Get ready to see a lot of Miami on the big and small screens next year. Magic City stories seem to be in demand in Hollywood. Maybe it's the effect of Moonlight's 2017 success at the Oscars, or maybe film directors and TV producers are finally recognizing the wealth of talent residing in South Florida. Whatever the reason, the coming year will bring plenty of 305-made movie releases. Some are directed by out-of-town directors with cult followings. Some were made by local filmmakers who've attracted nationwide interest. All are proof that Miami's still a mostly untapped source of unique stories, directorial talent, and unending inspiration.
The Beach Bum. Director Harmony Korine, whose 2013 film Spring Breakers tracked a girl gang led astray by James Franco while vacationing in St. Petersburg, returned to Florida to tell the story of Moondog (Matthew McConaughey), your classic redneck drugged-up Florida Man wreaking havoc around Miami. In the trailer alone, we see Moondog try to buy acid at a convenience store, wreck a piano with a baseball bat, and smoke roughly half a dozen blunts the size of corn dogs. The trope of a misbehaving white man as lovable antihero is pretty tired, but with a cast that includes Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Jimmy Buffett, and Zac Efron, The Beach Bum should be at least as eclectic as Miami itself.
The Laundromat. Shot in Miami and coming to Netflix next year, this Steven Soderbergh-directed film dramatizes the true story of the Panama Papers, the motherlode of files that revealed the financial misdeeds of big-shot politicians and other famous figures across the world. Meryl Streep stars along with Antonio Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, Melissa Rauch, and a bunch of other household names.
Omniboat: A Fastboat Fantasia: In November, Borscht Corp. simultaneously revealed its slate of films for its next film festival, Borscht 0, coming in spring 2019, and announced that several of its projects are being developed into feature films, including Agua Viva (above), by New Times' best film director of 2018, Alexa Lim Haas. No release dates have been announced, but Borscht cofounder Lucas Leyva told New Times that Omniboat: A Fastboat Fantasia is expected to premiere in 2019. A Borscht release describes the film as "an epic Miami adventure told through a series of collaboratively created interwoven narratives centered around a sick cigarette speedboat." That's about all we know about the project, but given Borscht's commitment to producing authentic Miami stories by uniquely talented filmmakers, its first feature film will be an unmissable 2019 movie event.
Screwball. Director Billy Corben's documentary about the Biogenesis steroid scandal surrounding former New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, racking up reviews calling it "brazenly entertaining" and "stuffed with colorful idiots and serves-you-right twists." New Times' former editor Tim Elfrink, who broke the story in 2013, appears, along with a cast of child actors portraying everyone from fake doctor Tony Bosch, who supplied performance-enhancing drugs to some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball, to A-Rod himself. Naturally, its release is expected this spring — coinciding with MLB Opening Day.
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Magic City Hustle. Another Corben project, Magic City Hustle follows former Miami Hurricanes athletes playing jai alai at the old Flagler Dog Track, now rechristened as Magic City Casino. The filmmaker's contribution to ESPN's 30 for 30 series, The U, proved he can spin a compelling story out of the rich history of his alma mater. His upcoming project is likely to do the same. Corben hopes it'll debut at the Miami Film Festival next year.
David Makes Man. Tarell Alvin McCraney, the Liberty City-raised MacArthur Genius who wrote the play that inspired Moonlight, is bringing his next project to the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2019. David Makes Man is a new drama following a young teen as he tries to escape poverty in his South Florida neighborhood. The series was shot in and around Orlando, and Oprah herself, as well as Michael B. Jordan of Black Panther and Creed fame, are executive producers.
Cartel Crew: Will stories of drug-fueled mob activities ever stop captivating audiences? Probably not. So Cartel Crew, a VH1 docuseries following the lives of the descendants of some of Miami crime's biggest names, is sure to find at least a few fans. If you're curious about what "the only living son of the 'Godmother of Cocaine'" is up to these days, this is the show for you.