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Four Spanish-language films with incredibly smart, funny dialogue

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I write about films here and there, but I almost never go to the movie theater. I’m just not that kind of a film buff, plus it’s fucking expensive here in New York.

I also don’t go to the movies because I hate hearing people chuckle, cough, or even breathe while I’m trying to follow a narrative. I’m anal like that. I need dead, serious silence. It drives my girlfriend crazy because, while hanging out in my living room, she’ll ask me simple question — even one that’s beneficial to me, such as “do you want more Valentina on your chips or not, motherfucker?” — and I’ll pause whatever we’re watching, knod vertically, and rewind the flick ten minutes with a very snooty attitude.

(Sorry, mi amortz, you know I’m crazy.)

But now you know how serious I am about dialogue, and the following movies have some of the funniest, smartest dialogue on Spanish-language film. Watch them, and if you have your own recommendations, please leave them in the comments.

1. El crimen ferpecto [2004, Álex de la Iglesia]

Álex de la Iglesia’s El crimen ferpecto [The ferpect crime] follows the adventures of Rafael González, a legendary salesman turned department store manager. Played by Guillermo Toledo, Rafael is a charlatan, but also a charming, smart, smooth-operating asshole. Then his connieving tricks are met with karmic justice. Yet, his character is so charismatic, the viewer will ultimately cheer for Rafael, even when he’s getting his well-deserved comeuppance. The humor is dark, but also very Spanish, so expect heavy doses of dry irony. The supporting cast is marvelous; all the characters are well-written and superbly acted. This is one of Alex’s least gory, and surreal movies, but script-wise, it’s his most solid.

2. Fresa y Chocolate [1994, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Juan Carlos Tabío]

Fresa y Chocolate [Strawberry and Chocolate] is very unfairly relegated to the gay movie ghetto when, if anything, it should be considered nothing short of a masterpiece. This film highlights all sorts of legit critiques against Castro’s regime while gracefully exploring love, friendship and camaraderie. Diego, one of the leads, is played by the ridiculously talented Jorge Perugorría, and makes for a fascinating character study. Witty, smart, stylish, and extremely funny, Diego is the ultimate third-world dandy. His neighbor, a manic-depressive retired whore, breaks down Latin American barrio kitsch to a science.

3. El esqueleto de la Señora Morales [1960, Rogelio A. González]

Back when it was released in 1960, El Esqueleto de la Señora Morales [The skeleton of Mrs. Morales] was vilified and blacklisted by conservative TV stations because of its criticism against the Catholic Church. The script is based on The Islington Mystery, a short story by Arthur Machen from 1927, and it’s a fascinating black comedy about a happy-go-lucky taxidermist, and his insufferable, melodramatic, fanatically religious wife. The film has great one-liners and a wicked twist. Although the full movie is available on YouTube, the files are poor DVD rips of an already poor DVD transfer, so do yourself a favor and pick up a real copy on eBay or Amazon, where they regularly appear for around $10.

4. La teta asustada [2009, Claudia Llosa]

Perfectly casted, edited and shot, La Teta Asustada [the Milk of Sorrow] is a 2009 film with many fancy awards, and it deserved every last one of them. It narrates the story of Fausta, a socially awkward girl, whose character is brought to life by Magaly Solier. Fausta has an odd habit of shoving a potatoes in her vagina, and the dialogue is not funny, per se, but this film is so magical that when the credits begin to roll, the protagonist’s veggie quirk won’t be the strangest thing about the film, and her plight will turn even the most callous among you into weeping, mental cases. As a bonus, the music is phenomenal, and it’s also the rare Latin American film that doesn’t fetisize Latin American poverty, even if the story is written almost entirely around it.


 

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It’s a thankless job, but would you like to rant for Rictus?

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Are you Latino, Latina, or Latinx? If you’re not, it doesn’t matter. Maybe you lived in Latin America, or know Latino culture well. More importantly, do you have a funny, witty, dumb, eye-opening, or virgen María-blessed insight about something? A personal story, a political view, groundbreaking analysis, or dissenting review about a movie, record, city, art show, or something nobody cares about?

Maybe nobody cares about whatever you’re interested in because you haven’t written about it. Share your thoughts with strangers! You may get even some virtual likes on social media, and that’s how people count happiness in 2018, right?

José and I have a lot of fun here at Rictus, but it’s fun to publish contrasting voices. We don’t make any money, so neither will you. This is really just about you loving the written word, as we do.

