5 Miami Movies to Watch

One way to see the city from a social distance is to experience the great films made here

You want to see Miami from a social distance? Coronavirus has us turning to movies about Magic City. South Florida is the backdrop for some of the cinema’s best films, so we chose five that capture the spirit of the city while keeping you company during quarantine.

Pain & Gain

A chaotic crime caper, Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain tells the outrageous true story of a group of Miami personal trainers who decide to kidnap a wealthy businessman in an attempt to force him to sign over all his assets. When their plan takes a turn for the worse, the trio will stop at nothing to achieve their American Dream. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, and Dwayne Johnson, Pain & Gain is violent, bizarre, and darkly funny. Watch it for free on YouTube.


The Birdcage

The Birdcage stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as Armand and Albert, a gay couple who own a drag club in South Beach. When Armand’s son breaks the news that his fiancée’s father, an extremely conservative senator and presidential hopeful (Gene Hackman), is coming to dinner, Armand and Albert have to get creative in order to impress their future in-laws. A Miami classic, The Birdcage has it all: an unforgettable ensemble cast, hysterical one-liners, and a whole lot of drag. Rent it on iTunes, YouTube or Amazon Video.


Tracking the lives of four different students during their senior year at Pahokee High School in the Florida Everglades, we share the students’ highs and lows as they set their sights on leaving the small rural town they call home. Winner of the Knight Made in MIA award at the 2019 Miami Film Festival, Pahokee forgoes the use of talking heads and voiceovers for a more observational documentary style. The end result is a deeply nuanced, lived-in portrait of a struggling community that places all its hopes for the future on the shoulders of their youth. Watch it at Tower Theater Miami’s Virtual Theater starting April 24. Use promo code “tower” for discounts.


They Call Me Dr. Miami

Michael Salzhauer – aka Dr. Miami — is a world-famous plastic surgeon best known for live streaming his surgeries to his millions of devoted followers on Snapchat and Instagram. While his work life consists of days filled with Brazilian butt lifts and breast augmentations, he comes home to a wife, five kids, and a commitment to his religion as an Orthodox Jew. Taking place in Bal Harbor, They Call Me Dr. Miami is a highly entertaining look at Michael’s attempt to balance his role as a traditional family man with his larger-than-life social media persona. Watch the Miami Film Festival online world premiere, as it’s available to rent for 2 nights only, April 25 & 26. 


Waves follows a suburban African-American family as they endure tragedy and heartbreak while trying to exceed the world’s expectations. Featuring vibrant cinematography that brings its South Florida setting to life, writer-director Trey Edward Shults’ third feature is stunning, bold, and intense to the core; this is an operatic reminder that despite all the darkness in the world, love will always be the ultimate healing force. Rent it on iTunes, YouTube or Amazon Video

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