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).
Summer is almost upon us (cue Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, Summertime). What better way to beat the heat then stay indoors, crank up the A/C, and watch a movie? In celebration of the sweltering summer adventures that are to come here’s a film about some street kids surviving the oppressive sticky heat of Queens, NY.
The Movie: Chop Shop
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Release Date: 2008
Normally, watching a film about kids running around in the heat might make you nostalgic about your own school-free lazy summers. This movie won’t do that. These aren’t your typical carefree kids. Ale and his teenage sister Izzy work hard to scrape together money for food and rent. She works at a food truck and he fixes cars at an auto-body shop. Their parents are nowhere to be found and they sleep in the grungy repair shop where Ale works.
They spend their days working, sweating, and wandering the swampy junkyards in Willets Point, Queens. Scrappy 12 year old Ale dreams about buying his own food truck but it costs almost $5,000. He takes to the streets hustling to make more money. Him and his friend Carlos peddle chocolate bars on the subway, he sells hubcaps and pirated DVDs, and in a desperate moment snatches a woman’s purse.
The director mostly used non-professional actors and captures a slice of life just like Kids, Los Olvidados, and other “street kid” movies. It’s absolutely worth a little extra time on the couch with the A/C on high.