music friday: 1996
ron dellums and me

miami vice (michael mann, 2006)

I am not a big fan of the movies of Michael Mann. I was a fan of his 1980s TV shows, Miami Vice and especially Crime Story with the great Dennis Farina. But the Mann movies I've seen mostly leave me feeling "meh". I did like The Insider, but the rest all fall into the "OK but nothing more" category. The film version of Miami Vice isn't any better or worse than Ali or Collateral ... I'm not sorry I've seen them, but I don't have a desire to see them again. The cast is interesting, but most of them are buried ... there are three main characters, played by Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Gong Li, and for once the woman is more than just a trinket. But I didn't notice Justin Theroux until the movie was half over, John Hawkes barely had any screen time, Naomie Harris was a trinket except near the end. Some of the other characters were cast by good That Guys like Ciarán Hinds, John Ortiz, and Dominic Lombardozzi, plus there was Elizabeth Rodriguez of Orange Is the New Black.

The movie looks great, as Mann's films usually do. And the look is what matters ... I doubt Mann gave much of a shit about the confusing plot. The result was a movie that was better to look at than to think about. #646 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century.

Matt Zoller Seitz is a favorite critic of mine, because while he likes stuff I don't care for, he is brilliant at explaining why he finds greatness where I find emptiness. After watching Miami Vice, I tweeted, "Just watched the movie version of Miami Vice, and I kept thinking to myself, I bet liked this movie." He replied, "Loved it." He also reminded me of one of his excellent video essays (he is a master of these), "Zen Pulp", on Michael Mann. I highly recommend following that link for a smart, detailed response to Miami Vice and other Mann works.




Those video essays are interesting but I'm still not sure I'd care about Michael Mann's work if it weren't for Miami Vice. And everything else is kind of not as completely good to me.

Steven Rubio

Matt Zoller Seitz' work intrigues me. First, I like his writing. Second, he really takes the time to work out his positions ... in writing, but his video essays are especially good. But most of all, I love Seitz because his taste is so contrary to my own. If I want to know why Terence Malick is highly regarded, for instance, I know I can go to Seitz. I always learn from him. But, as you note, he rarely changes my opinion. I get a better understanding, but I don't like the movies any better despite that understanding.

Charlie Bertsch

I know quite a few film people who ride hard for Michael Mann, including Kim. I'm not quite as big of a fan, but I do love the look and sound of his best work.

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