TV Party is a Friday feature in which Film Editors Dominick Mayer and Justin Gerber alongside Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman suggest one movie apiece to enjoy over the weekend. Joining them each week will be two rotating film staff writers to help round out the selections. Seek out any of the films via Netflix, Amazon, Redbox, Hulu, OnDemand, or abandoned Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores — however you crazy kids watch movies these days! Enjoy ’em for the first time, a second, or maybe a redemptive third.
(Editor’s Note: This week’s edition is a bit belated because of our current presence at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. But the picks within are no less worthwhile.)
1997’s Selena stands as not only one of Jennifer Lopez’s first notable leading roles but also as the unofficial go-to film of every lazy high school Spanish teacher with two weeks to go before summer break and a class that can no longer be moved to care. But it’s not half bad, either. As the Tejano songstress who died tragically young, Lopez is able to tap into what made Selena such a superstar: her total innocence. Even if the film plays that up to an extent for maximum pathos, Selena chronicles her fascinating, rapid ascent from the state fair concert circuit to unprecedented crossover success.
Surrounded by her loving father (Edward James Olmos) and her family, she rose to prominence until jealousy led to her murder at only 23, by the head of her fan club. (Sorry for the spoilers, I guess, but it’s been 20 years now.) The film is a loving chronicle; her family oversaw the production, and Selena avoids any tabloid-style gawking at her lurid end. It’s a celebration of life, above all. – Dominick Mayer