Entertainment

9 Popular Movie Genres That Would Honestly Be Better With Latinos

Movies! So much more than a fun way to lose 20-plus dollars! And Latinos happen to go to the movies more often than other groups, which is an important lil’ morsel of information to remember given the state of Latino representation in film.

So if we’re spending more money and time on movies than anyone else, why don’t we get to see more — and more diverse — representations of ourselves on film? (I mean, I have my theories, best left for another post.) Right now, let’s simply focus on the stories we could be seeing:

1. Noir

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Credit: Warner Bros.

Noir and Los Angeles go together like Los Angeles and never leaving your immediate neighborhood, yet this genre tends to focus predominantly on the experiences of white, gringo Angelenos, despite the reality that the City of Angels has always had a huge Latino (most notably Mexican) population. In fact, Latinos account for the majority of Angelenos.

Just imagine: A femme fatale, a hardboiled detective, an innocent dame (or is she????), and nefarious-dude-who-looks-great-in-a-hat who all happen to be Latino. Mexicans! Salvadorans! Maybe a Cuban from Glendale! It’d be fantastic.

2. Quirky-Ass Indie Comedy

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Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

One thing independent comedies have going for them (especially if they’re of the more twee and “quirky” variety) is that they get to showcase people at their most delightfully awkward, which is a far cry from how Latinos are often depicted in film. (One notable exception is Pedro, the Patron Saint Of Awkward Latinos On Film.) Where are the weird Latinos, guys? The awkward? The unsexy (but still pretty damn cute)? The socially inept? SHOW US TO US.

Just imagine: A movie about a group of friends on a road trip, all of ’em Latino, all of ’em with vastly different world views. Will hijinks ensue? YES!

3. Horror

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Credit: Warner Bros.

Imagine, if you will, a U.S. horror movie–starring an entirely Latino cast–that isn’t predicated on misunderstanding things like Día De Los Muertos (NO, IT’S NOT “MEXICAN HALLOWEEN”) or La Santa Muerte. So many diverse cultures are united by being goth as f*ck, so why don’t we have a movie that explores that in a truly scary, fun, well-made way?

Just imagine: A moody, heartbreaking look at the origin of La Llorona, without cheesy jump scares cheapening the emotional impact (and true terror) of the story. (Can you help us with this, Guillermo Del Toro? Please?)

4. Romantic Comedy

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Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Romantic comedies are equal parts timeless and dated because they mostly adhere to a strict formula: Girl doesn’t realize that the perfect-ish guy was Right There All Along, they find love, their apartments are suspiciously large for whatever city they’re living in. Also, with few exceptions, both Girl and Guy are white gringos. Sometimes one is Latino (and usually Jennifer Lopez). But imagine if both leads were Latino? Imagine a Latino couple seated in a Nancy Meyers dream-terior, finding that they really CAN have it all! It’s something we’ve yet to see explored on the big screen.

Just imagine: Two young Cuban men–one second generation, one new to the U.S.–meet and fall in love with the Miami skyline as their backdrop.

5. …And The Nicholas Sparksian Romantic Cry-Fest

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Credit: Playbuzz / Maximum Pop

In this particular sub-genre, two people–both white, probably both named Taylor–meet, usually on a bridge or beside a barn, always in autumn, and fall in love. The kind love that it can only be torn asunder by someone inevitably dying before the end credits. But you know what other genre features overwrought love stories with little motivation, usually ending in tragedy? Telenovelas. In fact, these genres aren’t so different, and there’s a lot to be mined from combining the blinding whiteness of Nicholas Sparks-inspired movies with the engrossing drama of telenovelas.

Just imagine: Autumn. A rustic bridge. A grandmother gives her granddaughter a locket. Flashback 50 years: Two young Venezuelans clasp hands, tears rolling down their cheeks. “Take this locket,” the dude whispers. “It’ll come into play at the end of the movie in a way that is both moving and romantic. You gon’ cry.”

