Entertainment

30 Years After Being Released, Here’s Where The Cast Of ‘Stand And Deliver’ Are Today

Thirty years ago this year, “Stand and Deliver” was released to the masses and nobody could have predicted the explosive success of the movie. Cuban born Ramón Menéndez was passionate about finding real high school students in el barrio to play the parts. After a disastrous attempt at getting high school students to become instant stellar actors, someone suggested using existing Latino actors who had only been given the opportunity to play one-dimensional violent gang members on screen.

This film gave Latin America some decent racial mirroring for one of the first times, and gave Latinos in Hollywood an opportunity to have range. Also, it gave us a go-to favorite movie you just expected to watch when you had a math sub.

The resemblance between real life Jaime Escalante and Edward James Olmos was uncanny.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Latin Heat. 2 October 2018.

The real story goes that Jaime Escalante became a math teacher at James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. In real life, he started teaching AP Calculus to a group of 14 students, of which only five students stayed the course through the end of the year. Only two students passed the AP exam.

Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante

CREDIT: “Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver (1988)” Digital Image. IMDB. 2 October 2018.

Unlike in the movie, Escalante realized he needed to give students years of preparation before taking the AP class. He offered intensive seven-week summer sessions every year to the same students until the infamous class we all know and love.

Edward James Olmos Now

CREDIT: @edwardjolmos / Twitter

The actor is now 71 years old, and that’s what his face looked like after Mexico beat Germany this year. He was the first Mexican-American to earn an Oscar nomination. He’s known for his roles as Lt. Marty Castillo in “Miami Vice,” Selena’s father in “Selena,” Detective Gaff in “Blade Runner” and the voice of Chicharrón in “Coco.”

Rosana DeSoto as Fabiola Escalante

CREDIT: “Stand and Deliver” Digital Image. Listal. 2 October 2018.

DeSoto played Jaime’s supportive wife, Fabiola, in the film. Fun fact: the boy who played Jaime Jr., their son, was the actual son of real life Jaime Escalante.

Rosana DeSoto Now

CREDIT: ai.pictures / YouTube

Born in San Jose, California, DeSoto is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and spent most of her childhood handpicking fruit. She was one of nine siblings and went on to graduate from San Jose State University in Spanish Literature and Drama.

We last saw her as Sonia in “Once Upon a Wedding” in 2005.

Lou Diamond Phillips as Angel Guzman

CREDIT: @stfoodcinema / Twitter

Angel was the toughest cookie to crack. He was a member of the Maravilla gang, and while he definitely showed up as a tough guy that got him kicked out of the class, he’s thirst for learning took over. He begged Escalante to stay in the class and proved that he had a natural talent for math.

Lou Diamond Phillips Now

CREDIT: @LouDPhillips / Twitter

Lou Diamond Phillips is actually not Latino. He was born in the Phillipines and is a mix of Scottish, Irish and Filipino. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in “Stand and Deliver.” Before that role, he made it big in “La Bamba,” but just the year before he was an uncredited terrorist in “Time Bomb.”

Vanessa Marquez as Ana Delgado

CREDIT: @xochster / Twitter

In a LA Times article, we learned that Ana Delgado “was the only teenage character in the film based on a real person.” Her name was changed, but the shy girl who was almost forced to drop out to work in her father’s restaurant. Escalante really did show up at her house and talk with her father, and she was able to stay in school.

Vanessa Marquez Now, deceased

CREDIT: @SPHStiger / Twitter

Vanessa Marquez was tragically killed by a Pasadena police officer on August 30, 2018. She went on to lead a successful career in film and TV and was a key player in the “ER” family. Unfortunately, she suffered from mental illness and was having a seizure when police showed up to her Pasadena home to conduct a welfare check. Ninety minutes into a conversation with authorities, she pulled out what we later learned was a BB gun and pointed it at police, who then opened fire.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Ingrid Oliu as Guadalupe “Lupe” Escobar

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. TV Tropes. 2 October 2018.

