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What Latinas Have to Say

SBTB Key Art

The Saved by the Bell reboot premiered last week and it appears to be… good? There’s nostalgia yes, but that doesn’t usually equal rave reviews from the establishment (like the New York Times). Of course, we believe its success can be found in its latindad – it stars TWO Latinas in Haskiri Velazquez and Alycia Pascual-Pena and Maria Lopez (you may know him from The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia) is a producer. But what do Latinas think? Turns out, we’re pretty into it.

SAVED BY THE BELL -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Haskiri Velazquez as Daisy -- (Photo by: Casey Durkin/Peacock)

Meet Saved by the Bell’s Haskiri Velazquez, Bayside High’s new Zack Morris

For EW, our favorite Station 19 fan Rosy Cordero notes that the new Zack Morris is a Latinx woman (and interviews the actress who plays her): “Haskiri Velazquez is taking over Zack’s power to freeze time and break the fourth wall as the character Daisy Jimenez on Peacock’s Saved by the Bell revival… [And] she’s elated about what the character will mean to young Latinas.” Read her full coverage.

SAVED BY THE BELL -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mitchell Hoog as Mac Morris, Josie Totah as Lexi, Alycia Pascual-Pena as Aisha, Haskiri Velazquez as Daisy -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/Peacock)

TV Review: Saved by the Bell Hilariously Returns on Peacock

Meanwhile Diandra of Diandra Reviews it All raves, “Saved By The Bell (2020) is fantastic, and the funniest show to come out this year, which, again, is surprising. The original Saved by the Bell (SBTB) was not really funny. It was campy, colorful, and one of those shows that was so bad it was good. The reboot embraces the original’s 90s colorfulness and camp and vamps it up with Gen-Z’s flashiness, activism, and irreverent humor.” Read her full review.

Meet the Reinvented Saved by the Bell Leading Latinx Ladies, Haskiri Velazquez, and Alycia Pascual-Peña

For Hola!, Jovita Trujillo interviewed not one but both Latina stars, declaring, “Fans of the original show can expect to find easter eggs throughout the season. But even more exciting, they can expect to fall in love with the new Latinx leading ladies Haskiri Velazquez and Alycia Pascual-Peña. Pascual-Peña is a young, up-and-coming, Afro-Latina actress from New York. She’ll next be seen in the upcoming film Moxie, directed by Amy Poehler. On the other hand, Velazquez is a multitalented up-and-coming actress making her mark as one of the most exciting newcomers in the industry.” Read the full interview.

Saved by the Bell original cast

Saved by the Bell Reboot: Is it Worth Your Time?

EIC of Fangirlish and friend of LatinaMedia.co, Lissete Lanuza Sáenz is also a fan (in spite of herself), writing “New characters, a new outlook and some diversity make this the right reboot for the year 2020, and I cannot believe I’m typing this, one of the best reboots so far… A Black teenager and two Latinas, one of them Afro-latina, carry this reboot to new heights, not just because they’re allowed to be who they are and sometimes argue in Spanish – but because the show is never about their identities, but somehow those identities aren’t sanitized either.” Read her full review.

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THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as BETH HARMON in episode 104 of THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020

We’re still talking about The Queen’s Gambit. There was the initial wave of fawning reviews, then the more nuanced takes (yes the ‘magical negro’ is a problem), the reminder that star Anya Taylor-Joy is (white) Latina, and it goes on. So what do Latina critics think? Let’s dive in.

The Queen’s Gambit Offers a Winning Combo of Escapism and Period Drama

A.V. Club’s Danette Chavez gave it a B, noting “The Queen’s Gambit is like a more introspective The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Both series are sumptuous period dramas that track a woman’s rise in a male-dominated field. But The Queen’s Gambit is actually aware that its protagonist can occasionally be a jerk. For all the assured direction and exotic locales—including a jaunt to Paris—Beth’s internal journey is the most captivating element of The Queen’s Gambit. The series may border on wish fulfillment at times, but at least it casts a spell.” Read her full review.

THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as BETH HARMON in episode 105 of THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020

Anya Taylor-Joy Explains that Awkward Sex Scene in The Queen’s Gambit

In her Refinery29 interview with Anya Taylor-Joy, Ariana Romero focuses on our favorite topic: sex. She writes, “Most series would only be brave enough to have one cringe-worthy sex scene like Beth’s first. The Queen’s Gambit is chock full of them — and devoid of the nudity and XXX hookups that so many supposedly sexy dramas gorge themselves with just to prove their edge.” Read her full coverage.

THE QUEENÕS GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as BETH HARMON in episode 105 of THE QUEENÕS GAMBIT Cr. KEN WORONER/NETFLIX © 2020

The Queen’s Gambit Shows the Protective Power of Beautiful Clothes

While over at VICE, Alex Zaragoza focuses on the fashion. She notes, “Watching Beth dress up in luxurious coats and chic shift dresses as she faces off against chess masters, I couldn’t stop thinking about how she seemed to use fashion as a way of shielding herself against the traumas and stresses of her life… In some ways, the show couldn’t have come at a better time: As we continue to live our lives indoors, clad in sweatpants and comfy tie-dye, we could use a little fashion escapism.” Read her full commentary.

THE QUEENÕS GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR-JOY as BETH HARMON in episode 105 of THE QUEENÕS GAMBIT Cr. KEN WORONER/NETFLIX © 2020

Everything We Know About The Queen’s Gambit Season 2

With the future focus of Seventeen, Tamara Fuentes’ coverage is all about the possibility of a second season (unlikely) but gets some good commentary in: “The Queen’s Gambit is the latest Netflix hit that has viewers buzzing over the crazy world of chess. If you didn’t know how competitive the game was, this series will certainly open your eyes… As a woman, Beth is not taken seriously in her path to become one of the best players of all time.” Read her full coverage.

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Vampires vs. the Bronx

Trick-or-treating may be canceled but Halloween in all its scary, campy glory is not. So let us invite you to check out the latest from Netflix, Vampires vs. the Bronx. Confronted with vampires, gentrification, and maple scones, our heroes are young Afrolatinos, their protective, Catholic moms, and, of course, the local bodega. Don’t believe us? Check out what these three Latina critics have to say:

Vampires vs. the Bronx

Young Afro-Latinos Shine in Netflix’s Vampires vs. the Bronx

“We have been asking for films centering young Latino kids, specifically Afro-Latinos, in TV & film stories for decades,” writes Kathia Woods in Remezcla and we couldn’t agree more. Thankfully, Vampires vs. the Bronx delivers in what Woods calls “campy fun at its best.” Need another reason to watch? Remember, it’s “impossible to not stress how seeing a young Afro-Latino centered in this adventure will help similar children know that they matter and are vital to the Latinx diaspora.” Read her full review.

Vampires vs. the Bronx

Vampires vs. the Bronx Review: Netflix’s New Film Explores How Gentrification Affects Communities of Color

Melissa Linares of The Young Folks writes, “This latest entry into the horror/comedy genre borrows some elements from other vampire fighting franchises, although a moment with garlic adobo is a type of specific comedy that’ll have you laughing out loud… What this movie leaves you feeling, however, is that there is power in community and that the voices and stories of people of color matter and should be heard, no matter how hard others try to silence them.” Read her full review.

Vampires vs. the Bronx

Vampires vs. The Bronx is Opening the Door For New Vampire Fans

At But Why Tho?, Kate Sánchez says through the film, “I realized for the first time how equipped a Latinx household is to face on blood-sucking gentrifiers if it should ever come to it… Vampires vs. the Bronx thrives as a film because of how [Director Oz] Rodriguez has worked Latinidad into the very core of the narrative.” Read her full review.

