Miami Vice
May 9, 2011 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Miami Vice and early '80s musical montages. Did any show ever do it better? Devo - Going Under :: Afrika Bambaataa - Renegades of Funk with Shaba Doo from "Electric Boogaloo" poppin' and lockin' all up in Crockett's face :: Kate Bush - Hello Earth :: Godley and Creme - Cry with Ted Nugent :: The Damned - In Dulce Decorum with Laurence Fishburne :: Iggy Pop - Real Wild Child :: Steve Jones - Mercy :: Red 7 - Heartbeat :: Pete Townshend - Face The Face :: The Who - Baba O'Riley :: David Johansen - King of Babylon :: Public Image Ltd - Order Of Death :: Etta James - You Want More :: and of course Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight :: Phil went on guest star in an episode, as did Leonard Cohen and Frank Zappa.
posted by puny human (46 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, this is great.
posted by box at 1:48 PM on May 9, 2011

Anybody feeling a little tight?
posted by mannequito at 1:51 PM on May 9, 2011

Possibly one of the best Metafilter posts ever. Fantastic.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:56 PM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

I have a guy on my Facebook friends list that had to, and I'm not kidding, borrow my pink linen suit jacket for a presentation during our senior year in high school.

We lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
posted by thanotopsis at 2:00 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is so much better than all those shows nowadays that think they're doing something special by slapping some sad song at the end.
posted by Danila at 2:01 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I lived in South Beach for five years back in the 90s. No TV show or movie ever captures the insane, oppressive, sweltering heat of that place in summer.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:07 PM on May 9, 2011

Has that Phil Collins song, which has been done to death, ever looked or sounded better?

And let's not forget Jan Hammer's synths, which sound wonderful in this beautifully filmed segment -- The Great Boat Race

And here again in this nicely done fan video -- Miami Vice - StakeOut
posted by puny human at 2:12 PM on May 9, 2011

Leonard Cohen is so cool in that clip I want him to order a hit on me in French.
posted by GuyZero at 2:15 PM on May 9, 2011

Is Going Under sped up? It's been a while since I've heard it, but it sounds fast.

MetaFilter: voluntary experimentation
posted by LSK at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2011

Great post -- long live multi-link You Tube awesomeness. Not sarcastic - except for trailers, I don't think I'd ever use YT if not directed by MetaFilter's wisdom.

thanotopsis: "... borrow my pink linen suit jacket for a presentation during our senior year in high school.

We lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Well if you had those fashions in east central Iowa in the 80s, at least you were ahead of those of us on the other side of the Mississippi; in west central Illinois, there were probably people still wearing said fashions during my senior year on high school.

In 1993.

Speaking of things that amaze me, this post led me to discover a fact I can barely believe: the Miami Vice DVDs were released with original music intact. Given how many other DVD releases I've heard about that have been held up or butchered because of music rights, I didn't think that would have been possible.

Of course, releasing Miami Vice without the original music would be like.... a thing that's so pointless I can't come up with a metaphor pointless enough.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:21 PM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

For what it's worth, I believe Miami Vice has still been pulled from Netflix on demand, but is on Hulu Plus.

I actually choose which digital media services to subscribe to based on whether they have Miami Vice.
posted by mikeh at 2:25 PM on May 9, 2011

The Who - Baba O'Riley

That entire episode, Out Where the Buses Don't Run, is amazing and is one of my favorite episodes of anything ever. The intro with Little Richard as a manic street preacher, the early computer references, and the ending which blew me away as a kid and still gives me goosebumps. TV Guide called OWtBDR one the the top 100 TV shows of all time (on the other hand they thought that "Gabbo" was the best episode of the Simpsons....). There was a second musical montage for that episode- Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms. Unfortunately I can only find it dubbed into Hungarian.
posted by Challahtronix at 2:57 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Michael Mann, incredible visuals--Cheesy dialog. The Nuge one is hilarious. First off, a helicopter to arrest the female guest star? What is it, like $1,000 just to lift off? Just cuff her and be done with it.

