About Marshall Frank

Thirty-year veteran of law enforcement with Miami-Dade Police Department, sixteen years in Homicide, retired a captain. Author of seven fiction novels and seven books of non-fiction. Op-Ed writer for Florida Today and TC Palm newspaper. Former symphony violinist. Married, father and grandfather. President, Creative Arts Foundation of Brevard, Inc.
Author Archive | Marshall Frank

TO WIN THE WAR ON DRUGS: LEGALIZE

(This Op-Ed by yours truly appears in today’s issue of Florida Today)

On Nov. 8, just 70 miles south of the U.S. border into Mexico, drug cartel savages opened fire on three American adults and six children, burning and killing them all. Murder is commonplace. It’s not so unusual in Mexico to see bodies hanging from bridges. 

Why? It’s all about messages.

It’s no mystery. Cartels have been killing for years. No matter how many authorities claim they are fighting the drug war, too many — here and abroad — are beholden to warlords, in fear for their lives and the lives of loved ones, so the carnage continues all for money and drugs.

Mexico’s president was criticized recently after he declared a policy of “hugs not guns” in fighting the drug war. He’s too smart to be that stupid.

Arresting drug chieftain El Chapo was good news, though it accomplished nothing. No more than believing that radical Islamic Jihad is stunted because Bin Laden was killed. Great news, perhaps. Nothing changed. Drugs continue to flow. People die.

There are some who have suggested that domestic wars would be over if drugs were legalized. Hmm. Interesting thought. In fact, there

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MIDWAY” – 8.5 (M. Frank)

“MIDWAY”  –  8.5

 

     In a word: Deja Vu

Here’s the short version. “Midway” is a well-made war movie, but if you’re a middle-aged (or older) you will think you’re seeing the 1970 version, “Tora Tora Tora” all over again. It’s a remake, a la, scene after scene of American pilots flying, bombing and diving over Japanese war ships.

Just as in “Tora,” Yamamoto is often featured as the Japanese leader aboard his battleship leading the enemy into an invasion of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, and later, reciting the same phrase “I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant.”

Certainly, with technology advanced over nearly 50 years, the action shots are more spectacular and frightening. And, while the Pearl Harbor raid is well-recreated at the beginning of the film, the later objective is to defeat the Japanese air and naval forces at a crucial setting at the Midway atoll, in the Pacific. The movie certainly highlights the bravery and valor of the American military heroes as they finally claim victory over the enemy but not before thousands lose their lives. Without a doubt, some filming shots are visually spectacular, as the American commanders and soldiers fight with valor.

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THE GOOD LIAR” -10. M. Frank

“THE GOOD LIAR” – 10

     In a word: Engrossing

 

     This is a great movie, with shades of Agatha Christie and John Grisham creating a plot with so many twists and turns that keep the viewer lasered to the characters while anticipating what comes next in every scene. For people who like mystery, this is a do-not-miss film.

     The irony is that this film may not draw appeal among the bread-and-butter movie goers, the massive count of youths and millennials who keep the film industry thriving. The usual come-ons are absent.  There are no sex scenes, no nudity. No one uses the “F” word as a perennial adjective. Guns and bombs are not going off in every other scene. No Sci-fi or super natural. There is a scene or two involving struggles and one killing, but the story does not surround those events as the basis for the storyline. What does emerge will surprise everyone.

     The main characters are not a young hot woman and a sexy jock, nor politically correct mixed races as we often see today. Rather, the story encompasses two lonely British people in their late 70s, a widow and widower deftly played by Helen Mirren and

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THE PROBLEM WITH JAILHOUSE SNITCHES. Op-Ed M. Frank

(This article by yours truly appears as an Op-Ed in Florida Today)

 

Jailhouse “snitches” play a wicked role within the bowels of criminal justice. Too many innocent people have spent years — no, decades — locked up (or executed) for crimes they did not commit based on testimony from desperate criminals lying to assist prosecutors in gaining convictions. Whether explicitly promised favors or not, most “snitches” are compensated for their lies in the form of reductions in jail time.

