“Y Tu Mama Tambien”: Once upon a time in Mexico


There’s an in-joke at the beginning of Alfonso Cuaron’s film “Y Tu Mama Tambien” that I completely missed the first couple of times I saw it. Understandable, maybe, since the scene has Tenoch (Diego Luna) and his girlfriend engaging in some fairly enthusisatic sex in her bedroom. (The film was quite an arthouse hit back in 2000, and a controversial one; I remember one older couple telling me they lasted 10 minutes before the on-screen sex sent them packing.

But on the wall of the bedroom behind the couple is a gigantic Spanish-language movie poster for Hal Ashby’s “Harold and Maude.” That’s a sly wink to the older woman-younger man (or men) romance to come in “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” But it’s also a clue that Cuaron has a lot more on his mind here than a fun sex romp. This is a sex romp with layers, layers that even the characters often are oblivious too, and the brilliant thing about the film is the way it suggests those layers while still often being a fun, buzzy, sexy film. “Y Tu Mama Tambien” is now out this week in a stellar new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from the Criterion Collection.

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Instant Gratification: “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix right now


It’s a common complaint for Netflix Instant users — it’s just too hard to find something good to watch. So, every Tuesday, the Instant Gratification column features five good movies recently added to Netflix Instant. If you come across any winners that you’d like to share with other readers, let me know in comments below.

Pick of the week: “Y Tu Mama Tambien — This Mexican road movie from Alfonso Cuaron (who went on to make “Children of Men” and this year’s “Gravity”) launched the careers of Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. It’s a sexy, funny and unexpectedly poignant film about two horny young men on a road trip with a mysterious older woman. What they learn about Mexico — and themselves — on the trip is quietly unforgettable.

Drama of the week: “The Kid With a Bike” — The latest film from the Dardennes Brothers just wrecked me, as an 11-year-old boy largely abandoned by his father is taken in by a good-hearted hairdresser. Without sentimentality or melodrama, the film beautifully shows the effect of a quiet, sustained act of kindness on a troubled child.

Horror movie of the week: “Dead Snow” — Two words: Nazi zombies. On a ski trip to Norway, some teens run into the remnants of Hitler’s undead corps, with gory results. Not the greatest, but good if you’re looking for some late-night splatter. The film was directed by Tommy Wirkola, who went on to do that “Hansel & Gretel” movie.

Documentary of the week: “Brooklyn Castle” — This inspiring documentary in the tradition of “Spellbound” looks at an inner-city Brooklyn school that’s home to the best junior-high chess club in the country. In addition to dealing with triumphs and heartbreaks on the board, they have to deal with severe school budget cuts that might cripple their program.

Crazy movie of the week: “Antichrist — I panned Lars Von Trier’s out-there psychological horror movie when it played in theaters, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. A psychiatrist takes his grieving wife into a cabin in the woods to work on her, with disastrous, bloody, and borderline ridiculous results.