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  • Lance Mannion
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Hey Lance... how did Richard Roeper get your job??


I am too young to have watched Miami Vice and probably won't see this movie, but I just have to say how *much* I love Edward James Olmos. He brings such a wonderful gravity and nuance to his roles.


Edward James Olmos as Castillo.

Exactly. There's an actor who can give you a whole volume of exposition in a single look. His abilities sell Battlestar Galactica every week.

Owen Wilson as Crockett. Err ...

I guess I could see that.

blue girl

I, like Claire, am much too young to have watched Miami Vice and probably won't see the movie...

But my question, Mr. Mannion, is...why must you have used the phrase "self-parody" when describing my boyfriend, Owen Wilson?

Although I agree the danger does lurk, I still don't like the thought.

Just sayin'.

velvet goldmine

Owen Wilson? The Butterscotch Stallion? I dunno about that!

blue girl

The Butterscotch Stallion?

Ooooh. Interesting phrase...



I've been telling people for some time now that Miami Vice is the best and most devastating movie that I have seen since The New World at Christmastime, and I've seen it a few times now, but I'm beginning to wonder whether my reaction has passed beyond idiosyncrasy into the realm of solipsism. Other people's criticisms -- Gong Li's accent, the stylized, murmured dialogue, the shocking violence, the obsessive romanticism, the grimy textured night -- are all virtues to me.


Hey, if Rasselas says it's the best movie since "The New World," then I'm definitely going to the thing. My two favorite movies of 2005 (which I caught on DVD THIS year) are Carroll Ballard's "Duma" about a boy and his cheetah in South Africa, and Terrance Malick's "The New World," which was unexpectedly great (he even used Colin Farrell correctly, almost erasing the horror that was "Alexander.")

And Lance, though it's a fine essay, please do go back and change "Versaci" to "Versace." The boo-boo reminded me of Nomi Malone in "Showgirls" mispronouncing the name after she had bought a fabulous Ver-Sayce ensemble at Caesars Palace.


SF Mike,

Thanks for the catch. I think I just proved that I've never owned anything with his label on it.

I aslo think I have to see The New World.


"I, like Claire, am much too young to have watched Miami Vice and probably won't see the movie..."

Geez, Lance Mannion's blog gets all the young hot girl, how are you in advertising for 10 years (I assume that means you're at least 32) and you're still too young to see Miami Vice? I'm 33 and I loved the original series to death. Mom wouldn't let me watch it.

blue girl

I assume that means you're at least 32

You're correct, burritoboy!

I was just kidding. You know. Joking around. Being sarcastic.

In other words, not acting my age.


Kevin Wolf

Typically fine Lance Mannion analysis.

I'm in no hurry to see the movie, though.

The Heretik

Acting your age is over rated. If you want a Michael Mann remake worth doing, consider Thief and then come back and tell me who should play Okla. Okay. By.

harry near indy

lance, you forgot to mention jan hammer's music, which added a lot to the mood. pretty pictures and moody music can act strongly upon a person's soul, especially if that person lives too much in her of his ectual and ignores or suppresses her or his senses.

i'm in my early 50s, so i remember miami vice in its prime. i wasn't a regular viewer, but when i sat down to watch it, i looked forward to see what would happen next. i haven't felt that sense of anticipation for a tv series since seinfeld went off the air.


My theory of movies and movie reviews is, if you think you really want to see an upcoming movie, don't read the reviews. Even if the movie turns out bad, you'll know you had to try it anyway.

But I agree that the absence of Edward James Olmos was probably the movie's most serious deficiency (although I liked it overall). Benicio Del Torro would have been good for the role as would Esai Morales.

Finally, a Zooey Deschanel report. I noticed Zooey was in this Winter Passing, which also included Will Ferrel, so I rented. Mostly a very good movie, although there's a tragic cat scene in it. In addition, while Zooey was captivating and intriguing as always, Amelia Warner just really stole the show.

john steppling

what was the name of Mann's next TV series.....set at first in Chicago in the 50s...then moved to Vegas? A hugely neglected series.... that launched the career (if thats the word) of ex chicago cop Dennis Farina. Im told it isnt syndicated in any way because of legal hang ups with the music (had great music)....

Anyway, its an interesting show to compare to Miami Vice. And for the record, yes, Olmos was terrific. Perhaps the only series character I can think of who was genuinely tragic.


Crime Story.


