Entertainment

Is Jennifer Lopez Really The Only Latina To Be Featured On Screen In The The Past Few Years?

You would think since Latinos have one of the highest moviegoing rates in the United States, we’d see more of our lives and communities reflected on Hollywood’s big screen. However, that’s far from being the case. According to a report released last year by the Motion Picture Association of America, Hispanic-Latino filmgoers went to the movies an average of 4.5 times in 2017. 

Even then, a new study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative that was published this week, shows that Latinx representation in film is significantly lagging. 

There’s something inherently wrong when the Latinx community, who represents 18% of the total U.S. population and 24% of frequent moviegoers, is nearly shut out from the big screen.

In partnership with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and Wise Entertainment, USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released the report, titled Latinos in Film: Erasure on Screen & Behind the Camera Across 1,200 Popular Movies. The report looked at the 1,200 top titles at the box office from 2007 to 2018 as well as about 47,268 Spanish speaking or named characters. 

One of the report’s biggest findings, however, was that within that time frame, only two Latina lead roles were played by an actor over 45. Both were the multi-hyphenate Jennifer Lopez, and with her upcoming role in Hustlers, she’ll be breaking her own record. 

While the study by Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative mainly focuses on the state of Latinx representation in the past decade of Latinos working on screen and behind the camera as directors, producers, and casting directors, it also focuses on how underrepresentation and stereotyping “are the hallmarks of Latino portrayers in popular movies.” 

(Photo Credit: NALIP/USC Annenberg/Wise Entertainment)

The study found that in the 12 year research period, 4.5% of all speaking or named characters were Latino, but only 3% were leads or co-leads. More findings included that in the films that were studied, 4% had a Latino director and most of those filmmakers (71% to be exact) were from outside of the U.S. And that’s not the shocking part. Out of 1,335 directors, only one of those was a Latina woman. Among producers, only 3% were Latino. 

Latinx filmmakers, creators, and actors took to Twitter to express their frustrations over the findings of the study.

One Day At A Time co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett called upon Hollywood to increase the inclusion of the Latinx community by “demanding a 20% increase in representation both in front and behind the camera.” 

A Twitter user replied to the One Day at A Time co-showrunner and shared how joyous she feels when she sees Latinx folks credited in the acting and also production roles.

The Twitter user also added that we need more stories from more than one Latinx point of view as well and that “casting needs to diversify as well, since we come in all shades, hair textures, etc.” 

Actor, producer, and director Eva Longoria also took to her Instagram to comment on the story, she said: “Only 1 Latina directed a top film over 12 years & 1,200 movies. Studios, why are you erasing Latinas?”

In her caption, she also noted that Latinas are leading as grassroots organizations in many different fields but even then, Hollywood fails to notice their talent and potential. 

Latinx Actress Dani Fernandez brought up another important point that we fail to outwardly discuss and that’s agents and acting coaches allegedly telling white actors to change their last name to a Latinx sounding one. 

Twitter user Benita Robledo replied to Fernandez’s tweet and recalled a time when someone she knew told her they’d been thinking of changing their name because being “Latina is so so big rn.” 

Film critic Alonso Duralde further drove the point home about Latinx people playing a huge part of the moviegoing demo, yet still continued to be overlooked by Hollywood. 

“But studios insist on leaving this particular money on the table,” he added. 

Superstore actor America Ferrera also took to Instagram to express her thoughts on the study and its findings. 

“It’s easier to accept the mistreatment and dehumanization of Latinx people when they are invisible in our culture,” Ferrera wrote in her caption. Like Longoria, Ferrera demand that Hollywood take responsibility for the “stories you reinforce & perpetuate.” 

We hope this report shakes things up and causes Hollywood to really look closely at how it not only portrays but also casts Latinx actors, directors, and producers in the future. 

Of the report’s findings, Dr. Stacy L. Smith said in a statement that “at a time where Latinos in our country are facing intense concerns over their safety, we urgently need to see the Latino community authentically and accurately represented throughout entertainment.” 

Here Are 8 Latino Christmas Movies You Should Watch To Get Into The Festive Season

Entertainment

Here Are 8 Latino Christmas Movies You Should Watch To Get Into The Festive Season

Crown Media

This Christmas, when you’re getting comfy on the couch, ready to turn on the TV and watch a Holiday film, one thing is certain: we all know what the leads will look like. It’s safe to assume that the actors of most Christmas movies are white. 

