DVD Hunt: My Family/Mi Familia

The tombstone of El Californio.

Consider this a challenge.

I remember when I was a teenager, probably 13 or 14, being told to watch the movie “My Family/Mi Familia” one weekend night that it was on by mom. She said it was “a look at Los Angeles and what it used to be.”$ I just remember being really bored after the first 30 minutes of it and dozing in and out of it that night. It was probably a ploy to get me to fall asleep early. I always stayed up super late whenever I could.

The first 30 minutes of the movie stuck with me though for some reason and ever since then, I haven’t seen or heard boo about it. I guess it was bookmarked to pick up and revisit for another day. That day was Labor Day – very fitting for those that know the movie.

I found it in the cheap DVD pile at Barnes & Noble and bought it, along with Blade Runner* (what are the good people at B&N thinking putting Blade Runner in the cheap pile?).

After watching it this evening, I truly saw what a special story it was and still is. It’s definitely a sleeper epic if such a category exists.

Comedy, drama, love, history, religion – the movie has it all. It is the story of a man who migrates from Mexico to Los Angeles to live with a distant relative named “El Californio” (who’s buried in the backyard of the family’s suburban home, per his will), meets the woman of his dreams, raises his family while trying to retain the family’s Mexican heritage around the changing world of the 1930’s through the 1980’s.

Mexican or not, some can relate to that as so many people’s grandparents and great grandparents came over from Europe through Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century. These are all stories of America.

It even has a young Jennifer Lopez in it so why wouldn’t you watch it?

So if you can ever find it on DVD, do yourself a favor, buy it and watch it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

$ – Most of family still lives in the greater Los Angeles area.

* – Edward James Olmos is in both movies so we’ll just call it fate.


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