Remezcla readers love to take in culture, but don’t always have the cash for tickets. That’s where we come in. A Theater Near You is Remezcla’s guide to awesome Latin movies for the lazy and broke; you can watch these all at home (because sabemos que son flojos).
Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal have been BFFs since they were niñitos. Famous for their co-starring breakout roles in Y Tu Mamá También they do everything together–not just acting. They created Ambulante, a documentary film festival that travels to different cities in Mexico, they launched a production company, Canana Films, and even had baby boys a few months apart. ¡No mames! But, even though they are tied at the cintura, they sometimes branch out and do their own stuff. They have acted in some chingón movies together, some just as chido movies apart, and others que no sirven para nada. So here is the good, the bad, and the ugly (ok, neither of them could ever be ugly).
GAEL Y DIEGO
Y Tu Mamá También
Alfonso Cuarón (2001)
This is the movie that started the world’s love affair with Mexico’s most famous acting duo. Young Gael and Diego try to romance a slightly older Spanish woman and take her on a road trip in search of a mostly made up beach called boca del cielo. Along the way they pass police checkpoints, see drug busts and traffic accidents, and drive past shanty towns–you see the real Mexico. It’s beautiful, sometimes violent, many are poor, some really really rich. Filled with the most awkward sex scenes in cinematic history and peppered with Mexi-slang it’s at this point a Mexican classic. Oh, and a drinking game to get super-pedo: every time they say güey take a shot of tequila. You’ll be bien cuete and enjoy it even more.
Rudo y Cursi
Carlos Cuarón (2008)
Another homerun for the tag-team heartthrobs, they play brothers in this hilarious peli. Working on a banana ranch and barely scraping by, they dream of being rich and famous. A fast-talking agent sees them playing futból and promises that he can launch their sports careers. But, Gael’s character longs for a music career. This spawns the most hilarious/amazing/terrible/ridiculous cover of all time–a Norteño version of I Want You to Want Me–where GGB showcases his lack of singing abilities. Oye pendejo, don’t quit your day job!
GAEL ON HIS OWN
Gael has been in some ridiculously good movies, Motorcycle Diaries, The Science of Sleep, La Mala Educación, but you’ve probably already seen all of these (any self-respecting GGB fan has seen them all – over and over again). But, there’s one that’s just as amazing but not as well-known. I’ve raved about it before and even listed it as one of the Top Eleven Latino Films of 2011 That You Probably Didn’t See But Should.
También la lluvia (Even the Rain)
Icíar Bollaín (2011)
In this film about a film, a Mexican director (Gael) and a Spanish producer and actors head to Bolivia to shoot a movie about colonial times. They happen to be shooting during the Bolivian water wars. A true-to-life period of Bolivian politics in which activists fought against the privatization of water by foreign multinationals in 2000. The film flawlessly dances between the past and the present making poignant criticisms and highlighting similitudes. It’s funny, it’s thrilling, it’s political, and it’s entertaining.
No sirve para nada
Lukas Moodysson (2009)
Not even talented actors like Gael and Michelle Williams can save this movie. It’s bad, really, really bad. GGB’s character, his wife, daughter, and nanny all live in an amazing (and really expensive) apartment in New York, he travels to Thailand, bla bla bla, stuff happens and then everyone magically reexamines their life and has amazing revelations. The dialogue sucks, the characters are boring and you could care less what happens to them. If you are a huge GGB fan and want to watch it anyway, I suggest you mute the sound and just ogle at his pretty brown eyes.
Where You Can Watch It Now: Netflix Instant
DIEGO ON HIS OWN
Diego’s solo acting career has not been as successful as Gael’s–he’s been in a few good films but where he has really excelled is in the director’s chair. His directing debut–a documentary chronicling the life of the legendary boxer Julio Cesar Chavez–proved that he knows what he’s doing behind the camera (watch it on Netflix Instant). He then went on to direct Abel–a dramedy about a 9-year-old boy who has just returned home from a psychiatric institution (watch it on Amazon Instant or get the DVD from Netflix). As far as acting, Diego’s best performance was definitely alongside Sean Penn.
Gus Van Sant (2008)
In an Oscar-winning role, Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, the openly gay activist and San Francisco politician who was murdered along with SF Mayor George Moscone. Diego co-stars as Jack Lira–Harvey’s moody and tragic but funny and charming boyfriend. In an interview Diego gushed about how sweet and nice Sean Penn was but admitted that he took a few tequila shots before the sex scenes.
Diego has been in a lot of crappy movies, a lot. His worst streak was in the early millenium when he acted in Carambola, Nicotina, and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights all back-to-back. I am a little bit curious but still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch Havana Nights. Why would you even mess with Dirty Dancing to begin with? And even the guy that wrote the screenplay the film was based on hates the final product. But, the worst of the worst has got to be Carambola.
No sirve para nada
Kurt Hollander (2003)
I beg of you to not waste your time with this one, but if you really love Diego and get a kick out of terrible films–go for it. When longtime pool player El Vago wins an old-fashioned pool hall in a bet, he turns to El Perro (Diego Luna), to help him film an instructional video to earn some extra cash. But instead, El Perro focuses his camera on the sexy La Pujara (Laura Hidalgo) with her clothes off, of course.