Film

Netflixeando: 15 Films Starring US Latinos You Should Stream on Netflix

Read more

With Netflix becoming a television juggernaut (see: Narcos, Orange is the New Black, Sense8, The Get Down,) it’s easy to forget that the streaming service’s catalog is full of fantastic movies to watch from the comfort of your own living room. You know what’s not easy? Trying to find what to watch next from their ever-growing library of film and TV shows.

But worry not, if you’ve already finished catching up with the ladies of Litchfield and those sexy Sensates and are looking for something else to watch as you chill, we’ve got you covered. Below find a list of films that feature some of your favorite US Latino stars taking on refreshing feature roles, and powerful documentaries showcasing some great Latino subjects.

1

From Dusk Till Dawn

Robert Rodriguez

On the run from the law, two criminal brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) decide to take a family hostage so they can get across Mexico’s border in their RV. When they make a stop at a cantina/club, their worst nightmares come to pass when they realize the establishment is filled with blood-sucking vampires who want nothing more than to rip the criminals and the family to pieces. In an attempt to survive the night, the fangless humans put together a collection of makeshift weapons to fight off the undead and hope the sun rises before their heads roll. Robert Rodriguez’s vampire western features stalwart Latino actors Danny Trejo (as Razor Charlie) and Cheech Marin, together with Mexican-born Salma Hayek.

Synopsis By: Kiko Martinez
United States
Action, Horror
Quentin Tarantino
Elizabeth Avellán, John Esposito, Paul Hellerman, Robert Kurtzman, Gianni Nunnari, Meir Teper
1996
108

2

Rubble Kings

Shan Nicholson

You may have heard that during the 1970s the South Bronx wasn’t exactly somewhere you’d take your Grandma for a picnic. Rival gangs conducted a bloody turf war as a total lack of government funding plunged the area into misery and decay. But, oh my, what a sound emerged from the rubble. As disaffected young men began channeling their rage into artistic expression, hip hop was born, merging beats, graffiti, and breakdancing to become one of the 20th century’s most innovative and influential cultural movements. Former gang members return to the scene of their youth to recall this most remarkable of social transformations.

Synopsis By: Nick MacWilliam
United States
Documentary
Shan Nicholson
Michael Aguilar, Dito Montiel, Jim Carrey, Shan Nicholson, Ben Velez, Cristina Esteras
2010
68

3

The Original Latin Kings of Comedy

Jeb Brien

A riotous comedy special covering topics such as being mistaken for the help, white kids being raised by Latina nannies, and what Mexican greeting cards would be like, The Original Latin Kings of Comedy dissects what it’s like to be a Latino in the U.S. Hosted by Cheech Marin and featuring some of the biggest names in Latino comedy – George Lopez, Joey Medina, Alex Reymundo and Paul Rodríguez – the show serves as a companion piece to Spike Lee’s The Original Kings of Comedy, replacing the black performers from Lee’s film with those of Mexican descent. The result is brash, provocative, and downright hilarious.

Synopsis By: Nick MacWilliam
United States
Jeb Brien
2002
129

4

Frontera

Michael Berry

Frontera is a little reminiscent of Gran Torino; just substitute the U.S.-Mexico border for Detroit, and Ed Harris for Clint Eastwood as the old white guy who just can’t get used to having so many “damn foreigners” around. Harris’ sheriff character is also given a traumatizing reason for despising (or at least distrusting) Mexican migrant workers: he’s led to believe that Miguel (Michael Peña) has killed his wife. Luckily, Frontera has Michael Berry at the helm (and not a dude who doesn’t like chairs), so there’s actually some nuance in this look at border politics.

Synopsis By: Danette Chavez
United States
Michael Berry, Louis Moulinet
Louis Moulinet, Tina Aldatz, Guy Inzalaco
2014
103

5

The Wolfpack

Crystal Moselle

Shut out from the outside world by their overprotective Peruvian father, the Angulo brothers’ only know about what is beyond their apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan through the films they watch obsessively together. To keep themselves entertained, they also reenact some of their favorites. The imaginative brood creates their own props and costumes from everyday household objects like cereal boxes and yoga mats. Their parents, an unlikely pair, met when their American mother went on vacation to Peru and their father was her hiking guide. The film won a Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Synopsis By: Kiko Martinez
United States
Documentary
Hunter Gray, Alex Orlovsky, Izabella Tzenkova, Crystal Moselle
2015
80

6

Dope

Rick Famuyiwa

Ivy League hopeful Malcom, proud lesbian tomboy Diggy, and “14% black” Latino homie Jib (played by Orange County Guatemalteco Tony Revolori of The Grand Budapest Hotel) are fanatics of 90s hip hop, BMX biking, and also happen to play in a punk band together. In other words, they’re objects of ridicule in their working class hood. But a backpack full of ecstasy could very well change their fortunes; that is, if they manage to sell it all without getting caught, or having their Ivy League dreams dashed along the way.

