Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cocaine Cowboys

Showtime is running a documentary that came out last year called Cocaine Cowboys. It's a really interesting look at the cocaine industry in the 70s and 80s in Miami. I have never done cocaine. I broke my nose twice and had some breathing problems, snorting something was not high on my list. Add to that ex-girlfriends who had problems with it, and no way was I touching the stuff. This is pretty evenhanded in its treatment of the principals. There is input from the drug runners, the cops, the killers, the media, lawyers, and my favorite, the medical examiner who is a tough hombre.

A common montage of Miami includes the glitzy, art deco, pastel look with lots of beautiful (and mostly plastic) women, a "Latin flavor", and flashy cars. That was not Miami before cocaine hit the shores. Miami was a real Southern city that happened to be by the ocean with lots of old people... probably retired Long Island & Westchester County natives. Cocaine changed all of that, and there were some horrible growing pains as the death and destruction of the cocaine wars. The documentary cites that in '79, '80 and '81 the number of homicides were over 400, 500 and 600. People complain about crime now, despite the fact that violent crime is around 30-40 year lows, and the number of homicides has been under 100 in '03, '04, '05, and even now. The images shown in the documentary rival the old mob photos from newspapers in the '20s and '30s and CNN videos from Third World countries. It is a remarkable story that the city, state and nation could beat back those drug lords. I do believe there is no winning the war on drugs because there will always be a demand, but damn, the cops busted some ass. The cops went to drastic measures and used extreme force to win the war on the streets. Kudos to you guys.

My favorite parts of the documentary were the parts about the NY and flying MacGyver guy. They were a tandem of smugglers, and they represented the part of the movie that is the 'good times' montage. They do eventually spend time in jail, but their high times were pretty entertaining. They were an odd couple of sorts. The brash NYer, who drove Mercs and Porsches, dated a model and flashed lots of wealth, was paired with the down home Southern boy born and raised in Miami. The NYer has a great lien where he discusses the money spent during those days, and it is a cliche but "everbody has a price". Whether it was strippers he'd pay to phuck his friends or cops he'd buy off, Miami was for sale. How this has not been turned into a movie like "Blow" amazes me. The people in this real life drama were better characters than half the one dimensional dits you see in movies. The head drug lord for the Columbians in America was a woman who fashioned herself as the "Godmother". She would have sex with men and then kill them. She ordered hits on everyone, including the children of enemies. She was a lesbian. This is perfect for a 120+ minute drama/action flick. Better than Bloe too because Blow had Penelope Cruz in it (not my type). I will probably buy this on DVD and add it to my drug movie collection along with some other films that I will show my future kids to scare them away from drugs.

Despite those flamboyant characters, my favorite is the medical examiner. This guy saw the carnage in his office. He knew what was hitting the city. He saw how bad it was and knew how much worse it could get. The TV news interviews with him in the '80s show a man who is tired and mad. This is a guy who loves his city, cares about others, and wants things to change. He wanted the city to get serious about the drug problem. He wanted the city to clean up and allow normal people to live normal lives again. Interviewing him for the documentary, you could sense tension still in his voice. I would have liked to hear more from him. I would like to know more about that dynamic duo of smugglers. I would like to know how in the world the "godmother" got away with murder and received a reduced sentence because of a phone sex scandal involving the star witness against her. There is always hope because Cocaine Cowboys 2 is coming.

Thursday Night football, take the Texans. Always wager on the home team in the Thursday games.

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