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AWAY (L to R) RAY PANTHAKI as RAM ARYA and HILARY SWANK as EMMA GREEN, in episode 109 of AWAY. Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020

At latinamedia.co, we don’t care what white guys think. Not about movies, TV, or politics. It’s not that they never have good ideas, it’s just that we’re so tired of hearing their perspective, particularly on things that are not meant for them. So when a show is made for us – for Latinas, for women, for Latinx folks – we want to know what our community has to say about it, not the white guys who usually sound off. And we think you do too. That’s why we created this series, “What Latina Critics Have to Say.” ¡Disfruta!

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Cruising Rotten Tomatoes, you’d think the only people with opinions on Hilary Swank’s Away are dudes with names like “Ben,” “Brian,” and “Bill.” Seriously, on their main page for the show, there were four times as many men whose names start with B (and I didn’t cheat and count the “Robert”) than there are women, let alone women of color, when we checked. These bros give the woman-led show a measly “critic score” of 54. But women like space/STEM/astronauts too. Hell, we might even be the intended audience for Away. So what do women critics have to say? And by “women” we mean Latinas, obvi:

AWAY (L to R) HILARY SWANK as EMMA GREEN in episode 101 of AWAY Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020

TV Review: Netflix’s Away Is The Grey’s Anatomy of Space

As people who want to live in Shondaland, we get everything we need to know about Away from the Dianda Reviews It All headline (we’re in!). Specifically, she writes, “The heart of Away is what keeps you hooked long enough to see it grow and become the show it wants to be; a realistic, grounded reflection… that everyone struggles, everyone dreams, and, in that, everyone is everyone.” Read Diandra’s full review.

AWAY (L to R) VIVIAN WU as LU WANG, MARK IVANIR as MISHA POPOV, HILARY SWANK as EMMA GREEN, RAY PANTHAKI as RAM ARYA, and ATO ESSANDOH as DR. KWESI WEISBERG-ABBAN in episode 101 of AWAY. Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020

In Netflix’s Away, Hilary Swank’s Gotta Leave This Doomed Earth to Save This Doomed Earth

Laura Bradley over at the Daily Beast also has lots of positive things to say about Away. She writes, “Enter Netflix’s Away—a gripping drama that embraces this galaxy of thematic potential while also grounding its action in reality. Oh, and its lead is a powerful, multi-faceted Hilary Swank—whose tenacity brings the show’s stakes to life in visceral, at times unsettling ways.” Want more reasons to watch? Check out her full review.

AWAY (L to R) BRIAN MARKINSON as GEORGE LANE and GABRIELLE ROSE as DARLENE in episode 101 of AWAY Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020

Why Netflix’s Away Finale Will Actually Make You Feel Better For Once

And for those ready for spoilers, Refinery29’s Ariana Romero breaks down Away’s finale, saying why it’s the show we need now, “When you listen to [showcreator] Hinderaker speak, it seems inevitable that the Atlas crew can get through anything if they continue to support each other. That message is a much needed emotional balm during our divided times.” Read her full coverage.

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Julie and the Phantoms

At latinamedia.co, we don’t care what white guys think. Not about movies, TV, or politics. It’s not that they never have good ideas, it’s just that we’re so tired of hearing their perspective, particularly on things that are not meant for them. So when a show is made for us – for Latinas, for women, for Latinx folks – we want to know what our community has to say about it, not the white guys who usually sound off. And we think you do too. That’s why we’ve launched this new series, “What Latina Critics Have to Say.” ¡Disfruta!

Flowers

We can’t help but root for Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms. This import from Brazil (it’s a remake of Julie e os Fantasmas) stars Boricua Madison Reyes, singing and dancing and reminding us of  the High School Musical stars of old. We wish more Latinas, and particularly Afrolatinas, were paid to review the show but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate those who were:

Julie and the Phantoms

Everything We Know About Julie and the Phantoms Season 2

Over at Seventeen, Tamara Fuentes calls Julie and the Phantoms a “gem of a series” and summarizes it like this, “Julie and the Phantoms is Kenny Ortega’s latest hit and the High School Musical and Descendants creator is taking things to the next level with his brand new series.” Find out more by reading her full article.

