Watch These Latino Movies And Try To Say You Aren’t Proud To Be A Latino
OK, it sucks that Latinos are underrepresented on the big screen, but when we do get a chance, we PUT IN WORK. Inspirational storylines, hot actors and Oscar-winning productions — we’ve done it all. These 11 movies will fill you up with more than enough orgullo and ganas to go out there and kick ass.
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
Ritchieeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Ritchie Valens was a Chicano rocker from humble beginnings who turned the Mexican folk song “La Bamba” into a mainstream hit. Just as his star was rising, he died in a plane crash at age 17. The movie version of La Bamba made us fall in love with Esai Morales (who played Ritchie’s badass brother, Bob), turned Lou Diamond Phillips into an honorary Latino and showed us that we can find inspiration in tragedy.
West Side Story
The film adaptation of West Side Story made history. Rita Moreno, who played Anita, became the first Latina to win an Oscar as supporting actress. Bow down to Rita, she is the only Latina and one of only 12 performers with an EGOT: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
Stand and Deliver
Credit: Warner Bros.
Jaime Escalante, a Bolivian teacher in Los Angeles, finds himself with a class of bright, but underperforming students. With students closer to dropping out than getting A’s, Escalante, played by Edward James Olmos, takes a chance and teaches his students calculus. SPOILER ALERT: Encouragement and perseverance can help anyone rise above their disadvantages. Oh yeah, and we learn how to do finger math.
Raising Victor Vargas
A coming-of-age film about a teenage boy in the Lower East Side of New York, Raising Victor Vargas proved there were plenty of talented Latino actors who were ready for a chance to shine. The film became a springboard for Victor Rasuk (Godzilla, Lords of Dogtown and Fifty Shades of Grey) and Melonie Diaz (Be Kind, Rewind and Fruitvale Station).
True story (check!). Feel-good narrative (check!). Scrappy, cross-country team from a predominantly Mexican-American high school (check!). Encouraging coach determined to succeed against all odds (check!). This is the epitome of “Sí Se Puede.”
A Better Life
Mexican actor Demian Bichir was nominated for an Oscar for his outstanding performance as Carlos, an immigrant father who fights to give his son a better life. This movie helps humanize the immigrant experience by showing the courage and strength it takes to overcome hurdles immigrants face on a daily basis.
Real Women Have Curves
Ugly Betty star America Ferrera shows there is nothing ugly about her. In Real Women Have Curves, Ferrera plays Ana, a beautiful, curvy Mexican-American student struggling to discover a path for herself. Her journey sums up the tension that exists within U.S.-born Latinos trying to balance two cultures.
Y Tu Mamá También
Credit: 20th Century Fox / chifladazine.com
This coming-of-age film about two teenage boys who take a life-changing road trip with an older woman received spectacular reviews and was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe Award. After the success of Amores Perros, Y Tu Mamá También proved that Latino directors were ready to make it in Hollywood. And of course, it brought two hotties into our lives: Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal.
Diego Luna stepped behind the camera to produce and direct Cesar Chavez, a biopic about the American civil rights activist who fought for the rights of farmworkers. The film brought education outside of the classroom and taught us about struggles and victories of the civil rights activist who popularized the slogan “Sí, se puede.”
Credit: Warner Bros.
Directed and written by Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth is a magical adventure about a young girl who has to confront monsters in both the fantasy and real world. In 2007, Pan’s Labyrinth took home three Oscars and redefined what a “Latino” movie can be.
Under the Same Moon
At nine-years old, most kids are worrying about science projects or getting book reports in on time. For Carlitos, it’s getting across the U.S.-Mexico border to reunite with his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in years. Under the Same Moon provokes tears and provides laughs as it follows a child’s search for what is valued most in Latino culture: family.