Things That Matter

Hollywood Does Latin America: 21 Movies Shot South Of The Border

Hollywood has long been in love with Latin America. After all, it is a very diverse region in terms of natural landscape, cities and people. Production costs are also cheaper than in the United States because wages are lower and local governments often give movie studies tax breaks. Stereotypes about Latin America are also alive and well in the United States (ay, caramba, arriba, arriba) and directors often set their stories in the “exotic” and “enchanting” land bellow Rio Grande. The recent violence that has infested our region is also attractive to scriptwriters of action films and political thrillers.

Here’s 21 movies shot in our region: 

The Mosquito Coast (1986)
Location: Belize

Credit: The Mosquito Coast. Warner Bros.


This film directed by Australian Peter Weir follows the utopian dream of a father played by Harrison Ford, who sick of life in the city decides to move his family to a Central American jungle. Of course, cue the stereotypes here!  The film was shot in paradisiac Belize. Try not to cry when you see River Phoenix as Harrison’s son… a few years before his tragic death.

Titanic (1997)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Titanic. Twentieth Century Fox.


One of the highest-grossing movies of all time was shot in Rosarito, Baja California. James Cameron built a giant set that became a tourist attraction when filming wrapped up. That is the reason why there are dolphins swimming by the enormous ship when in reality there were none in the Titanic’s fateful path! 

The Tailor of Panama (2001)
Location: Panama (obviously!)

Credit: The Tailor of Panama. Columbia Pictures Corporation.


This international espionage thriller shows Panama as a corruption-laden country where geopolitical decisions are made in the dark. Panama City is shown in all its decadent splendor. Geoffrey Rush portrays a skillful tailor for the rich and powerful… who confide in him, making him quietly powerful himself. 

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Locations: Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Peru

Credit: The Motorcycle Diaries. FilmFour.

This amazing biopic follows Ernesto Che Guevara in his younger years, before he became a revolutionary icon. Guevara went along on a road trip throughout the continent with his friend Alberto Granado. Director Walter Salles managed to get Hollywood money to produce this authentic ode to the vastness of our region.

Star Wars: Episode IV. A New Hope (1977)
Location: Tikal, Guatemala

Credit: Star Wars: Episode IV. A New Hope. Lucasfilm.


That’s right! Remember that shot of the rebel bases in the first Star Wars movie? Did they look strangely familiar? Well, George Lucas decided to shoot in the Mayan ruins of Tikal, Guatemala. That’s a cool trivia fact you can share with your carnales eh?

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
Location: Chile

Credit: Seven Years in Tibet. Mandalay Entertainment.


Hollywood has never been too good at respecting geographical specificity! This 1997 movie showcase Brad Pitt at the pinnacle of his fame. Brad plays a climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama when China was about to take over Tibet. Of course it was tricky to shoot in the actual Himalayas, so the production team shot in the Chilean Andes instead!

Salvador (1986)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Salvador. Orion

Mexico often works as a stand-in for all and any Latin American countries. This political thriller directed by Oliver Stone follows the fate of a gringo war photographer who gets into trouble during the brutal Salvadorian civil war in the 1980s. Stone chose the Mexican state of Morelos to appear as the Central American country even though locals have a completely different ethnicity to Salvadorians! Ah, Hollywood!

Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Romeo + Juliet. Twentieth Century Fox


Another movie starring Leo DiCaprio. This extravagant adaptation of the classic romance by William Shakespeare was shot in iconic sites in Mexico City such as the Castillo de Chapultepec, as well as the sweaty beaches of Veracruz.  Director Baz Luhrmann made sure the colors and surreal imagery of Mexico really pop on the screen! 

Quantum of Solace (2008)
Location: Chile (awk-ward!)

Credit: Quantum of Solace. MGM.


The location of this film is problematic: the action is supposed to take place in Bolivia, but it is in fact shot in the Chilean desert. Problem is that region has been disputed by these two countries, and it is a touchy subject to say the least. Talk about being insensitive! 