Some shit to consider:

  • Can be as short as 300 words, or as long as you think you can hold people’s attention with your awesome wordsmithery.
  • It’s a lot more important — to us, anyway — that you’re funny, insightful, or engaging about whateverthefuckyouwriteabout than a being a super professional writer, so don’t be shy.
  • In English, please. We may add a Spanish section later, but, yeah, English werds, for now.
  • You can use a pen name. Maybe you work at some conservative think tank and and don’t want to be found out. That’s fine. Use your superhero name.
  • You should already have a good pitch. What do you know, or have strong opinions about, that others don’t? Are you mad about something you recently saw in the news? Does your aunt drive you crazy? Have you noticed an interesting pattern in penis owners? Are you a media geek? Do you love celebrities, but hate their dumb looks?

Shoot us an email with ideas: rictus.co (@) gmail dot com, or use the contact form, or reach out privately is you follow us on social media.

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Broke, youthful & repressed: Things you’re too dumb to appreciate in your 20s

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Are you trying to get through your 20s gracefully? Then you’ve come to the wrong place — and I don’t mean this website, I mean this planet. But this website too, maybe.

Listen, you will make horrible mistakes during your existence because #youth. But pay attention because, even if you don’t get past your 20s with some grace, you may be able to get by with some dignity.

1) You poor, endearing bastard

Ah, to be young, dumb, and full of cumulative social issues. As a broke twentysomething, you’re usually too self-conscious to realize that your youth, in a strange way, sanctions your destitution. You realize you’re poor — that’s obviously not the issue — but instead of making it your warcry, and finding strength in a nothing-to-lose attitude, you burden yourself attempting to portray the opposite.

Maybe you’re still trying to prove to society — and your parents, most of all — that you’re an independent, responsible, adult-ass person. You really want that vindication, especially if you spent tons of money on getting edumacated. Yet, you’re between a precious little window of time when society is still willing to forgive your poverty, access to influence, and lack of experience.

Ah, but once you reach your 30s? Let’s just say the Eye of Sauron has nothing on people’s judgemental gaze.

There are exceptions, of course, and if you come from money, none of what I just wrote will make sense to you. But in short, youngsters tend to misuse the grace period their youth affords them.

2) Foooreeever young. You’re gonna be, foooreeever dumb.

So you’re a young blood under the impression that your physical and mental machinations will go on forever because you can, like, totally wake up in the middle of the night with tons of ideas and inspiration, even if you got wasted at a party the day before.

And, whatever — you still have a baggie full of coke in your coat, even if it’s 60% baby formula. You can snort it at any point to get an extra kick, but why not save it for the next party? Because your work ethic is just unstoppable, and the thought of physical deterioration seems incredibly foreign.

Little do you know that nature is maniacally cackling behind a crystal ball in a deep lair within your body. It’s waiting to play a cruel joke on your dumbass, and when it’s time — in your 30s — it will begin by sabotaging your stamina.

That’s only the first part of nature’s cruel plan. The second phase is a lot more sinister because, although you’re left with a portion of the physical energy you used to have, a psychological hangup will turn all of your unfinished, half-realized ideas into regrets.

Suddenly, when you’re in the middle of a Netflix ‘n chill session, half-watching the 25th episode of some stupid show you don’t even like, nature will bitingly turn to your formally unstoppable will to say: “Where’s your messiah now?”

Its grim, I know. The point is, if you come to terms with the fact that age will physically slow you down, and you do so when you’re still young, it may push you focus on whatever you think is truly important.

3) Unlike complicated emotional bonds, sex stupid, but fun.

Sex is fun, but incredibly stupid. Stripped of all of the symbolism polite society instills on copulation, either through romcoms, music, books, or coming of age parties (see quinceañeras), the physical act of rubbing genitals with another person is messy and mundane. Conceptually, cooking chilaquiles is a lot more complicated than getting your gross body to secrete fluids.

I hate to go all Sex at Dawn on you, but modern culture has done a number on everybody. Current social taboos still conflate sex with all emotional sensations. A person can be sexually attracted to another while not being intellectually stimulated by them, and that’s fine. But most people still expect every sexual partner to be a perfectly-matched significant other, and that’s dumb.

Very few youngsters internalize a sexually-positive outlook. Their hormones are out of control, just like their clouded, repressed judgement, and too much emotional stock is placed on what could be a fun, pleasing, but ultimately near-meaningless experience — just like cooking chilaquiles.

Deep, rewarding, emotional, or enlightening bonds can be had with just about anyone — your aunt, a garbage man, or even a piece of clothing. You probably can’t have rewarding sex with any of those three — maybe the garbage man, if he’s hot — but you can have good sex with a dumb stranger.

Do it, and don’t feel guilty about it.


 

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