At Latina, we love nothing more than when movies—especially popular ones!—make references to Latinos and, or Latino culture in the United States. Why? Because it is yet another example of the fact that Latinos have arrived and that we're very much a part of the mainstream media.
Still, there are times when we come across a movie line (or five) that seem kind-a, sort-a offensive towards Latinos. We know it's all in good fun (the reality is probably that it's intended to get a good laugh), but these movie lines are also (probably) the product of writers who still don't understand Latinos beyond stereotypes.
Withourt further ado, here are 5 awesome movies that feature not-so-awesome lines about Latinos.
Easy A (2010)
We're big fans of this Emma Stone comedy which pays homage to some of the greatest teen movies of all time (and we love the irreverence and general badassness of the main character Olive Penderghast). But there's one scene (and one movie line) in Easy A that kind-a, sort-a rubs us the wrong way. While accepting money from a fellow classmate to pretend she "fake rocked his world," the male student tells Olive (Stone) that all he can afford for payment is a coupon, to which Olive replies: "How's that my problem, amigo?" She adds: “I knew he wasn’t Latino, but for some reason all of these shady backdoor deals had me talking like Carlito.” Then, as if that weren't bad enough, she sends him off by saying:”Beat it, ese.” Umm, really?
in this Amy Heckerling classic (which we LOVE and can quote for hours!), Cher (Alicia Silverstone) asks her maid Lucy (Aida Linares) if she can ask the gardener Jose to clear out the bush and Lucy replies, "He's your gardener, why you don't tell him?" Looking completely confused, Cher replies (matter-of-factly, we might add): "Lucy, you know I don't speak Mexican," to which Lucy replies, "I AM NOT A MEXICAN!" Cher's step-brother Josh (Paul Rudd) has to then explain to Cher that Lucy is from El Salvador and that it's "an entirely different country," to which Cher replies, "What does that matter?" Forget the fact that Cher thinks Mexican is a language, but she also assumes that all Latinos are Mexican and that Lucy, her maid, is Mexican. The popular movie quote has made its way into the pop culture consciousness and it's something we can't help but laugh at, but at the same time it speaks to the fact that there are people who don't know that not all Latinos are Mexican, and that don't understand that Latinos come from various countries.
Fools Rush In (1997)
Fools Rush In is a great rom-com starring Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry as two people in love who have to figure out a way to maintain each of their cultural traditions while being married. The movie is very funny (and adorable) but there's one scene that is kind-a, sort-a...not cool. During a heated argument between Alex's (Perry) parents and Isabel's (Hayek) parents, Alex's parents insult Isabel's folks by saying: "You call this culture!? Guacamole and a GHETTO BLASTER in the middle of a desert!" The couple's parents go on to trade several insults back and forth...and of course, neither is right....
The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
When Jan (Jennifer Elise Cox) invents that she has a boyfriend, she has to come up with a name for her new lover, so she says, “George…Tropicana,” to which Mrs. Brady (Shelley Long) replies, “What a nice name! Is he Cuban?” Why would someone with the last name “Tropicana” HAVE to be Cuban? We do admit, however, that the scene is funy and silly.
To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)
Don't get us wrong: We LOVE this 1995 road trip movie about three fabulous drag queens who travel cross country to take part in a national drag queen contest. And, we can't get enough of John Leguizamo's inexperienced 'drag princess' Chi-Chi Rodriguez, whom Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) and Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) affectionately refer to as "a boy in a dress." But what we don't understand is why they also have to refer to her as a "Little Latin boy in drag." What does it matter that she's Latin?