Proof of Life (2000)
Location: Ecuador

Credit: Proof of Life. Castle Rock Entertainment.


The chatter about this Taylor Hackford film had to do more with the passion that sparked between the protagonists Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe than for the film itself. Still, it shows some pretty amazing natural scenery that makes Ecuador one of the most biodiverse and gorgeous countries in the planet. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Location: Puerto Rico

Credit: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Disney.


La isla bonita  was chosen by director Rob Marshall to be the backdrop of Captain Sparrows escapades. Given that Puerto Rico was one of the epicenters of pirate culture in the nineteenth century, and that the island is amazing, this makes for an ideal location for one of the last installments of the franchise. 

The Night of the Iguana (1964)
Location: Mexico

Credit: The Night of the Iguana. MGM


This is the movie that made Liz Taylor fall in love with Puerto Vallarta, which then became a touristy hotspot. Taylor herself wasn’t in the film, but she was coming along with hubby Richard Burton, who starred in this John Huston movie. The beach scenes are iconic and show the best of the Mexican pacific coast.

Nacho Libre (2006)
Location: Mexico (pero por supuesto)

Credit: Nacho Libre. Paramount Pictures.


More than one lucha libre fan was worried when news broke out that Jack Black was going to star in a wrestler movie. Were the gringos just going to make a racist spectacle? Surprise! Director Jared Hess really did his homework and the movie is a colorful homage shot in iconic wrestling dens in Mexico City.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Location: Ecuador

Credit: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Miramax.


Another Peter Weir film. This naval adventure brings out our inner child and puts it in touch with our sense of discovery. The film follows Russel Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey, a British sailor who pursues a French vessel in South America. The scenes when they touch land in Ecuador are beautifully shot.

Apocalypto (2006)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Apocalypto. Twentieth Century Fox.


For all the things that Mel Gibson got wrong in this movie about the ancient Maya (who DID NOT have human sacrifices, those were the Aztecs, Mr. Gibson), the location was spot on. The jungle of Southern Mexico is the perfect backdrop for this gorgeously shot, action-packed chase.

Evita (1996)
Location: Argentina

Credit: Evita. Buena Vista Pictures.


Talk about a controversial film. Evita is one of the most discussed political figures in Latin American history and her legacy is still a touchy topic in Argentina. Director Alan Parker cast Madonna as the leader, which added injury to insult. The production shot in iconic buildings with the support of the government. At the end, it is a pretty decent and somewhat respectful musical. 

The Revenant (2015)
Location: Argentina

Credit: The Revenant. Twentieth Century Fox.


The movie that finally got Leo DiCaprio his Best Actor Oscar really tested his limits. This tale of survival and revenge was shot under extreme conditions in Patagonia, where the icy natural landscape squeezed every inch of energy off the cast and crew. One thing is for sure: the far corner of the world is sure pretty!

Elysium (2013)
Location: Mexico

Credit: Elysium. TriStar Pictures


What do you do if you want to shoot an apocalyptic version of Los Angeles? According to director Neil Blomkamp you head to the outskirts of Mexico City. This failed sci-fi movie does everything wrong: it takes advantage of a struggling sector of Mexican society to present what future poverty in Los Angeles is supposed to look like. Shame on them!

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Location: Brazil

Credit: Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios.


The Marvel Universe has travelled throughout the world, and the confrontation between Iron Man and Captain America happened with glorious Brazil as the backdrop. Remember those explosions in the high-security compound? Welcome to South America!

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
Location: Dominican Republic

Credit: xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Paramount.


This return of the xXx franchise sees Xander (Vin Diesel) the hero retired in paradisiac Dominican Republic (he faked his death to be left alone), only to be brought back to action by is former CIA accomplices.

Operation Finale (2018)
Location: Argentina

Credit: Operation Finale. Netlix.