6. The Ubiquitous And Seemingly Unending Superhero Redux Genre

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Credit: Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Looking at the recent 10 billion movies DC and Marvel have blasted our way, you’d think that there were no Latino heroes at all (except the dude with face tats who made the love of his life go up in flames). But they exist, many of them are interesting and complex, and it’d be kind of nice to see them do their thing on the big screen. In fact, The Wrap recently featured an in-depth look at why we haven’t seen better Latino representation in this genre, as well as some possible characters that would help skittish white executives green light something different for once.

Just imagine: A Miles. Morales. Movie.

7. Narcosploitation

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Credit: Netflix

Ok, I know, I know! But stick with me here: A genre unto itself, movies and TV shows about drug cartels and the lovable rascals who run ’em tend to both 1) over-index slightly when it comes to depictions of Latinos in media and yet 2) tell their stories from the perspective of white gringo folks. And they’re not stopping anytime soon. In fact, Jennifer Lopez (hi, again) is set to star in an HBO movie about “cocaine godmother” Griselda Blanco. So we’re not asking for this genre to stop, dry up, or stop existing. At this point, their existence is a given. What we can ask for, however, is a pivot, to see whether this genre can possibly focus on the rise and fall of the drug trade from the point of view of 1) Latinos who are 2) negatively impacted by the real pain, loss, and destruction caused by the drug trade 3) rather than focusing solely on Latino characters who faceplant into piles of cocaine while Rome burns around them.

Just imagine: A movie about drug cartels that actually show the damage inflicted by drug cartels on a human level without using a gringo DEA agent as a de facto stand-in for the audience.

8. Sweeping Period Drama Featuring Big, Fancy Hats

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Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Merchant Ivory-type movies, filled with gloriously large hats and various people swooning onto various chaise lounges, mostly concern themselves with British people pining for one another on foggy moors or, sometimes (because colonialism) in China or India. Sometimes these movies are adaptations of books by Jane Austen or E.M. Forster or D.H Lawrence. But the U.S. and Latin America also have their fair share of beloved, sweeping novels about people swooning over one another, and it’d be wonderful to see those stories adapted for the big screen.

Just imagine: Literally any portrayal of Latin America that involves a ballroom scene, a nice hat and a fraught political climate resulting in a love torn asunder.

9. Sci-Fi

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Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

OK, here we’re making some progress, thanks in no small part to the Star Wars franchise and the roles it’s given to Diego Luna and Oscar Isaac (who also deserves credit for being the best part of Ex Machina, even though his character wasn’t explicitly Latino) and the phenomenal Sleep Dealer. But those are but two roles and two stories in a genre that could use so many more Latino experiences and faces. If the future is becoming increasingly Latino, shouldn’t casting choices reflect that? Shouldn’t our view of the future and its possibilities include many, many, many more Rodriguezes and Garcías? (And maybe slightly fewer Damons. I never forget, Elysium.)

Just imagine: A visually stunning exploration of a future Latino utopia called “Pochotopia.” With some robots, maybe.


Basically, we’re asking for two things: 1) More Latinos simply existing onscreen, being a part of the world presented to us in film, and 2) an increase in Latino stories, specific to the (many) culture(s) we’ve grown up with, and the unique experiences and situations that are unique to this ethnicity. Also, a break for Jennifer Lopez, because the woman is having a hell of a time being the sole Latina across so many disparate genres.


READ: 17 Perfectly Creepy Horror Movies By Latinos To Watch Before You Die

What other genre would you like to see feature more Latino stories and actors? Musicals? Erotic thrillers? The next David Lynch film? Tell us!

A Fan Asked Eva Mendes Why She Hasn’t Acted In Years And She Says It’s Because She Isn’t Settling For Any Role

Entertainment

A Fan Asked Eva Mendes Why She Hasn’t Acted In Years And She Says It’s Because She Isn’t Settling For Any Role

evamendes / Instagram

This year’s Golden Globes awards were a complete letdown for a variety of reasons. Aside from the typical #SoWhite nonsense and long speeches, people were astonished at the lack of Latinas on the red carpet. We counted four: Jennifer Lopez, Ana de Armas, Sofia Vergara, and Salma Hayek. Depressing right? We know there are more Latinas in Hollywood, but where are they? At least one of the most recognized Latina actresses is explaining why she hasn’t acted in years. 

