The truth about Roma

romaTHE MOVIE Roma is receiving lots of hoopla, as is its star, an indigenous schoolteacher from the Mexican state of Oaxaca and first-time actress with the name of Yalitza Aparizio.

The hoopla perhaps is greatest over Aparizio.

At the risk of being labeled a Philistine — I don’t care — I hold a less breathy opinion of the movie and its star who has been nominated for an Academy Award (Best Actress!), something I find silly.

The movie is quite good, but it’s no Casablanca or Sophie’s Choice. It’s not even The Wild Bunch, another movie set in Mexico.

I’ve seen Casablanca maybe three times, Sophie’s Choice twice, and The Wild Bunch about 14 or 15 times. It’s a cult classic. I’m a cultist.

Roma is quite good. It has subtleties I doubt many people outside of Mexico will notice and/or understand. I’ve seen it twice. I did the repeat after reading that lots of nuances are missed the first time, so a second visit is advisable. I liked it more the first time.

But I’ll grant it’s a very good movie. That is if you can make it past the first 20-25 minutes which are glacially slow. Snooze time.

Now let’s move onto the star, Aparizio. For most of the movie her character is as deadpan as Keanu Reeves. It requires little talent to deadpan. However, this is one of the subtleties non-Mexicans will miss. Domestics in Mexico are indeed deadpan more often than not.

This is especially true if they’re indigenous.

The only scene in Roma where Aparizio shines is the segment in the hospital where she has her baby. It’s a gripping scene, and she does a great job of acting. Kudos to her.

Here is why the movie, and Aparizio especially, are receiving so much praise and why she’s laughably been nominated for an Oscar. The movie pushes all the PC buttons for Hollywood types.

  1. Filmed in black and white.
  2. There are subtitles.
  3. The star is Mexican
  4. The star is indigenous and female.

These factors have sent America’s West and Northeast coasts into a swoon. I predict the movie will win the Best Picture Oscar and Aparitzio will win as Best Actress, all for the four reasons just stated.

Recall that the 2013 Best Picture winner was 12 Years a Slave, another movie dear to politically correct hearts. After winning that year, it came to light that a number of Academy members voted for 12 Years a Slave without actually having seen the movie. Incredible.

So Aparizio will take the Oscar home.

And in another year, she will be forgotten, back to teaching in Oaxaca, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Good teachers have value.

The Oscar has become as political as the Nobel Prize, a fact that has rendered them virtually meaningless. Aparizio’s winning as Best Actress will be up there with Barry Obama winning the Peace Prize and Bob Dylan the prize for Literature. Sad.

Fifteen years a Mexican

DO YOU REMEMBER the movie Twelve Years a Slave, the one some members of the Oscar committee later confessed to voting as Best Picture even though they had not seen it? The PC theme swayed them.

Incredible, the terrible, phony times in which we live.

So I’m considering becoming a filmmaker next January when I hit the 15-year mark below the Rio Bravo. Since we Mexicans are almost as fashionable as blacks, I’m thinking I can just make the video on my two-bit Kodak Easyshare. I’ll have to find a distributor, but that won’t be difficult due to the trendy subject matter.

cameraNobody much will watch my flick, and even if they do, they’ll be afraid to say it’s trash because I’m Mexican (profiling!) and then the Oscar folks will knee-jerk me into wealth and fame!

I won’t be a bona fide Mexican for 15 years in January. I will simply have lived here that long. I became a bona fide, voter-card-carrying (yes, we must have a photo ID to vote, Gringos) Mexican nine years ago next December.

The first matter of business is casting. Here’s what I will need:

1. Imelda the sultry maid (brown skin required).

2. José the cripple in the wheelchair.

3. Manuel the arrogant rich guy (white skin required).

4. Lupe the bureaucrat who does nothing without a bribe.

5. Alejandro the cartel capo (brown skin required).

6. Axel the hit man (very brown skin required).*

7. Diego the beggar, age 9.

8. Jerónimo the alcoholic. He’s Diego’s father who beats him daily.

9. Valentina the beautiful female lead (white skin required) who swoons at the sight of …

10. Miguel Ángel the dashing male lead and incorrigible womanizer (white skin required).

I’ll be reading applications next week. Just send an email. The role of Miguel Ángel is taken. That will be me because I have white skin, plus I want to kiss and fondle Valentina.

We’re gonna get rich together, amigos. Practice speaking English with a Spanish accent. Hint: Pronounce “you” like “Jew” and stress every letter in English words, no matter how much you giggle.

All for now. I must go write my Oscar acceptance speech.

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* Bring your own machete. This is a low-budget operation.