YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Unreality of 'Mi Vida Loca'

August 22, 1994

Re "Critics Shouldn't Dictate 'Loca's' Artistic Content" by Allison Anders (Aug. 15):

When the movie "Mi Vida Loca" came out, I was very excited to see a movie being filmed about gangs from our culture, Latino. I told myself that, finally, they are focusing on Latino gangs and depicting the problem to come up with a solution.

Unfortunately, I never went to see it because my youngest sister went to see it. I had called her, told her that this movie was out and it was a good movie, so I heard. I thought it would be a positive thing for her.

I had asked my sister how the movie was. She said it demeans our culture and that's not the way it is. Also, she indicated the movie just revolves around fighting for a guy who is in jail. It never revolved around the core of the problem: why young kids join gangs.

Maybe it was well-intentioned by Anders, and maybe this is a steppingstone to giving more attention to this problem within our people.

If so, then we must give credit for bringing out the problem so solutions may be put into play.


East Los Angeles


Although Anders may have meant "Mi Vida Loca" to be an impassioned look at gang life, it disturbed me. If I didn't know any Mexicans, never had any contact with a gang member and lived in some area of the United States remote from both, I might conclude that all gang members are degenerates and pathological killers.

I feel this movie did more to stereotype than generalize. If the movie's purpose was to document, educate and entertain, it lost me in all three areas. The barrio may be where gangs fester, but it also harbors decent teen-agers who deplore violence, who don't constantly mouth four-letter words or jump into bed with every cholo .

I teach predominantly Mexican students. We have young Mexicans who have dignity, character and a sense of decency far beyond any stereotype attributed to them. And we have gangbangers and teen-age mothers who manage to graduate and go on to college.

Rather than typify any ethnic group, we'd do better to highlight their achievements and look to the reasons why any kid goes astray: the breakdown of the family, lack of parenting due to absent working parents, insecurity brought on by a government people no longer believe in, decaying neighborhoods and, yes, violence in movies and on TV.

We might do well to provide more jobs and recreational activities for high school students and look for ways to help students build self-esteem and resolve conflicts without violence.



Los Angeles Times Articles