We at Remezcla have taken it upon ourselves to shine a light on great if obscure movies over the past years. But, we’ve never told anyone about the wastes of celluloid that occupy a great many IMDb page. These are the films that no one should be forced to watch, that even Channel 10 won’t show. Films that would make anyone with taste in movies cringe, let alone Latinos. Granted this is not a list with equivalents of Manos: The Hands of Fate or Plan 9 From Outer Space, but the films range from plain bad to the bizarre and borderline offensive.
We have itemized the films according to levels of incompetence/stamina needed to see it through. The first few are just genuinely boring. As you descend further into cinematic hell, the movies become harder and harder to watch until you get movies that will question your decision/sanity.
In any case, some of these accidental works of art have died quick deaths at the box office. The thing is, who knows, you might be unlucky (or is it lucky, hmmm) to have a channel stuck on this just as you’re bed ridden and unable to change the channel.
Level 1: Yeah, nothing else is on.
Hmmm, where to start: the moronic premise or the shoddy workmanship? Dang it, I can’t decide because I’m too busy lusting after Sofia Vergara, so I’m just going to go with the premise. A wealthy Latin lothario has three ladies on the side and all three decide to follow the ramblings of idolized weirdo, Walter Mercado, and surprise him with a chance meeting in his home. Hijinks and revealing dresses follow.
Why It’s Bad: The plot is as thin as my chances of touching Sofia and the acting would barely pass in an amateur porno. Indeed, the IMDb pages are alit with fans whose sole support comes from the fact that the movie makes for nice eye candy.
Redeeming Qualities: Hmm, besides the fact that this is a wank fest, the movie is very, very, very slightly bearable. At the very least, it brought Sofia Vergara a large audience.
Franc. Reyes (yes, the period after his first name is correct) made his name in music videos before he made the transition to film. Seems like no one bothered to tell him. Empire (2002) is about a drug lord who tries to get out of that life while Illegal Tender (2007) concerns a family who must kill the enemies of their late drug dealing patriarch. The Ministers (2009) is basically a Latino Boondock Saints.
Why They’re Bad: Ok, to be fair, Franc. Reyes isn’t on Ed Wood territory. In the three films that he has come out with, drugs have something to do with the story and a lot of people get shot. Incidentally enough, his first film turned out to be his best, but subsequent work has become mediocre. Illegal Tender becomes a movie about a boy’s dream to turn his hometown into a litter of dead bodies while his mom looks on in approval. The Ministers continues Reyes’ obsession with crime done as boringly as possible with respected actors in them. So, expect more of the same when he releases his next film.
Redeeming Qualities: Empire is surprisingly entertaining while Illegal Tender and The Minsters are simply unwatchable. The only good to come out of this is that if something like The Ministers can be greenlit, then what is to stop the budding screenwriter? Sky’s the limit, my friends.
Level 2: Coño, I can’t find the remote!
A couple of dogs get into a series of adventures down in Mexico. It was meant for kids in case you didn’t crack the case.
Why It’s Bad: Beverly Hills Chihuahua made millions as the tale of over-pampered dogs took America by storm and gave people with brains even more reason to want to die. The cast is a who’s who of Latinos as George Lopez, Andy Garcia, Paul Rodriguez, and Luis Guzman lend their voices. Aside from respected actors and comedians taking part in this, the movie holds no entertainment value at all. The script is not worth getting into and the depictions of Mexico ring false, as they portray it as a playground or a dump.
Redeeming Qualities (If any): Kids are suckers for a lot of things. Try this and be thankful for their lack of critical faculties.
La Linea is a film that takes a look at one of the most dangerous cities in the Americas. A brutal drug conflict simmers and the result is death.
Why It’s Bad: Ever since I saw this last year, the movie has continued to haunt me like the memories of horrors long past. Ray Liotta plays a lame mercenary sent to kill a crazed drug lord and a bunch of goons get killed in lame, set-piece battles while Armand Assante pops out of nowhere. Meanwhile, Andy Garcia sees fit to tell lame metaphors while pretending to be near death so his out-of-control cousin can send half his people to their deaths so Garcia can look cool in the end. Aside from that, the script seemed to have been written by someone who saw Traffic one too many times and the result is something I have longed to remove from my brain…to no avail.
