20th Anniversary: SELENA (1997)

Just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a feliz aniversario, because Selena turns 20 years old today! It is one of my all-time favorite movies and I’m hard-pressed to think of a pop star biopic that’s ever come close to its warmth. The performances are just so honest and great – in addition to the unmatchable J. Lo and Edward James Olmos, I also find myself powerless to resist Jon Seda’s charmingly reticent Chris. It’s a perfect tribute to one of the most incandescently talented performers in pop music, a woman with a short but indelible legacy and a great love for pizza (“lots of pepperoni, that’s important”). And the movie is a great lesson in how to appropriately adapt a true life for the screen. Gregory Nava’s storytelling and style are authentically Selena: from the bubbly pace, to the quick, spirited montages, to the dramatic editing of the “live” performances. Best of all, we get the gift of her actual voice (above: my fave song staged for the film, “Como La Flor”). Selena has its cheesy moments, but so did Selena. Compare it to, say, Britney Ever After – it’s easy to expose a girlish pop star, but it’s really, really hard to paint a loving portrait. I dedicate my love for this film to every Gen-Yer who went to a sleepover.