Celluloid City: 8MM Filmed at MIA and the Clevelander Hotel

Cage passing a kidney stone - we mean acting.


Over the years, Miami has served as the backdrop for hundreds of Hollywood movies. In Celluloid City, we spotlight some of the classics shot right in our own backyard. 

During pre-production on 8MM, director Joel Shumacher (the man who ruined the Batman

movie franchise), decided that Miami would be a great location for his

movie about the sleazy underbelly of the snuff film industry. Starring Nicolas Cage and Nick Nolte Jr. Joaquin Phoenix, 8MM follows along as Cage proves that no one can overact quite like he can.

Cage, playing Tom Welles, a private dick hired to verify whether or not a recently discovered snuff film is authentic, traipses his way through 123 long minutes looking as if he suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. Joaquin Phoenix, ten years before he decided to go Cold Mountain on us, looks his disaffected best as a porn store clerk-cum-musician who gets coerced into helping Cage discover the truth. Phoenix's name in the film? Max California. Retch.

Check out the trailer and Nicolas Cage trying to pass a kidney stone:

8MM was filmed at the Miami International Airport and at the Clevelander Hotel on Ocean Drive. The late Gary Wissner (Se7en, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) handled production design for the film and had this to say about shooting in Miami: "Joel and I wanted Miami to be different from the rest of the story. Miami stood out as a pink and purple, neon wonderland that wasn't quite yet into the heart of the hell that the character delves into."

The Clevelander Hotel makes an appearance in 8MM.
The Clevelander Hotel makes an appearance in 8MM.
Flickr CC Miamism

How about another little nugget of Miami goodness? Our very own Caroline Keener (The 40 Year Old Virgin
Hialeah girl made good.
Hialeah girl made good.

8MM didn't fare well at the box office or with critics. In fact, the only award nods this flick received were from the Berlin International Film Festival which nominated Shumacher for its Golden Berlin Bear, and the Golden Trailer Awards, which awarded the film its Golden Fleece award. No, we haven't heard of the Golden Trailer Awards either.

It's a shame that a movie with such a dark and potentially haunting plot was ruined by Cage hamming it up, but it's still worth watching for classic Phoenix and glimpse of our hometown and homegirl.

We'll leave you with one of Phoenix's unintentionally funny lines as Max California:
"When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change. You do." You should know, Phoenix. You should know. 

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