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Some thoughts on the The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Peak Miami Vice: Smuggler's Blues

A burst of summer weather has me watching Miami Vice again, and this time I'm taking my time and savoring the early seasons.  I will be skipping the later ones.

If I could pick one episode that exemplifies the show at its height, it would likely be "Smuggler's Blues."  This is still in the first season and it stars Glenn Frey from The Eagles as Jimmy, a small-time drug smuggler with his own twin-engine plane.

In many ways, the episode is simply an extended music video, featuring the entirety of Frey's eponymous song.  There is an attempt at dramatic tension, but the point of the exercise is simply to sit back and enjoy the ride.

That is something modern entertainment has largely lost.  It's too preachy, too eager to carry a message and a "torn from the headlines" story (which is often based on a media myth).  Miami Vice was no stranger to tropes, but they were fun, and the show was sleek, stylish and just plain cool.

Back then, Hollywood tried to give people what they wanted; today they bully the audience into watching.  Needless to say, it's not very effective.

I do not think it is possible for Hollywood to create a blend like Miami Vice today, combining musical guests at their peak with sleek visuals and fun storylines.



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