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This course blog is now an archive of the work the students in this Interdisciplinary Studies
class did on Chicana/o and Latina/o studies in films and television. The students did a number of reviews, discussing issues connecting Latina/os in film and how filmmakers and viewers define Chicana/o and Latina/o identity.
Many thanks to all the students involved for being a part of this exploration.

¡Adelente!

Dr. Annemarie Pérez

Goal (2005)

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Kuno Becker

The movie is one of the best American made movie in a long time. The film is based on an amazing gifted young immigrant soccer player living in the barrios of East Los Angeles. Santiago Munez a Mexican born, has an impossible dream playing for a world class team. He is a Mexican cook in Los Angeles, and gets a chance to follow his dream of playing professional soccer. A talent scout with contacts in the United Kingdom spots him a public park in Los Angeles and offers a once in a lifetime chance.

Santiago Munez was born in Mexico, as a young child he played soccer in the unpaved streets in the town that he was born and lived in as a child. his father was a single parent of two children, Santiago being the oldest and his little brother. His mother ran out on them when he was a small child. He lived in Mexico with his grandmother, father and little brother. Santiago’s father wanted a better life for his children, so he decided to make a move to the United States. In order for them to cross the border, they had to find a coyote to do so. When they were crossing the border Santiago had a soccer ball with him that he never let go. He loves to play soccer, since a very young age. As they were crossing he dropped ball and dad told him to leave it but he refuses to do so. He ran back and got it, just in time to get away from the border patrol.

Santiago gets an opportunity to grow up in the United States with his grandmother, brother and his father. In the United States his father works for a gardening company where his father is a gardener. Since, his mother is not around, he has no choice but to work to help the family. Santiago works at night as a busboy in a Chinese restaurant and in the day, he works with his father as a gardener. In addition, he plays soccer for a small local club team called the AJFC, were he is the star of the team. The money that he makes from working, part of it he saves inside a boot in his closet and some of it to help with the bills.

As time goes on, one day he is playing at a local park where he is seen by Glen Foy, an ex-Newcastle soccer player, scout and mechanic. He wants to help Santiago to play for Newcastle, so he calls an agent but he never showed. Glen Foy, then calls on the Newcastle boss to give Santiago an opportunity to try out for the team. He gets the opportunity, but in the process his father steals the money that he had to travel. Santiago’s father wanted, him to do as he did to become part owner of the gardening company. Santiago’s dream and goal was always to become a professional soccer player.

In the process, his grandmother helps him with the plane ticket to England to follow his dream on becoming a professional soccer player. As he goes to try out, he has a few issues and was cut from the team. He then, gets a second chance and makes the team in the process. While he is over in England playing for the team his dad passes away. However, his dad did get a chance to watch him play on television and was very proud of his son. Santiago become part of the team because of his hard work, dedication, commitment and determination to follow his dream. The film ends with Santiago shedding tears of joy while embracing his realized dream. This is a great movie not only for athletes but also for the entire immigrant Hispanic community to see, that dreams to come true, only if you follow them.

Many of the things that, I notice in the movie reminded me of, most of the Latino movies that we screened while in class. There are a few similarities with the Born in East LA movie, in regards to crossing the border and having to work for money to be able to pay for bills and food. I also, noted some similarities with the movie Real Women Have Curves, in which they want to become someone in life and not take after their parents. They want to have their own life and be successful at it. Furthermore, the movie Goal, had some similarities with the show Ugly Betty in which they had determination and would not give up until they reached their goal.

Frida (2002)

