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!

Naya Rivera’s Co-Star Lauren Potter And Others Are Paying Heartbreaking Tributes To Her

Entertainment

Naya Rivera’s Co-Star Lauren Potter And Others Are Paying Heartbreaking Tributes To Her

FOX

After days of searching, actress Naya Rivera’s body was recovered at Lake Piru in Ventura County, CA. Her life ended saving her own 4-year-old son Josey during a boating trip that went awry on July 8. But before her tragic end, Rivera was an actress and singer who won awards for her breakout role as Santana Rivera on the FOX series “Glee” and used her platform to support the LGBTQ community.

In response to her death, co-stars, fans, and admirers are celebrating her life and highlighting her work.

Check out some of the touching tributes below.

Naya’s co-star Lauren Potter paid tribute to the late actress with a throwback photo.

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Cheerios Forever

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Like her co-star Rivera, Lauren Potter became a breakout star thanks to her role on the FOX series “Glee.” Known for her part as Becky Jackson on the series, Potter paid tribute to Potter with a photo and a heartbreaking caption that read “Cheerios Forever.”

Rivera’s “Glee” co-star Chris Colfer honored her in an Instagram post writing that “being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor.”

Speaking of Rivera, Colfer wrote “How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post? How can you summarize a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can’t. Her brilliance and humor were unmatched.”

Glee turned Dreamgirls actress Amber Riley also paid tribute.

Riley, one of the only Black actresses besides Rivera in the early seasons of the show described Rivera as her favorite duet partner. “I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything,” she wrote.”

Heather Morris, Rivera’s love interest in Glee explained that she was taking some time to grieve.

Morris had been one of the people to join in the search for Rivera.

Reality star Nene Leakes promised to hold memories of Rivera “close to my heart.”

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow also contributed to the comments with a video of her and Naya singing “Landslide” while on Glee.

“Remembering beautiful @nayarivera today,” Paltrow commented. “Getting to sing in this trio with her was such a special moment. I am in utter shock and disbelief that someone so full of life and passion and talent is no longer with us. And completely heartbroken for her family.”

Yalitza Aparicio Says She’s Waiting For A Role That Won’t Pigeonhole ‘Because of Appearance”

Entertainment

Yalitza Aparicio Says She’s Waiting For A Role That Won’t Pigeonhole ‘Because of Appearance”

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty

Since the start of her acting career, Oaxacan actress Yalitza Aparicio has been sure to see that her work helps uphold her community. While many actors on the rise tend to focus on racking up more acting roles and fame, Aparicio has been much more vocal about her desire to focus on her advocacy and work for organizations like Cine Too. What’s more, ensuring that she secures proper representation for Indigenous people like herself.

While Aparicio first made headlines and won our hearts with her performance in the 2018 film Roma the Indigenous actress has yet to appear in another role on screen.

It turns out, it isn’t for a lack of offers.

Speaking with Indie Wire about her career, Aparicio has said that she is taking her time to find a role that properly represents her and her community.

“My objective in my career is to give visibility to all of us who have been kept in the dark for so long,” Aparicio claimed in a recent interview with IndieWire. “The acting projects I’m working on are moving slowly because I’m putting all my efforts in not being pigeonholed because of my appearance.”

Aparicio, who is 26-years-old, was born in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, rocketed to fame when she took on the role of Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 movie Roma. The film, which was nominated for various Academy Awards followed Aparicio as Cleo a housekeeper who works in a wealthy household in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma. Aparicio’s role brought her praise not just for her skills but for her role in solidifying a much-needed portrayal of Mexico’s Indigenous community.

Still, despite the praise and fame, the role brought her, Aparicio is adamant that her next role will be something greater.

“I come from a community where there’s no movie theater, and as a consequence, the population — especially the children that grow up in those communities — has less of an interest in the cinematic arts. [Cine Too] has the possibility to reach these children and provide an opportunity to instill in them the passion for cinema and teach them about this art form,” she explained in her interview. “I’m conscious that every step I take may open doors for someone else and at the same time it’s an opportunity for society to realize we are part of it and that we are here,”

In her interview, Aparicio points out that while she is very aware that Indigenous filmmakers and allies “have a complicated job because these things can’t be changed overnight,” she is still pushing for real change.

“Wherever I go, I’ll always be proudly representing our Indigenous communities,” she asserted. “We can show people that the only limits are within us.”