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Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Allison Anders

MI VIDA LOCA is a compelling look at a microcosm of East L.A.'s Echo Park. Writer and director Allison Anders (GAS FOOD LODGING) lived in the neighborhood for many years with her daughter, inspiring her to make this film about life in a Latina girl gang. … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Cast: Angel Aviles
Director: Allison Anders
Release Date: 1994
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)

Mi Vida Loca – My Crazy Life

  • Mar 23, 2004
Rating:
+3
Pros: Maurice Benard and Salma Hayek have small parts

Cons: loads of profanity, poor image quality and some violence

The Bottom Line: Interesting true life narrative

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

I learned of the movie Mi Vida Loca – My Crazy Life ten years after it was made because it is based on the neighborhood of Echo Park in Los Angeles, where I have been a resident for almost six years. This discovery was made when I used Echo Park in the search section of eBay and found several books and movies based on this location.

To get a sense of where Echo Park sits on the map use the starting point of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood en route to Downtown Los Angeles. After leaving Hollywood you will encounter Silver Lake and pass by the entrance to Dodger Stadium before happening upon China Town. In a half-hour or less you can get from Hollywood to Downtown via the city streets. The movie was filmed on location and uses Echo Park and Sunset Boulevard as well as the Lake at the freeway exit throughout the 100 minutes of film.

The movie consists of three vignettes with each character narrating on the sound track. Los Lobos plays at a club, Salma Hayek has a small role, as does Maurice Benard of All My Children and General Hospital fame. The original music is by John Taylor, formerly with Duran Duran and Power Station. The language is mostly English, but the lingo is hard to keep up with if you are not familiar with Latino jargon. Words like homeboy, barrio, locos are commonly used and there are no real parental role models in this flick.

I was interested in seeing what Echo Park was like ten years ago and how it has changed over time. It was very strange to see street corners, phone booths and stores in a movie that I have physically passed by numerous times. It was disturbing as a parent to view the language that was used in front of small children and the fact that drinking and smoking was done during the day in their presence as well. The girls always had their cigarettes and drink but then would complain about not having enough money for juice for a baby. This is not a movie that shows youth looking for work or furthering their studies. This generation looked to the males to take care of them, but the realization that the opposite sex would be dead or in jail by the time they hit twenty-one was evident.

Mi Vida Loca – My Crazy Life centers on two girls who have been friends since childhood. They join the gang life at the same time and obtain the names Sad Girl and Mousie. Sad Girl is hooked up with Ernesto, a drug-dealer, until she turns her attention to their newborn daughter and Ernesto in turn moves on to Mousie. Mousie soon ends up pregnant, has a son with Ernesto and the girls are now enemies.

Ernesto shares how his life has changed since fathering two kids and his passion with restoring a low-rider truck, and keeping this hobby a secret from both women so they would not be jealous of the time and money he spends on the truck. The girls plan a confrontation one Friday night with each obtaining a gun. Ernesto realizes to late from Whisper and is not able to stop the brawl because he is killed in a drive-by from a Valley gang.

Now that Ernesto is gone the girls are without income to support their children and Whisper was shot in the leg, required Hospitalization. Another member from the gang, Giggles, was being released from prison after serving four years. She was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and paid for it by protecting her now deceased husband. Her older sister has been raising her daughter and seems to be the only adult role model in the movie.

Mousie has an older sister who goes to college and is called La Blue Eyes. She read a poem in a magazine submitted by a prison inmate and started corresponding with him. Once she pledges her love to him he stops writing. I felt the best characters were La Blue Eyes and Giggles. Following the struggles they endured and relationships they were forming was easier to view since there was no profanity used and they were stronger women. Sad Girl and Mousie were not motivated in any direction and were not role models for their children. This seems to stem from the generation that raised them and they were following suit. There are gang meetings, baby showers, funerals, visits to the park and lake mixed in with socializing with other girls. They wanted to change the power from the men to the women. Violence and tragedy come full circle in Mi Vida Loca – My Crazy Life.

For one brief moment Ernesto’s mother is mentioned when they were discussing dividing money from the sale of the truck and one person said she should get something. Family relationships were lacking and many characters were not fully explored to their potential. It was confusing remembering the names of everyone plus a missed opportunity to explain the meaning for names chosen or why relationships were not developed.

The video had dark elements to it, but it did not exploit gang life. The focus was more on the bonding of some characters and then another issue would be raised and it continued in this fashion. This was based on real life stories with some of the actual people portraying themselves. The director lived in the area and after some time got close enough to the young girls in the neighborhood to learn about their lives. The area has grown and prospered with many new businesses moving in and a more diversified ethnic background.


Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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