Episode 25 - Miami Connection (1987)
Chris Mann has returned from his month long tour to talk with Mike about one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) cult film of all time.
Some of the most memorable bad movies in history have come from the most ambitious yet least qualified filmmakers. I had spent a short amount of time working at a distribution company and I was forced to watch hundreds of these movies during my tenure. 99% of the time you would get something that was absolutely unwatchable and should never have been seen beyond the filmmakers family and friends. That 1% though; pure gold. This movie falls into that category.
A movie nearly lost to time, the story of how Miami Connection was resurrected from the dead is almost as weird as the movie itself.
In 1987 a director named Woo-Sang Park (Richard Park) convinced a tae kwon do instructor in the Orlando, Florida area to make a movie a with him. Y.K. Kim took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans, borrowed money from friends and mortgaged his schools to make this movie. It opened in eight local theaters to scathing reviews and became box office failure.
Y.K. Kim brought the film to Cannes in hopes of finding a distributor - hundreds of companies turned it down. Eventually he conceded the movie was a failure and gave up - losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process and humiliating himself on a world stage. The film would practically disappear for over 20 years.
An eBay auction ended at $35 in the late 2000's for a film reel that nobody has heard of. The buyer, Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. The film was screened and instantly gained a cult following. Drafthouse approached Y.K. Kim about distributing the film - he initially hung up thinking it was another cruel joke.
Over 20 years after the movie was originally released and failed, Miami connection got a second theatrical run, a DVD and Blu-Ray special edition, and found a new audience who appreciated it's quirky innocence. Y.K. Kim finally saw his movie released to the public and appreciated by film fans all over the world.
This is the story of someone that despite all odds decided to make the movie of his dreams. He failed miserably but we can enjoy this failure as a form of art it was never intended to be but eventually became; so bad, it's good.
Miami Connection represents the epitome of cult film. It's so innocent in it's intentions that's it impossible not to like. There will probably never be another movie like this. That is until we find the next gem that is buried beneath the rubble of rejection and scorn and hidden away for decades, waiting for someone to buy it on eBay.
NEXT WEEK'S FILM:
Fight For Your Life (1977)
Director: Robert A. Endelson
Writer: Straw Weisman
Stars: Robert Judd, Catherine Peppers, Lela Small