Sunday, May 28, 2023

Welcome To Miami: The Magic City’s Hottest Shooting Locations

I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and still live there despite political grifting, never-ending road rage, and constant invasion of newbies who want to come in to avoid state income tax. It’s still expensive in Florida wherever you go, but there is sun all year round, and who doesn’t like a condo on the bay for $1.5 million? This city makes a great place to shoot any film, X-rated or not. Of course, the Bad Boys trilogy, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, There’s Something About Mary, Miami Vice, and Pain & Gain are among the many notable films which have been shot in my hometown; along with TV shows like The Golden Girls, CSI: Miami, and Burn Notice. There are other noted films (and one place) that soaked up Miami’s sun for the screen to make their movie shine wonderfully. 


Deep Throat (1972)

This is such a cheap paragraph to write because this is a porno film rather than an actual narrative film, but when a groundbreaking movie is shot on the streets you know, you have to write about it. Before the allegations from Linda Lovelace stating that she was forced to do those scenes surfaced, it attracted film directors, actors, singers, politicians, and even Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The beginning of “porno chic” had the opening credits sequence on Collins Avenue alongside the canal and slowly passing by apartment buildings and hotels that remain standing today. A motel with the interior scenes, including the explicit sex, was turned into a dormitory for the now-closed Johnson & Wales University on Biscayne Boulevard. Only in Miami, this could happen. 


Absence Of Malice (1981)

Sydney Pollack’s Oscar-nominated drama featured Paul Newman as a man who becomes front-page news as he is suspected of a man’s death although he has never been questioned about it and is innocent. He confronts the reporter who wrote the article, played by Sally Field, but she will not disclose her source, even though it is defaming the innocent man. The film was shot throughout Miami, most notably the actual building of the Miami Herald (in the film, it is the Miami Standard), although the building has since been demolished.


Any Given Sunday (1999)

Oliver Stone’s football drama was not able to use the NFL and their teams, so he made up a league and the team, the Miami Sharks. Luckily for Miami natives, he used the now-demolished Orange Bowl as the team’s home stadium, as well as Hard Rock Stadium for a road game. Real-life players, former and current at the time, took part in the production in which sometimes the acting actually turned into a fight, such as the one seen with LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx, which was an actual altercation. Following the mantra, “War by day, party by night,” they shot in Miami Beach every night in all the clubs possible, providing the nightly magic in the Magic City.


Moonlight (2016)

Miami was made proud when native Barry Jenkins directed the Best Picture winner on a $1.5 million budget in locations very familiar to him. The film was set and shot in the neighborhood of Liberty City where he and co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney were raised; as well as in Miami Beach and Key Biscayne. For me personally, the scene that grabbed me the most was when Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) and Kevin (Andre Holland) as adults reunited at a diner Kevin works at. The location is called Jimmy’s Diner and it doesn’t have a jukebox nor is it open in the evening. However, I’ve been there many times for a cheap, delicious breakfast and the restaurant proudly has Jenkins’ autograph behind the cashier’s desk.


Fontainebleau Hotel

This isn’t a movie itself, but a location used many times over in films. This is a major setting for a lot of films because of the hotel’s historical longevity in South Florida. First opened in 1954, the opening shot of Goldfinger was over the Fontainbleu, but its formal scenes were not shot on location. What was shot on location included the Frank Sinatra comedy A Hole In The Head, Jerry Lewis’s The Bellboy (which used video playback for the first time), The Bodyguard, and the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. While a new tower was constructed alongside the original building, what hasn’t changed much is the hotel’s lobby and the “floating staircase” which has been preserved to this day. 


Follow me on Twitter: @brian_cine (Cine-A-Man)

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