A fan recently asked Eva Mendes on Instagram when she’ll be in a new movie. Mendes responded by saying she won’t settle for any project partly because of her daughters. 

Credit: evamendes / Instagram

On Jan. 7, Mendes responded to a fan on Instagram when she asked her,  “When the fans going to see u in some new movies?” Mendes told her kindly that she isn’t offered roles that are good enough for her. 

“Hi! When there’s something worthwhile to be a part of,” she wrote on Instagram. “As a mother now, there are many roles I won’t do. There are many subject matters that I don’t want to be involved with, so it limits my choices, and I’m fine with that. I have to set an example for my girls now. But no worry, I got some side hustles. Ha! Thanks for asking. All the best for 2020.”

Mendes’s most recent role was the 2014 film Lost River directed and written by her baby daddy, Ryan Gosling. Things certainly changed for Mendes when she met Gosling in 2011.

The two first met while filming the 2012 movie, “The Place Beyond the Pines.” There was no denying the chemistry between the two in “The Place Beyond the Pines.” It was an extraordinary film about a Luke (Gosling) who doubles as a bank robber and motorcyclist. He meets Romina (Mendes), the two fall in love, and have a baby. Domestic life isn’t for Luke, and he cannot escape his crime-ridden life. We won’t give any spoilers, but it truly felt like we were witnessing a real-life love story.

Mendes is now the mother of two girls and has gone on to launch her fashion collection with New York & Company and has been busy with that for several years now.

Credit: evamendes / Instagram

While Mendes continues to lead a pretty private life with Gosling and her daughters, her fashion collection has been successful. She has also said that her partner has been very encouraging and proud of her work as a designer. 

“Ryan is incredibly supportive, and he’s always in awe,” Mendes told People magazine last year. “He makes me realize that [making the collection] is actually a lot of work. I have so much fun doing it that I don’t really realize.”

She also added that her in-laws and her family are extremely helpful to her as she develops each collection. 

“Ryan’s mom, Ryan’s sister, my mom, my sisters, my grandma are all my fashion guinea pigs,” Mendes told the magazine. “Nobody is going to be more honest than family, and our family is very honest. It’s something I really appreciate because when designing something, you need real feedback.”

Yet, still, with her success as a fashion designer, we cannot help miss Mendes as an actor. Remember her in “Training Day”?

Her role as Sara opposite Denzel Washington was so intense and incredibly raw. We can see why she would hesitate to be in certain kinds of characters, especially if the part calls for nudity or vulgar language. The role of Sara is also one that we have seen often, which is the stereotypical Latina as a single mother, living in the projects. That has been played out. That movie, however, was how we first learned of Mendes. 

She stretched her comedy chops in “The Other Guys” in 2010 alongside Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. 

That movie was hilarious, and she was amusing as the wife of Will Ferrell. Then again, that role was of a sexy (but smart) Latina who could whip of a home-cooked meal and be stunning all at the same time. Mendes can play the ultimate woman because she is a lot of ways. However, we understand she wants to break away from that notion that all Latinas are curvy, sexy, and feisty. 

Her Instagram is always active, so it makes us feel like Mendes hasn’t gone anywhere.

Credit: evamendes / Instagram

But we still miss you on the big screen, Eva. Come back!!

READ: Here Are 9 Latinos Who Have Become Triple Threats In The Entertainment Industry

In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

Entertainment

In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

beatrizacevedogreiff Verified

On the same day that many pointed criticism towards the Oscar nominations for lack of diversity, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a new initiative to help curb the issue, particularly for Latinos. The project is being called LA Collab, a historic endeavour that plans to link Latino talent to opportunities in the entertainment industry with the goal of doubling “Latino representation in Hollywood by 2030.”

According to the LA Times, the initiative has already “raised a quarter of a million dollars to finance a range of film, TV and podcast development deals and projects intended to provide opportunities for Latino filmmakers, writers and actors and crew members.” The initial funding for the project is coming from the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia and Endeavor Content, a press release from Garcetti’s office read. 

