Edward James Olmos
Sometimes it sucks not being able to get in to a movie just because you don’t have any interest in its subject matter. Maybe if I cared more about Selena or Tejano music SELENA would’ve grabbed me. Nothing against the singer and I’m sorry she was killed, but other than feeling bad for her family and fans, even after watching a 2 hour and 15 minute movie about her life I didn’t feel particularly moved or inspired.
My indifference is probably due to the fact that SELENA, as a film, is just your average celebrity biopic filled with hardships and perseverance. However, in this case the story is handled so overdramatically with the majority of the emotions and melodrama being force fed to you. I lost count of the number of cheesy lines about following your dreams, being a star, flying high or touching the audience—pretty much every heavy handed cliché is exploited at some point. I mean, c’mon, they use bungee jumping at an amusement park as a serious metaphor for “letting go.”
This film is also credited as Jennifer Lopez’s breakout role (did nobody see her in MONEY TRAIN?!?), and although she’s turned in to something of a joke recently, her performance here is a reminder that she can display some real acting chops if she wants. Her Selena is endearing and surprisingly grounded and Lopez pulls off the performance pieces and lip synching well. (Though I did think there was way too much singing in the movie, even for a music biopic.) The other notable actor is Edward James Olmos as Selena’s controlling dad/manager. It’s not fun watching a guy push his dreams on his kids, even if she eventually became successful, but Olmos does an admirable job. His performance is so dominant that it feels like he’s the main character for the majority of the movie, which admittedly was a problem.
The last thing worth mentioning is that I thought they handled the singer’s death in a fairly classy and respectable way, so kudos. But at the end of the day I still just didn’t care about SELENA all that much.
The Making of SELENA (30:22): Twelve years after her death and ten years after the film’s release, cast, crew and the singer’s family all sit down for interviews to go over the story of how the biopic came to be and why it was made so quickly after Selena’s passing.
Additional Scenes (11:53): Nine deleted scenes, all unmissed extra padding.
Selena: Queen of Tejano (18:55): A rather bland tribute to the late singer by her family and former band mates.
Extra Tidbit: Salma Hayek was originally offered the title role and turned it down, but that doesn’t have to stop us from picturing her in that outfit that graces the cover.