Lupe started out literally protesting Escalante’s educational tactics (i.e. giving quizzes), but eventually became the mother hen and urged her classmates to take the class seriously.

Angel also called her gordita and the queen laid it out, “Don’t call me gordita, pendejo.”

Ingrid Oliu Now

CREDIT: @CaveWoman1963 / Twitter

We know Oliu from “Stand and Deliver” but we also adore her as Estela, America Ferrera’s sister, in “Real Women Have Curves.” We last heard from her when she voiced the role of Officer Renee Montoya in “Batman.” Whatchu up to girl?

Patrick Baca as Javier Perales

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. TV Tropes. 2 October 2018.

Javier was the stereotypical nerd of the class, but he was in no way shy. He was a total know-it-all and the class got hella annoyed with him. His ego was taken down a notch when he got a low grade from Escalante and was given no special treatment for his previous smarts.

Patrick Baca Now

CREDIT: @PatrickBaca / Twitter

Baca won the Michael Landon award for his performance in “Stand and Deliver,” and has since been nominated for his roles in short films ever since. He’s been busy and we expect to see him in four films that have yet to be released including “Road to Redemption,” “Offer and Compromise,” “Santa’s Boots” and “Hunting Season.”

 Will Gotay as Francisco “Pancho” Garcia

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. TV Tropes. 2 October 2018.

Pancho is here for the money. He’s a young mechanic, eager to get to work and start making money, and easily discouraged by complicated math problems. Over time, Escalante convinces him that his education is the key to a successful career and he digs into the problems, solving them over time.

Will Gotay Now

CREDIT: @gotaywill / Instagram

Today, Gotay is an Executive Chef. He did go on to perform in “Dolly Dearest” and “Liberty & Bash,” but is living his best life in the kitchen.

Lydia Nicole as Rafaela Fuentes

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. TV Tropes. 2 October 2018.

Rafaela is a recent immigrant to the U.S. and is pretty quiet for the majority of the film. She doesn’t quite fit in with the overly feminized girls that grew up in East LA, and is more of an androgynous, quiet beauty with brains.

Lydia Nicole Now

@iamlydianicole / TwitterNicole grew up in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood of New York. Her radio work brought her to California where she worked in entertainment. Today, she’s best known for hosting the “Common Sense Mamita” web series, where you can find her gathering some “Stand and Deliver” cast members today for reminiscing.

Fun Fact: Senator Rand Paul has plagiarized from the “Stand and Deliver” Wikipedia page.

CREDIT: @drrandpaul / Instagram

Yup, he just straight up read the Wikipedia page of the movie on a speech on immigration in June 2013. Thank you, Rachel Maddow, for giving us this fact.

South Park spoofs Escalante in a 2008 episode, titled “Eek, a Penis!”

CREDIT: Hulu

It was a bit of a twofer. The movie tells the true story of how the students were mistreated with suspicion from the AP Board after they all passed and were forced to retake the exam to maintain their scores.

In this bit, it was also spoofing the NFL controversy around Patriots coach Bill Belichick being caught cheating.

Either way, long live “Stand and Deliver,” and may math teachers request many subs in it’s 30th year anniversary.

CREDIT: @coffee_and_street_art / Instagram

In December 2011, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry for it’s “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” values offered by Latino filmmakers.

Thank you Escalante for your own perseverance in changing the story of those high school students, and inspiring all of us.


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The Real-Life ‘Hustler’ Said Cardi B Would Have Been A Better Lead Than Jennifer Lopez

Entertainment

The Real-Life ‘Hustler’ Said Cardi B Would Have Been A Better Lead Than Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez cannot believe the incredibly positive reviews she’s getting over her lead role in the film “Hustlers.” She was so moved that she cried on national TV. Last week while being interviewed by Hoda Kotb, Lopez expressed her emotional reaction over the surprising reviews for her role, which some critics say could get her an Acadamy Award nomination. Here’s just a snippet of what film critics are saying about the film that made a big debut this weekend. “Hustlers asks what a movie like Goodfellas looks like with women at the center of the story,” one film critic said. “If nothing else, we get to see Jennifer Lopez command the screen as easily as Ramona does the stage, offering up a seductive awards-worthy performance that makes us remember why she became a movie star in the first place,” another said

There is at least one person who isn’t raving about Lopez’s role, and that’s the one who inspired the film. 

