Hispanic Heritage Month

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I began thinking of some DVDs and videos we have here at the library. We have many Spanish language movies and telenovelas, but I considered the idea of heritage in a slightly different way. I chose some movies that focus on second and third generation Hispanic Americans and their lives and choices. These titles are well worth checking out.


  • Stand and Deliver (1988) – Edward James Olmos earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of real-life teacher Jaime Escalante, who started a calculus class to encourage his students to take Advanced Placement tests and earn college credit. Lou Diamond Phillips also stars.
  • Tortilla Soup (2001) – Hector Elizondo stars as a widower with three adult daughters. Their lives follow a safe predictable pattern – until romance comes into the picture.
  • Real Women Have Curves (2002) – America Ferrera made her film debut as Ana Garcia, a high school senior torn between her mother’s expectations and Ana’s own desire for a college education. Lupe Ontiveros gives a moving performance as Ana’s mother.
  • Walkout (2006) – Based on true events, this movie tells the story of a multi-school walkout staged by Chicano students in 1968 to protest blatant discrimination by the school system. Alexa Vega and Michael Peña star and many of the real-life participants of the walkout are extras. Directed by Edward James Olmos.
  • Ugly Betty (2006--present) – America Ferrera again, this time as Betty Suarez, an ambitious young woman inching her way up in the publishing world. With the help of her supportive family, Betty copes with an eccentric office staff and a roller coaster love life. Based on the Colombian telenovela, America won the Emmy Award for her portrayal as the truly beautiful Betty.



Long after I posted my

Long after I posted my initial comment, I remembered another movie that fits your theme well: Gregory Nava's "Mi Familia" (My Family), which came out in 1995. If "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was something of a Valentine to the immigrant family, so is "Mi Familia," though it's a more tear-stained missive. Nava's film traces the fates and fortunes of Mexican-American family over several decades, from their decision to settle in Los Angeles to the disparate paths pursued by various siblings -- everything from crime to the church. That may sound like a well-worn Hollywood plot device, but what makes Nava's movie so refreshing is that it acknowledges the quirks and the gray areas in our extended families. Watch it on your own or with your own family%2, and keep the tissues handy. I can't end this post without mentioning a few of the cast members: Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, Esai Morales, and of course the great Edward James Olmos.

I can't believe that I've not

I can't believe that I've not seen My Family/Mi Familia, especially since it stars actors I really like. Clearly, I have to put it on hold. I do like stories that show the changes that occur in families from generation to generation. Thanks for writing again. I enjoy your comments.