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Watchlist: Cocaine Cowboys

If you've ever taken seriously anything I've written on this blog or even considered looking into anything I've recommended, then trust me: watch Cocaine Cowboys. It's about the cocaine trade in the late 70s and early 80s and the city that became the epicenter of all the money, the violence, and the blizzard of white....Miami. Basically, it's the true story of the bad guys Sonny and Tubbs were chasing in Miami Vice...except Miami Vice is rated G compared to what's in Cocaine Cowboys.

It's on Netflix now, as well as its expanded version Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded, which I'd also recommend. I've watched them both now twice each in the past week, seriously. They're that good (even though reloaded is basically just a Director's Cut, it's worth it as well). 

John Roberts
My favorite part of the documentary is the rags to riches story of the charismatic hustler John Roberts, an American-born one-time mafia counterpart who fled NYC to escape a police investigation and ended up dealing cocaine in Miami and getting involved with the Medellin cartel. 

Every film, whether it's a documentary or a narrative film or an action film needs a great character. John Roberts is the leading man for Cocaine Cowboys, and what a character he must have been (died in 2011). Contrary to the image of the marauding, violence-wielding narco-trafficista (which, there were a lot of) Roberts has a frank, humble, regular guy sort of way about him that brings the story home. Roberts could be your crazy uncle or that friend's step dad who always drove a new Porsche every year; his presence sort of takes the story off the silver screen and brings it into your living room. 


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