In my review of Frida (2002), a American biography of the life a Mexican painter Frida Kalho played by Salma Hayek. The film details the political and promiscuous lives of Frida Kalho and Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). In many cases dramas films that portray artistic painters would normally fall on deaf ears, but this movie dives deep into the psychology of Frida. At the beginning of their marriage Kahlo advises Diego Rivera that “she expects his loyalty, not his faithfulness in the marriage”. Roger Ebert describes their love affair as “a sexual faithfulness is a bourgeois ideal that they reject as Marxist bohemians who disdain the conventional”. In other words because they are apart of the communist movement, Frida and Diego chose to have an open relationship, which in the middle-class and the elite class would consider that type of lifestyle tacky and uncouth. Frida participated in lesbian and heterosexual relationships, while Diego had countless affairs with other women. Oddly, both Frida and Diego had narcissistic ways, on one hand they both had affairs, but both got jealous when the other slept with other partners. Frida had a lesbian relationship with Black entertainer Josephine Baker (famously known for her topless banana dance) and Leon Trotsky (Soviet politician and founder of the Red Army).Julie Taymor’s amazing depiction of the colorful, but complicated life of Kahlo. Frida’s father was German Jewish, while her mother was Mexican. Frida was born in Mexico City and was going to school in the field of medicine. At the age of 18 Frida was in a nearly fatal bus accident that completely impeded her ability to ave children. After the accident Frida chose to paint self portraits in order to deal with her insecurities of not being able to have children and her pain. The depictions of her portraits displayed pain and misunderstanding of dealing with herself. Each painting ingratiated her pain and views about herself being alone.Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) was a famous muralist. He had a special gift of painting as well as sleeping with numerous women, even though he was married to his wife Lupe (Valeria Golino). Diego womanizing ways expressed his zeal for life and his male chauvinistic behaviors. When Frida and Diego first had sex, Lupe walks in on them, but later Lupe brings them breakfast in bed. Diego’s overbearing ways with women are like his painting, a work of art that must be exposed.

In the end Frida is advised she is going to die. Frida’s portraits shows her mostly alone or with Diego, which expresses her feeling of being in love for Diego and her disdain for the pains in her life such as losing the ability to have children and the pain she deals with from the accident from her youth. Her final work of art was her being in her death bed in the last scene of the movie, which highlights her struggles within herself.

Miracles From Heaven (2016)

Miracles From Heaven was released on March 16, 2016, in some theaters, Amazon, and Redbox. The film was produced by Patricia Riggen, written by Christy Beam, and adapted by Randy Brown. The actors in the film are Eugenio Derbez as Dr. Nurko, Jennifer Garner as Christy Beam, and Kylie Rogers as Ana Beam. The film is a drama about a little girl who is terribly ill and miraculously gets cured. After the car accident, Christy Beam (mother) finds out that Ana Beam (daughter) is not ill anymore; for some reason that doctors or science cannot explain, Ana is no longer ill. Ana is perfectly healthy.

 

 

I enjoyed the film because it had a happy ending.  For the first time, a Mexican actor had the honor to play a role in a drama film as a doctor, and not a criminal. The story has a happy ending and not the typical sad ending that most drama films have. The film ended with the child being cured of a terrible illness that was very painful and did not have a cure according to doctors. One can interpret the ending in many different ways. My interpretation is that one must never lose hope and faith. Even when one does not find a solution, or think there is no solution, one must believe God has a plan for us, and we must trust in God.  Many times that I have watched movies, in which most of the actors are white, and a person of color is part of the cast, \the person of color is the criminal or the villain. I was amazed that for the first time in my history of viewing films, a Mexican was portrayed as a doctor. Not a doctor, who malpractice steals, or extortionate patients, but a doctor who is caring, loving, and understanding. Eugenio Derbez as Dr. Nurko role was essential to the film because he is a doctor that treats Kylie Rogers, an excellent physician, and reveals the good news.  He is the top pediatric gastroenterologist in Boston. Dr. Samuel Nurko is a very busy doctor, and it takes some time before he can set an appointment to meet with Ana and her mother.

Most of the films viewed in the class involve criminals, were violent and portrayed Latinos in a negative manner. This film, on the contrary, portrays Latinos as caring, loving, and understanding like in the film, Real Women Have Curves. We need more films in English that portray Latinos as part of the American society, playing a functional and essential component. As one of the minority groups, the number of Latinos has increased, and we cannot deny nor ignore that we are part of the American society.

Overall, I enjoyed the film, the message it portrayed, how it depicted Latinos and the happy ending.  We need more films that illustrate, with positive messages, regardless of race we can all work together, help one another, and make a difference. Hate, stereotypes, and racism need to be forgotten to be able to live and make the world a better place. Currently, the world needs humanity to believe, and I have faith and hope in a better world.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4257926/

 

 

Instructions Not Included (2013)

 

Instructions Not Included is a comedy and drama film that was aired on September 6, 2013, and directed by Eugenio Derbez. The actors who played in this movie were Valentin (Eugenio Derbez), the girl Maggie (Loreto Peralta), and Maggie’s mother, Julie (Jessica Lindsey). The original version was in Spanish No Se Aceptan Devoluciones then translated in English to Instructions Not Included. Both versions are easy to understand and follow, compared to other versions of translations. Usually, the translations do not make sense or cause emotional reactions to viewers.