Second, the whole thing where the 'copter lands and then she looks at him and he totally puts the shades on slow. Pure cheese!
posted by Ironmouth at 3:02 PM on May 9, 2011

I loved Miami Vice as a kid...and one of the biggest reasons was the awesome music montages. Thanks!
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:18 PM on May 9, 2011

Is this where I come to admit that I owned and wore out not only Miami Vice but also the quasi-related Band of the Hand soundtrack album on cassette? If so, I draw your attention especially to Faded Flowers by Shriekback, which Mann used to great effect in the movie.

The Dylan theme song is also awesome, and has a great Mann montage under it, but I can't find that to link it, so here's just the song.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:26 PM on May 9, 2011

"The Nuge one is hilarious."

I saw the Nuge around 86 or so, on a weekend trip to Manhattan. It was late at night, and I was walking alone down near west broadway, near what is now Tribeca I guess. There was a lot of action going on around this little park and I realized that it was The Nuge doing a street performance. Well it became clear that Nuge was to messed up to perform, and what was really going on was that his "friends" were pushing him out on the street to try and drum up some money from the crowd for drugs. About two minutes in, shots rang out from across the street, pop pop pop! and I and the rest of the crowd went from standing still to running and diving behind cars in an instant. Honestly, I've never moved so fast in my life. It was pure instinct. I think I vaulted over a little old black lady at one point trying to get behind the car. I was so adrenalized I jogged all the way back to my hotel at Washington Square.
posted by puny human at 3:33 PM on May 9, 2011

I think Mann used three different Shriekback tunes in Manhunter, which I just watched (one of the four different cuts out on DVD) the other night with a friend. We were commenting on how much Michael Mann's style, in his early films, was tied to MTV in the "videos, set to music" era. While his style has changed quite a bit over the years, it was distinctive and hot at the time. Everyone wanted a piece of that.
posted by adipocere at 3:45 PM on May 9, 2011

Glenn Frey was also in one.
posted by Danf at 3:48 PM on May 9, 2011

See also the final scene to Michael mann's Manhunter (the one with with Brian Cox as Hannibal Lektor) set to Inna Gada Da Vida.

The house used in the film belonged to a famous artist or architect (drawing a blank on his name, maybe Richard Meier?), and he kept refusing Mann permission to use it until finally he relented, on the one condition that Mann give him a Miami Vice crew jacket.
posted by puny human at 3:51 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Weasel Dust????

Weasel Dust!!!
posted by not_on_display at 3:51 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Man, I loved this when I was growing up, and remember watching altogether too many of these back in the day.

The thing I always loved about Miami Vice, above Edward James Olmos' stoic coolness; more than Saundra Santiago's teen-fantasy-inducing hotness; was thr fact that they didn't always get their man - sometimes the bad guy won. It was the first show I can remember watching that gave it to me straight - sometimes money let's the bad guy laugh in Crockett*s face and fly off into the sunset, scott free. An important lesson, learned against the backdrop of beautiful owmen, great weather and fantastic music.

Thanks for this post.
posted by benzo8 at 3:56 PM on May 9, 2011

beautiful owmen is an awesome typo
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:00 PM on May 9, 2011

how much Michael Mann's style, in his early films, was tied to MTV in the "videos, set to music" era

The knockout ending of Thief is due in large part to its use of an instrumental by Craig Safan titled "Confrontation". [Tragically, not included on the soundtrack release by Tangerine Dream.]

The film was released in March 1981 - five months before MTV premiered.

So even though Miami Vice was famously pitched with the two words "MTV cops", it's clear that the chicken came before the egg.
posted by Trurl at 4:03 PM on May 9, 2011

What's going on with the phones in the first video around 50 seconds in? After the guns are loaded, there seems to be a lot of attention paid to pressing buttons on the giant-to-us portable phones. Was that just visual flourish or was it something you had to do to phones like that before you headed out in your cool cars, armed for battle and coked out of your mind?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:09 PM on May 9, 2011

That was the button that retracted the giant extension cords.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:15 PM on May 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

