19 April 2011 | rajah524-3
East LA's "Angels With Dirty Faces"
While I am willing to agree with the one reviewer here who takes Luis to task for staging a somewhat lopsided revision of history, I'm surprised at the 6.4 rating for this very artfully laid out rundown of the Sleepy Lagoon screwiness in wartime LA. My father was in fact one of the sheriff's deputies involved. His version was understandably authoritarian and legalistic. But all that aside...
This is the best examination I've ever seen or even heard of regarding the psyche of the Mexican-American gang bangers on the east side of that dry wash that separated the fix-is-in boys downtown from the second- and third-generation campesinos of mid-century SoCal. I went to Woodrow Wilson Junior & High School in El Sereno. There is nothing in Eddie James's =stunning= (to me, anyway) real-ization of "El Pachuco" that is off the mark. Nada. He had the peculiar, paranoid-delusional, narcissistic-machismo, defense mechanism menudo of the vato loco =down=, ese.
And anyone who understands even a =little= of what it really means to be =Hispanically= antisocial in hyper-starched khakis & Sir Guys =or= peg pants & porkpies -- and =dig= it -- ought to be fascinated. (Go see the outfits some of the guys in El Chicano, Tierra and Thee Midnighters are sporting to this day.)
Lalo Guerrero's "Marijuana Boogie" and the rest of the "bop" lend further flavor to this nifty little play-turned-film. Watch it =carefully=. Valdez's script is subtle. This is sophisticated trabajo.