A whole lot of attention has been paid to The Infiltrator and its long-awaited release on Wednesday. The film, shot largely in Tampa, stars Bryan Cranston as Tampa resident Robert Mazur who, as an undercover agent for U.S. Customs, spent five years inside an international money laundering system leading to Pablo Escobar's Medellin drug cartel. Times movie critic Steve Persall liked what he saw, giving the film a B+ and writing that it lives up to those provincial expectations. He adds it's a sturdy true crime drama Cranston quietly dominates, in the dual-life vein of Breaking Bad.
SPOT THE TAMPA LANDMARKS
A rooftop pool. A liquor store sign. A small Jamaican restaurant. During the U.S. premiere last week, the crowd cheered not only for the actors, but for more than a dozen Tampa Bay landmarks that appeared throughout the film. Here are a handful of local spots to look out for as you watch.
SCOTT TO APPEAR AT GOP CONVENTION
It may be a bit anticlimactic since he's one of the few politicians to publicly endorse Donald Trump, but Florida Gov. Rick Scott will be appearing at the GOP convention. It is not certain whether Scott will speak. Sen. Marco Rubio is not attending, citing a need to campaign for re-election. Jeb Bush is not going, either, because he does not support Trump.
JEB BUSH ENDORSES DAVID JOLLY
U.S. Rep. David Jolly earned a key endorsement in his race against Democrat Charlie Crist for Pinellas County's Congressional District 13 seat, from former Gov. Jeb Bush. Redrawn during redistricting, the seat leans Democratic now, and it should be no surprise given there's no love lost between Crist and Bush. Said Bush in a statement: "Representative Jolly has done what any congressman should do and that's do the job that he was elected to do. I am proud to support him in this race." Jolly acknowledges taking votes away from Crist won't be easy. But Jolly says he ready for the challenge.
FREE SLURPEES AT 7-ELEVEN
If you're noticing an unusual number of people suffering from the telltale signs of brain freeze today, here's why. It's July 11, or "7/11" on the calendar, which means 7-Eleven stores are celebrating 7-Eleven Day with free small Slurpees for everyone who walks through the door—no purchase necessary. Since this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Slurpee, they're upping the deal to include a Slurpee Week offer for hardcore fans the store's signature, sugary, frozen drink: Use the 7-Eleven app when you buy seven of them between July 12 and July 18, and get 11 more Slurpees for free.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA A BOON FOR FLORIDA BUSINESSES
How big could medical marijuana become if voters approve Amendment 2? It could become one of the largest in the country within a matter of years. By 2018, medical marijuana users will spend nearly $200 million in Florida, according to estimates by New Frontier, a financial analyst that focuses entirely on cannabis. It says that by 2020 the state will make up 14 percent of the nation's legal marijuana use.
TAMPA CONCERTS ANNOUNCED
A pair of solid concerts were announced for Tampa. The Foals, driving alt-rockers who are huge stars in their native United Kingdom, will play The Ritz on Oct. 26. They will be joined by Bear Hands and Kiev. Meanwhile, those with more relaxed taste might want to check out Dolly Parton when she hits the big stage and plays Amalie Arena on Nov. 26 - two days after Thanksgiving.
BAVARO'S BRINGS ALLURES OF NEAPOLITAN-STYLE PIZZA TO ST. PETE
SCOTT KEELER | Times
Crispy, puffed crust with a tender, soft middle. No, it's not undercooked as some might think, but in Naples, that's how they do pizza. This is pizza you eat with a fork and knife, and at Bavaro's in St. Petersburg, it's done quite well, according to Times food critic Laura Reiley.
CORNHOLE GETS THE BEACH TREATMENT
So you like going to the beach or hanging out by the pool, but don't just want to lay on a blanket, swim or walk for three hours? Two brothers in Orlando, with the help of one of their wives, found a way to combat their boredom by coming up with Cornhole On Water. Much like the land game, the tubes are set about 10 feet apart, and ideally, both players would be about waist deep in the water. In the ocean, it is best to set up the tubes away from crashing waves, if possible.
RAISES FOR STARBUCKS WORKERS
Good news for Starbucks employees - the company is boosting the base pay of all employees and store managers at U.S. company-run stores by 5 percent or more. In a letter sent to workers, CEO Howard Schultz said that the amount of the raise will be determined by geographic and market factors. Starbucks doesn't disclose specifics on starting salaries for employees, saying it's determined on a market by market basis.
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