I live in Florida and every year for six months starting on June 1st and going through November 30th we are inundated us with hurricane preparation news and fears by our local weather gurus. They beg us to prepare, know your evacuation routes, have plenty of water, food and be sure important papers are wrapped in plastic bags, all just in case. While tracking hurricane paths has improved tremendously Mother Nature has a way of doing its own thing. Preparation is important, but six months of it is emotionally draining. We’re now in November and the season is almost officially over. By November you can start breathing a sigh of relief for six months before it all starts again. This hurricane season Cat. 5 Dorian devastated the Bahamas and just last season Hurricane Michael massacred the Florida Panhandle. The point is, hurricanes are not to be taken lightly.
One of neo-noirs most underrated and little talked about films is George Armitage’s Miami Blues. The 1990 film is based on Charles Willeford’s 1986 novel, the first in his series featuring the dysfunctional detective, Hoke Moseley. Willeford was a prolific writer, and not just of crime fiction. He was a poet and biographer. His crime novels are darkly humorous tales juxtaposing violence and humor keeping you off balance all the way. Three of his novels have been turned into films: The Woman Chaser, Cockfighter and Miami Blues. All are unconventional, dark and eccentric which may account for why his work has not been mined for further screen adventures. Continue reading
The Seminole Indian tribe were the original Floridians. They most likely have been there since long before Jesus Christ walked on this earth. The tribe controlled Florida long after the first European settlers arrived in the New World. By the 1700’s both British and Spanish settlers began to move into what would become known as the Sunshine State. Pretty soon the natives were being tortured and murdered. The Seminoles were losing their lives and their land. In 1821, The U.S. acquired Florida from the Spanish. In an 1823 treaty the U.S. gave the Seminoles about 100,000 acres of land in the Everglades. Continue reading
Elvis Presley made three films set in Florida. Of the three, only one, Follow That Dream, was actually shot in the Sunshine State. Girl Happy and Clambake, except for some second unit work, were shot in California with west coast beaches substituting for the pristine Florida beaches. You know how the thinking goes, put a couple of strategically placed Palm trees around and who can tell the difference? Well, maybe some will not, but some folks will recognize in Clambake that Florida has no mountain ranges that we clearly see in some shots. Continue reading
Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat takes place in a small, dreadfully hot, humid Southern Florida coastal town. The heat of the title reflects three important elements of the film. First up, the obvious; the stifling hot Florida weather. Every character’s skin glistens with beads of sweat. Shirts are constantly seen with sweat stains. Continue reading
It’s spring break time and thousands of college age kids have or will be making their way down to Florida’s beaches to have a swinging party in the sun. The Sunbaked State depends on tourism. They love to see young folks partying all night long, spending lots of dough, helping to boost the local economy. So a few years ago when it was announced that a new film, called Spring Breakers, would be shooting in the Tampa Bay area, city officials and others were elated. The film sounded like a fun in the sun Florida sunshine treat. The kind both the tourism industry and politicians like, showing off the Sunshine State at its exuberant beachy best. They soon would find out Spring Breakers was not going to exactly be the second coming of Elvis in Girl Happy. Continue reading