Julie and the Phantoms

Kenny Ortega’s New Show Julie And The Phantoms Has Ghosts, Music, And Teen Drama — Here’s What Happens In The First Episode

Evelina Zaragoza Medina writes up the show in true BuzzFeed fashion – with lots of gifs and images. Our favorite quote of hers: “Music? A Latinx lead? A ghost rock band?? That’s too many good things to ignore, so I checked out the pilot.” Check out her listicle.

JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS (L to R) JEREMY SHADA as REGGIE, MADISON REYES as JULIE, OWEN JOYNER as ALEX, and CHARLIE GILLESPIE as LUKE in episode 106 of JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS Cr. KAILEY SCHWERMAN/NETFLIX © 2020

Julie and the Phantoms Review – Ghosts, Grunge and 90s Nostalgia

Ellen E. Jones of the Guardian made us feel old with this glowing review: “Netflix might just be on to something with Julie and the Phantoms, a sweet show carefully confected to unite every post-Saved By the Bell generation of TV-watching teens, from the My So Called Lifers (now in their 40s) to the High School Musical heads (late 20s).” Read her whole review.

JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS (L to R) JEREMY SHADA as REGGIE, OWEN JOYNER as ALEX, MADISON REYES as JULIE, and CHARLIE GILLESPIE as LUKE in episode 101 of JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS Cr. KAILEY SCHWERMAN/NETFLIX © 2020

Boricua Rising Star Madison Reyes Rocks the Lead in Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms

Really, we can’t say enough about Reyes’s talent and Jhoni Jackson writing for Remezcla agrees, “Reyes embodies singer-songwriter Julie in the 9-episode series… Reyes stood out to [creator Kenny Ortega] as more than just a natural fit, but also the absolute ideal—despite having zero prior TV or film credits—among a nationwide talent search.” Read her full coverage.

JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS (L to R) JADAH MARIE as FLYNN, MADISON REYES as JULIE, CHARLIE GILLESPIE as LUKE, OWEN JOYNER as ALEX, and JEREMY SHADA as REGGIE in episode 102 of JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS Cr. EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX © 2020

Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms Is FANTASTIC!

On her YouTube channel, Kristen Maldonado can’t stop talking about the songs, declaring “Another huge highlight of the show for me was the music… Not only are [the songs] catchy, they also really reflect the moments that our characters are dealing with, the issues that they’re going through, the situations they’re in. I thought it was just spot on.” Watch her full review.

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4 Latinas on the DNC

4 Latinas on the DNC

by Nicola Schulze

Eva Longoria hosted the first night of the virtual Democratic National Convention, which kept some political rally standards and borrowed from a grab bag of other TV formats. Credit Democratic National Convention, via Associated Press and New York Times

For the last four days, the Democratic National Convention has dominated our national consciousness. In the midst of a pandemic and a national reckoning on the systemic racism that continues to pervade our society, thousands tuned in hoping to be inspired and galvanized by the Democrats’ vision for this country. A new survey, which comes on the heels of the convention, also shows that two-thirds of Latinx people say they haven’t seen any outreach from political campaigns or groups for the 2020 election.

So we wanted to check in and see what four of our favorite Latinx activists, organizers, and journalists thought about the DNC this year.

“Julián Castro, the only Latino to run for president in 2020 and who delivered a keynote speech at the 2012 convention, wasn’t given any speaking time. And don’t tell me that giving Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a rising superstar and arguably the most effective political communicator, about 90 seconds of airtime was enough. She had less time to speak than a former Republican governor who got nearly 4 minutes. The two other Latino politicians who had major speaking slots — Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada — were moderates with lower profiles.

Rather than growing the electorate, which is how Democrats will win in November and beyond, it seems as though they are reaching out to Republican voters. This sends a terrible message to the Latino voters they need to win in November.”

Cristina Jiménez Moreta, Co-founder of United We Dream

“You know it’s like Latin@s are everywhere and we are essential and you love/hate us but what is ever present in this country is our total INVISIBILITY. And when we say this, show it to everyone, we are told to calm down and that is not so bad. It’s exhausting but I will not stop.”