Christmas and the whole holiday season is an important time of year for Latinos, traditionally and culturally, so it’s exciting to see Latinos on screen portraying our seasonal conflicts, rituals and family dynamics whenever the opportunity arises —which is not very often tbh.

When it comes to African American and Asian romantic leads in Hallmark holiday movies, the number is zero.

According to the numbers. By the end of 2017, Hallmark premiered a combined 86 new movies on two of its networks, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Only six of those movies had non-white romantic leads. That same year, Hallmark debuted three films with Catherine Bell (“Good Witch: Spellbound,” “Home for Christmas Day” and “Christmas in the Air”), who is half Iranian; one movie with Julie Gonzalo (“Falling for Vermont”), who’s from Argentina; and two movies with Alexa PenaVega (“Destination Wedding”), one of which also starred her husband Carlos PenaVega (“Enchanted Christmas”), both of whom are Hispanic.

While there obviously needs to be more seasonal films where Latinos take the lead, there are a number of films that Latinxs can watch to see themselves represented on screen. Keep scrolling to read all about them, here are some of our faves. 

Christmas Bounty

Starring Francia Raisa, this film is all about a bounty hunter-turned-elementary shool teacher who tries to keep her past a secret. Shenanigans follow as Raisa’s character reluctantly returns home for the holiday season. 

Nothing Like The Holidays

Credit: deswest_mac / Instagram

The dysfunctional Puerto Rican Rodriguez family reunite and fight for the first time in years in Alfredo De Villa’s Nothing Like the Holidays.  John Leguizamo, Freddy Rodriguez, Elizabeth Peña, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez and Melonie Diaz appear as the Rodriguezs, gathering for Christmas in their family home in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. 

¡Feliz Christmas, Merry Navidad!

Spanish-language ¡Feliz Christmas, Merry Navidad! directed by Luis Palomo, stars Tere López-Tarín, Carlos Soriano, and Angelina Cruz. The family-friendly magical-realistic holiday film tells the tale of three children who overcome differences in the interest of friendship.  The inspiration Christmas movie exposes the true meaning of Christmas, and the value of interpersonal relationships and family.

El Camino Christmas

Credit: kambizshayanfard / Instagram

Starring Jessica Alba and Emilio Rivera —better known for his role on Sons of Anarchy—this comedy will make you LOL. The story of a man who’s in search for his father and then gets stuck in a liquor store on Christmas eve, has at least a little bit of diversity in it, so why not give it a go?

This Christmas 

Laz Alonso and Lupe Ontiveros star in the African American holiday comedy-drama This Christmas, a film about the Whitfield family. The estranged family gathers under the same roof for the first time in seven years, and the attempt to rekindle broken relationships.

A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas 

This is one of the most diverse Christmas movies out there. It includes a few Latinx stars in it —Danny Trejo and the Colombian-American actress Paula Garces. The movie is about Kumar and Harold’s holiday adventures and, let’s just say there’s lots of cannabis involved. 

Esta Navidad

The 1959 film is somewhat of a cult classic. Directed by Rene Cardoso, the Mexican film is about the Devil’s evil plan to kill Santa Claus. The surreal film is set in Santa’s cloud castle as well as in Mexico City. It’s not a traditional film, but definitely worth seeing. 

Holiday in Handcuffs

Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart star in Holiday in Handcuffs, a holiday film about a miserable and lonely waitress and aspiring painter who kidnaps a customer from her job, so that she can introduce him to her family as her boyfriend. Mario Lopez plays the kidnapped fake boyfriend —and I mean, if I had the chance to kidnap Mario Lopez, you best believe I would.

The Past Decade Has Definitely Been A Reboot Era: Here Are The Decade’s Best—And Worst—Reboots

Entertainment

The Past Decade Has Definitely Been A Reboot Era: Here Are The Decade’s Best—And Worst—Reboots

Sony Pictures Releasing

With 2019 narrowly coming to an end, we’re getting ready to say goodbye to a decade. The 2010s have been a nostalgic ride. From the return of 80s “mom jeans” and Seinfeld-esque fashion trends to the revival of 90s music, fashion, beauty, and cinema. Whether we were discussing the return of crop tops, or boy bands, the decade looked back on the 90s with a vengeance —and Hollywood led the nostalgia train. 

