Entertainment

20 Movies That Came Before ‘Coco’ That Are Perfect For Latino Kids Right Now

When it comes to Latino representation on screen, the opportunity our kids get to see characters, stories and actors that are like them are few and far between. Here’s a look at twenty great movies that were made for kids in mind and are starring, produced by, and about Latinos. 

1. The Book of Life

CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

The 2014 movie is an American  3D computer-animated musical fantasy film starring Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana and Kate del Castillo. It won a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film that same year.

2. Ferdinand the Bull

CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

The 1938 American short was produced by Walt Disney Productions. The movie is based on The Story of Ferdinand which was published in 1936. 

3. Zootopia

CREDIT: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Shakira starred as Gazelle in this 2016 film about a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist. In the film, Shakira plays a famous pop star.

4. Thumbelina

CREDIT: Warner Bros. Family Entertainment

The 1994 American animated musical fantasy film starred Charo as Mrs. Toad. The movie was based on a  book of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen.

5. Shrek

CREDIT: DreamWorks Pictures

This American animated fantasy was loosely based on a William Steig fairy tale book and put out in 2001. Cameron Diaz starred as Princess Fiona.

6. Puss in Boots

CREDIT: DreamWorks Pictures

Antonio Banderas starred in this Shrek spinoff as Puss in Boots. The actors played a talking cat running from the law. 

7. The Prophet

CREDIT: GKIDS

In 2014, Salma Hayek produced this animated adaption of Kahlil Gibran’s book and took on the role of Kamila. The film did some gender swapping and was previewed at Cannes.

8. Spy Kids

CREDIT: Dimension Films

The 2001 American spy adventure comedy was produced by Robert Rodriguez and starred Antonio Banderas, Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara. The actors starred as a family that fights an evil mastermind together.

9. Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

CREDIT: Dimension Films

Antonio Banderas, Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara joined forces again to star in this film in 2003. The movie was another spy adventure comedy that followed the Cortez family on an adventure.

10. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

CREDIT: Columbia Pictures

Benjamin Bratt starred as Manny, Sam’s Guatemalan cameraman who was also a former doctor, co-pilot, and comedian.

11. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

CREDIT: Warner Bros. Pictures

This 2005 adaptation of the book by Ann Brashares starred America Ferrera and Alexis Bledel. The movie was released in May 2004 and topped the Box office at 42.01 million.

12. Book of Dragons

CREDIT: Paramount Pictures

America Ferrera stars in this 2011 movie about a legend that pertains to new dragons.

13. Ice Age

CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

John Leguizamo stars in this 2002 movie about animals migrating south to escape the winter. For his part, Leguizamo plays Sid a giant ground sloth. 

14. Home

CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

Jennifer Lopez stars along side Rihana in this 2015 hit about a girl who manages to avoid capture of a space invasion. The movie includes Lopez’s ballad song “Feel The Light.”

15. Foodfight!

CREDIT: Universal Pictures

Eva Longoria stars in this 2012 animated adventure comedy alongside Charlie Sheen and Hillary Duff. Longoria plays Laxy X the character’s antagonist against a dog who is a private investigator.

16. The Cheetah Girls

CREDIT: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

The Cheetah Girls debuted on Disney in 2005 and starred Adrienne Bailon who was a member of the girl group, 3LW.  The movie followed four teen girls living in NYC trying to score their own music label. 

17. Gotta Kick It Up

CREDIT: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

America Ferrera starred in this film about a group of Latina girls who compete as a dance group despite the odds that are stacked up against them. 

18. La Bamba

CREDIT: Columbia Pictures

This biographical movie about the short life of singer Ritchie Valens. Esai Morales stars as Bob Morales (Ritchie’s brother).

19. Around the World in 80 Days

CREDIT: United Artists

This 1956 American epic adventure-comedy film starred Cantinflas and David Niven.

20. The Maldonado Miracle

Salma Hayek stars in this Daytime Emmy Award special. Hayek received the award for her outstanding directing in the 2004 movie about a town whose faith is tested when a statue of Jesus appears to be crying real tears of blood.


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Here’s The Woman Behind The Stunning Marigold Bridges In ‘Coco’ And Her Ofrenda Art

Culture

Here’s The Woman Behind The Stunning Marigold Bridges In ‘Coco’ And Her Ofrenda Art

Javier Rojas / mitú

This weekend is sure to be a special time at the Hollywood Bowl as Disney and Pixar’s Coco will be screening a live-to-film concert experience like no other. Stars like Miguel, Eva Longoria, and Benjamin Bratt made appearances at both screenings and the iconic film was accompanied by a full, live orchestra.

However, there was one other star making her presence felt this weekend. While she might not be taking the stage or even be known to some, she is a legend in the world of Día De Los Muertos. Meet Ofelia Esparza, who for the last 40 years she has been behind hundreds of ofrendas, or alters, honoring loved ones who have past.

Her work has been featured in some of most famous museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Japanese American National Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art, internationally at the first Day of the Dead exhibit in Glasgow, Scotland. Just last week, Esparza and her daughter, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, had an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

This weekend, Esparza and Ahrens showcased a three-level ofrenda right outside of the Hollywood Bowl venue. The ofrenda greeted guests attending the showings of “Coco.”

Credit: Javier Rojas

Esparza, 86, who was born and still lives in East L.A, has devoted most of her life to creating alters. She learned many of her craft skills from her mother in Mexico and in return has passed on these traditions to her nine children. For Esparza, alter making is more than just a form of expression but an obligation that has made its way through multiple generations to honor loved ones who are now gone.

While Esparza has never met her great-great-grandmother, she knows of her through years of alter-making. Without this craft being passed down through multiple generations, she says she might have never known much about her and credits this tradition for intimately connecting her.

