Magic City vs. Sin City: Why Miami Should Be Hollywood's New Vegas

It seems that every cinematic escapade these days takes place along the Las Vegas strip. While the bright lights, free-flowing booze, high-limit gaming, and bunny ranches all make for the perfect storm setting for over-the-top farces, I think it's high time that Hollywood realizes that the Nevada desert isn't the only place where sin runs wild.

Right here in the former swampland that is Miami, we've redefined decadence to unbelievable heights. We may not be called Sin City, but anyone who's visited this town knows that sin is our business.

While movies like The Hangover showcase all the wild escapades in the realms of make-believe that can happen in Sin City, a Miami-based film could easily borrow from the real life incidents that happen here daily. Need a 'hiring a hooker goes terribly wrong' moment? Simply borrow details from the real-life arrest of Vince Shlomi, better known as the ShamWow guy, whose late night of drinking ended with a visit in his Setai hotel room from Sasha Harris, who decided to spice up her interlude with the TV pitchman by biting his tongue and not letting go.  Apparently, Shlomi hadn't paid for that service. What better adrenaline pumping moment on the big screen then a blood-spewed sexual encounter at a swanky South Beach hotel? I can imagine people paying to see a half-naked Zach Galifanikis headbutting a hooker, can't you?

Even horror fans can get their fill in our beautiful, stranger-than-fiction city. Should there be a Hostel 4 -- and at this point, why not? -- the Magic City would serve as a perfect backdrop. Have you ever walked past the dumpy hostel on South Beach? I shudder to think what kind of stuff happens in the bowels of those places. Let's just say, for all the people you see checking in, so very few seem to check out. Hell, with a setting like ours, maybe Eli Roth can be persuaded back into the director's chair.

Of course, a big part of the Vegas angle in films are the casinos, and while we are gambling free (unless Genting gets its way -- and pray it isn't so), plenty of backroom betting takes place here. So maybe it isn't George Clooney at the blackjack table a la Ocean's Eleven, but I think Matt Damon, a part-time Miamian himself, as an undercover USDA agent infiltrating the warehouse cockfighting rings in east Hialeah, would make for a fun premise. Can't you just imagine the ringleader (played by Edward James Olmos) turn to someone and say "Get the Gringo"? Imagine Damon, lost amidst "la ciudad que progresa" trying to sort out Hialeah's street equivalency in the rest of Miami: "If East Eighth Avenue is Le Jeune ... then the airport is south!" he'd shout as he hopped onto a conchita bus towards safety. Personally, I'd find that far more entertaining than a gang of never-get-dirty pretty boys trying to break into a high-tech casino vault.

Of course, in Resident Evil: Extinction a group of survivors from the zombie apocalypse heads into the Vegas strip from their safety zone in the Mojave to gather surprise. That's all fine and cute, but how much more kick-ass would it be if it were set in the Magic City? The uninfected would seek refuge amidst the swamps and gators in the Everglades, or the glitzy neon of South Beach overrun by the living dead. Swamps are much scarier than deserts, and I'm not even going to go into the obvious ties to the Miami Zombie.

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