Scenes from the rakontur cutting room floor (part II)

By | March 27th, 2012 | No Comments

Wynwood independent theater O Cinema is in the middle of a retrospective of the first ten years of filmmaking by rakontur, the Miami-based media studio that broke out in 2006 with Cocaine Cowboys. The retro continues on Wednesday with a screening of an extended version of The U, a documentary that rakontur made for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series about the Miami Hurricanes’ dominance and “Bad Boys” behavior in the ’80s. Here, co-founder Billy Corben reflects on a scene that did not make it into the film’s final cut.

Film: The U (2009)
Scene: “Recruiting Stories — Lamar Thomas”

Billy Corben: We interviewed over 30 former players, coaches, etc. for The U, so we had tons of footage and great stories. We had to make cuts for time and some of them were tough to lose. Anything with Lamar Thomas and/or Michael Irvin was particularly painful to cut because they are not only two of the greatest ‘Canes players of all time, they are also two of the greatest ‘Canes personalities ever. There is a lot of juicy stuff in this clip, including Lamar’s revelation that he was recruited illegally by the Florida Gators and some incredible intercutting with him and Michael telling a story about Lamar’s recruiting visit to the University of Miami, driving around town in Michael’s convertible Nissan ZX with the “Playmaker” vanity plate on the front.

‘The U’ will screen at O Cinema on Wednesday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m., after a screening of the Borscht Film Festival short ‘The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke’, which rakontur executive produced. Uncle Luke and former Miami Hurricanes players will be in attendance. Visit the event page for full details.


The last film screening in the rakontur retrospective is Square Grouper, a portrait of South Florida as “a pot smuggler’s paradise” in the ’70s and ’80s. This deleted sequence from the documentary deals with two sizable drug busts, one at a Miami Beach home and one on the water.

Film: Square Grouper (2011)
Scene: “”San Marino and The Presidential”

Billy Corben: This is a really cool sequence that we cut when the ‘Black Tuna Gang’ chapter started running long. Black Tuna is the second of Square Grouper‘s three parts. The first is the tale of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church in Miami and the third is all about Everglades City. These scenes elaborate on the downfall of the Black Tuna marijuana smuggling gang, the leader of which, Robert Platshorn became the longest serving non-violent marijuana prisoner in American history (he will be at the O Cinema for the screening on Thursday night). This cut I think I actually regret making. It recounts some significant climactic events of their story that I feel would have made this chapter even more vivid and powerful. We had to cut 5 minutes though, so we cut this.

‘Square Grouper’ will screen at O Cinema on Thursday, March 29, at 7:30 pm, with members of the film cast in attendance. Visit the event page for full details.


The rakontur retrospective closes on Friday with a conversation with co-founders Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman that will be hosted by CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede. For more details on the retrospective, visit

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