When it comes to music, this is really just the tip of the iceberg for this show. There were also a lot of scenes with Miami bands playing in clubs or at parties. When it comes to actors who were on the show, the list is incredible, a who's who of now big stars -- Liam Neeson, Chris Rock, Jimmy Smits, Mykelti Williamson, Belinda Montgomery, Ed O'Neill, Denis Farina, Bruce Willis, Burt Young, Michael Madsen, Eric Bogosian, Pam Grier, John Turturro, Penn Jillette, Gene Simmons, Eartha Kitt, Little Richard, David Strathairn, Nathan Lane, Frankie Valli, Miles davis, Dean Stockwell, El Debarge, G Gordon Liddy, Patti D'arbanville (once married to Don Johnson I think), Iman, Emo Phillips, The Fat Boys, Harvey Fierstein, Roberto Durán, Dan Hedaya, Tommy Chong, Bianca Jagger, Lee Iacooca, Wilie Nelson, Steve Buscemi, Helena Bonham Carter, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Viggo Mortensen, Anette Bening, Melanie Griffith, George Takei, Lou Albano, Vanity, Ian McShane, Benicio del Toro... and that is just the first two seasons.

re Noogie, his wiki has some interesting info that explains a lot to me -- Charlie Barnett (September 23, 1954 – March 16, 1996) was an American actor and comedian.
Barnett was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, USA. He first made a name for himself in the late 1970s and early 1980s, performing several shows of raunchy comedy a day at outdoor parks in New York City, most notably in Washington Square Park, where he competed for crowds with musicians, frisbee players, jugglers and other entertainers.flautist/driver Ruben Riera agrees , Charlie was one of the only street performers able to 'fill the fountain' (an amphitheatre in a large circular fountain) in Washington Square Park. In September 1980, Barnett auditioned for Saturday Night Live and producer Jean Doumanian was ready to hire him, but after a last-minute audition, Barnett's spot in the cast was given to Eddie Murphy.
Barnett went on to appear in film and on television. In the 1983 comedy film D.C. Cab, he played the role of Tyrone. He had a recurring role on the hit 1980s TV series Miami Vice as Neville 'Noogie' Lamont.
He also appeared on Def Comedy Jam. Although the episode was not aired on TV, the DVD release of Def Comedy Jam contains an extra DVD with "2 Raw 4 TV", which has a Barnett performance.
Barnett's last film role was in 1996 in the film They Bite. He died that year of AIDS.
Comedian Dave Chappelle has acknowledged Barnett as an influence.
posted by puny human at 4:20 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just as a tip for any die hard fans, I just got a catalog from Edward R. Hamilton, the discount book place, and they have the DVD box set, every episode of Miami Vice for $59 closeout, regular 199.99
posted by timsteil at 4:56 PM on May 9, 2011

And he saved the very best for last: The final scene of Miami Vice, song by Terry Kath.
posted by stargell at 5:13 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Previously, although not a double.

I was too young to appreciate the show, but I remember the music and how important it was.
posted by Simon Barclay at 5:32 PM on May 9, 2011

Can't forget Pump Up the Volume, from season 4. I think I ran out and bought the 12" the next day.

And if you've never caught Mann's Crime Story, it's well worth netflixing (though sadly, not all the music that originally aired made it to the dvds, due to rights issues.)
posted by Bron at 5:37 PM on May 9, 2011

Hah, just realized you meant Nuge as in Ted Nugent, not Noogie, aka the The Noog Man. Sorry for the confusion. (and sorry for that longcomment, I should have split that in two)
posted by puny human at 5:40 PM on May 9, 2011

Jesus, sorry— but this is still a terrible show. I don't spite anyone the simple pleasure of a bad show, but don't put a pointy hat on a turd and call it the pope. It's like CSI now, using good music for a crappy montage scene; the music can be good, but the show is nowhere near.
posted by Red Loop at 5:45 PM on May 9, 2011

Jesus, sorry— but this is still a terrible show.


