I recently learned that not everyone has seen this awesome movie! If you’re one of those unfortunate few, or maybe you hadn’t been born yet when this came out in 1987 (gasp!), there’s still time! Lou Diamond Phillips stars as real life rock and roll pioneer, Ritchie Valens. Growing up poor in the San Fernando Valley, living and working on farms, he dreamed of becoming a rock and roll star. When his troubled older brother finds him on the farm, he offers the family an actual home. Ritchie’s mother is dubious, but picks up the family and moves to Pacoima, CA.
Through some pretty rough family dysfunction, and Ritchie’s own desire to be a music star someday, he continues to attend school where he meets the girl of his dreams: Donna. But Donna’s father doesn’t appreciate the fact that Ritchie is Latino, and the back and forth pull on the young lovers eventually leads to heartache for Ritchie, and a hit song.
I’ve only touched on a portion of the plot of this movie, which has taken a few liberties with the actual story of Ritchie Valens, but is all in all an awesome film. Everyone in the movie was awesome, including some pretty well-known actors and musicians. The tug at your heartstrings never stops, and especially not when you get to the tragic end of the movie when Ritchie’s life seems to be on a fast track for success.
This movie is a mixture of the history of late 50’s pop music, a heartbreaking romance, and a talented young man determined to see his destiny through. Highlighted with some awesome music throughout, I highly recommend it!