on February 19, 2004
I first saw this movie in 1995 when it was first released in theaters. Nine years later, the movie still has the same effect as it did when I first saw it. Although my experiences and my family's experiences are not identical to the ones experienced by the Sanchez family, there are similarities, and I'm sure many other Mexican-Americans can identify with the small things that make this movie so good.
What makes this movie so good is that the director, Gregory Nava, captures the nuances that many Mexican-Americans can relate to. 'Crossing the Bridges,' as Edward James Olmos explains, is something that the patriarch of the family must do when he goes to work on the other side of downtown LA. What's so strange is that many people continue to cross those bridges every day of their lives (literally and figuratively).
Little things like this as well as Chucho's pride in having the best creased pants, the mother's passion for her 'novelas,' and Jimmy Smits' hard personality really give this movie a feeling of familiarity. I also like the fact that Memo goes to UCLA.
The casting is good, and it's weird to see Jennifer Lopez in small roles like this before her rise to stardom. While the movie may not identically reflect the experiences of every Mexican-American, it will be hard not to see some parallels.