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Sunday, May 13, 2018

'Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story" DVD: Catherine Zeta-Jones Lifetime Channel Biopic of Queen of Miami Vice

The May 15, 2018 Lionsgate DVD release of the 2017 Lifetime Channel Original Movie "Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story" provides a good chance to see this smash hit with a strong pedigree without commercials. Oscar and Tony winner Mrs. Michael Douglas Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as the titular underworld legend.

"Godmother" effectively hits the trifecta of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll in this film that is surprisingly ambitious for a basic cable channel that is well-known for low-budget films about damsels in distress with a moderate to strong sexual element. One of many drug aspects of the film is DEA agent Jimmy (Warren Christie) narrating the film.

Sex enters the picture early on as we see a roughly seven year-old Griselda being the pimp for her mother in Colombia. This toddler initially allowing a trick to leave without paying his two bits only to soon collect with extreme prejudice conveys the don't fuck with me boys attitude of this future cocaine queenpin.

The action then moves ahead roughly 20 years to Griselda living a modest existence with her three sons and her abusive first husband in 1970s Miami. This man moving out triggers Griselda beginning to move on up by connecting with future second husband Alberto Blanco. Much of the fun of this portion of the film is watching Griselda teach her not-so-old dog new tricks and proving that the girls can play even more roughly than the boys.

This also is the period in which mistress Carolina enters the life and the bed of Griselda. She largely is eye candy even after indulging in rock candy.

The indisputably best element of this portion of the film is eldest son Uber being a good and respectable boy to the extreme of having a pretty blonde girlfriend from a wealthy family, spending his days playing tennis at a country club, and being on track to go to college and pursue a truly respectable career.

Conversely, the two younger boys are wild children who clearly take after their mother to her moderate distress. They ultimately join the family business and live a rock star lifestyle to the ultimate disadvantage of their mother.

The destiny of Uber dramatically changes when a casual comment prompts Griselda to have her future in-laws silenced with extreme prejudice. This prompts the future son-in-law to rebel by joining the family business in what can be considered an Uber sensitive manner. One spoiler is that he does not take anyone for a ride in any part of "Godmother."

Griselda going on to make a name for herself on the distribution end of the cocaine business leads to a partnership with "supply side" king Pablo Escobar. That relationship also proves relevant regarding Griselda once again finding herself on the market. This in turns leads to a couple of additions to the family.

This boost in the business activities of Griselda fully brings her on the radar of the DEA in this era in which busting heads in an effort to take down names is tolerated much more than in modern times.

Things build to a climax as the DEA turning up the heat prompts Griselda and the boys to make a run closer to the border; this in turn leads to a sort of a homecoming, which turns to Griselda paying the price for being innovative.

As mentioned above, the tone of "Godmother" is grittier and much less campy than typical Lifetime Movie fare. It also provides an interesting and personal perspective on the rise of the cocaine trade in Miami in the '70s and '80s.

The bigger picture is that this is a Lifetime portrait of a intelligent, clever, and driven woman who uses a convenient outlet to provide for her family and to assert her ambitious nature.

Anyone with questions or comments regrading "Godmother" is strongly encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

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