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Top Ten of the Decade: Miami in Pop Culture

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Miami made leaps and bounds in establishing its own culture this decade. You know, the respectable kind with art and music and literature, and all of that, but you wouldn't know it looking at the reflections of the Magic City in pop culture this decade. We're still the pastel paradise filled with hot chicks, cool clubs, cocaine, and all the violence and gritty underbelly that comes along with it.

10. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Sure, it's not GTA: Miami, but it took every cliché about the city, rendered it in neon and pastel pixelated 3D, splattered it in blood, and turned it into one of the most controversial and best selling video games of the decade. This game was pop culture event, featuring voice work from everyone from Ray Liotta and Burt Reynolds to Jenna Jameson and Debbie Harry, an excellent and exhaustive soundtrack of '80s hits, and attracted more protests than almost any video game. So yeah, it is every Miami cliche: star-fucking, beat happy, and a whole lot of grit.

9. Miami Ink

Miami played host to a lot of brain numbingly bad reality shows this decade (and hey, we might just get to that latter in the list, who knows), but at least we have one that wasn't completely embarrassing and actually presented a South Beach that seemed realistic.

​8. Downfall of Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive strives to be the arbiter and ambassador of Miami culture, and hell, for a while it was. It made the models and bottles shtick seems classy, and pretty much invented the local luxury-porn publishing niche. Then it ended up in the hands of Jason Binn right before the biggest crisis in print history, and the bust of the local real estate market made the lifestyle they portrayed seemed silly, if not nearly impossible. Sure, even after almost all of its spin-off titles folded and a few staff cuts the glossy is trudging along, but it's grip on defining the culture of this city might be gone forever.
​7. The Rise and Fall of Rick Ross

Rick Ross appeared on the scene as a bad ass with a shady, drug dealer past who was supposed to be the savior of Miami rap. Usually we wouldn't rely on indie-centric Pitchfork Media for incite into Rap, but they did make a good point in their review of his debut album, "For such a blowhard, we hardly learn anything about Ross on Port of Miami, his lavishly promoted Def Jam debut. If anything, the album proves you can listen to someone expatiate on himself and walk away feeling like you've learned nothing about that person."

That might have been because Ross didn't want anyone to know too much about him. Turns out he had less in common with the drug dealer who's name he adopted, and more in common with the guys who locked him up. Yeah, he was a prison guard. It was an embarrassing blow to his persona, but it wouldn't have been so bad if the rest of his discography lived up to "Hustlin'." Turned out he was neither an underground bad ass or the savior of Miami rap.

6. The Redemption of Mickey Rourke

Earlier this decade, Miami native Mickey Rourke was our own local, friendly, neighborhood has-been. Buzzing around town in a scooter (sometimes drunk) with a pack of chihuahuas, protesting pet stores, and hosting karaoke nights. Then, after a comeback in Sin City, he found himself in an Oscar nominated role in The Wrestler. Against all odds, he's Hollywood royalty once again. Though, if it should fall through a second time, we'd be happy to have him back.
5. CSI: Miami and the Pity That is Network Drama

CSI: Miami is everything that's wrong with network drama: an unoriginal spin-off, where the attempts at anything resembling human emotion come off as fake as the settings they pass off as Miami. Somehow, it's also one of the most successful TV shows on the air. Go figure.

4. Burn Notice, Nip/Tuck, Dexter and the Rise of Cable Drama

If you want actual quality drama, then you wouldn't have been disappointed tuning into this trio of Miami-set shows obsessed in their own way with violence, vanity or survival.
3. Cocaine Cowboys

The very fact that a documentary could make a list of pop culture moments says a lot about this film. Exploring the shady sides of Miami's '80s drug culture, the film was equal parts entertainment and education -- including a demonstration in how to cook crack. And if the forthcoming HBO show of the same name is even half as good, we might just have our first entrant for next decade's list.

2. Miami Vice the Movie Sucks

This decade didn't have a Scarface. It didn't have a There's Something About Mary, Bad Boys or an Any Given Sunday. When it came to Miami-set films this decades, Hollywood only offered a bunch of sequels and remakes, including this notorious non-starter. Was Reno 911: Miami really the best Miami-set movie Tinsel Town had to offer this decade?
1. The Horror of Reality TV

Miami Social. Hogan Knows Best. Brooke Knows Best. Gimme Sugar: Miami. Room Raiders: Miami. College Hill: South Beach. 8th & Ocean. Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami.

There's probably more, but please don't remind us.

Reality TV was everything that was wrong with pop culture in this decade, and it didn't get much worse than the shows set in our city.

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