Samantha Barbash, the woman who inspired “Hustlers,” said she would have liked to have seen Cardi B in the lead role instead of Jennifer Lopez. 

Credit: Instagram/@iam_missfoxita

The 45-year-old said in an interview with Hollywood Life that rapper Cardi B should have portrayed her instead of the veteran actress, even though this is Cardi’s first film. “I said it from day one, even to the producer. Cardi doesn’t have the acting skills that Jennifer does, but Cardi could relate more to who I was because even though she wasn’t in the same club, we were in the same industry,” she told the lifestyle website. “If Cardi took some acting lessons and shadowed me, I’m sure that she would have played a better role for my character.”

Barbash goes on to say that she is flattered that Lopez wanted to play her in a movie but stresses that the film got several things wrong about her. 

Credit: Instagram/@iam_missfoxita

For starters, Barbash wasn’t a stripper at all. The film, based on a 2015 New York magazine article, shows Lopez as a stripper who ends up drugging wealthy bankers and robs them of their money. However, Barbash said she was never a stripper. Barbash actually worked at a strip club in New York City as a hostess. Yes, the other stuff about the drugs and taking their money is correct, but seeing Lopez play her a stripper didn’t sit well with her. Barbash also said that Lopez never reached out to her in order to learn about her mannerisms, which is what actors do when they’re portraying real-life characters. Even when the real-life character is deceased, actors still study old footage to learn more about the role they are playing. You may recall the extensive research Lopez said she did to portray Selena Quintanilla. She even slept in her bed to get into deep character.  

Earlier this year, Barbash said she would release her own memoir about the ordeal (which she did) that got her 5 years probation and said she planned to sue the filmmakers. 

Credit: Instagram/@iam_missfoxita

“This is a living nightmare,” Barbash said in April in the New York Post after videos leaked of Lopez on a stripper pole. “So now I’m going to have to do a lawsuit. I’m getting a gag order.” Bruno Gioffre, also said back then, that Barbash was “considering all legal avenues with the possibility injunctive relief, including a lawsuit.” The movie was made despite her legal threats. Today, Barbash is an entrepreneur and owns her own spa business. 

We can see why she would have preferred to see Cardi B in the title role. 

Credit: Instagram/@iamcardib

The Bronx rapper did admit to drugging men and robbing them, just like the characters did in the movie “Hustlers.” In 2017, Barbash was charged for conspiracy, assault, and grand larceny in exchange for five years probation

In March, Card admitted on social media that during her stint as a stripper in New York she too did what the “Hustlers” did in the movie. “I had to go strip, I had to go, ‘Oh yeah, you want to f*ck me? Yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s go to this hotel,’ and I drugged n*****s up and I robbed them. That’s what I used to do.” 

Soon after that post, Cardi said she it was wrong of her to do that and has since tried to make a better life for herself. 

READ: Critics Think Jennifer Lopez Gave An Oscar-Worthy Performance In ‘Hustlers’

Critics Think Jennifer Lopez Gave An Oscar Worthy Performance In ‘Hustlers’

Entertainment

Critics Think Jennifer Lopez Gave An Oscar Worthy Performance In ‘Hustlers’

YOUTUBE / Hustlers BTS Part 1

Jennifer Lopez is getting a ton of Oscar buzz for her performance as Ramona in “Hustlers.” Many people are shocked that Lopez’s film about a group of strippers is a contender for the Academy Award, but maybe they should start raising their expectations for Latinx-lead films. 

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) marks the beginning of awards season. Typically films that premiere at TIFF tend to go onto to win Academy Awards. These films tend to be dark, historical, and often white-centered with few exceptions (like Moonlight). However this year, critics are whispering about an unlikely victor Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers” which stars Jennifer Lopez, along with Constance Wu, Sarah Paulson, Cardi B, Lizzo, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, Lili Reinhart, and Usher.