One of the most recent and critically acclaimed Netflix movies tells the story of a Israeli secret operation to locate and capture a Nazi war criminal in Argentina (masterfully played by Ben Kingsley).

Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

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Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

Michaelangelo Mosqueda / GoFundMe

Every now and then there is a video or some news that bubbles up through the noise that makes you feel good. There’s another one of those stories coming out of Chicago thanks to a family helping a local paletero.

A viral video shows a family buying a paletero’s entire cooler of paletas.

The family wanted to help the paletero finish his work for the day because it was Father’s Day. After buying him out, the family decided to go one further for the older mand and set up a GoFundMe to help him retire for the life of selling paletas. Don Rosario, the paletero in the video, is 70 years old and is a staple of the East Side community in Chicago.

A GoFundMe for his retirement is raising a lot of money to help him out.

Selling paletas is exhausting work. Walking around all day long in the heat while trying to sell paletas is a demanding job. This family is taking it on themselves to help Rosario finally retire from the work so he can rest and enjoy his golden years.

There was so much love for Rosario that the fundraiser had to be closed and then reopened.

The family who set up the GoFundMe closed the fundraiser at one point, according to an update. This is because they were waiting to get his contact info and the fundraiser has exploded to more than $40,000. Then, after getting the info and enough interest to keep donating, the fundraiser was reopened. If you want to add to Rosario’s growing pot, you can click here.

The act of kindness that started on Father’s Day is still going and giving people hope.

These are dark times. We are still battling a virus. The U.S. is being forced to finally confront centuries of racial inequality. There are so many things happening that can make us mad. However, stories like these remind us that there is still so much good happening out there.

This is a ray of light in a world that is often so confusing right now.

“We’ve been left speechless, there were people from all over the states donating,” Michaelangelo Mosqueda, the GoFundMe creator, told Block Club Chicago. “It has been really eye-opening to see that when we all come together we do some great things for others.”

READ: Starbucks Barista Who Told A Karen To Wear A Mask Receives More Than $49k In Tips

Three Other Minneapolis Police Charged In George Floyd’s Murder, Chauvin’s Murder Charge Upgraded

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Three Other Minneapolis Police Charged In George Floyd’s Murder, Chauvin’s Murder Charge Upgraded

Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Update June 3, 2020, 12:17 p.m. PST: Protests for justice for George Floyd have continued unabated for a week across the country. The protests are having an effect on the investigation into the murder of George Floyd and Attorney General Keith Ellison is pursuing more charges.

Senator Amy Klobuchar broke the news on Twitter about the new charges being filed in George Floyd’s death.

Sen. Klobuchar represents Minnesota and has received criticism over her tenure as the Hennepin County district attorney. Sen. Klobuchar did not seek charges against fired police officer Derek Chauvin in a 2006 police-involved shooting. Chauvin is the man seen in the video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.

After a week of sustained and growing protests across the country, AG Ellison is upgrading Chauvin’s charges from third-degree murder to second-degree murder and the three other officers in the video will be charged with aiding and abating second-degree murder.

“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” reads a statement by George Floyd’s family and their attorney Benjamin Crump in a joint statement. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.”

Update June 1, 2020, 2:00 p.m. PST: An independent autopsy paid for by George Floyd’s family has found that he died as a result of asphyxiation. The announcement comes after days of unrest across the country that has attracted international attention and support.

An independent autopsy conducted at the request of George Floyd’s family claims that his death was a homicide.

According to multiple reports, an independent autopsy on George Floyd found that he died as a result of “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”

According to the autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, Floyd died at the scene from the weight of the officers on top of him. His being handcuffed and his positioning on the ground by the cops contributed to his death.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw,” Dr. Baden said in an emailed release, according to HuffPost. “There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”

Minneapolis officials have not released a full report on the medical examiner’s autopsy. However, officials have made it a point to say that there was no evidence that Floyd died of asphyxiation from the officer kneeling on his back and neck.

