Provocative, misogynist, ill-advised, unabashed, smutty, sexist and laugh-out-loud lewd, There’s Something About Mary seems calculated as much to rouse the critic out of his good-taste complacency as to reel in a teen audience. As in many films on this list, here Miami stands for adolescent fantasies—specifically those of neeky Ted (Ben Stiller), who sets out to recapture the heart of a girl (Cameron Diaz) he nearly wooed in high school before (literally) cocking it up. Note a rare movie outing for the defunct Miami Art Museum (reopened in 2013 as the Pérez Art Museum).
Sometimes it seems as if cinema is conspiring to make people hate Miami. Ever since filmmakers started flocking to Florida in the first half of the last century, Miami movies have become synonymous with gruelling gangster pictures and funereal film noir flicks. Like LA before and Vegas after it, Miami fast acquired a rep for cinematic nastiness. This, then, is our tip of the hat to those movies that paint a rosier picture of the city and the state—that, for all their own dark edges, opt to bask in the Florida sun rather than shut it out. Some are satirical, most are funny, and all are in some way optimistic. Welcome to Miami Nice.