Film

Netflixeando: 15 Feel-Good Films To Stream When You Need A Break From the News

Lead Photo: Gael García Bernal in 'Casa de mi padre.' Courtesy of Lionsgate.
Gael García Bernal in 'Casa de mi padre.' Courtesy of Lionsgate.

Did you just join the ranks of those working from home this week? Are you looking to find a break from the insanity that is the 24/7 news cycle around COVID-19? Would you be interested in some feel-good films for when you want to Netflix & Chill on your weekends? We’ve got you covered. We scoured Netflix’s vast collection of Latin American and U.S. Latino films to bring you the kinds of flicks you can tune into if you want to tune out the news for an hour or two.

Whether you’re in the mood for a classic rom-com, a good Cuarón watch or an Eugenio Derbez comedy, let the picks below take you to sunnier places where you can ease your mind, if only temporarily.

Also, in case you need any other suggestions, you can always check out all of our Netflixeando guides here.

1

Y tu mamá también

Stream it here.

Sounding for all the world like a teen rom com meets road movie, bromance at the beach, or other take-out/toss-out formulaic genre film, Y tu mamá también manages to be all of those things while being limited by none of them. Tenoch and Julio (played by then up-and-coming heartthrobs Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna) are on the loose for the summer while their girlfriends are away, when they meet a gorgeous Spanish older woman. Though only 10 years older than the lads, she might as well be light years away with the worldly understanding that sets her apart from the guys. Does “worldly understanding” suggest in its cheesy wording sex? Well yeah, but the sex here is far more real, playful, and complicated in the best possible ways than in your average film of this ilk. Combining coming of age with a realization of the complexities and inequities of their country, Cuarón captures the dualities of Mexico in a gorgeous road movie that showcases a restless new generation of millennials ready to take it all on.

Synopsis By: Maria-Christina Villaseñor
Mexico
Drama
Carlos Cuarón
Jorge Vergara
2000

2

Soltera codiciada

Bruno Ascenzo, Joanna Lombardi

Stream it here.

Heartbreaks are enough to upend an entire life. When Maria (Gisela Ponce de León) gets ceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, Matias (Andrés Salas), she feels as if she could die. With a seemingly dead-end job as a copywriter in an ad agency in Lima, Maria soon takes friends’ advice and decides to channel her hurt and resilience into the kind of writing she’s always dreamed of producing. That’s how “Soltera Codiciada,” Maria’s blog, is born. As she writes out her every thought, Maria soon finds her life turning around in this touching comedy about learning to love yourself and finding strength in one’s friends.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Peru
Comedy
María José Osorio, Mara Pescio
Miguel Valladares
2018
104

3

Someone Great

Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Stream it here.

Aspiring music journalist Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) has just landed her dream job at an iconic magazine and is about to move to San Francisco. Rather than do long distance, her boyfriend of nine years (Lakeith Stanfield) decides to call it quits. To nurse her broken heart, Jenny gathers up her two best friends, Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow), for one outrageous last adventure in New York City. From writer-director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (creator of MTV’s Sweet/Vicious), Someone great is a hilarious and heartfelt story of friendship, love and what it means to let go of your 20s and enter adulthood.

United States
Romantic Comedy, Romance, Comedy
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Gina Rodriguez, Peter Cron, Paul Feig, Emily Gipson, Jessie Henderson, Anthony Bregman
2019
92

4

The Rolling Stones Olé, Olé, Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America

Paul Dugdale

Stream it here.

This feature documentary follows The Rolling Stones’ tour of early 2016 through 10 Latin American cities. Part concert film and part travelogue, Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America combines the band’s electrifying live performances from across the tour, which take them from Mexico and Peru all the way down to Uruguay and Argentina. Giving an intimate look at the iconic rock band, Paul Dugdale’s doc ends with footage from the historic tour finale, which found Mick Jagger and company in Havana, Cuba, where the Stones became the first-ever rock band to perform on the island.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United Kingdom
Music, Documentary
Sam Bridger, Paul Dugdale
2016
106

5

How to Be a Latin Lover

Ken Marino

Stream it here.

