I don't know
why, but I get a lot of respect from the Mexican community in Arvada.
Maybe I'm in tune with their culture without even knowing it. Maybe
the things I do that piss off the town leaders are admired in the
Mexican community. Maybe they appreciated when I went streaking during
last year's Harvest Day Parade and knocked over three drum majorettes
and startled the horses.
Whatever the reason, the Mexicans around here treat me with more
respect than anyone else does. It's almost like I'm royalty the
way they cross to the other side of the street and tell their children
to keep away from me, like I'm so important I can't be bothered.
They even call me "El Pendejo Grande," which Worm said
means something like "The Great Handsome," or "The
Large Honorable." That's pretty cool and flattering too. I
try to live up to the title by behaving as I think a grande pendejo
Because I am always more interested in learning about a culture
of people who respect me than in those who don't (unless they've
got sweet knockers like the Swedes), I avoided the latest stingy
ladle of gruel from Hollywood's slop bucket and checked out a little
Mexican cinema. I spent a night with the know-it-alls at the arthouse
watching Y Tu Mamá También. It's ostensibly
a road-trip teen gross-out comedy, but it's nothing like the tired
American version, and it tries a lot harder to be sad than funny.
It's clunky, corny, smart, pornographic and effectively sad.
Diego Luna is Tenoch Iturbide, the lazy, pothead son of a wealthy
and corrupt politico. He's idling through the summer with his best
friend Julio Zapata (Gael Garcîa Bernal), a kid from a poor
family. Like most teenagers, they don't even think a world exists
outside of what they know, and they believe that what they want
is more important than anything else. After their girlfriends leave
for Europs, they waste their summer smoking pot, drinking beer and
generally looking for ways to knock off the days before college.
They jerk off together on the diving boards of a country club swimming
pool, brag about girls they can't have, fart in each other's presence.
They are given an opportunity to prove that they're as macho and
adventurous as they claim to be when, drunk at a ritzy wedding where
there are more security guards than guests, they meet Tenoch's cousin's
Spanish wife Luisa (Maribel Verdú). She's gorgeous, a full-grown
woman with a body that loos even better in a sun dress than naked.
And she's new to Mexico. When she says she wants to see the country,
they make up a story about a nonexistent, tourist-free beach called
Heaven's Mouth that only they can lead her to.
A few days after meeting the boys, Verdú's husband confesses
his infidelity to her and she makes a "mysterious" visit
to the doctor. Suddenly wanting to experience life, Verdú
takes the boys up on their offer to go to Heaven's Mouth. She ditches
her philandering beau, climbs into Bernal's ancient Dodge Aspen
wagon and they're off in search of a place that doesn't exist. Along
the way, they encounter several rites of passage: the boys' friendship
is tested, they have sex with Verdú individually and together,
and they learn that they know way less about the world than they've
let themselves believe.
Y Tu Mamá También looks really fucking swell,
not phony postcard pretty, but like Mexico really looks. It's dirty,
poor and primitive with lousy hotels on big dusty lots, but it's
also expansive, open and full of wildlife, blue seas, saguaro and
high dry pine forests. The movie captures the humility of the average
Mexican, seemingly always hassled by los federales and contrasts
it with the privileged lives of Tenoch and his kind.
Director Alfonso Cuarón captures a country that's like the
girls in amateur porn magazines: beautiful but ultimately sad. The
gap between the corrupt ruling class and the poor is wide and deep
and he captures the unrest both too heavy-handedly and incredibly
subtly. The story's narrator tells us how wealthy developers are
crushing poor fisherman and, while it may be true, moments like
these are as lopsided as the tits on a Tijuana hooker. They are
too obvious to elicit sympathy because they're the kind of shit
that rich Amercian hippies would tell you after "slumming it"
in Mexico for a week. Simpler moments, like the boys, driving in
Tenoch's brand new Jetta, being delayed in traffic by police covering
the body of a worker killed crossing the highway because the city
won't build a reasonable pedestrian crossing, make the point more
effectively. Similarly, Cuarón often elegantly captures Mexican
life in rural towns where locals don't even consider how political
corruption will ruin them as they scratch out meager livings, and
the highway curves are peppered with small crosses and memorials
for the dead.
Then he throws in fart jokes and gags about beating off and ejaculating
prematurely. What's so fucking funny about ejaculating prematurely?
It's a horrible problem, the sort of thing that can lead a man to
drink too much and spend hundreds of dollars on "cures"
from the back of Juggs. Anyway, the combination of gross-out gags
and political commentary doesn't complement either, it just points
out how both are self-consciously included.
What does work, though, is the extensive nudity. I'm a huge fan
of seeing naked people having sex, and it's all the better when
it has something to do with the story. In Y Tu Mamá También,
newly wild Verdú teaches Luna and Bernalabout life through
sex, correcting their errors and exposing the underlying class-rift
that will always separate them. Their bravado about their sexual
prowess is stripped away by her maturity and sorrow. In one scene,
their attempt to see her naked through her hotel window are foiled
when all they see is her crying inconsolably. It's in that moment
that the boys may first realize that life isn't all about good times.
I don't like the cheap-ass nudity spoonfed to us by Hollywood
pricks as though they're giving us a treat. Hollywood serves up
female boobs like they're the main course in some fancy San Francisco
restaurant. They make a big deal about it, only to deliver a giant
empty plate with a tiny dollop of boobies surrounded by whittled
radishes and artsy drizzles of sauce. Sure it looks expensive, but
how the fuck are you supposed to fill up on that? Sometimes, you
just want a big-ass hamburger. Nothing fancy, no pretension or self-conscious
coyness, just a lot of sloppy meat. Y Tu Mamá También
presents sex like it actually happens: clumsy with bad lighting,
a lot of fumbling and a lot of nudity. Not just women's breasts,
but dicks and vaginas too. The sex isn't soft-focus, slo-mo gyrations
to hit songs. They fall all over each other, grunt like pigs, and
have stuttering breath. That's the stuff that give a guy a boner.
It looks real, except the chick is way hotter than any of my readers
could ever hope for. (Not me, though, because I got every man's
fantasy: Mrs. Filthy.) Sadly, Verdú's got fake breasts, though.
The story is pretty aimless. Once on the road, the three friends
mostly talk crassly about sex. Is being on the road and yammering
about sticking your finger up someone's ass what passes for living
life to the fullest these days? I was hoping it was something more.
Otherwise, I'd go out and live to the max tomorrow if I had someone
to listen to me and the money to get my Galaxie 500 out of impound.
The characters talk too much and cover the same ground too often.
The only time the story moves forward is when some clunky plot device
is thrown in. There are obvious revelations and timely confessions
that can be seen a half hour before they arrive. And over the whole
story hangs Verdú's trip to the doctor. It's easy to know
why she went and so when it's finally revealed, it feels sort of
cheap for Cuarón to have held it back.
Three Fingers for Y Tu Mamá También.
It's an interesting experiment with enough beauty, quiet moments
and nudity to make it worth seeing. If you're teen boy, do everything
you fucking can to see this movie because it'll fuel your masturbatory
fantasies for weeks, and if you're anything like I was at 16, all
the sadness in the movie will fall away as soon as you get a boner.