Illegal Immigration: The Soap Opera, in A Better Life


A Better Life
Directed by Chris Weitz
Summit Entertainment
Opens June 24

Pitched to tug at even Jan Brewer’s heartstrings, A Better Life takes on the combustible topic of illegal immigration through the soft, safe focus of father-son bonding, with a heavy nod to The Bicycle Thief. When not tending the lawns of affluent Angelenos, undocumented Mexican Carlos (Demián Bichir, who played Castro in Che) sleeps on the living-room couch of the tiny East L.A. home he shares with his moody, 14-year-old layabout son, Luis (an unsteady José Julián, making his big-screen debut), still nursing deep hurt over the mother who abandoned him when he was a toddler. Carlos hopes his economic situation will improve once he buys a truck and goes into business for himself; when the vehicle is stolen by someone living even more precariously, Luis joins his father in tracking it down—a plot development that provides the pretext for hoary parent-child rapprochement, though relieving us of the more tiresome thread of the kid’s consideration of gang membership. The third act finds Carlos behind bars at an ICE detainee center, where grim facts about what awaits most illegal immigrants are awkwardly shoehorned in—truths quickly eclipsed by the tears father and son will share. But director Chris Weitz and screenwriter Eric Eason are unable to commit fully even to this sudsy vision, tacking on a coda that completely undermines their already timid message.

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Mexico’s Wealthiest People Share |

MP Mexico News Staff Forbes, the magazine of the business class, has released their annual list of the world’s richest folks. Warren Buffett (related to Jimmy, so we’re guessing he’s a good guy) tops the list at $62 billion, which, and we digress, is the tab for 5 months of Iraq war costs to the U.S. taxpayer. Mexico’s I-sell-everything Carlos Slim moved ahead of Bill Gates at # 2, with $60 billion. But he is not the only Mexican to make the billionaire cut. Alberto Bailleres, chairman of Industrias Penoles, is # 85 in the world with $9.8 billion. The rest of Mexico billionaires are: #3 German Larrea Mota-Velasco $7.3 billion Grupo Mexico #4 Ricardo Salinas Pliego $6.3 billion Grupo Electra #5 Jeronimo Arango $4.3 billion TV Azteca #6 Isaac Saba Raffoul $2.1 billion Bodega Aurrera #7 Roberto Hernandez $1.7 billion Former CEO Banamex, Resorts #8 Emilio Azcarraga Jean $1.6 billion Grupo Televisa #9 Alfredo Harp Helu $1.6 billion Slim’s cousin, DF baseball team #10Lorenzo Zambrano $1.5 billion Cemex CEO Notably absent from the list are the drug cartel bosses, who presumably don’t divulge that information. For the complete Forbes list, with profiles, click to


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