— Maria Hinojosa, Journalist

“Eva Longoria, who has been both an incredible actress, and also an incredible activist for Texas. She has had Texas in her mind and in her heart in politics for many years now… Getting to see her host, or yesterday, getting to see Kerry Washington — not just being in front of the entire country, not just having the opportunity to introduce Kamala Harris or Barack Obama — but doing so with her natural curly hair was absolutely magical for me.”

Candace Valenzuela, US House candidate, TX-24

Some disappointment to be honest about not seeing more Latinos or Latinas in primetime at the convention… You’ve got to really make sure that representation is not just seen, but is felt. And for us, we need to be seeing that representation.”

Janet Murguia, President of UnidosUS
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What Three Latinas Have to Say About the Emmy Nominations

This time is for us – Latinas, women, Latinx folks – and we want to know what our community has to say, not the white guys who usually sound off. And we think you do too. That’s why we created “What Latina Critics Have to Say.” ¡Disfruta!

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The Latinx community had a great year in television. Pose. Vida. One Day at a Time. The list goes on. The Television Academy should have celebrated our stars but they didn’t. As we work towards fixing that, let’s take a minute and listen to the Latinas who are making the case that the Academy can and must do better. Finally – we agree on something!

The Emmys Need To Stop Ignoring Latinx Women

Ariana Romero identifies the Television Academy’s “latest — and long-standing — racist erasure of Latinx femme talent,” writing in Refinery29, “While the Emmys’ voting body seems to believe Bledel is the only on-screen shining TV star in our community, the 2020 Emmys’ eligibility period was actually an embarrassment of riches in televised Latinx storytelling.” we couldn’t agree more. Read her full article.

Stop Acting Like There Aren’t Latinx Stars Deserving of Emmy Nominations: Opinion

Rosy Cordero drops lots of important points in this EW piece but we particularly love this one: “Critics will say, and have said, that talent from marginalized communities is looking for participation awards, but that’s simply not true. We don’t want anything that we don’t deserve. But it’s important to recognize that we are not playing on a level field. We want to earn a seat at the table, not because of our ethnic makeup but because we are talented and hard-working.” Preach! Read her full opinion.

What the Hell Do Latinx Actors and Shows Have to Do to Get an Emmy Nomination?

While recognizing the “too few” Latinxs nominated, Laura Bradley speaks directly to the problem, writing for the Daily Beast, “Each year, one can attribute the Emmys’ relatively small to nonexistent list of Latinx nominees to various circumstances. Anti-CW bias here, a show that’s lost the attention of the Academy there… But the one thing that seems to remain consistent is the scarcity of nominees itself. And thanks to a few recent cancellations, there are now no Latinx series left on network television. Qué barbaridad.” Read her full article.

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What Four Latina Critics Have to Say About “Cursed”

At latinamedia.co, we don’t care what white guys think. Not about movies, TV, or politics. It’s not that they never have good ideas, it’s just that we’re so tired of hearing their perspective, particularly on things that are not meant for them. So when a show is made for us – for Latinas, for women, for Latinx folks – we want to know what our community has to say about it, not the white guys who usually sound off. And we think you do too. That’s why we’ve launched this new series, “What Latina Critics Have to Say.” ¡Disfruta!

Flowers

We love that Afrolatina Zetna Fuentes directed the pilot of Netflix’s Cursed. It’s about time we dismantle the King Arthur legend and reimagine it as woman-centric folklore while we’re at it. But should we watch? Latina critics don’t agree (on anything) so we’ve collected a sample of the reviews below to help you decide.

TV Review: Netflix’s Cursed Is A Dark Addition To Your YA Addiction

Diandra Rivera of Diandra Reviews It All likes Cursed… mostly. She writes, “There wasn’t the usual ‘fun’ you expect from YA series, and, though there were instances of magic and lore, the series is, at best, a mythical reflection of colonialism… Frankly, I think what makes a successful YA series is that you dream of and for its characters, and, while Cursed has its struggles, it does make you dream.” Read her full review.

