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La Bamba which stars Lou Diamond Phillips as tragic 50's rocker Ritchie
Valens(real name Richard Valenzuela) is my favorite rock bio film. The film
covers the Mexican American Valens' rise from poverty in California to
becoming a rock n roll superstar at the young age of 17 only to lose it all
within 8 months on the "Day the Music Died".
In addition to focusing on Valens' music career, writer/director Luis
Valdez spends time showing the tense relationship between Ritchie and his
older brother Bob who is played excellently by Esai Morales. As Ritchie
becomes famous Bob begins to resent him and that provides the film with some
of its most powerful and heartbreaking scenes.
The film's other effective moments come between Ritchie and his girlfriend
Donna. During their scenes together I felt that Valdez did a good job in
showing what teenage romances must've been like back in the more innocent
1950's and how parents prejudices could interfere.
Last but not least is the film's great soundtrack. Ritchie Valens songs
were redone for the film by the group Los Lobos. All of the instrumental
music was provided by Carlos Santana and Miles Goodman. Also included are
many other classic songs from the 50's.
The only small criticism I have of the film is that Valdez spends too much
time in foreshadowing Valens' fate through dream sequences and references to
his fear of flying. While it is documented that Ritchie did have a fear of
flying I would imagine that he didn't talk about it as frequently as he does
in the film.
Overall I think that La Bamba is a film about sticking to your dreams and
the importance of family. I give this film a pretty strong recommendation.
You don't even necessarily have to be a fan of 50's music to enjoy it. This
is for those who enjoy small films that deal with the triumphs and struggles
of everyday people.
Tags for La Bamba Full Movie
, Esai Morales
, Lou Diamond Phillips
, Rosanna DeSoto
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