Square Grouper

Watch Square Grouper

"The incredible true story of the 1970's pot smuggler culture."
  • R
  • 2011
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 6.4  (509)
  • 55

Square Grouper is a documentary film directed by Billy Corben in 2011. The film explores the illegal drug trade that took place in South Florida during the 1970s and 1980s, with a particular focus on the marijuana trafficking network known as the Black Tuna Gang. The movie takes its name from the slang term for bales of marijuana that were thrown overboard by smugglers when they were pursued by the United States Coast Guard. These bales usually floated to shore and were picked up by beachcombers, resulting in the widespread availability of marijuana in South Florida during the period.

The film is divided into three distinct sections, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the drug trade in South Florida. The first section, titled "The Godmother", explores the life and career of Griselda Blanco, a Colombian drug lord who was responsible for introducing the practice of killing law enforcement officials to the United States.

The second section, titled "The Hippie Mafia", examines the rise of the marijuana trade in South Florida during the 1970s. This section focuses on the exploits of the Black Tuna Gang, a group of smugglers who specialized in bringing large quantities of marijuana into the United States from Colombia.

The final section of the film, titled "The Pot Prince of Palm Beach", centers around Robert Platshorn, a former member of the Black Tuna Gang who spent nearly 30 years in prison for his involvement in the drug trade. The section explores Platshorn's life after his release from prison, including his advocacy work for the legalization of marijuana.

Throughout the film, Corben uses archival footage, interviews with key players in the drug trade, and reenactments to paint a compelling picture of the rise and fall of the drug trade in South Florida. He also presents a nuanced look at the impact of the drug trade on the local community, including law enforcement officials, drug users, and innocent bystanders.

One of the strengths of Square Grouper is its ability to show the human side of the drug trade. The film features interviews with members of the Black Tuna Gang, as well as with law enforcement officials who were involved in bringing them to justice. In doing so, the film is able to illustrate the complex motivations and emotions that drove people on both sides of the drug war.

Another standout element of the film is its use of humor. Despite the serious subject matter, Corben infuses the movie with a wry sense of humor that prevents it from feeling overly grim. This humor is particularly evident in the reenactments, which are often played for laughs.

Square Grouper is also notable for its exploration of the politics surrounding the drug trade. The film shows how the marijuana trade was impacted by larger historical events, such as the Iran-Contra affair and the war on drugs declared by President Ronald Reagan. By examining these broader political forces, the film is able to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the drug trade in South Florida.

Overall, Square Grouper is a fascinating look at a little-known chapter in American history. Through its mix of archival footage, interviews, and reenactments, the film brings to life a world that many viewers are likely unfamiliar with. Despite its serious subject matter, the movie manages to be both engaging and entertaining, making it a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the drug trade in the United States.

Square Grouper is a 2011 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 55.

Square Grouper
Where to Watch Square Grouper
Square Grouper is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Square Grouper for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (509)
  • Metascore