All the Questions We Need Answered in “Cursed” Season Two

Tamara Fuentes over at Seventeen is covering Cursed like it’s her job… And our favorite piece she’s written on it contains some serious spoilers (so be careful if you click through). In it, she writes, “If you still haven’t seen 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford’s brand new show, Cursed, then you’re in for a ride. Katherine plays Nimue, also known in Arthurian legend as The Lady of the Lake. However, unlike the original tale, she has the Sword of Power and trust me when I say that she’s ready to take the throne.” Read her full article.

I Watched Netflix’s “Cursed” So You Don’t Have To

Kristen Maldonado was not impressed, saying on her YouTube channel, “I think on paper Cursed sounds like a brilliant story, allowing us to focus on the lady of the lake who plays a crucial role in the stories around King Arthur… [But] it doesn’t feel like the stakes are as high as they could be because everything seems to work out pretty easily for these characters.” Watch her full review.

REVIEW: “Cursed” Changes Up Arthurian Legend for the Better

For But Why Tho?, Kate Sánchez likes Cursed but has this issue, “While Cursed’s themes are important, it falls into the same trap of many other fantasy narratives that uses a central white figure as the way to see marginalization, and in this one, given the diverse cast, makes it stand out all the more… It’s important for narratives that look to tell stories of marginalization and oppression to take them into consideration, even in fantasy.” Read her full review.

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What Four Latina Critics Have to Say About “Mucho, Mucho Amor”

At latinamedia.co, we don’t care what white guys think. Not about movies, TV, or politics. It’s not that they never have good ideas, it’s just that we’re so tired of hearing their perspective, particularly on things that are not meant for them. So when a show is made for us – for Latinas, for women, for Latinx folks – we want to know what our community has to say about it, not the white guys who usually sound off. And we think you do too. That’s why we’ve launched this new series, “What Latina Critics Have to Say.” ¡Disfruta!

Flowers

Mucho, Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado hit Netflix earlier this month and our timeline was full of the Latinx Liberace energy and nostalgia. The capes, the lack of gender conformity, the horoscopes, the amor. Here, we’ve collected our favorite takes and surprise – Latinas don’t agree, even on a legend.

Watch Walter Mercado Offer Mucho Mucho Amor in First Trailer for Netflix Documentary

Rosy Cordero premiered the film’s trailer over at EW, writing, “What the film does exceptionally well is humanizing a man who others admired as a magical being, or even a superhero. Being called a superhero is actually the perfect comparison for a person who enjoyed wearing fabulous capes as much as Mercado did. And Mucho Mucho Amor, well, it’s his origin story.” Read her full review.

Glam, Astrology, & Love: Inside Netflix’s Latinx Love Letter Mucho Mucho Amor

For Refinery29, Ariana Romero writes, “What makes Mucho Mucho Amor — and its leading man — so special, particularly to millennials. It celebrates the exuberant queer glamour of Mercado, his powerful connection to Latinidad, his DNA-level savvy for meme-ability, and his relentless love for other people (the way he says ‘my good friends’ will break your heart).” Read her full review.

Walter Mercado Was Not Just a Legend, He was a Con Man

For Fangirlish, Lissette Launza Sáenz brings the whole truth, writing “A part of me understands the documentary, the celebration, the idea that this larger-than-life figure, one that was always flamboyant, non-binary and transcendent, deserves a spotlight. It just worries me that, for a documentary who pretended to show us the rise and fall of a legend, they only focused on the mucho, mucho amor, and not the mucho, mucho dolor he caused so many people.” Read her full review.

Netflix’s Enchanting Walter Mercado Documentary Radiates with “Mucho Mucho Amor”

Over at the A.V. Club, Danette Chavez points out, “Mercado proved you could be idolized while still being othered, a fact that’s too often glossed over in stories of marginalized people who break down barriers. But that reality couldn’t dampen Mercado’s love–or lust, as he put it—for life, nor does it prevent Mucho Mucho Amor from radiating with it.” Read her full review.

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