Mexico Matinee: The Country in Film

articles Culture & Arts

Tammy Ruggles

Maybe you already know that Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas by area, and 14th in the world. And maybe you already know that it boasts a population of 109 million, and that people all around the world come for the beaches, cuisine, and colorful atmosphere. But maybe you don’t know about all the movies that feature Mexico in some way.

Mexico is beautiful, bright, energetic, and passionate, so it’s no wonder Hollywood comes calling to use it as a romantic, gritty, or unforgettable setting. Let’s take a look at a sampling of ten movies that are set in Mexico. You may find yourself wanting to hop a plane to be a part of it.

  • The Heartbreak Kid (2007)

    A man marries the wrong girl in a hurry because of pressure from family and friends. He vacations with her in Cabo, where he ironically meets another girl he falls madly in love with and is sure she is the love of his life. What’s a guy to do? This romantic comedy stars Ben Stiller.

  • 10 The Perfect Woman   (1979)

    A middle-aged husband who seems to be suffering a midlife crisis falls in love with a beautiful girl at first sight; he considers her to be a 10 in his book. He discovers she is going to get married, and follows her to Mexico, where she and her new groom are honeymooning.

    Obsessed with her, he stays at the same hotel she does, and later saves her husband from drowning. The woman is so grateful she asks him up to her hotel room. Starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derek.

  • 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag   (1997)

    This dark comedy is about a courier for the Mafia who is hired to deliver eight human heads to another Mafia boss. But the bag with the heads gets mixed up with that of a college student who is on his way to vacation in Mexico. The courier tracks the student down and tries to get his heads back. Stars Joe Pesci and David Spade.

  • All The Pretty Horses   (2000)

    A young and restless Texas drifter seeks to find his manhood and a better life in Mexico, but when he arrives, he discovers adventure, chaos, mystery, and the threat of death instead. Stars Matt Damon, Henry Thomas, and Sam Shepard.

  • Along For The Ride   (2000)

    Two brothers who have been at odds for years meet on a lonely Mexican highway and drive to the small town where they hope to pay respects to their neglectful, absentee father who has just died. Their mother died when they were young, so this trip is especially important. But when they arrive, they find that although their father is deceased, he has never been buried. So they cart him across the Mexico desert while working out their differences. Stars Randall Batinkoff and Dylan Haggerty.

  • The Arrival   (1996)

    An astrophysicist seems to be receiving messages from other life forms from outer space. Because they’re coming from Mexico, he goes there to investigate the origins. Stars Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Crouse.

  • Babel   (2006)

    The characters in one of four interwoven stories about a gun, a Mexican nanny to two children takes the children to Mexico to her son’s wedding. But they and encounter problems when they try to return to the United States. Stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Adriana Barraza.

  • Blind Justice   (1994)

    Nearly blinded by the Civil War, a veteran and gunfighter vows to protect a baby that he transports across Mexico while trying to find the family who is to adopt the child. He discovers that his fighting days aren’t quite over when he has to help soldiers fight a band of robbers trying to steal a shipment of silver. A made-for-TV movie starring Armand Assante, Elizabeth Shue, and Robert Davi.

  • Que Viva Mexico   (1932)

    This hybrid documentary and docudrama presents four related vignettes that paint Mexico in an authentic and realistic way, so much so that books have been written about this film and how it depicts true Mexican culture, people, and history. The film is considered to be a great unfinished work and was chopped up into short films at one point. The filmmaker is Russian Sergei Eisenstein.

  • La Banda   (2009)

    A rich homemaker’s life is turned upside down when her husband leaves. She becomes a wedding singer and tries to keep it secret from her high-class family and friends, but that becomes increasingly harder to do as the band’s popularity grows. This Spanish-language musical stars Salma Hayek and is scheduled for release in 2009. (Also catch Salma in the 2002 bio-pic Frida, which profiles the voracious life of artist Frida Kahlo.)

    Although there are many more movies set in Mexico to watch, the above list serves as an appetizer, to entice you to drench yourself in the life and culture of this majestic country.

Published or Updated on: September 1, 2008 by Tammy Ruggles © 2008

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