Some of these reboots were hits, some were most definitely misses.

90s remakes and reboots dominated the box office in the past 10 years —and there are only more to come (e.g. Jumanji, Cats, Sonic, Mulan, Top Gun… the list goes on). So, as we bid the 2010s goodbye, join us in looking back at the best and worst remakes and reboots from the bast decade. 

Maleficent 2014 and 2019

Instagram @maleficentxcrystal

Although the Angelina Jolie-led fairytale about the “Sleeping Beauty” villain didn’t impress critics, who gave the film only a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences loved it. Reviewers praised the film’s visuals and special effects as well as its overall storyline.

Spider-Man far from home

Instagram @spidermanmovie

Not a 5 year period goes by without a studio picking up another Spider-Man remake project. And 90s children are happy to watch each and every one of them. On this occasion we went back to Peter Parker’s teenage years and even though it wasn’t the best remake of the spidey franchise, he went as far as to make an appearance alongside Thor, Iron Man and Black Panther in Avengers.

Aladdin

Instagram @disneyaladdin

I for one can confirm that the live-action remake was a masterful attempt at adapting the 90s children’s classic. From the diverse casting to the musical adaptations, special effects and Will Smith’s epic genie; 2019 Aladdin was a total hit. 

Jurassic World

Instagram @jurassicworld

The 2015 film, successfully rebooted the early 1990s franchise. The reboot of 1993’s Jurassic Park cemented Chris Pratt as a bonafide movie star —and there’s already a sequel in the works.

Beauty and The Beast

Instagram @beautyandthebeast

Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast pleased, even the most demanding fans. The remake, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens was a super faithful adaptation of the 1991 classic. This remake though, set a very high bar for all the Disney live action adaptations that followed. 

Power Rangers

Instagram @powerrangersmovie

The iconic TV superheroes of the 90s got their own reboot this decade, but the film received mixed reviews. Fans of the original series responded positively, but the film came second at the box office —only after another 90s staple, Beauty and the Beast.

Men In Black: International

Instagram @meninblack

The galaxy defenders made a comeback this decade, and despite Chris Hemsworth’s endless charisma, cameos from Emma Thompson and Bill Hader, Men In Black: International still wasn’t a huge success. 

Ghostbusters

twitter @eranuestro

The reboot of this 80s cult classic angered the male masses. Apparently, women who bust ghosts are somehow unacceptable. This film sparked outrage online and the trailer on youtube, as well as it’s IMDB page got record breaking negative reviews. Effectively redoing the original movie with the genders flipped smacked of political correctness and revisionist history. Or at least, that seemed to be the argument.

Terminator Genisys

Instagram @terminator.genisys.fan

The 80s and 90s reboot was a total flop. Despite Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the Terminator franchise, the film still tanked. 

Blair Witch

Instagram @blairwitchmovie

The Blair Witch Project was a 90s cult favorite. The reboot featured man of the same plot points and managed to recapture the magic of the 1999 classic. However, now that everyone knows that The Blair Witch Project was definitely not a documentary, the franchise lost its edge.

Independence day resurgence

Twitter @robzchildren

Not even Jeff Goldblum was able to save this Independence day —at least not without Will Smith, that is. 

Dumb and Dumber To

Instagram @jimcarey_

Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels reprised their roles as Dumb & Dumber, 20 years later! Unfortunately, the reboot failed to impress the public, and not even the most diehard super fans were on board. Only time will tell whether or not the film develops the same cult following as the original did. 

The Karate Kid

Instagram @thekaratekidmovie

Ok so first of all, the “Karate” kid learned Kung Fu in the 2010 version, not Karate as the title —and the original 1984 film— implies. 

The Mummy

Instagram @themummy

The original franchise was a thrilling, fun adventure film with lots of references to Indiana Jones. The 2017 remake, however, was a paint-by-numbers exercise designed only to set up a new shared universe. 

Teenage Ninja Turtles

Instagram @tmnt_2014

So for all of us who grew up in the 90s watching The Ninja Turtles, the show was all about martial arts and personal growth. All the 2014 remake focused on was exaggerated CGI —I mean those muscles, really? They’re turtles after all— and epic destruction scenes.