A single-parent ex-con in a tough, minority neighborhood finds his personal values challenged when he discovers his son is gay.A single-parent ex-con in a tough, minority neighborhood finds his personal values challenged when he discovers his son is gay.A single-parent ex-con in a tough, minority neighborhood finds his personal values challenged when he discovers his son is gay.
Che is a great guy with a pleasant personality most of the time, and everyone likes him--except Lena, who doesn't want him to work on cars on the sidewalk (did he not have the garage yet?) and just generally seems hard to please. During what free time he has, Che plays pickup basketball with the guys, and he drives one of the many great-looking classic cars in his "low rider" group. He is also restoring a '64 Chevy for Jes as a graduation present.
Jes has a boyfriend Jordan and they go to a loud gay club together. They have a number of photos taken, which Jes leaves lying around. He shouldn't have, because he hasn't told his father. And as cool as Che is, his reaction to his son being gay is not exactly what you would expect. Jes is also bullied by a guy at school who also sees him in the 'hood, and this guy has problems with Che as well.
During the rest of the movie, Che and Jes have to work to resolve their differences. Something does happen that we hope would make everything work out, but it's just not that simple. Meanwhile, Che and Lena started out hating each other, so what do you think will happen with them? Well, not quite what you'd think. Nothing is simple in this movie.
This movie is a quality portrayal of life in a Latino neighborhood, but it is more than that. These people are not merely Mexican. At least some of them, including the bully, are Aztec, and we see the colorful costumes and the dancing of the Aztec culture. We see beautiful art on buildings, and even on that '64 Chevy. Who knew a 60-year-old car could look so good?
Benjamin Bratt gives a remarkable performance with many dimensions. He is not merely this great guy everyone likes. He can be just plain nasty and he can get depressed and withdraw from the world. But overall his is a positive image of Latino culture, because he is genuinely trying to be a good guy.
Another good performance comes from a guy whose name I don't remember. He is a good friend of Che, and he and his wife had a disabled child. This is important in helping Che overcome his prejudices, if indeed he ever does.
And Erika Alexander is worth mentioning as Lena. Jeremy Ray Valdez also does a good job as Jes.
While the movie can be quite serious and controversial, with different types of bigotry, it also has some laughs. One of Che's friends (who is African-American) is able to say "chili chatter" without offending when complaining the others speak Spanish around him when they're in HIS country; they should speak English.
There is some violence and I could tell the language had to be cleaned up a LOT for TV. Amazingly, someone decided the rating should be TV-PG-V. No L, though there are a few words left.
One of the most meaningful parts of the movie is a scene with the low-riders. A new person in the group appears to be warmly welcomed by the neighborhood people. They don't say a word. They just look at the newcomer in a friendly way. Judging from the credits, I would say these are real people from the neighborhood.
It's worth seeing, just in general but also as a Latino-themed movie that is different.
- Sep 21, 2014