Film: Miami Blues (1990) BUY IT
The Principals: Baldwin. Jason-Leigh. Ward. Armitage. Babatundé. NAPIER.
The Premise: Junior Frenger has gotten released from prison and as one would expect, he’s ready to do some crime. And he does, though time must be made to ingest vinegar pies and bang a Florida hooker with a heart of gold while the dreaded Hoke Mosely is on his tail.
I miss this logo tremendously.
Is It Good: Um, YES.
“Second prize is you’re shot in the cheek.”
From 1990 to today, director George Armitage has directed three movies. Until The Big Bounce, the only two he had done were Miami Blues and Grosse Pointe Blank. That’s an incredible one-two punch. For those who aren’t aware, Miami Blues is a fun, loose, and criminally underseen crime flick from 1990 featuring Alec Baldwin at the height of his coolness playing an absolute prick of a crook and Fred Ward absolutely using every tool he has in a rare movie as the top-billed actor. From the early moments, where Junior breaks a Hare Krishna’s finger TO DEATH, this is obviously not your typical flick.
Based on the satirical ‘Hoke Mosely’ series of novels from author Charles Willeford, the film lives somewhere between the Carl Hiassen ‘beach read’ world of crime fiction and the snappy and energetic Elmore Leonard stuff. It’s moatly light fare, but there’s a charm to it and a few great moments that make it one of the true sleepers of the 90’s.
Plus, Charles Napier’s amazing jaw is in it.
Plus, Jennifer Jason Leigh is naked in it [big surprise].
Plus, Alec actually says “I want you to sew my eyebrow back on!” in the film.
All evidence why this is required viewing.
Is It Worth A Look: Undoubtedly. Seek this out. You’ll be glad you did. Before Alec Baldwin was everyone’s favorite sitcom dude, he was the best actor of his generation who sadly fell from grace
Vic Morrow’s finest creation.
Random Anecdotes: It’s a shame this wasn’t a hit, because there’s a whole series of books featuring Fred Ward’s character and wouldn’t it be cool if he had a franchise. Never has ‘Spirit in the Sky’ been used better. Jennifer Jason Leigh’s summation of water ballet is succint: “It’s like a ballet… in water!”.
“What’s Johnny Lithgow doing out there?”
Napier’s well aware he’s sitting next to THE WORST.
“Ward don’t fight Graboids for less than four figures.”
Hilton’s ad campaign left some wanting.
Alec didn’t handle his giantism well.
A sign of quality for almost 15 years.