Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reel Estate -- La Bamba Movie

Yes, I know, what I am doing talking about a 1987 movie, La Bamba? Well, the reason my wife and I saw the movie (again after almost 20 years) and the life-lessons that I picked up by watching it are the reasons I write about it today.

Lou Diamond Phillips starred in this film about an early rocker, Ritchie Valens and his meteoric rise to stardom at age 17 back in 1958. Born in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, Ritchie had a keen ear toward music from an early age and was constantly learning and innovating as he grew into his teenage years. On one of his dates with his girlfriend, Donna, Ritchie would bring his guitar. In fact, he ALWAYS took his guitar with him everywhere he went! Donna would ask him "do you always carry that guitar around?" Ritchie would reply to her with "Yes, it's my future."

At the tender age of 17, Ritchie Valens was killed in a plane crash which also killed Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. His career lasted but eight months and he wrote and released three top rock hits "Donna", "Come On, Let's Go" and "La Bamba". Los Lobos played the Valens music in the film and his song, "La Bamba", has been credited to Valens as having been one of the first Latin or Chicano rock songs and by its originality of fusing a song sung entirely in Spanish with rock music, thus creating a new sound. A sound influenced the group Los Lobos and others.

The way he lived his life, portrayed in the film, teaches us about two of life's lessons. First, have a singleness of purpose and pour your energy into it to learn, and get better at what you do best. Second, he teaches us to always focus on your goal. In his life, it was to be "a star". Perhaps a third would be to always carry your tools with you, whether it is a guitar or your intellectual property.

The real reason to have reviewed this movie was because of the antique cars! A new friend of ours, Don, gave my wife and I a tour of some of his antique cars along with a history lesson not only of his family but of use of some of his cars in period movies. When he mentioned that many of the cars were used in scenes in various movies, we started searching for them. We started with "La Bamba". The film, incidentally, was filmed in the Watsonville area of North Monterey County. It even made me recall my own childhood years growing up in rural-like Los Altos because the movie had scenes of fruit picking and cutting 'cots (apricots) to dry. Something that my mother and dad got us involved with at an early age! For us, around the Fourth of July was all about fireworks, picking fruit and cutting 'cots. Anybody showing up to our place during this time, my mother promptly put to work culling, washing or cutting apricots.

We enjoyed the local history lesson through the antique car "show" that Don put on. Donald Skow, is Pastor of the Hollister Christian Fellowship Church. Next time we see a movie with his antique cars, we'll be sure to see it and then I'll tell you about it!

Don also told us about one area that he is focused on and that is his program to help some people living in abject poverty in Haiti (near Port-a-Prince). He is constantly on a quest for donations of either financial or basic supplies and tools. Some things like school supplies, basic need items for families to enable them to better their living conditions are key. Don often goes there to keep the program going and to reach more people. If you can be of help, give Don a call or send him an email. He told us that "giving a little will help a lot". His tag line is "Vintage Truth in the Real World". I wonder if the "vintage " part has to do with his antique cars?

Donald Skow, Pastor
Hollister Christian Fellowship Church
2350-A Technology Parkway
Hollister, CA 95023

And you thought that this post was going to be only about a movie!

Thanks for reading.

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