Born in East L.A. isn’t as well remembered as it should have been. Originally buried by Universal as payback for Howard the Duck bombing (that’s a story for another time), the film managed to be a modest hit upon release. Still, it was quickly buried under the glut of premium cable rotation and forgotten. Hell, most people don’t even know about the TV cut with the happier ending tacked on to appeal to the broader USA.
This film was my first exposure to Cheech Marin. That is if you don’t count relatives making jokes about Dave not being here. I just thought Dave was one of their friends. The world is a weird place when you’re 6. Upon originally seeing the film, I didn’t get it. Again, this is what happens when young kids are left alone with TV. They watch things they don’t understand or watch things they really want to see.
Read into that what you will. It wouldn’t be until years later that I enjoyed the film after making a double feature with Shrimp on the Barbie. It’s a charming straight forward comedy that plays like the earlier Cheech and Chong movies, but with an eye towards mass appeal. Everyone loves a case of mistaken identity and seeing what people do against heavy odds.
When you pick the Blu-ray, make sure to check out the commentary. It’s quite possibly one of the best of 2019 so far.