 

 

Eugenio Derbez originates from Mexico City, Mexico. He is an actor, director, writer, and producer. He earned two degrees in Mexico. One degree in Film Directing from the Mexican Institute of Cinematography and Theater and the second in Acting from Televisa Acting School. Currently, he is furthering his education in Los Angeles, California, taking classes to become a better actor, director, writer, and producer. He is known in Mexico and Los Angeles for his comedy and characters. He created and produced various successful television series in Mexico, such as XHDerbez, Vecinos, and La Familia Pluche.  He received a star on the Walk of Fame recently, and the Latino community was happy that he had been recognized for the impressive work he has done over the years. He not only moved to Los Angeles to further his education, but to become a well-known actor, producer, writer, and director. He has participated in several films such as Under the Same Moon (2007), The Book of Life (2014), Miracles from Heaven (2016), Girl in Progress (2012), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008), and children’s movies that have been translated into Spanish like Shrek, Shrek 2, and Mulan. If you will like to learn more about Eugenio Derbez, here is the link to his biography http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0220240/, an article about his crossover to Hollywood by Fox News http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2013/10/25/eugenio-derbez-shows-hollywood-what-latinos-want-at-box-office/, and a list of things people did not know about him http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/27/eugenio-derbez-facts_n_4349662.html.


 

 

 

The film is about a young man who is promiscuous, irresponsible and parties a lot. This is a stereotype that is very common in the Latino community. Unfortunately, in our community, these are characteristics of men, and they are acceptable as part of Machismo. These characteristics are not viewed well among woman. His life changed, when one of his many, one night stands knocked his door and left a baby at his doorsteps. She tells him they had sexual intercourse. As a consequence, she became pregnant and had a baby girl. She then asks for money to pay the taxi driver.  He gives her money, and she hands him the baby. She then walks off to pay the man and never comes back. He did not know what to do with the baby, and he was aware that he was not capable of caring for the child. Another stereotype is that men are not capable of caring for children regardless if they are their own. The women must always care for the children, and the men must provide; again Machismo. He then remembered the birth mother lived in the United States of America, and he decided to immigrate with the baby. He immigrated to Los Angeles, California. The film portrayed crossing the border as something that was not difficult to do. He had trouble putting the money together, took time, and not knowing the language was a barrier. He had a difficult time finding the mother once he arrived and eventually fell in love with the baby. He takes any job to make money to support his daughter.  He faced a difficult journey as a single father.  He raised a girl on his own, in a place where he knew no one. The language was a barrier, and he had to hide like many immigrants today. The film and the actor portrayed the reality of many fathers and mothers that live in the United States today, who work endlessly any job to make a living and support their children. A point that I found interesting was he never intended to stay in the United States of America; he only wanted to return the baby and go back home. I have heard this from many family members who immigrated to this state to make money to support their family and intended to go back to their country of origin which hardly happens. After six years, the mother reappears confesses the child is not his and wants the child back. He fights for the custody of the girl who he thought for six years was his. During the time he was working in Hollywood taking positions as extra in many movies, he became successful and earned well enough to provide for his child. There is a custody dispute throughout the film the child becomes ill and eventually dies.

 

 

 

 

 

