Thanksgiving is hands down the best American holiday. It’s an entire day that is dedicated to gluttony. Overeating is not only encouraged, it’s considered a vital part of celebrating the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, and all that other stuff. Anyway, back to the eating. Latinos love to eat and celebrate and be merry just like everyone else, but our Thanksgivings are a little bit different. We feast on turkey and tamales, stuff ourselves with pumpkin pie and flan, and sip on pitorro and pisco sours while abuelita naps on the couch in a post-pavo food coma.
Regardless of how you spend your Thanksgiving, here are some Latino films you can watch on Netflix while recovering from your turkey hangover. Whether you’re breaking bread with your parents, nieces and nephews, abuelos or roommates — we’ve got you covered.
This documentary from the ESPN 30 for 30 series features the Mexican phenom known as Fernando Valenzuela (a.k.a. El Toro). Although he did not fit the conventional mold of a professional baseball player, Valenzuela stormed into Major League Baseball in 1981 to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Fernandomania” began right from the start as Valenzuela, a left-handed pitcher from a remote Mexican village in the Sonoran desert, wowed baseball fans with his hard-to-hit screwball and unique approach to the game.
Amor a primera vista
Serendipity has a funny way of proving itself in this cheesy albeit harmless Mexican romantic comedy about a mariachi singer who finds himself in a bizarre situation. When Rachel (Ramsey), a diplomatic consul for the U.S. Embassy, rejects the visa of musician Alejandro Fernandez (Camil), she has no idea she will soon run into the mariachi again when she needs help. After a night of drinking and passing out in the street, Rachel is saved by Alejandro, but does not remember that he is the same man she saw in her office days prior who was hoping to renew his paperwork and stay in the country with his daughter.
Casa de mi Padre
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.
From Dusk Till Dawn
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.
Cesar’s Last Fast
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.
The Original Latin Kings of Comedy
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.
This epic crime drama (told in a 3 part mini-series) following the adventures of one of the world’s most infamous terrorists/revolutionaries, Venezuelan national Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (more commonly known as Carlos the Jackal) was one of the biggest TV events of recent years. Édgar Ramírez oozes charisma as the title character, inhabiting the role of the Jackal from the early days in 70s Europe through to his capture over two decades later after being sold out by treacherous collaborators. In spite of being portrayed as something of a noble idealist, the real-life Carlos was less than impressed with this mini-series, claiming that it could prejudice any future trials and falsified history. “Showing hysterical men waving submachine guns and threatening people is completely ridiculous,” he riled. An element of myth making, perhaps, but one thing’s for sure: if Édgar Ramírez played me in the film of my life story, I’d be pretty damn pleased about it.
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.
Brothers Tomás (Sebastián Aguirre) and Fede aka Sombra (Tenoch Huerta) are desperately seeking famed singer Epigmenio Cruz in this road movie/coming-of-age tale hybrid. The 1999 UNAM strike provides historical context and some drama, but this is mostly a story of a “lost generation”: Sombra and his friends consider joining the protests for lack of anything else to do, and Tomás clings to a cassette tape and his past. When they hit the road to track down the aforementioned music legend, hilarity and edification ensue. A seminal work of twenty-first century Mexican cinema, Alonso Ruizpalacios’ debut feature bristles with an electricity of the very youth it’s portraying, managing to create a colorful portrait even as its cinematography is in black and white.
What would happen if Toy Story and Rudo y Cursi had a baby? I mean probably something more fucked up than this movie but you get the point. Metegol tells the story of a young boy named Amadeo who must face off against his rival on the pitch with the help of his disassembled foosball team. Come for the gorgeous CGI animation, stay for how Argentine the foosball players are.
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.
When happy couple Carmen (Daniela Rincón) and Alfredo (Andrés Almeida) decide to move to Mexico City and leave their quaint suburban lives behind so Alfredo can start a new job, they get more than they bargain for. The change in location puts a burden on both of them as they try to get settled in. But when Carmen starts feeling bad about her weight and Alfredo begins to stray from their relationship, can the couple survive in their new environment or will life in the big city destroy the happiness they once shared?
You might think that being the most gored bullfighter in history would be enough reason for real-life torero Antonio Barrera to hang up his cape for good, but he’s as stubborn as the bulls he’s encountered. Despite the tremendous fight left in him, Barrera must also think about what’s best for his family, like being there to see his children grow up.
