Ahhh, Florida. For millions of people around the world, it's a vacation destination full of sunny beaches, bikini-clad babes and a kingdom ruled by a mouse. But for those who live in the Sunshine State, we know it for what it really is: Hell, only hotter. Still, just because its citizens are perpetually drenched in sweat and the state has a history of bizarre people doing crazy things (constantly), doesn't mean we can't have a bit of home-state pride. There are a lot of great things about Florida, such as…
I'm going to get back to you on that one. With a hurricane looming in the state's not-too-distant future, I thought it would be a good idea to think of some of the good things this state has to offer, and being a movie nerd, this is the best I can do. So, I'm counting down my top 10 movies filmed in Florida — at least, our favorites so far.
10. 'My Girl' (1991)
This movie holds a special place in my heart, and it's not just because Macaulay Culkin is attacked by bees. No, it's because this movie was filmed just a few blocks from where I grew up. Sure, it might not be what people traditionally call a "good movie," or even what people might untraditionally call a "good movie." But it was shot in my hometown and that gives it merit, damn it! Macaulay Culkin's adorable reign of terror was brought to an end in my town! (Yeah I know it's just a movie, but I can pretend.)
9. 'Creature From The Black Lagoon' (1954)
Hoo boy, this one is an oldie but a goody. It just seems appropriate that a movie about a gilled man kidnapping a girl and causing terror would be shot in Florida. Sure, there might be beautiful beaches here, but if you've ever been a-boatin' (there's no "g" when done down here in the South), you know that there's some creepy stuff out in them thar waters. While I haven't seen any gill men yet, there are snakes, gators and even amoebas. While amoebas won't necessarily steal your girlfriend, they will turn your brain to mush, which might be just as bad.
8. 'Monster' (2003)
Speaking of gill men, how about Charlize Theron in Monster? OK, that was kind of a cheap shot, but you did see her in that, right? There's a long tradition of getting ugly to win an Oscar, and honestly she deserved to win three for her portrayal of the real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Now that I think about it, Florida's film commission is doing a terrible job of driving tourism to this state. First we have creatures, then we have ugly serial killers? What's next? A giant rat that steals children away to a magical castle in the middle of nowhere? Oh… Well, damn.
7. 'Key Largo' (1948)
Finally, a movie that doesn't show the dark side of Florida. Well, except for the killer hurricane — and the criminals held up in the Keys. Hey, we've got Humphrey Bogart, though, and that counts for something. Despite what the guy in the suit who insists you call him a meteorologist says, hurricanes aren't usually as terrifying as movies make them out to be. Sure, you don't want to go fly a kite in the middle of one, but for the most part, people with average brain functioning capabilities usually make it through them unscathed. That is, unless you really piss off Humphrey Bogart.
6. 'The Truman Show' (1998)
Alright, I'm starting to notice a disturbing trend about movies being made in Florida. Monsters, killers, hurricanes — and now a movie about a man whose entire life is a lie. Florida is a horrible place! Jim Carrey stars in this quaint little movie about the ultimate reality show, but things go horribly wrong when the star begins to suspect that things aren't quite what they seem in his quiet little hometown. OK, so things don't go that wrong, but it starts to get interesting. It's an uplifting film that even the craziest people can relate to. Plus it's got Jim Carrey, so it's absolutely hilarious. Right? Um, right?
5. 'Edward Scissorhands' (1990)
Tim Burton is a master of creepy, so it's no wonder he decided to film a movie about a man with scissors for hands in Florida. I've seen those cookie-cutter houses while on Sunday drives, and I've also seen where the cookie-cutter houses used to be before a hurricane passes through. This native knowledge makes the film even darker than Burton ever intended for it to be. Of course, it's also a big deal around these parts that a real live, big-city celebrity like Johnny Depp came on down to our little ol' state. To be honest, the only part of this movie that was unbelievable was that a man could wear all black in Florida and not die from heat stroke.
4. 'Cocoon' (1985)
Great, let's just throw a stereotype into the mix. Everyone knows Florida's chief import is old people. After all, this is where they come to die. We're like the United States' front porch: Things just crawl down to Florida to be left alone while nature does its thing. In a cruel twist, an alien pod decides to prolong the lives of the Denny's early-bird crowd in this Ron Howard classic. I might seem a little grouchy when it comes to the elderly, but I'm the one who has to drive behind them all the time. I'm not even joking. A man can only take so much of driving behind a car going 20 miles under the speed limit with a turn signal that's been on for 10 minutes.
3. 'Scarface' (1983)
In an interesting twist, various Florida state officials put their collective foot down about certain parts of this movie being filmed here. Apparently, these community leaders and politicians was a little uncomfortable with the idea that Cuban refugees would deal drugs in Miami. Still, a select number of the scenes from this Al Pacino classic were filmed onsite in Miami, and thanks to that, wannabe gangsters in high school were able to wear baggy T-shirts that showed just how tough they really were. I'm not supporting the idea that Cubans are responsible for the drug trade in Florida. After all, we've seen plenty of rednecks blow up their trailers, er, meth laboratories. While I can understand the concern about casting a bad image over the community, I think it's hilarious that they finally drew a line.
2. 'Sunshine State' (2002)
Alright, this one really is an important contribution to Florida cinema. The film shows the lives of two women in the Sunshine State who are both at a crossroads in their lives. It does an excellent job at portraying life in Florida (sans all the horrible things), and shows the value of community. We are still a Southern state, after all — just not really Southern Southern. It's a little confusing, but trust us: It really just means we like to barbecue on the first sunny day of spring. Though we usually have no idea when that is, because we only have an endless summer here. In all seriousness, though, John Sayles made a movie that captures the real Florida, and that's pretty impressive.
1. Caddyshack (1980)
Of course we had to put this movie in at No. 1; after all, everyone loves it. With the likes of Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield, this movie is probably one of the all-around best movies to be filmed in our great state. It's one of those classic comedies that stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Animal House. True, it's a film aimed more toward the male demographic, but I like to think that everyone can enjoy it for what it is. Quite simply, Caddyshack is the best movie to feature the Sunshine State as its backdrop. I honestly can;t think of anything terrible that this movie shows about Florida — except for Spaulding.
The Punisher and Magic Mike. I would have thrown in Goodfellas and The Godfather Part II, but both only filmed very small portions of their films here.
There you have it, 10 movies that did Florida proud. Let me know what you think of the list and what your favorite movies filmed in your home state are!