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February 21, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 39): Miami Connection – Movie Commentary: February 2015

Friday Night Movie Night!

Tagline: Survival the ultimate test…

The year is 1987. Motorcycle ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. Multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have had enough, and embark on a roundhouse wreck-wave of crime-crushing justice. When not chasing beach bunnies or performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” Mark (taekwondo master/inspirational speaker Y.K. Kim) and the boys are kicking and chopping at the drug world’s smelliest underbelly. It’ll take every ounce of their blood and courage, but Dragon Sound can’t stop until they’ve completely destroyed the dealers, the drunk bikers, the kill-crazy ninjas, the middle-aged thugs, the “stupid cocaine”

…and the entire MIAMI CONNECTION!!!

Podcast Notes

Deleted Scene “Music Store”


Dragon Sound “Friends”
Dragon Sound “Against The Ninja”

Miami Connection OST – Jon McCallum – Trainyard

June 27, 2014

Escape From Tomorrow


Escape From Tomorrow – Lynchian

I’m not like most of my friends; I like to work for my movies. To me, I’m happy to take on a film and see if I can find something different from what other people might catch. I get that a lot when I watch anything by David Lynch, Terrence Malick, or Alejandro Jodorowsky; I do it both for the challenge and my overall enjoyment of film. However, there are times when I take something on and I’m kind of left with a feeling of bewilderment that I’m bewildered that I have….follow? Well don’t worry, because I’m having a hard time myself after still trying to digest “Escape From Tomorrow,” an extremely Lynchian take on the hidden horrors of The Happiest Place on Earth; Walt Disney World.

“Escape” is the tale of a family trip to Disney that takes a strange turn when Jim, the patriarch of the family, finds out that he has just lost his job on the last day of the trip. Things are harmless enough to start the day, but Jim begins to slowly lose his grip on reality as the day wears on. Between a pair of potentially underage French girls, secret Disney scientists, and Japanese businessmen that pay top dollar for Disney Princesses, this isn’t your typical day at Disney.

I’ll start with the merits of “Escape.” For one, it takes balls to pretty much lampoon and make a dark film about Disney World. The “guerrilla-style” film-making approach also hits home for me because I can remember all the time I went to Disney World and my dad would film the entire trip, even when rides specifically told people not to film while on the rides. The black-and-white technique also adds an eeriness to the proceedings and reminds me a lot of what Lynch did with “Eraserhead” and “The Elephant Man.”

Overall, the performances are decent enough. Jim, played by Roy Abramsohn, leads the way, and the performances by his two children, Sara and Elliot, played by Katelynn Rodriguez and Jack Dalton, respectively, are also very strong. However, “Escape” isn’t so much about the performances, but what is going on around the actors. Repeated viewings, if you can handle more than one viewing, would be suggested in order to understand the narrative and how many different things are happening in the background; just like any other film that prides itself on being thought of as Lynchian.

What I also enjoyed is the the use of imagination as a main theme. When you’re young, you go to Disney and think all of the characters are real and your young mind runs away with you. Now imagine what an adult might think about when they are walking through Disney, and think even more what an adult might think or see after they’ve lost their job, and think even more when that adult is drunk. A lot of interesting things could be happening. Too many times in films, the focus is always on the imagination of a child, and it’s an interesting decision to delve into the mind of an adult who is having a very bad day in a place where everything should be Disney Princesses and over-priced food.

While being Lynchian might be one of it’s greatest attractions, it’s also the biggest weakness for “Escape.” It’s truly a hard film to get your head around. Instead of being a film, “Escape” is also a series of vignette’s that happen to be taking place around Disney World, so there is a lot of disjointed narrative and you can easily be lost if you’re not paying attention. “Escape” definitely isn’t for the passive film fan. I’d like to bring up more about the plot and where the film goes, but as I said before, if I like to work for my films, why would I expect anything less from others.

All in all, “Escape” is a journey that might not be for everyone, but it is an interesting film from both a film-making perspective and the fact that the film is pretty much doing what a lot of people get thrown into Disney Jail for; making a mockery out of “god” who is Walt Disney and his apostle, Mickey Mouse.

Fun Fact: In 2009, a 60-year-old man named John Moyer was convicted of misdemeanor battery for groping Brittney McGoldrick, who was wearing a Minnie Mouse costume at Disney World. See more creepy stuff here

September 3, 2013

Miami Connection


Miami Connection – Friendship

Being born in the early 1980s, I really missed out on that grand decade of acid-wash, cocaine cowboys, and mustaches.  Even though the early 1990s were simply an extension of the late 80s, I really wasn’t cognizant of what the 80s had to offer until I was much older.  Once a decade of ridicule, the 80s have come back in a big way.  Between styles that hipsters are co-opting for their own gain, the revival of new wave pop, and of course the film “Drive,” the 80s are back; at least in spirit of course.

Aside from the fashion, the 80s had no lack of action films.  For every “Die Hard” there was another “Surf Nazis Must Die.”  For every “Predator” there was a “Krull.”  The list goes on and on when it comes to cheesy 80s action films.  However, there was another constant in action films from the 80s; and that would be friendship.  From “Tango and Cash” to the bond between Riggs and Murtaugh in “Lethal Weapon,” where would the action genre be without a great friendship?  This brings me to the forgotten classic from 1987, “Miami Connection,” a study in how not to make a movie, but at the same time, the exact way every movie should be made.

“Miami Connection” is at heart a film about friends playing in an awesome band, “Dragon Sound,” practicing Tae-Kwon-Do, chasing girls on the beach, and helping one of their own find their long last father.  There’s a minor subplot about ninjas that sell cocaine, but never mind that…..because it makes NO SENSE!  If you’re going into “Connection” looking for anything that doesn’t fit a stereotype, you better return your VHS to your local Blockbuster Video.  However, if you want to experience the 1980s in all its glory there is no better way to celebrate the decade you’re either trying to relive or forget than with this masterpiece.

The story behind “Connection” is nearly as entertaining as the film itself with star Y.K. Kim nearly bankrupting himself trying to make his masterwork  The Korean immigrant, and Tae-Kwon-Do master with no film experience whatsoever, decided to make a film, which at the time was considered a slap in the face to the industry, had to wait nearly 25 years to receive the credit that he thought he deserved back in 1987.  While that credit is entirely ironic, since “Connection” is really a schlock-fest cashing in films like “The Karate Kid,” any credit it better than no credit at all.

What sets “Connection” apart from other action dribble from the 80s is it’s earnest and sincere message.  Hell, during the closing credits a message pops up essentially saying “The only way to obtain world peace is through the elimination of violence;” a cheesy message that could only be said in decade that also introduced into our lexicon “Peace in the Middle East.”  I just love the irony that the only way to stop violence is with violence to start.  But hey, the day you’re in a pop-synth band playing the keytar shirt-less fighting cocaine-dealing ninjas from Miami, you might feel the need to be a little violent as well.

Bottom line, “Miami Connection” at heart, is a film about the bond of five orphans who are fed up with “stupid cocaine” looking for a friend’s long-lost father, while playing some awesome music and fighting ninjas in Orlando.  What could be better?  Well, a lot, but it wouldn’t be as rad as “Miami Connection.”

Fun Fact: The song “Friends” was used in the retro-grade spin-off to “Far Cry 3;” “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon,” starring 80s hunk, Michael Biehn.

Also, make sure to check out Slaughter Film’s live “riff” of “Miami Connection” on September 6th at midnight (so technically, September 7th) through this link, Click here dummy!

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