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“Cocaine Cowboys.”

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Paradise lost?
Arriving in theaters to rescue those lolling in the depths of a well-meaning documentary funk is Billy Corben‘s "Cocaine Cowboys," which tells a sordid and shamefully entertaining history of the heights of the Miami cocaine wars. Sure, the lucrative business of trafficking Columbian coke through South Florida in the 80s led to plenty of bloodshed, but the people interviewed in the film tend to look back on the era with a combination of ghoulish survivor’s appreciation and disbelieving nostalgia. Half have been in and out (or just in) jail since then; the other half ruefully acknowledge that the money brought in by the drug trade sustained Miami through tough economic times and made the city what it is today.

"Cocaine Cowboys" may make use of the finest in cheesy period graphics and a synthesizer soundtrack by "Miami Vice" theme composer Jan Hammer, but it is still of the talking-head/archival footage school, and the opening third, in which a former high-level dealer Jon Pernell Roberts and smuggler Mickey Munday recount the good ol’ days of the lax late 70s, does drag a bit. It’s really not until the appearance of audacious hitman Jorge "Rivi" Ayala, and, anecdotally, his boss, that the film really kicks into gear. Griselda Blanco, glimpsed only in photos (in which she sports a rakish fedora), is the horrifying and compelling heart of "Cocaine Cowboys." Dubbed  "La Madrina," the Godmother, she headed up a major drug organization and was surreally murder-happy; Ayala recounts her favored technique of having machine gun fire sprayed at a target and all those unlucky enough to be nearby.

What "Cocaine Cowboys" hammers in, intentionally or not, are the disturbingly porous walls between life and pop culture. Just as the film’s look so consciously evokes "Miami Vice" that you have to blink at the fact that the bodies piling up are real, the people within it shape and have been shaped by television and cinema. Blanco actually names her youngest son Michael Corleone; Ayala, jovially unapologetic about the dozens of killings to which he’s been linked, scoffs at "Scarface." And Roberts derides the staple "Vice" scene of dealer and buyer meeting up and peering into an open trunk full of wrapped kilos as something that never would have happened. How did it actually go? He’s all to happy to share.

Opens in New York and Florida on October 27th.

+ "Cocaine Cowboys" (Magnolia)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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