Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You make me wanna cry...

When I was around seven years old or so growing up in the Bronx, I remember often going to my friend Dave's apartment which was part of our building complex. I recall playing a lot of NES and Gameboy games while there since my household didn't have them yet (the best we could manage at the time was a fairly outdated Atari 7800). While my distant memories of hanging out at Dave's consist mainly of playing co-opt Double Dragon II in his living room and taking turns on his Gameboy playing hours of Tetris, one other prominent memory is "playing" with his older sister's copy of the "Miami Vice" Board Game.

At the time we really had no idea what "Miami Vice" was or even how to play the game. We just found the large vibrant map of downtown Miami and the colorful candy-like car shaped plastic player pieces fun to play around with. Like all kids who grew up in the age before rendered 3D graphic games, we would actually push the little cars around and pretended to be driving using the power of our "imaginations".

Although I was a completely oblivious pre-adolescent at the time, aside from the car pieces and the game board, I was also drawn to the bad ass shots of Tubbs and Crockett on the cover and throughout the materials of the game. While the show may have been canceled at least for a couple of years by that time and I had no clue of ascetics or style, the seven year old in me still found something inherently cool about the two guys on the cover wearing suits and sunglasses, casually brandishing large firearms, and sitting in front of a menacing sports car. I guess it's the ultimate testament to Michael Mann's groundbreaking, highly influential, visual style and production when some kid, years after its last episode, is transfixed by dogeared images of the show on an old board game. I, like mid 80s America before me, found the whole thing to be unprecedentedly cool.

While the cynical, pop culture educated, twenty something me doesn't find "Miami Vice" to be nearly as uniformly awesome as I had as a child; beneath the slick, outdated, 80's cheese and pastels there still exists an admirable core of classic coolness to the whole show (which Michael Mann ambitiously attempted to recapture and mostly failed with the 2006 movie). And that intangible, timeless coolness is what I felt when I came across this random closing clip from an old "Miami Vice" episode:

I inadvertently came across that scene while initially searching for a clip of Godley & Creme's video for "Cry". After giving it a view, I just want to say that as groundbreaking and iconic the original video for "Cry" was, that "Miami Vice" clip on its own would have been a 10 times better music video. The show takes one of the absolute (lyrically) wussiest songs ever written, focuses on the awesome musical qualities of the song, and sets it so an unbelievable six minute stretch of television that includes:
  • The aftermath of some sort of massive shootout.
  • Majestic long shots of Don Johnson driving around in a sports car around the dunes of Miami.
  • A tense desert meeting with a shirtless, blazer wearing Ted Nugent.
  • A deadly shootout with a shirtless, blazer wearing Ted Nugent.
  • Shots of Edward James Olmos looking his stoic, mustachioed best.
  • A meeting with a beautiful foreign woman on a beach
  • Said woman being arrested unexpectedly via helicopter
For it's time, a police procedural show ending on this sparsely dialogued, extended, music video-like conclusion seems downright mind blowing. This really was setting the bar for all the other slick knock offs that would eventually follow. I looked it up and apparently the clip is the final part of a Season 2 episode called "Definately Miami". Although it's available to watch in its entirety, I don't really want to know anything more about it. At this point it beautifully exists in an ideal, context-less vacuum and I think any more information about the plot or why Ted Nugent's in the middle of the desert shooting at people would only spoil it for me.

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