Miami Vice not only had the great Jan Hammer score throughout, the "guest music" was also wonderful. Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," which inspired the title Lance used in this post. Glenn Frey's "Smuggler's Blues," which was featured in the episode Frey himself appeared in. Peter Gabriel's "Biko," which was the song used in the climax/ending of the episode "Evan." On and on. The TV episodes were used very much as music videos. And with MTV becoming popular at around the same time, I bet it was no accident.


Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" was very well used in a great episode as well.

Probably my biggest complaint with the movie besides yours and the wasting of Jamie Foxx was the lack of decent music, can you remember a single song used during the film?

Me either.

Cole Moore Odell

Parallels between Miami Vice and music television are no accident. The story is that NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff handed Mann a note that said "MTV cops" and asked him what he could do with it.

And Crime Story was indeed a wonderful companion to Miami Vice, far more serialized and more stylized in its own way. Mann essentially revisted the idea of Crime Story for the movie Heat, from the relationship between the protagonist and antagonist to scenes and dialogue straight from the series. Anchor Bay's recent Crime Story DVD season sets do suffer from a handful of awkward music replacements, but most of the original soundtrack is still in place, including tunes by the Rolling Stones, Johnny Preston and many Motown greats, among others.

Paul D.

>Miami Vice was the first successful attempt to do movies on television, to tell stories with pictures rather than dialogue.

Naah...the original Mission:Impossible was the first TV show you could not follow by the soundtrack alone. Very cinematic, even if it was essentially the same movie over and over.

"Fair and Balanced" Dave

In fact, if someone in Hollywood is ever crazy enough to remake Casablanca, Del Toro is my choice to play Rick.

There are a number of films that would work well as a remake--"Casablanca" is most definitely NOT one of them. As good as Del Toro can be, his Rick would pale in comparison to Bogart and I can't think of any current actress who could hold a candle to Ingrid Bergman.

Sadly, since Hollywood was crazy enough to greenlight remakes of "King Kong" (twice) and "Psycho", I don't put it past them to try and remake "Casablanca".

Joe Max

Owen Wilson... YES!

Amazing, I thought exactly the same thing, before I even read your column. It seems counter-intuitive, I know, but Wilson can play what you call the "cluelessness" that a Sonny Crockett character needs. Sonny was NOT a hard-ass cop, he was a fun-boy. (I always thought if Castillo ever took away his car, he'd have quit the force and joined the Cali cartel.)

It would have been an inspired bit of casting, like the casting of Michael Keaton as Batman or Tom Cruise as Lestat -- it made you say "what? you're kidding!" but they stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park.


By reading these retropsective comments on the original series, I wish I were old enough to have watched the show when it premiered. It sounds revolutionary in a way I would appreciate.

Peter Lynn

Hollywood did remake Casablanca. They flipped the genders, set it in the future, added a gratuitous Pamela Anderson striptease, and called it Barb Wire. I actually saw it before I saw the original Casablanca and when I finally got around to seeing the original, I had a nagging feeling of deja vu before, to my horror, I realized, Oh my God. This is Barb-friggin'-Wire!


I need to emphasize what silas said early in the comments. If you want to see Olmos in his full glory, you MUST watch Battlestar Galactica. The man is awesome. You can just watch the unstated emotions - the commander standing alone, the father struggling to reach his son, the friend/mentor to his XO, the military guy not trusting the politicians. His acting and the writers make the BG a top-rated show.

Huge Seagull

By the way, Mann did ask Olmos to reprise Castillo in the movie, but he declined. I think I read that on Or maybe

Olmos is the best thing about Miami Vice, and IMHO his Castillo is one of the very best TV portrayals ever.

I absolutely loved the movie, and unlike most folks I think it is very true to the TV show.

Huge Seagull

Oh yeah and how could folks forget the Casablanca "remake" Havana, starring Robert Redford??


Edward James Olmos wasn't given a lot to work with in Miami Vice, but he took out to the max what he was given - his Castillo was a driven man, a warrior underneath, majestic in his pain. He's probably the only reason for watching the train wreck entitled Battlestar Galactica


Wasn't there ONE episode where they let Castillo/Olmos have significant airtime? The episode was really unusual (he normally had like about three minutes top). From what I vaguely recall the episode was fine (I think he went special forces commando on some bad guys) - the heavens didn't come crashing down because he was in most of the scenes...

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