What exactly happened to the Armani suits, mink coats, and feathered hats of the Superfly era? When did urban fashion become synonymous with Pumas, Lee Jeans, and Kangols? These are the questions taken on by director Sacha Jenkins in Fresh Dressed, an in-depth look at the development of hip hop street fashion, including the inevitable role played by New York Latinos in its evolution. The result is a fascinating reflection on the cultural shifts that characterized urban America in the 1970s and 80s.
La dictadura perfecta
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.
Fast food in America has come under attack, and rightly so. But that makes it easy to forget that there’s a dark side to even the healthier options. In his documentary Food Chains, Sanjay Rawal takes up the plight of migrant farmworkers by focusing on their fight in Immokalee, Florida. Forrest Whitaker narrates as the workers form the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, to push back against supermarket giants who essentially pressure farm owners to pay poverty wages. Eva Longoria executive-produced this film that’s a great follow-up to Harvest of Shame.
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.
Cinco de mayo: la batalla
Bloody battle scenes, rousing speeches and sweeping patriotism are the order of the day in this epic retelling of the Battle of Puebla. On May 5 1862, one of the most important dates in Mexican history, an outnumbered and ill-equipped force of a few thousand Mexican soldiers, led by the dashing General Zaragoza, valiantly repelled the awesome might of the invading French army that was closing in on Mexico City. One of the most expensive Mexican productions ever, it’s easy to see where the budget went: a cast of, if not thousands, a lot of extras who participate in some rivetingly choreographed slaughter and ultimately, glory.
The Two Escobars
In the 1990s, the Colombian soccer team set out to blaze a new image for their crime-torn country and rapidly rose to the top ranks. Central to this success were the two Escobars: Andrés, the captain of the national team, and Pablo, the infamous drug baron, who pioneered the phenomenon known as “Narco-soccer.” But just as Colombia was expected to easily advance in the 1994 World Cup, it all fell apart, culminating in the shocking murder of Andrés Escobar. This film daringly investigates the truth behind the killing that dashed the hopes of a nation searching for peace.
Boxing entered a golden age in the 1980s, and saw some of the sport’s most popular and talented pugilists enter the ring. But you could sum up the era with the rivalry between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán. Though not exactly a David-versus-Goliath story, Durán certainly appeared to be the one to beat until he uttered those two little words (and then repeated them). In this ESPN-backed film that is part of the 30 For 30 series, director Eric Drath takes us through the paces that led up to one of boxing’s most memorable moments ever.
At 37 years old, time is not on his side. Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez can drop the best boxers with his lightning strikes, floor the most beautiful women with his devastating looks, and has a hard scrabble immigrant story and work ethic that make him a natural hero. But a willingness to call it the way he sees it and speak truth to power, has left him a virtual pariah in the notorious corrupt world of professional boxing. This is story of a man fighting to fight. But the clock is ticking. It may already be too late.
Considered by many at México’s version of superstar Madonna, pop-rock singer and songwriter Gloria Trevi’s life becomes a feature film with actress Sofía Espinosa taking on the part of the “Supreme diva of Mexican Pop.” The film promises to cover everything from how she rose to stardom from a poverty-stricken childhood all the way to a sex scandal that rocked the Spanish-speaking world in 1999. Whether this narrative makes Espinosa a household name like Selena did for Jennifer Lopez in 1997 remains to be seen, but all eyes are on her and what she can do with the iconic title role and how well she can capture Trevi’s style on stage.
Get an unprecedented look at the behind the scenes workings of what goes on in the Mexican Lucha Libre spectacle. Lucha Mexico follows “El 1000% Guapo” as he gives audiences a chance to see what it takes to become one of the best luchadores of the modern era while trying to show what it is that makes this pastime such an enduring success. Filled with charismatic performers and plenty of footage from the ring, Lucha Mexico is sure to please fans of the masked wrestlers as well as those curious about this ever-growing sport.
No se aceptan devoluciones
Valentín is an Acapulco lothario whose life is thrown out of whack when an ex-fling named Julia leaves a child he allegedly fathered at his doorstep. With little more than an old photo to identify the baby girl’s American mother, Valentín hitchhikes toward the border hoping to return the child. When he is unsuccessful, Valentín becomes an unlikely father figure, lovingly supporting his daughter for six years through work as a stuntman. When Julia suddenly contacts Valentín out of the blue, demanding he return the child, his life is once again shaken up.
This coming-of-age film by writer-director Fellipe Barbosa (Laura) tells the story of 17-year-old Jean (newcomer Thales Cavalcanti), whose privileged life in Brazil begins to unravel as he gets ready for college. Financial and personal problems in his family and a new love interest begin to affect his future.