5 Ways to Prep: How to Be a Latin Lover
By George Rose
April 27, 2017
What I have learned in researching this article is that, despite my love of dipping a burrito into my taco salad, is that I don’t know much about Latin cinema. Sure, I have a large selection of DVDs in my collection about Chinese kung-fu masters and black comedians that jump brooms at their wedding, but I don’t really have any that feature the Spanish language and or those that speak it. However, one movie I do have and remember fondly is Fools Rush In.
Salma Hayek stars in this feature as well about a young Mexican-American woman that has a one-night-stand with a white dude, disappears for three months and then shows up pregnant on his doorstep. They get married, their cultures clash, hilarity ensues and then their marriage starts to fall apart. It’s actually quite funny, thanks in large part to Matthew Perry’s turn as “WASPy white bachelor that can’t handle responsibility.” Since Latin Lover is about a Latino guy that takes advantage of old white women, it’s bit of a gender/cultural reversal. However, Fools Rush In is a romantic and funny way to brace yourself if you’ve never been integrated enough in the world to have your own understanding of what happens when white people get a taste of the salsa flavored Cool Aid.
2) The Book of Life (2014)
The best way to brace yourself for a clash with another culture is to learn about that culture. Obviously, my advice for you learning about Latino’s is not limited to bumping nasties with them. One of my favorite writer/producer/director’s in Hollywood is actually Mexican and has a great filmography for helping you learn about said culture. Guillermo del Toro has directed some great action movies (Blade II, the Hellboy movies, Pacific Rim) and has been referred to as a “visionary” director. If you read my last article, you know I don’t like the bad version of “visionary” that implies manipulating imagery to imply some secret hidden meaning that only the art house independent movie fan would like. Guillermo is the kind of “visionary” director that creates visual eye candy. He isn’t hiding his meanings in the picture, he is blowing your mind with the picture!
If you’ve seen The Book of Life then you know what I’m talking about. Though only a producer, the movie has Guillermo written all over it. The movie doesn’t use the traditional appearance of humans in this tale of a young man fighting his way out of the underworld to find his way back to his true love; he uses animated marionettes. It’s a bit jarring at first but grows on you quickly as you realize the Mexican culture around their famous Day of the Dead explodes with vibrant colors and creative creatures. As a Greek man, I love mythology and the Gods and demons of the Mexican culture are as interesting as any of my own.
Most animated movies are targeted at children and are meant to humor you. For example, Toy Story is a classic but it doesn’t teach you about any real culture while it entertains you. The Book of Life is a wildly entertaining movie from an incredible Mexican talent that also happens to teach you about the culture of our neighbors to the South. And if for some reason you’re a racist or hater of children’s movies then you’re really missing out because The Book of Life is a lot of fun to watch, especially in 3D. It also stars three of the most famous actors working today; Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike). If I still don’t have you convinced, I might just have something else that will tickle your fiesta fancy…