Synopsis By: Andrew S. Vargas
United States
Comedy
Rick Famuyiwa
Forrest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi
2015
115

7

Chef

Jon Favreau

Given the opportunity, of course Jon Favreau wrote a movie in which he was once married to Sofía Vergara. Favreau stars as a popular Los Angeles chef who suffers a career setback and a bit of a breakdown; distraught, he accepts his ex-wife’s (Vergara) invitation to set up a food truck in Miami. Hilarity, a heartwarming family reunion, and drool-worthy food montages ensue. John Leguizamo is quippy and supportive as Favreau’s line cook/second-in-command.

Synopsis By: Danette Chavez
United States
Jon Favreau
Joy Allen, Marina Bespalov, Jon Favreau
2014
114

8

La misma luna

Patricia Riggen

Carlitos is a nine-year-old boy living in the Mexican countryside with his grandmother and oppressive aunt and uncle. Four years prior, his mother Rosario left to seek work in the United States and sends money back regularly, but when Carlitos’ grandmother dies, his aunt and uncle hatch a plot to take custody of the child and keep his remittances. Carlitos decides to escape across the border in order to find his mother, and after being separated from his coyotes, he meets up with a kind stranger who helps him on his way.

Synopsis By: Andrew S. Vargas
Mexico, United States
Drama
Ligiah Villalobos
Ligiah Villalobos, Gerardo Barrera, Patricia Riggen
2007
104

9

Cesar’s Last Fast

Richard Ray Perez, Lorena Parlee

Over the last few decades, few people have been as instrumental in grassroots activism in the United States as Cesar Chavez. A champion of worker and immigrant rights, Chavez is a modern folk hero, with buildings, monuments, and even holidays named in his honor. A tireless and courageous campaigner, Chavez advocated pacifism, with extended periods of fasting a common tactic for raising awareness to the plight of the exploited and the marginalized. In 1988, Chavez embarked on one such fast in order to draw attention to the use of pesticides that were having severe implications on the health of agricultural workers. It is another compelling chapter in the life of a remarkable man.

Synopsis By: Nick MacWilliam
United States
Documentary
Molly O’Brien, Lisa Remington, Richard Ray Perez, Lorena Parlee
2014
100

10

Fruitvale Station

Ryan Coogler

Following the last day of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), the young African-American father of one who was shot by Oakland police on New Years Day 2009, the gritty Fruitvale Station gives us a look at Oscar’s personal life. This includes seeing scenes of his stormy relationship with girlfriend Sophina (played by Nuyorican actress Melonie Diaz) and his affection for his young daughter.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceVVVils8z4

United States
Drama
Ryan Coogler
Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi
2015
85

11

Filly Brown

Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos

Featuring the acting debut of the late singer Jenni Rivera and featuring a pre-Jane the Virgin Gina Rodriguez, Filly Brown is a look at the Latino hip hop world. When Majo Tonorio (aka Filly Brown) finally gets the chance of a lifetime to fulfill her dreams of stardom, she’ll have to see how much she’s willing to sacrifice for it.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Drama
David Bianchi, Youssef Delara
Amir Delara, Youssef Delara, Mico Olmos, Edward Rios, Khoolaid Rios, Victor Teran, Michael D. Olmos
2012
80

12

Tangerine

Sean Baker

When Sin-Dee (Boricua actress Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) gets out of jail and finds out that her boyfriend/pimp has been cheating on her with a “real fish” (“Like a real fish, like vagina and everything!” her friend Alexandra tells her), she sets out to find out who she is and what’s been going on while she’s been away. Shot entirely on an iPhone and giving you a pitch perfect look at the queer nightlife in Los Angeles, Tangerine is a must-watch.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy
Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Sean Baker, Shih-Ching Tsou, Darren Dean
2015
88

13

James White

Josh Mond

James White is a fuck up. But he’ll have to clean up his self-destructive streak if he wants to be of any help to his mother who’s been recently diagnosed with cancer. Featuring revelatory performances by Girls’s Christopher Abbott and Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon, James White is worth catching to see Kid Cudi, whose father was of Mexican-American descent, show his acting skills as James’s gay best friend, Nick.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Drama
Josh Mond
Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Melody C. Roscher, Eric Schultz, Max Born
2015
85

14

Lila & Eve

Charles Stone III

In this gritty and heart-wrenching thriller, Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez play Lila and Eve, two grief-stricken mothers who will turn to violent vigilante justice to cope with their respective losses. When Lila finds that the police won’t help her bring the drive-by shooters that kill her son, she’s egged on by Eve, a woman from her grief group, who suggests they on take their son’s killers themselves.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Drama
Pat Gilfillan
Damian Ganczewski, Darrin Reed, Sara Risher
2015
94

15

The House That Jack Built

Henry Barrial

The House That Jack Built, with an original screenplay by Bronx-born Boricua Joseph Vásquez (whose death 20 years ago kept him from developing the project himself), is truly a Latino New York City film through and through. When Jack Maldonado buys an apartment building in the Bronx for him and his family to live in, he’s hoping to keep what’s most precious to him close by. But when the weed-dealing business that allowed him to make such an extravagant purchase is threatened, he’s going to learn that it takes more than just a roof to make a home.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Drama
Joseph B. Vasquez
Sam Kitt, Michael Lieber, Hitesh Patel
2015
90