The country has witnessed ongoing protests since the video of Floyd’s death circulated on social media. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, has been arrested and charged with Floyd’s death. Protesters are demanding that the three other officers, who have been fired, be arrested for assisting and contributing to Floyd’s death.

Original: George Floyd is the latest Black man killed by the police. The Minneapolis resident was allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 when police were called. The resulting arrest and death were captured on video and have gone viral on social media. Stephen Jackson, one of Floyd’s closest friends is rallying support against the police officers responsible.

Fired police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested for George Floyd’s death.

The news broke on the morning of May 29 the fired police officer Chauvin was arrested for Floyd’s death. Black leaders gathered at Minneapolis City Hall and cautiously celebrated the news of justice. Organizers and community members are not satisfied with one arrest. Protesters and organizers are calling for all of the officers involved in Floyd’s death to be arrested. He is being charged with thrid-degree murder and manslaughter.

Floyd’s arrested sparked national outrage and reignited the “I Can’t Breathe” protests. The death of Floyd reminded people or Eric Garner who told police he couldn’t breathe when he was killed in 2014.

Minneapolis has faced mounting pressure from around the country as protests have sprung up demanding justice. The nation has been watching images of Minneapolis on social media and news channels.

Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player and Floyd’s best friend, has taken to social media to grieve and organize.

Jackson took to Instagram when he first learned about Floyd’s death. Jackson shared that Floyd had moved to Minnesota to get his life back on track. Floyd was working as a truck driver and was changing his life, according to Jackson.

“This is what I’ve got to wake up to. This is what I’ve got to wake up to, huh? Floyd was my brother, man,” Jackson says in the video. “We called each other twin, bro. Everybody knows that me and Floyd called each other twin.”

Jackson adds: “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and y’all killed my brother, man. I’m on my way to Minnesota, man. Whatever I can do. I can’t let this ride, dawg. Y’all not going to be mad until this hits your front door. It’s bullshit.”

The sentiment has been echoed by supporters of Floyd who are seeking justice.

Surveillance footage released from a restaurant where the arrest took place shows a different story than what was originally reported by the police. The police officers at the scene claimed that Floyd was resisting arrest and that that was when the officers attacked. According to released surveillance video, Floyd was not resisting arrest.

The four officers involved in the death have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, but people are demanding justice.

Protests have popped up across the country as people demand justice for Floyd’s death. Derek Chauvin, the police officer identified as the man who knelt on Floyd’s neck till he died, has 18 complaints against him for excessive force. Protesters are demanding the Chauvin face charges for the death of Floyd.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who ran for the Democratic nomination, has been called out for not filing charges against Chauvin in the past.

Chauvin has a long record of excessive force and Sen. Klobuchar seemingly ignored it. According to The Guardian, Chauvin was involved in a police shooting of an unarmed man in 2006. Sen. Klobuchar was the Hennepin county attorney at the time and did not bring charges against Chauvin for his involvement in the 2006 shooting. Instead, the case went to a grand jury in 2008 where it was determined that no charges would be brought against the officers involved.

As of now, there are no plans from the police department to bring charges against the four former officers.

Mike Freeman, Hennepin County’s current attorney, told the press that there was evidence that supported the police officers. Freeman said that while the video is graphic, there is evidence supporting that the police did not commit a crime in the arrest.

The mayor of Minneapolis is pushing to Hennepin county attorney Mike Freeman to file charges.

“There are precedents and protocols sitting in the reserves of institutions just like this one that will give you about a thousand reasons not to do something,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told the press. “Not to speak out. Not to act so quickly. And I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: ‘Why is the man who killed George Floyd, not in jail?’

Other Hennepin County officials have expressed a similar concern. The pressure is mounting on the Minneapolis Police Department to arrest the officers involved in Floyd’s death in the hope of seeking justice.

READ: Horrific Footage Shows Police Officers Shooting Teen In The Back Of The Head And His Partner’s Response Is Shocking