The story points out Valentin’s struggles of being a single father, being an immigrant, and experiencing the death of his child. Valentin believed he was not capable of caring for the child. Eventually, he learned to be an amazing father. Being a parent is not an easy job. A child completely changes one’s life, and one has to mature and become responsible.  That is what the film illustrated. The film had stereotypes of machismo: Valentin was promiscuous, irresponsible, and immature. He also felt he was not capable of caring for a child. Since he was a man, it was acceptable for him to behave this way, and no one looked at him as being wrong or judged him. But the film then destroyed this stereotype when he became a loving, caring, and responsible father. He cared for the child for six years and then engaged in a committed relationship. This film is an example that Latino men can be loving, caring, responsible, and passive like in Real Women Have Curves. Another stereotype that was addressed was the one of the immigrants crossing the border.  A stereotype that was illustrated was that it’s not hard crossing the border, and from the stories I have heard that is a myth. I understand the film was not centered on that idea, but it would have been nice to have approached that in a different way. This stereotype reminded me of some of the stereotypes in Speedy Gonzalez and Born in East LA, especially the scenes of Rudy crossing the border where it seemed not so difficult like anyone can do it and survive.  The stereotype that was clarified was that immigrants take the jobs that are available, and no one wants to do. They are not stealing or taking anyone’s job.  Immigrants overcome many barriers, such as the language, law enforcement, and finding a job to have a better lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you like to learn more about Eugenio Derbez, I have posted links above that will take you to his biography and news about him. I have also posted and summarized some of his work below.

 

 

One of my favorite characters in XHDerbez is the “El Diablito”. This like many of his work is a comedy show that involves many characters in different settings. This show is available through Amazon, YouTube, and Netflix. Here is the link if you will like to learn more about this show http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0409642/0.

 

 

Vecinos translates in English to neighbors. The series is a comedy about the neighbors that live in an apartment building and have to learn how to get along because they cannot afford to move out. The series has a diverse group of neighbors like a promiscuous woman, a gay man, punk rocker teenager, preppy teenager, a naughty child, docile husband, evil wife, friendly apartment manager, educated and successful woman, and a business man. Here is the link to learn more about the series http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469247/.

 

He played as Ludovico, the father in the family of the show, La Familia Pluche; this is a comedy show based on a dysfunctional family. This was a hit show in Mexico and the United States of America. This show is available on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Here is the link to learn more about the show http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1244672/.

 

MISS BALA (2011)

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The Miss International Beauty pageant is a symbol of beauty and elegance. In the film Miss Bala 2011 which was written by Mauricio Katz and Gerardo Naranjo and directed by Gerardo Naranjo, recreates the chilling trials and tribulations of real life 2008 Miss Sinaloa (Laura Zuniga). Naranjo shocked the world with an amazing twisted story of a 23 year old pageant contestant Laura Zuniga, played by Stephanie Sigman, caught up in the world of the Mexican drug-trafficking cartel. In 2006, President Felipe Calderon in cooperation with the American’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) ordered the Mexican Military to confront the drug cartel with brute force. Five years after the order from President Calderon there were close to 50,000 deaths related to this war on drugs. Instead of highlighting the drug war, Naranjo focused on the innocent victim in his story.220px-Miss_Bala_UK_poster
This film is would seem to be an oxymoron film, meaning that it is completely opposite of what society would expect from a beauty pageant film. I would compare this film to Zoot Suit (1981) where you have Chicano gang-members carrying switchblades singing and dancing a jitterbug. Naranjo transformed the film from beauty pageant to a bullet pageant. Ironically, the title of the film Miss Bala translated in Spanish means Miss Bullet. Naranjo miraculously kept the focus on the innocent victim instead of only focusing on just the drug trade. The scene is set in Baja Mexico where Laura Zuniga (Stephanie Sigman), a pageant contestant goes to a bar with her friend and a gunfight breaks out with the drug cartel and the police. In a panic to survive Zuniga runs to a corrupt cop that takes her hostage; then kidnaps her brother and dad for leverage to make Zuniga transport drug money across the United States border. It is quite obvious that the film tackles the two issues at hand, one being the Mexican/ American drug-trafficking problem and the innocent victims that are claimed everyday.
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In the final scene of the movie Zuniga is captured and driven to an unknown location and
dropped off. In essence, this exaggerated thriller could and has happened to many innocent victims that end up in jail or even worse–dead. Naranjo illustrated just how quickly things can change if you are not careful in border towns that are known for drug trafficking.
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Devious Maids

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Devious Maids was created by Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives. The show Desperate Housewives aired from 2004 to 2012 and was very successful. Devious Maids, so far, has four seasons and has been successful as well. Eva Longoria is part of the team of executive producers. The show was first aired by the network Lifetime on June 23, 2013. Season four episode one will be aired on June 6, 2016, through Lifetime.

