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Brace yourself'this intoxicating cocktail with rum and cyanide (Time) is at once brutal, funny, unpredictable and a bit unhinged (Newsweek)! Fred Ward, Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in this offbeat black comedy about a murdering thief, his simple-minded wife and the denture-wearing cop closing in on his trail. Veteran criminal Junior Frenger (Baldwin) has moved to Miami to get a fresh start at robbing a whole new set of people. But when his streetwalker-gone-straight wife (Leigh) begins to suspect his criminal behavior, and an obsessed cop (Ward) begins to close in, Junior will need a lot more than luck and a bogus badge to escape a crossfire hotter than the barrel of a smoking gun!
Alec Baldwin should have had an Oscar nomination for his cunning performance as Frederick J. Frenger Jr., the sleek sociopath and master of quicksilver improvisation who sets the pace for this deceptively breezy crime comedy. Junior's a genius in his fashion, yet not especially bright. In moments of repose, his mouth has a way of falling open slightly, like that of an animal panting in the shade, or Marilyn Monroe thinking. Miami Blues, written and directed by George Armitage, from the novel by Charles Willeford, divides its attention among Junior and two other characters who, in their respective ways, are as eccentric as he: Susie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a room-service hooker enrolled at Miami-Dade Community College who dreams of acquiring middle-class stability (say, a Burger King franchise); and Hoke Moseley (Fred Ward), a Miami P.D. detective with false choppers who gets on Juniors trail. Junior and Susie set up housekeeping in Coral Gables, and when Hoke catches up to his quarry, he sits down in the couple's newly rented kitchen and joins them in a meal of pork chops and beer. At which point--well, see for yourselves.
Jonathan Demme coproduced Miami Blues, and the movie operates as a companion piece to Demme's black-comedy meditation on the elusiveness of contentment in these United States, Something Wild ('86). The three principal actors are all terrific, but it's through Susie--and by all means Jennifer Jason Leigh's complex portrait of this down-to-earth creature--that Miami Blues finally touches a deep, abiding sadness, and the bruised tenaciousness of the American Dream. --Richard T. Jameson
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The movie is surprisingly "intelligent" in a way. I don't mean the people are intelligent. They are weird, quirky, "dark comedic", etc. But they are clever for a bunch of crazies. The movie is supposed to be gross . . . have a gross feel to it. You see this in the way the cop actor is supposed to have false teeth and is always taking them out and sucking on them when he has them in even though the actor if a very nice looking man. Etc. The prostitute is supposed to be a "dumb blond" like character before they were a dime a dozen in America although she was not blond.
Umm . . . that was really all there was in this movie. You get to see a "good looking" Alec Baldwin although I personally couldn't figure out if he was good looking or not. He looks good looking in certain poses/scenes but in others not so much. I always thought he had a big butt on him. And while he had a thick head of hair it is too thick. He is best looking when he has the wet look--it--his hair--is tame. But definitely contrast that to his appearance today. Startling.
I'm hoping the film will encourage people to read the original book by the legendary Charles Willeford, and his three subsequent Hoke Mosely novels. This is simply the best Miami-noir stuff ever written. Every Florida crime writer since has been an imitator. Willeford rules. Too bad he's gone.
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The source material was a novel by Charles Willeford, a terrific South Florida noir writer who was...Read more