Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal have been BFFs since they were kids. Famous for their co-starring breakout roles in Y tu mamá también they do everything together, not just acting. They created Ambulante, a documentary film festival that travels to different cities in Mexico and the U.S., they launched a production company, Canana Films, and even had baby boys a few months apart. Even though they are tied at the waist, they sometimes branch out and do their own stuff. They have acted in some chingón movies together, some just as chido movies apart, and others no sirven para nada. So here is the good, the bad, and the ugly (well, neither of them could ever be ugly.)
GAEL + DIEGO TOGETHER
Y tu mamá también
Alfonso Cuarón (2001)
This is the movie that started the world’s love affair with Mexico’s most famous acting duo. Young Gael and Diego try to romance a slightly older Spanish woman and take her on a road trip in search of a mostly made up beach called boca del cielo. Along the way they pass police checkpoints, see drug busts and traffic accidents, and drive past shanty towns — you see the real Mexico. It’s beautiful, sometimes violent, many are poor, some really, really rich. Filled with the most awkward sex scenes in cinematic history and peppered with Mexi-slang it’s at this point a Mexican classic.
Rudo y Cursi
Carlos Cuarón (2008)
Another homerun for the tag team heartthrobs, they play brothers in this hilarious film. Working on a banana ranch and barely scraping by, they dream of being rich and famous. A fast-talking agent sees them playing futból and promises that he can launch their sports careers. But, Gael’s character longs for a music career. This spawns the most hilarious/amazing/terrible/ridiculous cover of all time — a Norteño version of I Want You to Want Me — where GGB showcases his lack of singing abilities.
GAEL ON HIS OWN
Gael has been in some ridiculously good movies, Motorcycle Diaries, The Science of Sleep, La Mala Educación, but you’ve probably already seen all of these (any self-respecting GGB fan has seen them all, over and over again). But, there’s one that’s just as amazing but not as well-known. I’ve raved about it before and even listed it as one of the Top Eleven Latino Films of 2011 That You Probably Didn’t See But Should.
También la lluvia (Even the Rain)
Icíar Bollaín (2011)
In this film about a film, a Mexican director (Gael) and Spanish producer head to Bolivia with a group of actors to shoot a movie about colonial times. They happen to be shooting during the Bolivian water wars. A true-to-life period of Bolivian politics in which activists fought against the privatization of water by foreign multinationals in 2000. The film flawlessly dances between the past and the present making poignant criticisms and highlighting similitudes. It’s funny, it’s thrilling, it’s political, and it’s entertaining.
Lukas Moodysson (2009)
Not even talented actors like Gael and Michelle Williams can save this movie. It’s bad, really, really bad. GGB’s character, his wife, daughter, and nanny all live in an amazing (and probably really expensive) apartment in New York, then he travels to Thailand, bla bla bla… stuff happens and then everyone magically reexamines their life and has amazing revelations. The dialogue sucks, the characters are boring, and you could care less what happens to them. If you are a huge GGB fan and want to watch it anyway, I suggest you mute the sound and just ogle at his pretty brown eyes.
Where You Can Watch It: Netflix Instant
Verdict: No sirve para nada
DIEGO ON HIS OWN
Diego’s solo acting career has not been as successful as Gael’s — he’s been in a few good films but where he has really excelled is in the director’s chair. His directing debut — a documentary chronicling the life of the legendary boxer Julio Cesar Chavez — proved that he knows what he’s doing behind the camera. He then went on to direct Abel, a dramedy about a 9 year-old boy who’s just returned home from a psychiatric institution. As far as acting, Diego’s best performance was definitely alongside Sean Penn.
Gus Van Sant (2008)
In an Oscar-winning role, Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, the openly gay activist and San Francisco politician who was murdered along with S.F. Mayor George Moscone. Diego co-stars as Jack Lira — Harvey’s moody and tragic but funny and charming boyfriend. In an interview, Diego gushed about how sweet Sean Penn was but admitted that he took a few tequila shots before the sex scenes.
Diego has been in a lot of crappy movies, a lot. His worst streak was in the early millenium when he acted in Carambola, Nicotina, and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights all back-to-back. I am a little bit curious but still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch Havana Nights. Why would you even mess with Dirty Dancing to begin with? And even the guy that wrote the screenplay that the film was based on hates the final product. But, the worst of the worst has got to be Carambola.
Kurt Hollander (2003)
I beg of you to not waste your time with this one, but if you really love Diego and get a kick out of terrible films — go for it. When longtime expert player El Vago wins an old-fashioned pool hall in a bet, he turns to El Perro (Diego Luna), to help him film an instructional video to earn some extra cash. But instead, El Perro focuses his camera on the sexy La Pujara (Laura Hidalgo) with her clothes off, of course.