“Hustlers” is the talk of the Toronto International Film Festival

When the credits rolled during the Hustlers’ TIFF debut the audience of over 2,500 applauded and gave a standing ovation that held to the very last second of the credits.  

“On Sunday, inside the InterContinental hotel, a sharp-suited male walking with Sarah Paulson was overheard telling the actor, ‘Hustlers is my Citizen Kane.’ By Monday word had spread even outside the festival’s perimeter: Several miles north of the 2019 TIFF activity, a Toronto local working at a pharmacy told her coworker that she had heard Hustlers was ‘amazing. I heard J. Lo could win an Oscar,’” writes Barbara Nitke for Vanity Fair

Critics Love Jennifer Lopez

There’s a scene in the film where Lopez does a striptease to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal,” that has gotten rave reviews. While I haven’t seen the film I imagine there is not anything as compelling as the sheer core strength of a 50-year-old Puerto Rican woman. 

The Daily Beast wrote the article entitled “J. Lo Should Be an Oscar Contender for Hustlers,” writing, “From Lopez, it’s the kind of dynamo movie star performance that gets rarer and rarer, where a character so perfectly fits how we view a performer but still upends every expectation.” 

While Variety said, “If there’s any justice, Jennifer Lopez will receive her first Oscar nomination for channeling the ringleader Ramona as Erin Brockovich by way of Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike.”

Vanity Fair claims this is, “some of the best acting work of her career.” 

“Hustlers” has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

“Hustlers” is a heist movie based on New York Magazine’s 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores.” The story follows a group of strippers who turn the tables on their Wall Street clients by stealing money from stock traders and entrepreneurs who visit their strip club during the late 2000s financial crisis. The film is a commentary on capitalism, money, and is a subversion of female stereotypes.

Audience members are raving about”Hustlers.”

“With all the Oscars buzz for @JLO in #hustlers here’s an unbelievable statistic. No Latina actress has won the Oscar for best actress. Only four have been nominated (Fernanda Montenegro — at the 71st Oscars — followed by Salma Hayek, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Yalitza Aparicio),” pointed out Ramin Setoodeh of Variety. 

“OKAY I am fully on the # Hustlers and Jennifer Lopez Oscar nomination train,” wrote one filmgoer. 

“ACADEMY. AWARD. WINNER. JENNIFER. LOPEZ,” said Joe Reid, co-host of This Had Oscar Buzz.

I’m here for HUSTLERS earning Jennifer Lopez Oscar buzz, but let’s not forget @JLo should’ve gotten Oscar noms for SELENA and ENOUGH and THE WEDDING PLANNER and MAID IN MANHATTAN and MONSTER-IN-LAW and THE BOY NEXT DOOR and THE BACK-UP PLAN and SHALL WE DANCE and SECOND ACT too,” wrote a fan. 

The low expectations we have for films with people of color.

“i cannot believe i cant believe it HUSTLERS the stripper movie with JLo and Cardi B has a 95% on rotten tomatoes while THE GOLDFINCH with nicole kidman, ansel elgort and finn wolfhard sits at a 30% this is so humiliating,” one person on Twitter wrote.

“The Goldfinch is getting slammed while Hustlers is receiving Oscar buzz,” pop culture writer Brittny Pierre tweeted. 

You have to laugh! They hate to see it. It’s always so amusing seeing films featuring people of color get underestimated by the public. Everyone feigns shock that a Jennifer Lopez film couldn’t possibly be a well-written, well-performed artistic work. Then they’re shocked again when a film with a predominantly white cast like The Goldfinch isn’t the Oscar-worthy darling they had expected. If we didn’t attach expectations on art based on who is making it before even seeing it, perhaps, critics wouldn’t always be caught so off guard. Nevertheless, people of color are always happy to prove institutions and expectations wrong. We’ve been doing it for so long at this point.