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The show series consists of drama, mystery, and comedy. The series is about five Latinas who work as maids in Beverly Hills. These Latinas all have dreams and aspirations to become someone in life. The five Latinas are Marisol Suarez (Ana Ortiz), Rosie Falta (Dania Ramirez), Zoila Diaz (Judy Reyes), Valentina Diaz (Edy Ganem), and Carmen Luna (Roselyn Sanchez). Marisol Suarez is an educated woman who disguises a maid to find out who killed a young maid. Her son was framed for the murder of the maid. Marisol is a desperate mother that, like any other mother, would do whatever it takes to help her child. Rosie is a maid who emigrated from Mexico after the death of her husband. Since her husband’s death, Rosie had to work to support her child, and if she stayed in Mexico, she was not going to be able to survive.  Zoila is married and has a teenage daughter. Zoila works as a maid to help her husband support their family. Zoila’s daughter wants to further her education and be someone in life. Valentina is rebellious; she wants to fit in with a crowd that Zoila believes she does not belong to because of her race and social status. Carmen works as a maid until she is discovered by a music label to become a famous singer. She hates being a servant, but gossip keeps her entertained.

 

 

 

 

 

Marisol is an example of a Latina who is educated and has a career, as a professor. She is the second generation of Latino and does not speak Spanish; she speaks English well compared to Carmen and Rosy. Marisol does not have a husband; all she has is her son. Marisol disguises herself as a maid and helps in the release of her son. In doing so, she then confesses to her new maid friends she is not a maid. She then writes a book about her experience as an educated Latino, who disguises herself as a maid to free her son. In the book, she includes stereotypes and the treatments that Latina maids are exposed to. Latina maids are often seen as thieves, liars, uneducated, inhumane, and criminals. Similar to the stereotypes in Born in East LA, Zoot Suit, and West Side Story. Every time something goes missing in the home, no matter how valuable, the employer blames the maids. When the maids find out that she posed to be a maid; they all responded differently but for the most part, they felt betrayed.  She becomes wealthy and purchases a home in Beverly Hills. Some of her maid friends feel that she has assimilated to being wealthy and white; again, they feel betrayed. The character of Marisol is an educated Latina, who goes above and beyond for her son, love, and friends.

 

 

 

 

Rosie’s story is a typical but sad story many mothers go through when obligated by the circumstances to immigrate to make a living. She left her son behind in Mexico with family; they talk and write letters often. Rosie’s employer is the typical white, wealthy family who pays the maid to work endlessly in the home and with the children. As Rosie cares for the children of her employer, she thinks about her own, the sad reality of many immigrant women who become nannies and maids. Eventually, she is reunited with her son. Like many immigrant children, he has a hard time assimilating and learning the language.

 

 

 

 

Zoila is a first generation Latina. Zoila married young and had her daughter young. Like many mothers, she is afraid her daughter will follow her footsteps. She is strict with her daughter, similar to the mother of America Ferrera in Real Women Have Curves. The only difference is that Zoila wants her daughter to be an educated and successful Latina. Her only fear is for her daughter to be mistreated by the Beverly Hills community which is white and rich. The Beverly Hills community sees the maids and workers who are mostly Latinos as second class citizens, uneducated, and criminals. Once her daughter graduated high school, she began to work as a maid to save money to go to college.

 

 

 

 

 

Zoila’s daughter is Valentina. She wants to become educated, be successful, and fit in with the Beverly Hills crowd of teens. Her mom does not want her to date nor have friends that live in Beverly Hills. She is afraid they will discriminate against her because she is poor (not wealthy) Mexican American (not white) and resides in Los Angeles (not Beverly Hills). Valentina wants to fit in and as a rebellious daughter, she dates a young white man who is wealthy and lives in Beverly Hills.

 

 

 

 

 

Carmen immigrated to the United States of America to be discovered as a singer. She has an accent and hates being a maid. She does not have children and is portrayed as a sexy Latina, who sleeps around for favors and money. Carmen’s character is a stereotyped personality, which others may have about Latinas being hypersexual, promiscuous, and money hungry.