LT MARTIN CASTILLO: [looks at Crockett and Tubbs]

CROCKETT: [nods]

MUSIC MONTAGE as CROCKETT drives, TUBBS in passenger seat


HELICOPTER-assisted arrest of RED LOOP
posted by zippy at 6:54 PM on May 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

To a 12-year-old in 1984, this car plus this song were almost too much coolness to safely absorb in one sitting. I remember feeling like I was going to burst with IWANTTHAT.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:11 PM on May 9, 2011

LSK: no, DEVO's not sped up. It's the New Traditionalists version. They did, however, record a slower version for their Muzak discs.
posted by readyfreddy at 9:43 PM on May 9, 2011

When Miami Vice was in first run, I was really young and my parents would never let me watch it. Except when we went to visit my grandma, who loved it and watched it every week no matter what. My refused-to-speak-English-and-instead-only-spoke-Cantonese grandma.
posted by wuwei at 11:20 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, when it came to plot, characters, writing, it was a terrible show.

But it was just so...beautiful. Every shot was skillfully composed and arranged artwork, with corresponding music. It is a shame that most of these clips are not high def. This show was ahead of its time. It was made for big screens and theater sound systems.
posted by eye of newt at 11:46 PM on May 9, 2011

I only recently stumbled on the fact that the original black Ferrari was nothing of the kind, it was a kit replica based on Corvette internals. I was oddly disappointed by that, although looking at the clips it seems to have been a well executed example of that kind of thing, with a good sound and a good stance on the road. The Wikipedia article actually isn't bad at all, though as always there's some contradictory information out there about the details. It indicates that Enzo Ferrari himself took notice, decided that if a Ferrari was going to get so much screen time it had better be a real one, and gave them a couple of Testarossas on the condition that they destroy the imitations.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:05 AM on May 10, 2011

And yes, of course Miami Vice was unusually stupid even for a police show. It was about an undercover vice cop the way James Bond is about espionage: in other words, not really. Given the way he bounded in and out of his cover persona several times a day, did his own busts and walked in and out of police headquarters, he'd have been very messily dead thirty or forty times over in the first season. But it wasn't about being a good police show, it was about being a pleasure to watch on a whole bunch of levels. And if we're honest with ourselves about that first comparison, it was actually quite a bit less stupid than Bond (particularly in the latter's Moore era), and took far more creative risks.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:20 AM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

"But it wasn't about being a good police show, it was about being a pleasure to watch on a whole bunch of levels."

Yeah this. And for all the enjoyable cheesiness, there were real themes pulsing through the show. It was the flipside of Scarface made for the small screen. Along with the beautiful visuals, you would have occasional epiphanies, like this 5 minute critique of capitalism from the episode The Prodigal Son. I usually despise cop shows, like Law and Order or CSI, and I think MV was the last one I watched until The Wire came along.

also, fuck a Testarossa
posted by puny human at 2:48 AM on May 10, 2011

I recently downloaded the Miami Vice theme song and often play it loud while driving. In fact, I have a playlist entirely devoted to "Good Driving Tunes", of which Jan Hammer's piece is at the top.

And I have a standard transmission, which makes it all the more fun.
posted by sundrop at 4:11 AM on May 10, 2011

The show may have been dumb but that doesn't make this post dumb. This post is amazing. It's on par with that YouTube video of the Caruso CSI one-liners.

I wonder if anyone's done this with House diagnoses. That would maybe be too easy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:23 AM on May 10, 2011

wuwei, my own grandma watched "Magnum, P.I." by preference. I think all granmas must have a favorite TV hunk.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:11 AM on May 10, 2011

I'll agree that the show may have been dumb -- I don't even really remember watching it because it was on Friday nights (which meant I was always watching my dad's football games) and never home so rarely watched it except on the rare bad weather occasion when we were home with a babysitter -- or as I got older, I was home by myself watching something I wouldn't have gotten to watch when my parents were around (because of quality, not because of content)

But while viewing some of these montages last night, because so much of 1980s TV - even quality TV -- was soooo flat, it sure seems like it wasn't a bad show. You watch the montages out of context and it is really easy to imagine a parallel universe where the show surrounding them was brilliant.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:32 AM on May 10, 2011

Omg that Afrika Bambataa vid gave me a huge smile Thanks. What 80's energy! Whew! That pale salmon suit and the shoulder pads!
posted by nickyskye at 2:26 PM on May 10, 2011

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