Redeeming Qualities (If any): The only thing I could think of could be the cinematography. Be sure to watch it with the sound off.
Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power shows Carlos Brigante as a young man in the 1960s, before prison and Sean Penn.
Why It’s Bad: The first was good enough but commercial reception warranted a sequel, without Al Pacino or John Leguizamo. The result was a film that shows criminals in as boring a light as possible. Horribly miscast and badly acted, the movie was released straight to DVD. The production values have the same standards as a snuff film. See it if you want a good sleeping aid.
Redeeming Qualities (If any): It is a suitable choice of entertainment if your only options are Time Life music infomercials or going outside.
Level 3: The spirit of Ed Wood is alive.
The premise: a mysterious fog hits LA and before non-Mexicans know it, their hired help has vanished.
Why It’s Bad: Apart from the premise, the film sees fit to beat us over the head with after-school level lessons about racism, economics, and the contributions of Mexicans to this country. While the issues it deals with are of great importance, the way it delves into these issues reeks of amateurism and pandering to the lowest common denominator. In this world, everything is black or white and the entire craft of making a decent movie seemed to take a backseat to the message. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a point larger than a personal revelation, but if you’re going to do something like this, it better be bearable.
Redeeming Qualities (Ha!): I’ll get back to you when I eat Mole Poblano with a fork.
Two rockers are so enamored with rock, their nicknames are variations of the group AC/DC. They also hate a certain pop singer and are drawn to a Spaniard beauty who coincidentally enough, loves the pop singer.
Why It’s Bad: Once again, Spain has seen fit to take inspiration from our z-movie tradition. The result, well, is Isi Disi of course. The rest of the movie uses sight gags and not much else. Meanwhile, the movie was seen as a success so a sequel was released: Isi Disi 2. Not surprisingly, that should be avoided as well.
Redeeming Qualities (Ha!): The next time some snooty Spaniard extols the contributions of their gran país, bring this up and watch them mouth the word “sorry.”
Well isn’t this something: a film about a duo who makes a film about zombies only to see their creations come alive.
Why It’s Bad: Director Miguel Angel Lamata (who also directed the prized Isi Disi 2) attempts to create a hip, self-conscious film about the movie process but ends in failure. The writing is nothing less than terrible and the direction comes across as insipid and painfully unfunny. So, if you have any friends who are still saying, “Hey, let’s see this,” then it would be a good idea to lure him/her into a dark alley and let the resident dregs of society work on him/her. Failing that, get new friends.
Redeeming Qualities (Ha!): No.
Level 4: The Worst of the Worst
Over the centuries, Spain has given the world its tongue, Cervantes, and Dali. Now, America has returned the favor with Spanish Movie. How? Well, the makers of the film took inspiration from the team that’s behind the “(Insert Trend Here) Movie” series and have made a film that is a carbon copy.
Why It’s Bad: Have you ever seen Epic Movie? If so, after you have written an apology to your brain and wallet, the movie shall be seen as the definitive example of American domination over the former conquistadors. The movie made millions.
Redeeming Qualities (Really?): The movie itself is so heinous, that any enjoyment derived from it would be by complete accident.
We love John Leguizamo. Talented, witty, and dedicated to his craft, he is a fine actor. But, even the best make mistakes and in this 1997 film, he appeared as a human target for a racist hunter in a comedy film. That’s pretty much it.
Why It’s Bad: The script is less sophisticated than that of a high school play. The direction screams of incompetence and a lack of vision. The acting is uh, oh Jesus, why did you do this, John, why? You were my hero! Then you go out and do this thing, you bag of poop, you poop mouth! Ok, anyway, the movie was a bomb (it cost more than 17 million and only made 3 million in sales) and Johnny Legs himself wrote disapprovingly of the movie in his memoir. Watch the first two minutes of the film, I dare you.
Redeeming Qualities (Really?): The DVD case can be used as a door stop.