Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Better Life (Rhoades)

“A Better Life” as Immigrant in L.A.
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Do you remember a 1978 movie called “The Big Fix,” starring a younger Richard Dreyfuss as a campus activist turned detective. It was based on a same-name book by Roger L. Simon. Simon wrote a series of four books about this hippie detective, when his editor suggested he write something "more Rolling Stone."

I read all of Simon’s novels.

He went on to write more stories and several screenplays. I’ve sporadically followed them, enjoying his quirky characters with a social conscientiousness.

That’s why I was eager to see “A Better Life,” the new film playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Based on a story by Roger L. Simon, “A Better Life” tells about a Hispanic gardener in L.A. who is trying to keep his kid out of street gangs while avoiding the immigration officials and looking for his stolen truck.

Featuring a mostly Hispanic cast, the film stars Mexican actor Demián Bichir Nájera as the gardner Carlos. José Julián takes the role of his son Luis. Mexican-born radio personality Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo plays himself.

As the title suggests, Carlos wants to give his son a better life, providingthe opportunities he himself never had.

The film is already getting Oscar buzz.

True to form, Roger L. Simon writes with a social conscious. He says his stories “reflects where I was and where I am. It’s my diary. I have to have some new thing happening in my life that engages me.”

And engages us.
[from Solares Hill]

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