Two of Mexico’s biggest stars come together in a laugh out loud comedy all about what it means to, as its title suggests, be a “Latin lover.” At the heart of it is Maximo (Eugenio Derbez), whose gigolo days are behind him after he married a wealthy woman more than twice his age. Only, after 25 years of married bliss (and pampered privilege), Maximo finds himself replaced – by a younger though definitely less attractive car salesman. Kicked to the curb, out of shape and with nowhere else to go, he ends up crashing with his estranged sister, Ana (Salma Hayek), and her adorable young son, Hugo (Raphael Alejandro). Never to waste an opportunity, Maximo finds that his nephew may well be the ticket back to wealth when he starts pursuing Hugo’s crush’s grandmother, played by Raquel Welch. Will he succeed or will he merely learn some valuable life lessons along the way?

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy
Jon Zack, Chris Spain
2017
105

6

El ciudadano ilustre

Gastón Duprat, Mariano Cohn

Stream it here.

A renowned Argentinean writer—a Nobel Prize winner no less!—gets an invitation to return to his small hometown to receive that year’s “Distinguished Citizen” award. The writer, who has lived abroad for the past few decades yet whose work is all about the small town life he left behind, hasn’t been home since he was a teenager. The homecoming becomes, in Duprat and Cohn’s dark dramedy, a clash of fiction and reality, of parochialism and cosmopolitanism, where it slowly dawns on the writer that everything back home is not as he left nor as he continued to imagine it.  Oscar Martínez won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for his performance as the literary luminary stranded in a farcical world of his own making.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Argentina
Andrés Duprat
Fernando Sokolowicz
2016
118

7

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

Beeban Kidron

Stream it here.

This iconic road trip film about three New York City drag queens driving cross-country from New York City to Los Angeles stars Wesley Snipes as Noxeema Jackson, Patrick Swayze as Vida Boheme and John Leguizamo as rookie drag queen Chi-Chi Rodriguez. When the trio hops into their newly bought Cadillac and set off to LA, where they’ll compete at the Miss Drag Queen of America Pageant, little do they know that they’re in for a journey that will have them face the kind of prejudice that only three strong-willed drag queens (who improbably stay in full drag when traveling) are well-equipped to handle when they’re stranded in a small town with their own prized possession: an autographed photo of Julie Newmar signed, well “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.” Fabulous, funny and with its heart on the right place, this broad comedy is quintessentially ’90s in both its comedy and its LGBTQ representation.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy
Douglas Carter Beane
G. Mac Brown
1995
109

8

Latin History for Morons

Aram Rappaport

Stream it here.

This hilarious and educational special is a taped performance of John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons. The one-man show from the Colombian comedian began as a small production at California’s Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2016. It then moved east and opened Off-Broadway at the Public before it went on to have its Tony-nominated run on Broadway. As its title implies, Leguizamo’s latest is all about unearthing the long-storied legacy of Latinos all throughout the continent. Prompted by his son’s school project on historical heroes, Leguizamo launches into a lecture about the many Latino military heroes who have served in the United States army, placing those contributions alongside breakthroughs that we owe to the Aztecs, Mayas and Taínos. The entire show is a reminder that despite what US history textbooks and mainstream media (let alone xenophobic and racist politicians) may tell you, Latinos have long been a central part of the United States.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy Special
John Leguizamo
2018
90

9

Almacenados

Jack Zagha Kababie

Stream it here.

Señor Lino (José Carlos Ruiz), a faithful employee about to retire, and Nin (Hoze Meléndez), the young slacker who is to take over share five days on a worksite,  work in an enormous empty warehouse where apparently nothing ever happens. In this absurd comedy-drama, director Jack Zagha Kababie offers an examination of working life by pitting two men who stand at opposite ends of the work ethic spectrum. Feeling more like a two-hander play (think Pinter or Mamet or Becket) but with enough visual panache to entrance, Almacenados traces their five days together during a week in distinct chapters during which both Nin and Señor Lino will get to know one another and perhaps learn a bit about themselves in the process.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Mexico
Comedy, Drama
David Desola
2015
93

10

Sólo con tu pareja

Stream it here.