 

 

 

 

 

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The five protagonists are characterized based on assumptions and stereotypes. The actresses are Latinas portraying Latinas both in a positive and negative manner. Marisol as the successful and educated one,  Zoila as the one who became a mother and married at a young age, Rosie the one who left her family behind to work, Valentina a rebellious daughter, and finally Carmen the promiscuous one. Do you agree with me that the women are both portrayed in a positive and negative way? Or are they portrayed in a positive or negative manner? The series was created around the women and their experiences as maids, mothers, friends, lovers, and daughters, similar to Real Women Have Curves. The only difference is the men are not all passive, caring, and loving. The series illustrates the stereotypes and hidden meanings Nericco addressed in his article in relation to the cartoon of Speedy Gonzalez.  I enjoy watching this series, but the series is full of stereotypes of how Latinas and whites interact.

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The series is available through Amazon Prime and Hulu.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2226342/

http://www.hulu.com/devious-maids

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DKSAIJM?ref_=aiv_dp_season_select

 

 

 

 

La Mission (2009)

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La Mission, is a drama starring Benjamin Bratt as Che Rivera. Che is a recovering alcoholic, and ex-convict that lives and breathes for his son Jess. Jess is a college bound honor student with a secret. They live in the Mission District of San Francisco. The Mission District is under going Gentrification and a hipster neighbor Lena is breathing new life to Che.Che is respected by the homies in his neighborhood. Che is a widower that drives a city bus to provide for Jess. In his spare time Che restores junk cars to classic Lowriders and hangs with his friends. All of whom are in a car club (Mission Boyz). Every week the Mission Boyz go cruising with their friends and loved ones. However, Che has noticed Jess has become distant.
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One night after cruising the boulevard Che arrives home and discovers Jess was drinking and passed out. As he scans Jess’s room he discovers Polaroids of Jess and his boyfriend at a club. Eventually Che’s confronts Jess, and he confesses. He is Gay.Jess the all knowing teenager then questions his fathers sexual practices in jail. This infuriates Che so he kick Jess out. The fight ends up on the street, causing a huge commotion in the neighborhood. The Mission Boyz rush to break up the fight between father and son. Che then outs his son to the whole neighborhood. It was clear Jess was not welcome. He decides to moves-in with his godparents Rene and Ana.
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Che ponders if this a punishment from God? Why wasn’t Jess normal? Rene reminds Che of what his mother always said “De la espina y el dolor nace la flor”(From the thorn emerges the flower.) However, Che was not convinced.He missed his son but could not accept his sexual orientation.
Che’s conversion comes when Jess is shot as a result of a hate crime. This brings Lena and Che together and although Jess recovers, Che cannot accept Jess is gay. Jess makes the decision to leave his father. This act of defiance causes Che to start drinking and leads him into a downward spiral, affecting his relationship,job and health. Near the end he comes across a crying mother, that opens his eyes without saying a word.

La Mission was directed by Peter Bratt. This film addresses many issues such as single parenting,masculinity, homosexuality, and addiction in the Latino community. Che is raising Jess alone after his wife passed away.And although he is both mother and father, His masculinity is never questioned. He has street cred due to his time in jail but also for his art skills.His reputation is compromised when everyone finds out Jess is gay.The homosexuality was a tough point for both characters. Various times in the film father and son would show reverence to the Virgin Mary or carry a Rosary. The religious beliefs could have been a reason for Che’s reluctance to accept his son. Che was confused and angry at the situation but Jess was only seeking acceptance from his father. Ultimately the pain caused Che to drink, however redemption is never too far off. The film was good but based on Latinidad and masculinidad in Hollywood scripts, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 32:6,948-966, Latino men are marginalized. This script written by a Latino has Che in a poor neighborhood,full of guns and violence. As if the area defines him. This movie is similar to American Me in that aspect and in the notable absence of women.