“My mother passed this on to me at a very young age and it always stuck with me that I have to carry on these traditions because if we don’t then who will,” Esparza said.

Using an array of photos, candles and vibrant carnations, Esparza’s alters stand out for their use of giant multilevel structures. The alters range from personal, political and even spiritual. Her work has garnered her many awards including just last year when she was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as a 2018 National Heritage Fellow.

“I’m touched that people look at my work and want to learn more about this. It goes beyond just Día De Los Muertos but celebrating and honoring those who have past,” Esparza said. “To me that’s the biggest honor, being able to teach people about what alter making is really about.”

Esparza has followed through with many of the traditions her mother taught her at a young age and continues to pass this on. In her 40s, she became a school teacher where she included Mexican culture into her curriculum, including Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. This has included speaking at schools, museums, community centers, prisons, and parks throughout LA county and across the country.

Her expertise and passion for alters led Esparza to be a cultural consultant for “Coco.” Many of the scenes, including the famous flower bridge, were ideas that came from her.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Esparza was approached by Disney and Pixar to be a cultural consultant for the Oscar-winning film. She says that many details and scenes seen throughout the movie came from some of her feedback including the famous marigold bridge scene where ancestors cross over into the land of the living on the Day of the Dead.

“I gave them a lot of feedback on certain things including what the bridge that connects the two worlds of the living and the dead represents,” Esparza said. “It was incredible to see that come to life and for people to resonate with that message of crossing over into two worlds.”

When asked about the popularity of the film and what it means for new generations to learn about Día de Los Muertos, she says it makes her happy and only asks of one thing.

“I want people to know that Día de Los Muertos is more than just putting on some skull paint but a true honoring of those who are no longer with us.”

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A Latina Threw A ‘Coco’ Themed Party For Her Quinceañera And It’s The Cutest Thing Ever

Culture

A Latina Threw A ‘Coco’ Themed Party For Her Quinceañera And It’s The Cutest Thing Ever

@rc_olivas / Amazon

It’s an understatement to say that the beloved Disney movie “Coco” has inspired a generation. Not only do the themes of family and acceptance resonate across all age groups, but the movie’s vibrant colors and catchy musical numbers make it the perfect movie to entertain the whole family. As well all know, the film was created as sort of a love letter to Mexico and Mexican culture. 

In some Latinx families, watching it has become a sort of tradition. 

Many “Coco” fans will tell you that the movie isn’t just a movie–it’s a way of life. 

Pixar

The movie has obviously hit a chord with the younger set, inspiring endless amounts of musical covers, artwork, and blog posts. And of course, the movie has also become a huge hit in the theme-party racket. A simple Pinterest search will turn up dozens of photos of children’s’ birthday parties inspired by the hit Disney musical. When it comes to throwing a “Coco”-themed party, the artistic possibilities are endless!

But the most recent act reverence for the acclaimed film may be the most exciting one yet.

While many Latinas have quinceañeras that end up being more of their mother’s vision than their own, it looks like one lucky Latina got to take the reigns on her special day.  Recently on Twitter, a super-fan shared pictures with the film’s director of  a “Coco”-themed quinceañera. The party was complete with calacas, candy, and ofrendas–all of which brought to mind specific parts of the movie.

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

The birthday girl’s cousin shared the pictures to Twitter tagging the film’s director Lee Unkrich and asking Unrich if he liked it. Olivas shared four photos (although we would love to see more), of different parts of the party’s decor.

Needless to say, the pictures are a sight to behold.

It’s obvious from how intricate the decorations are that someone put in an incredible amount of work. We all know that many Latinx families spare no expense when they’re throwing a Quinceañera, but the amount of effort put into this one may just take the cake.

Just look at this beautiful “Coco”-themed ofrenda:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

If you look closely, you can see that one ofrenda has pictures of what are (presumably) family members that have passed. But on another ofrenda, the people in the photos are all characters from the movie. 

So much thought was put into the fictional ofrendas that the only characters displayed are ones that Miguel meets in the afterlife:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

As you can see in the display, great-grandma Coco sits in the middle. Then, there are Tío Oscar and Tío Felipe in the background, and Tía Rosita on the left. And of course, we couldn’t forget the infamous torn photo of Miguel’s great-grandfather, Hector, on the right. It looks like this family didn’t leave anyone out!

And of course, it wouldn’t be a “Coco” without Miguel’s guitar being featured prominently on one display:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

You can truly tell that this quinceañera’s decorations were a labor of love. The amount of detail that was paid attention to is inspiring. We wish this movie had been around when we turned fifteen!

And of course, the true piece de resistance was the cake, that has the signature “Coco”lettering emblazoned on the top:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

We can just imagine all of the photos the birthday girl was forced to take standing in front of this. And although we know that it’s a tradition in many families, we don’t want to imagine this cake being destroyed at all! It’s truly a work of art.

As for the director, he responded to Olivas’s tweet with the perfect response:

Unkrich must be proud to know that they movie he helped create is helping Latinos truly celebrate their own culture. Latinas from generations past have not been lucky enough to have movies that starred Latinx characters with a well-rounded identity. In the past, Latinos have been sidled with watching stereotypical renditions of themselves onscreen from drug-dealers to “Mexican Spitfires”. “Coco” puts all of those stereotypes aside and simply tells a story where Latinos are shown for their humanity.

It’s moments like this prove that the movie “Coco” is more than just another children’s movie–it’s a piece of art that has touched people’s lives. This further proves that seeing art that reflects you and your culture is so important. Not only does it make  you feel seen in the world, but it can make you appreciate your culture so much more. This is especially true for marginalized groups.

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