Garcetti co-founded the initiative with Beatriz Acevedo, the founder of mitú and president of the Acevedo Foundation and Ivette Rodriguez, founder of communications firm AEM. The trio says that the issue of Latino representation in Hollywood is one that needs attention. The announcement is spurred by a 2019 study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California that showed how Latinos are vastly underrepresented in the film industry. 

Despite making up almost 20 percent of the U.S. population, the study found only 3 percent of the top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 had Latino actors in lead or co-lead roles. LA Collab wants to help and push more Latinos to the front and behind the camera in the next decade. 

The study was a wakeup call for many civic and film leaders in Hollywood that were dismayed by the numbers that showed the growing disparity for Latinos in the entertainment industry. The report showed that only 4.5 percent of all speaking characters from the last 12 years of film were Latino, behind the camera, only 4 percent of directors of the 1,200 films were Latino.

“Latinos are a powerful force in Los Angeles’s culture and economy, and our trademark industry should tap into the diverse pool of talent in our own backyard,” Garcetti said at a news conference Monday. “On big screens or small, in front of the camera or behind it, our studios, actors, directors and producers inspire the world with the power of their creativity and imagination, and LA Collab will elevate new voices and empower the next generation of Latinx creatives.”

The lack of Latino representation in the entertainment industry is a problem that goes back many years with some putting blame on movie studios not greenlighting certain projects and films. Thomas Saenz, chair of the National Latino Media Council, told mitú back in 2018 that the problem is these studios overlooking Latino talent.

“When studios focus on diversity that can mean any minority group. Latinos in particular have been represented in minuscule numbers that don’t properly show what this country is made up of,” Saenz said. “In the last 10-15 years, African-American representation has gone up same for Asian-American. But I can’t say the same for Latinos. That has to change.”

The LA Collab initiative hopes to be a catalyst for that change. The project already has the support of some big Hollywood names that will be part of connecting workers with various employers in the industry.

Backed by Eva Longoria, J.J. Abrams, Eli Roth, Devon Franklin, Jason Blum, and Zoe Saldana, LA Collab will be working with all of them in some capacity to connect Latinos with opportunities. Roth will help connect Latino horror filmmakers via his digital platform, Crypt TV and Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films with Pantaya will also be hiring new bilingual voices for their projects. There have also been secured deals with multiple media companies, including Endeavor Content, WarnerMedia’s 150, Shine Global and Southern California Public Radio’s LAist Studios.

For Longoria, who has long championed the need for more Latino representation in the film industry, says that she will also be opening the door for more Latinos with her production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. 

“As a Latina, I want to see more actors who look like me on screen and behind the camera,” Longoria said in a statement. “I started my own production company to create content from our community, and I became a director/producer to be in a position to hire people who look like me. With LA Collab, I want to open the door for many more Latinx creators and fuel the emergence of a better entertainment industry that elevates and celebrates the diversity and richness of my culture.”

The announcement of LA Collab coincidentally fell on the day that Oscar nominations were announced. Criticism followed the nominations that had only one person of color, Cynthia Erivo, up for an award in the four major acting categories.

There was calls for multiple snubs on Monday morning as the Oscar nominations were revealed. Much of that criticism came from the lack of women of color, particularly the snub of  Jennifer Lopez for her role in “Hustlers,” for which she won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. The omission stood out for many reasons including what could have been the fifth Latina nominee in the category and the first Latina winner in the award’s history. 

This announcement of LA Collab comes at a time when the disparity in Latino roles and representation is the entertainment industry only seems to be going backwards. This year’s Oscars nominations is just one example of this continuing problem and one that Acevedo says can be fixed by working alongside studios and fellow allies. 

“The radical decline of Latinos in Hollywood was the catalyst to rally Hollywood behind this crisis to create change together,” Acevedo said in a statement. “By facilitating unprecedented collaborations between the creative community … and other influential allies, LA Collab will ultimately drive exponential growth for the industry and our community.”

READ: Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films