten Worst list. The British comic on crutches? Not funny. The genitals-in-the-zipper gag? Also not funny. Diaz's seminal work with the "hair gel"? This is us, not laughing. We might have chuckled at the doggy CPR bit, but the rest of it? We swear, we've got nothing against slapstick or bad taste: We laughed so much at the South Park movie, we cried. But we still declare this here emperor bare-ass naked.
True Lies(1994)With its high-flying climax over downtown Miami and attempts at comedy by Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (intentional on the part of the former), this otherwise fairly ordinary action flick was generally well received. But you know, that striptease scene kind of creeped us out. Curtis gamely tried to play it as both sexy and funny, but we don't think it would take a Los Angeles Timesinvestigation to find a few more people who would shudder at the image of der Gropenführer sitting there in the shadows leering at her gyrations.
Scarface (1983)We fully realize that ragging on this movie borders on sacrilege. Though it was widely panned in its first release and didn't fare too well at the box office, it has since become the ultimate iconic Miami movie of the Eighties -- and a running gag on MTV's Cribs. Hell, anything that so offended then-city commissioner Demetrio Perez couldn't be bad. So why does it make the list? Let us just take a moment to render a bit of Tony Montana dialogue phonetically:
"Da pees a chit ub der, Ah neh lak heng. Ah neh trossa heng."
We don't know about you, meng, but that doesn't sound like any iteration of Miami Spanglish we ever heard. So while the movie remains a classic slice of De Palma excess that, in its sheer brutal exuberance, captured the rootin', tootin', shootin', and snortin' spirit of the Cocaine Cowboy era, let's all give a big ol' fok yoo meng to Pacino's dialect coach (probably the same person who worked with Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy and Kevin Costner in Thirteen Days... and JFK... and Wyatt Earp).
Blood & Wine (1996)This under-the-radar Jack Nicholson noir has its fans, and we wouldn't go so far as to say it was terrible. Indeed, from a pop culture-history standpoint, it's worth watching only because it marks such an early point in Jennifer Lopez's career that she's cast in a role that requires a thick Spanish accent. But it ends up on our crap list because it runs afoul of an ironclad filmgoing edict: Stephen Dorff Must Be Stopped.
Before a low-budget film is ¨so bad it's good,¨ it has to be pretty doggone bad. The following films fall into that category: Given constraints of finance, equipment, and talent, they never had a chance to be even mediocre in the strictest sense. Whether their glaring deficiencies are a virtue or a vice really depends on the precise calibration of your internal Kitsch-O-Meter.
From Justin to Kelly (2003)Yes, sad to say, they did make a movie starring the two finalists of the first season of American Idol, and yes, even sadder to say, they did film it in Miami Beach. Fortunately it was so eye-gougingly suckeriffic that, if you avoid those Up With People-style Idol revue shows, it looks like you'll never have to see Justin "Sideshow Bob" Guarini ever again.
Blood Feast(1963)Herschell Gordon Lewis's cult classic about an Egyptian mummy chowing down on severed body parts was just one of the many pictures the splatter mogul filmed in and around Miami. According to Lewis himself, in the infamous tongue-ripping scene, the sole casting requirement for the actress was the size of her mouth: She had to be able to accommodate her own tongue, plus the severed, bloody sheep's tongue that the bad guy pulled out.