Miami Viscous

by tully
July 29, 2006 2:16 AM
6 Comments
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I don't know where to begin. Let's start with the fact that I don't walk out of movies. I think there have been two instances of this happening in my entire life. "Kingpin" at the dollar theatre when I was bored and feeling frivolous. Then there was "Analife" in Rotterdam last year. Oh yeah, and an after-hours screening of "Twister" at the movie theatre where I worked in college. That about does it.

But more than that, not only do I not walk out of movies; the thought never crosses my mind. It doesn't matter what I'm watching. This even applies to DVDs in the comfort of my own home. It's a weird quirk of mine. If I start something, I need to finish it. It's like I'm worried that my soul won't be able to fully abandon this life if I only got through three of the four "Fawlty Towers: Season Eleven" discs. Mind you, this only applies to movies and books. When it comes to having career goals and relationships and practical things like that, I'm out faster than a scaredy cat in a haunted house.

So I was quite shocked this afternoon to find myself becoming antsy only ten minutes into Michael Mann’s newest crime drama, “Miami Vice.” I don’t know why I was so bothered by it, but the film was irking me to the point where I was just about to get up and leave around the forty-minute mark. But that’s when Colin Farrell’s Preposterous Brogue saved the day, pushing the awfulness into brilliant absurdity, forcing me to stick around until the very end. It’s like thinking the shrooms you had munched on were a total bust, then all of a sudden you’re pissing yourself with laughter and realizing that they just kicked in.

For the first hour of the picture, Farrell’s Sonny Crockett speaks with a gruff, gravelly voice. Yet during an important meeting in a lush mansion on the ocean, he miraculously loses the gruff and gravel and begins to talk like an Arkansas hillbilly. That’s when my tuned changed and I thought, well okay, now we’re getting somewhere! This meeting ends with a laugh-out-loud flirtation between Sonny and the sexy, but robotic criminal Isabella (Gong Li). Soon, the couple’s on a turbo-boat, headed to Cuba for some delicioso Mojitos, and I, Michael Tully, am grinning like a pageant child.

Unfortunately, that brilliant mushroom trip only lasted for ten or fifteen minutes, yet at that point I’d lingered too long. My conscience forced me to stick around until the last bullet had been fired and the credits began to roll.

It’s hard to describe, but watching Mann’s 21st Century updating of his super-cool 1980s television show, I couldn’t help but thinking I was watching a bad parody of a 21st Century television show that was itself a bad parody of the original “Miami Vice.” But that’s not even it. I know this sounds convoluted, but stick with me here. Basically, it felt like I was watching a new basic cable series that was trying to ride on the boattails of the “CSI” franchise. But not even “CSI.” What am I trying to say here? Okay, I got it. It was like watching a weak “Silk Stalkings” ripoff.

How does Colin Farrell have a career? This guy is a bona fide movie star. He’s like one of the big three. So why can’t I look at him without bursting into laughter? His version of Sonny Crockett is like if Andre Agassi dressed up as Don Johnson for Halloween. Is he really sexy? Is he even that good looking? Don’t get me wrong. I’ll admit it when I’m jealous of a man, and I’ll admit it when I find a man handsome. Johnny Depp, Gael Garcia Bernal, Robert Downey Jr., these are all alluring men, thank you very much. But Colin Farrell? Could someone explain this to me, please? That said, physical appearance has nothing to do with why his superstardom so confounds me. It’s the man’s horrific vocal delivery that makes me cringe every time I hear it.

Simply put, Colin Farrell’s accents are shakier than a withdrawing junky.

I’m sure he’s a charming guy in real life. I’m sure I would like him. I have a good friend who swears by him. That’s cool. But is it cool enough to land him the role of Captain John Smith, of Arturo Bandini, of Sonny Fucking Crockett?! To Terrence Malick’s credit, I accepted him in “The New World.” Yet still, it crushes me to see him attached to the next Malick picture. Of all the actors--check that, HUMANS--in the world, you’re going to cast Colin Farrell TWICE??? Seriously, this guy must be one charming motherfucker.

Wait a minute, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, “Miami Vice.” I don’t know. This thing really disappointed me. It felt like someone trying to pull off that epic Michael Mann crime thriller vibe, but due to lack of budget (digital video) and broad, vague storytelling, it fell way short of its mark. I don’t mind the frivolous crime movie. In fact, I watched “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” the other night and it flat out blew me away. And that’s with me realizing the whole time that I was watching an exercise in pointlessness. But that felt like a real Hollywood movie, as opposed to “Miami Vice,” which felt like basic cable television. I guess it isn’t awful. It just felt like a thin sketch of the real movie Michael Mann was planning on making. Maybe he’ll make the real one next time.

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6 Comments

  • tully | July 31, 2006 6:55 AMReply

    you're very right about that, Ray. i think i wrote that improperly. i didn't even want to get into the fact that there WASN'T a lack of budget. how did that thing cost so much? it looked like a student film. after reading Scott Macaulay's nice wrap-up, it appears that it wasn't lack of effort on Mann and Beebe's part, either. i don't get it. this movie looked awful, and while some would say that's the point, i disagree in this case. i too love grainy and blurry and shoddy. but here it completely backfired.

  • Mark Rabinowitz | July 31, 2006 6:16 AMReply

    Did you mean "Viscous" or "Vicious?"
    ;-)

  • Ray Pride | July 30, 2006 7:59 AMReply

    "due to lack of budget (digital video)"...

    The budget has been reported as north of $165 million.

  • tully | July 30, 2006 3:45 AMReply

    "The Insider" is a work of cinematic mastery on every single level. I walked out of the theatre after seeing that thinking, "THAT is how you make a movie." That's why I couldn't even handle "Collateral," which felt like another exercise in pointlessness. I guess "The Insider" caused me to raise my bar too high or something. Who knows...

  • jasonv | July 30, 2006 1:49 AMReply

    MV was a big disappointment. Towards the end, when Foxx had a small monologue in the hospital, I was surprised anyone was speaking more than one sentence. I'm a pretty big Mann film.. I still hold that The Insider was one of the greatest movies of the last decade. I appreciated, though wasn't in love with, Collatoral. This movie paled in comparison, and I have no idea where the budget went. The final shoot-out felt like "Heat 2". Blah.

  • jt | July 29, 2006 8:32 AMReply

    right on!!! Burn Colin BURN!!!