Ana S. Q. Liberato , Guillermo Rebollo-Gil , John D. Foster & Amanda Moras
(2009) Latinidad and masculinidad in Hollywood scripts, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 32:6,948-966, DOI: 10.1080/01419870802334549

McFarland, USA (2015)

81lmmJ95vDL._SL1500_McFarland, USA, is a traditional Disney sports American film, which was directed by Niki Caro, and produced by Mark Ciardi along with Gordon Gray. The movie is based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team, composed of seven Latino high school students of McFarland California. This is a small town with the majority being Mexican immigrants, who have no choice but to work on the fields to provide for their families. Most of the people in this town do not have a high school diploma or a college education. The star of the film played by Kevin Costner (Jim White) became to be, the school’s cross country coach, who with dedication and belief lead the team to win a state championship in 1987. They all had much to learn about each other, as Jim White, realizes the boys exceptional running abilities. This made a huge impact on the boy’s life. In fact, the power of family connection, commitment to each other and their work ethic transforms them into champions, which help each of them to achieve personal dreams.    

 In 1987 coach White worked as a football coach in a school in Idaho. He got fire because of an incident with one of the football players. Soon after, he moved his entire family to McFarland, USA, which was the only place that he can afford with his teacher salary. He got a position as a life science and physical education teachers at McFarland high school. The principal of the school also gave him the position as an assistant coach for the football team. That did not work, and since he notices that the Latino boys were good at running, he became the cross country coach for McFarland high school.

 This is a great inspirational movie for everyone to watch, specially for students that are part of any team in high school. The movie is about perseverance, commitment, and hard work. McFarland is a perfect example, that anything can be accomplish in life if people work hard for it. In fact, the movie demonstrates how the seven Latino boys even with having to go to work early in the morning to the help the family, then run to school and yet still manage to practice with the cross country team for hours after school. However, this became an issue for some of the families because if the boys did not work in the fields, that would be less money for the family. All of the families were immigrant and the only way to have food on the table was to work in the fields. Coach White notice that and began helping the Latino boys to be the best at running and how to be successful. He even went out of his way to tutor them on Saturdays, so that they can pass the SAT test, so that they can further their education.

 With the hard work and dedication, the boys began to improve in their running times. On one of the news article, they began to mention McFarlan as being a contender to make it to State finals. On November 1987, they won a dual race against one of the top cross country team. Then since the team did not have proper gear to wear, the entire community came together and held a fundraising event. It was a success and they got their gear and were ready to compete again. The next competition came on November 26, 1987. The first top four would make it to the State finals and sure enough the McFarland Latino boys came in fourth place. Coach White rewards the boys by taking them to the beach for the first time in their life. They had a blast at the beach and were very appreciative with the coach.

 As a result of their hard work, commitment, dedication, and perseverance the Latino boys made it to the State Finals. All of their family members came out in support at the State Finals. During the competition, Jose started out to fast and did not do well. Danny Dias, who was always last proved to everyone that if you have heart and dedication that all things are possible if you push yourself to the limit. He helped the McFarland cross country team win the State Championship for the first time in twenty-five years. With the help of coach White, Victor Puente’s, Jose Cardenas, Danny Diaz, Damacio Diaz, David Diaz, Johnny Sameniego, and Thomas Valles all continued their education and became successful members of the community of McFarland. Coach White continue to coach for a few more years at McFarland high school where he won a few more State Championships. He then retired from teaching and still lives in the city of McFarland.

 “We fly like black birds through the orange groves floating on a warm wind. When we run, we own the earth. The land is ours, we speak the bird’s language. Not immigrants no more! Not stupid Mexicans! When we run our spirits fly, we speak to the Gods. When we run we are the Gods”. (Jose Cardenas)

 “America got to go bigger, nicer place better pay, better everything. Everyone is always going to go for the better everything. That’s why no one stays in McFarland unless they have to”. (Thomas)

“There is nothing about American dream about this place”. (Thomas)    

   

Stand and Deliver (1988)

Prejudice seems inevitable. Before I have an opportunity to even introduce myself to the world; I will be put into a category because of my skin color and gender.  I admire Jaime Escalante for making a difference inside of his community. Although the population of children that attended Garfield High School came from a poor environment; it does not mean they should have a disadvantage  from achieving a higher education or a good education.  Working as a school nurse inside of Pasadena with High Risk Student;  I did witness prejudice. Most of the children were in homes or have been inside of jail because they were either abuse or did not have parents who cared. But every time they came inside of my office; I made sure I instill  positivity inside of them.  I assured them that they could achieve any goals  he or she wants to achieve. Its not where you come from its where you are going. I believe Jaime Escalante was able to achieve respect from the children because he cared and instill positivity into each one of them.