Best Miami Documentary 2019 | Screwball | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Greenwich Entertainment

No filmmaker tells Miami's story quite like Billy Corben. And the Biogenesis scandal is so very Miami. With a cast of characters including an obsessive tanner with a vindictive streak and a fake doctor who linked up with a drug dealer to hawk steroids, plus some of the biggest names in baseball, Screwball tells the surreal story of how hurt feelings and a $4,000 debt blew up into the greatest scandal in modern sports history. It's the kind of thing that's so absurd it would be hard to make up if it weren't true, and Corben leans into that absurdity by employing child actors as stand-ins for A-Rod, Tony Bosch, and Porter Fischer. At one point, a baby Pitbull even shows up. Then-New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink, who broke the massive story in 2013, heavily features in the flick and has a pintsize doppelgänger of his own. But we'd name Screwball the best documentary of the year even if it weren't for tiny Tim. It's a hilarious take on one of those tales that makes people roll their eyes and say, "Only in Miami."

Jessica Lipscomb

Former Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes had a history of screwing up elections long before 2018. Over her 14 years in office, ballots went missing by the thousands. Sometimes they showed up in voters' mailboxes missing constitutional amendments; other times they didn't show up at all. Then there was the time Snipes illegally ordered the destruction of a bunch of ballots from the 2016 election. But 2018 took things to a whole new level of chaos. For starters, Broward's ballots were so poorly designed that many voters completely skipped the crucial Senate race. Then, amid a highly contested recount, Snipes revealed her office had misplaced thousands of ballots. The office missed a recount deadline — whoops! — and Broward turned into a national laughingstock prompting cries of election-rigging by President Donald Trump and daily protests outside the elections office by the likes of the Proud Boys. With Snipes now out of office, here's hoping Broward gets its act together in 2020 — for once.

U.S. Department of Justice

Before Matt Whitaker became acting attorney general of the United States, he was a federal prosecutor in Iowa who went on to sit on the board of a Miami Beach scam company. The scheme — a firm called World Patent Marketing — took money from gullible inventors and, in return, promised to help people get their inventions on store shelves. Instead, World Patent Marketing just took the money. The Federal Trade Commission forced the company to shut down in 2017, but not before Whitaker himself threatened whistleblowers via email. As part of the scheme, World Patent Marketing hawked some unbelievably dumb ideas, including a time-travel company, a firm that sold Bigfoot dolls, and a toilet designed so that well-endowed men don't dunk their gigantic dongs in dirty water.

For a fleeting moment in U.S. history, the top law enforcement job in the nation belonged to a man whose name once appeared in a press release announcing the invention of a toilet for men with big dicks. As New Times revealed last year, Matthew G. Whitaker did a stint on the board of the Miami Beach-based scam company World Patent Marketing before President Donald Trump made him acting attorney general. The now-defunct business hawked a lot of batshit-crazy ideas that came into the spotlight during Whitaker's term, but none so memorable as the toilet for well-endowed men, officially dubbed the "Masculine Toilet." Just take a look at the 2014 press release for the thing: "The narrower curvature at the front of the toilet creates limited space for male genitalia when a man sits on the toilet seat. This limited space can cause contact from male genitalia with portions of the toilet, which is undesirable as those portions may be contaminated from human waste." Put that one in the history books. Seriously, what other U.S. attorney has anything like this attached to their name?

OG Magnum — born Bruce Ryan — is just downright likable. Though he lives in Tallahassee now, Ryan grew up near Fort Lauderdale before joining the military and going to college. But now he's better known as OG Magnum, the white-haired, tattooed, earring-wearing old dude who went viral after he was filmed dancing to trap-rap at a Florida gas station. Ryan, whose stage name comes from the modded-out Dodge Magnum he drives, runs the Florida Custom Car Association — and truly seems to love everything about hip-hop and custom-car culture. (He even once appeared in a music video with Plies and Kodak Black.) But now that he's gone viral, he's committed to using his social media fame for good: During the 2019 legislative session, Ryan lobbied state lawmakers to legalize "underbody" car lights to prevent cops from pulling over (mostly black and brown) drivers for, in his words, "bullshit reasons." Thanks to his work, the bill passed through the Florida Legislature this year.

Stian Roenning

For the average Miamian, the name "Aimee Carrero" probably doesn't ring a bell. But if you've got kids in your life — especially if those kids are into cartoon princesses — you've almost certainly heard her voice. For years, Carrero has voiced Elena of Avalor on the Disney animated series of the same name, making her the real-life person behind the Mouse's first Latina princess. And last year, she landed another epic role: She-Ra, Princess of Power, on Netflix's reboot of the classic '80s cartoon. Carrero, who was born in 1988, wasn't around to witness the first run of that show, which introduced She-Ra, twin sister of the bowl-cut bro He-Man, who fights to free her planet from tyrannical rule. Still, between her barrier-busting Disney role and her turn as a badass revolutionary, Carrero is helping redefine the traditional idea of a princess.

Jasmyne "Toot" Taylor

When Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, some of us were lucky enough to get out of Miami. But for many others, leaving was never an option. Valencia Gunder, who founded the nonprofit Make the Homeless Smile in 2014 (which has since served more than 38,000 meals between Miami and Atlanta), not only organized volunteers to distribute food to thousands in need in neighborhoods like Liberty City, Little Haiti, Overtown, and West Grove, but also depleted her own savings in the process. Since the storm hit, she's been part of a necessary conversation on the importance of resilience hubs — places such as schools that can regularly offer services such as classes and financial advice, as well as shelter and emergency supply distribution during natural disasters. She's also the criminal justice program manager with the New Florida Majority and has advocated for the passage of the "Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act," which aims to get state prisons and county jails to make tampons and sanitary napkins available to inmates.

Stian Roenning

We'll admit up-front that a lot of state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez's bills don't have a chance in hell of passing through the Florida Legislature. But that's because "JJR," as he's informally known, is one of the only true, unabashed progressives in all of Tallahassee. In previous interviews with New Times, Rodríguez has stressed that his goals are a bit grander than simply building a few extra roads in Miami-Dade County or bringing a bit of extra cash home for his district. He'd like to see a sea-change in GOP-dominated Tally — which is why he's consistently allied himself with civil rights leaders, activist groups, and other folks fighting for equal rights across Florida.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®