This is the film that launched the career of Alfonso Cuarón. The Oscar-winning director’s debut centers on the accidental relationship between two would-be suicide cases: ladies’ man Tomás, who mistakenly believes he has AIDS, and his neighbor Clarissa, depressed over her cheating husband (a theme repeated in one of Cuarón’s subsequent films.) Made in 1991, Solo con tu pareja wasn’t released until two years later due to controversies over the explicit content. When Mexican audiences could finally see this humorous portrayal of broken society, they couldn’t get enough, and the film was a smash hit.

Synopsis By: Nick MacWilliam

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef-rPHHJ_IM

Mexico
Romance, Comedy
Carlos Cuarón
1991

11

Solteras

Luis Javier Henaine

Stream it here.

When Ana (Los Espookys‘ Cassandra Ciangherotti) gets dumped by her fiancé, she spirals. Getting married was always the goal and she finds herself at a loss as to how to get back on track. After a slew of horrifying dates she takes a gamble on a plan so outrageous, it might just work: She enrolls in a class for wannabe-brides that’s designed to help her find a husband. But as she bonds with her fellow classmates (played by Irán Castillo and Sophie Alexander-Katz), Ana soon finds that there may be more to life than finding a groom-to-be in this wildly female-driven comedy about the pressures of conforming in this day and age.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Mexico
Comedy
Luis Javier Henaine, Alejandra Olvera Avila
Pablo Zimbrón Alva, Luis Javier Henaine
2019
95

12

La dictadura perfecta

Luís Estrada

Stream it here.

This political satire, starring Damián Alcázar, was the Mexico’s highest grossing local film in 2014. The story begins when Mexico’s President commits an embarrassing gaffe while welcoming the U.S. ambassador. In an effort to divert public attention and help their longtime friend and ally from falling into yet another image crisis, one of the most powerful local TV networks releases a video that scandalously ties Governor Carmelo Vargas (Alcázar) to crime and illicit business. Afraid for his political future, “Gover Vargas” negotiates a secret million-dollar deal with the network.

Synopsis By: Remezcla Estaff
Mexico
Luis Estrada, Jaime Sampietro
Luís Estrada
2014
143

13

Casa de mi Padre

Matt Piedmont

Stream it here.

Parodying some of the overly exaggerated Mexican soap operas your abuela probably watches, this comedy actually features Will Ferrell speaking Spanish for the entire film. In the comedy, Ferrell plays Armando Álvarez, a Mexican rancher who gets in over his head when he falls in love with his brother’s (Diego Luna) fianceé (Génesis Rodríguez) and angers a dangerous drug lord known and Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal). Listen for Rodríguez’s father El Puma’s song “Whiter Shade” on the movie’s soundtrack.

Synopsis By: Kiko Martinez
United States
Comedy
Andrew Steele
Emilo Diez Barroso, Darlene Caamano Loquet, Kevin J. Messick, Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
2012
84

14

Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison

Tom Donahue

Stream it here.

The beloved norteño band Los Tigres del Norte performs for the inmates of Folsom Prison on the 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s iconic concert. In California, where 43% of prison inmates are of Latin American descent, the presence of Los Tigres del Norte further establishes the band as wholly committed to, as they put it in the doc, speaking for and to those who have lost their way. The music doc, which also includes the band’s Spanish take on Cash’s iconic “Folsom Street Blues” song, includes footage from the two concerts the band performed at Folsom, one in each gender-segregated ward, capturing the joy and hope they instilled in those who saw them live and up close.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Music, Documentary
Ilan Arboleda, Zach Horowitz
2019
64

15

Laerte-se

Lygia Barbosa, Eliane Brum

Stream it here.

Netflix’s first original documentary in Portuguese one of Brazil’s most brilliant cartoonists: Laerte Coutinho. After near 60 years as a man, Coutinho introduces herself as a woman. Following her on this journey, Laerte-se posits questions about what it means to be a woman, especially once the question of whether she should have breast implants or not starts to crop up. Sprinkled with the playful cartoons she’s known for and filmed with the piquant humor she brings to the page, this is as much a film about creativity as it is about living one’s truth.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Brazil
Documentary
Alessandra Côrte
2017
100