One of the most diabolical examples in Brevard County was the case of 21-year-old William Dillon, arrested for murder in 1981 based on testimony by a dog handler. While in a cell, he supposedly confessed the bludgeoning murder to a stranger, who in turn, blathered the fake conversation to happy prosecutors. Twenty-seven years later, that snitch appeared in front of a legislative committee confessing that he had lied in exchange for leniency. At 48, Dillon walked out of prison, a free man never to retrieve those precious years.

The dog handler, John Preston, was eventually exposed as a fraud, based on several criminal cases where the evidence revealed otherwise. Dillon’s case was featured on FLORIDA TODAY’s podcast Murder on the

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “HARRIET” – 9.5

“HARRIET” – 9.5 

 

     In a word:  Powerful

A month ago, I wrote a movie review of “Judy” that began like this:

     “I can see it coming …“And the Oscar goes to – Renee’ Zellweger”…

Now I say, Whoa, not so fast. I hadn’t yet seen “Harriet.”

     It will be a tight Oscar race for best actress because a lesser known, 32 year-old British actress named Cynthia Erivo has given the movie industry one of the greatest female performances ever.

     The “Harriet” in this movie centers on a slave woman known in her earliest years as “Minty” who later changes her name to Harriet Tubman, a woman of unbridled courage and tenacity in the pre-civil war era in which she was responsible for hundreds of slaves being rescued and brought to freedom in the north, and later to Canada, while under the most hazardous of conditions.  She had escaped from the hands of her slaveholders in 1849 Maryland at great risk and steadily became a fearless, storied conductor on the Underground Railroad until the Civil War was over.

     This is not just a “slave era” movie in which the audience witnesses endless whippings and beatings, and heart-breaking plots

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “JEXI” – 3 / 10 (M. Frank)

A Frank Movie Review

JEXI  –  3 out of 10.

In a Word: Hunk-a-junk

 

First of all, do not bring kids to this movie. Sure, they’ve all heard the dirty words and seen suggestive stuff before, but this film was an overdose pushing the proverbial envelope to the edge of acceptability. There comes a time when kids need to know the barriers between art and pure garbage. Bringing a 12 year-old, even a 17 year-old to a movie like this sends a message that vile language, revolting behavior and references to male body parts – including pictures of pictures – is not acceptable in a venue that helps mold the minds and hearts of kids.

     Yes, there were a few funny scenes that made me laugh, which is why I didn’t give the movie a zero.  Rotten Tomatoes, on line, probably the most prestigious review site, awarded Jexi one star out of five.

     The premise was clever enough, if only the writers and director would have realized that excessive filth and immorality does not define humor.

     In a wrap, the movie is about a wussy fellow (Adam Devine), single, in his 20’s who is addicted to his cell

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DECADES OF ADDICTION KILLED MY BOY

(This Op-Ed by yours truly, appears in Florida Today, 20 October 2019, under title “I Got The News Families of Addicts Fear.”)

 

In 1972, a flower-child, divorced mother of a 12-year-old named Bennett introduced her son to marijuana. Pot use had been common in the household, so she said to Bennett, “Here. Try this. You don’t have to do this behind my back.”

So he did. Not only that, he found her secret stash in a closet and brought a pocketful to school, which turned out as a lucrative endeavor, hoisting his status to a seventh-grade drug dealer.

Not only did his mother ignorantly and wrongfully teach him that drugs were harmless, the subliminal message was worse, as he wondered why the one person who is supposed to protect her child from wrongdoing, actually encouraged it. So he wondered: Why doesn’t my mom love me?

Fast forward to age 18. After several episodes of runaway behavior, minor crimes and shifting residences with his single father, Bennett began showing signs of mental problems. A prominent psychiatrist diagnosed him as “manic-depressive,” which entitled Bennett to Social Security disability income from the government. Bennett spent three months in a treatment center

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