Buenas Noches everybody! Some have you have seen my postings on my FB page, promoting the film "A Better Life", starring Demian Bichir ("Weeds", "Che"), directed by Chris Weitz ("About a Boy", "Twilight: New Moon"- Que???).
It's a wonderful movie about the pursuit of the so called "American Dream". The story is straightforward. The acting is realistic and not over the top. Mr. Bichir's portrayal of Carlos Galindo, an undocumented gardener, showcases the right amount of compassion and vulnerability towards his son, at the same time staying true to his machismo side when faced with confrontation.
It takes a huge pair of stones to swallow your pride, stand on a corner, and hope that you get some work for the day. I've hired some day laborers for various jobs. These guys work their ass off. I'm not running for the Republican Presidential Nomination, so I'm more than cool to admit doing the right thing by helping a fellow compa out. Minute Men can kiss my tiny brown ass!
I don't want to draw attention away from what is a major accomplishment for a Latino Actor. This is huge. The Golden Globes are next, then the Oscars. There is no reason why he shouldn't be nominated. We'll have to give the Academy some serious Putasos if Mr. Bichir gets snubbed. We'll do it via social media of course. I'm too cute for prison.
I spoke to Mr. Bichir at a screening of the film at the SAG Foundation. I expressed to him how huge an accomplishment this could be for all Latino Actors. He agreed with me.
Take a look at the list of Best Actor Nominations, as compiled on Wikipedia.
I'm only focusing on the last 20 years. Back in the 50's you had Jose Ferrer and Anthony Quinn. In the late 80's, you had Edward James Olmos. Since then......Javier Bardem in 2000 for "Before Night Falls". Pretty fuckin' sad. Someone would argue that there weren't enough movies featuring Latino Actors, so there weren't many to choose from. Exactly!
My hope is that Mr. Bichir's performance and this film, in general, will open the eyes of the people holding the purse strings. Support producers and filmmakers that want to create complex and substantial roles for Latino actors and actresses. Why can't there be a Latino performer up for Oscar consideration every year? The talent pool is there. There are thousands of undiscovered actors who are able to deliver strong performances, worthy of Oscar consideration. Remember Adriana Barraza from "Babel". She stole that movie. She should be working all the time. She had a scene in "Thor" that was cut. Chances are slim to none that would happen to Caucasian or an African American Actor.
I'm grateful that Summit Entertainment took a chance on this one. If "New Moon" would not have been such a success, Chris Weitz would not have been able to make this movie. You can probably tell how I feel about the "Twilight" saga. I don't get it, but it's not my shot of tequila. If "New Moon" was the reason for getting "A Better Life" made, then I'll be a fan! Simon!
Mr. Weitz really created something wonderful for the entertainment world. He showed us how beautiful and rich in culture East Los Angeles really is. L.A. is more than Hollywood and the beach folks. It was built by hard working Mexicans and Natives that were here for hundreds of years. I'm thrilled that the film is getting the recognition it deserves. It has been screened in Washington D.C., in hopes that art can change hearts and minds about the current immigration laws.
Out of struggle and perseverance comes great art. The purpose is to showcase a soul bearing, belief, ideology, expression, or point of view, for all to experience and to bring about change. I think this film and Mr. Bichir's performance is a wonderful step.
Part two of this story will talk about how this film changed the life of a woman who worked for Homeland Security. Check it out this weekend.
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