My Dear Tom Mix Reviews

  • Mar 08, 2012

    Charming in a Senile Kind of Way When I first read the back of the box on this one, the thought I had was that it was like [i]The Three Amigos[/i] except actually in Spanish. And, you know, based on a story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it turns out. Who is not known to be a Chevy Chase fan, but since he's still alive, maybe I'm wrong about that. With the limited information I've been able to gather about this movie or the story it's based on, it might have come out in a short story collection written after that movie was made. It amuses me to think that this is true. Admittedly, the parallels aren't direct, but now, I'm picturing him watching it and thinking, "That Martin Short! What a genius!" And developing a story from the perspective of the villagers instead. Only no one knows, and so a great role for Martin Short goes a-begging. Or maybe it turned out his Spanish wasn't good enough, and he weeps quietly to himself in the night over it. Ahem. At any rate, this is the story of young Felipe (Damián García Vázquez), possibly (I don't remember, and IMDb is being singularly unhelpful, as it often is with non-English language films), who is spending his vacation with his Uncle Evaristo (Manuel Ojeda), Aunt Maribel (Esther Navarro Díaz), probably, and Grandmother Joaquina (Ana Ofelia Murguía). Who keeps demanding that he not call her "[i]abuela[/i]," because it makes her feel old. At any rate, Joaquina is a huge movie buff. I'm not sure what year it is, but it's clear that sound has not yet come to their town, and the biggest star--at least as far as Joaquina is concerned--is Tom Mix. She is obsessed with him, and she writes long letters telling him everything that is going on in their town. Including that bandits have started menacing the town. But a stranger (Federico Luppi) has come to town who she thinks just might be Tom Mix. With his help, maybe Joaquina can free her village. We see this story through the eyes of a child and through the eyes of the childlike Joaquina. In their world, it makes sense that the great Tom Mix would come to save them, though the boy is getting just old enough to question. But I think the nature of celebrity was changing, in those long-ago days. When Joaquina was young, she never would have known what her idols even looked like most of the time. Photography was expensive, and reproducing images in the newspaper was difficult. As technology improved, the people we idolized began stepping into our lives in a way they never had before. To a person who lived through the change, it must have been a kind of magic. Some of you may remember how giddy I was the first time Roger Ebert merely commented on something I posted on his blog; the fact that celebrities are real people with whom we can really interact is not always something which processes well. So why not believe that Tom Mix reads your letters and will come save your village? Of course, practically everything else in the movie fails to make sense. There are moments which appear to be in the movie because they're stock Western moments, and after all, Joaquina is a Western buff. So of course there's a Chinese laundry in town, and of course the Chinese guy (Zan Zhi Guo, merely credited as [i]El Chino[/i]--and it's his only film credit!) is able to use probably kung fu on one of the outlaws. Of course there is a daring chase. However, this does not explain things like why Evaristo ends up taking some of his payment in the form of a cow. Chickens, okay. He's a country doctor, and it's even explained that people pay with what they can, because they can't pay cash. But you know, cows are expensive, even in agricultural areas. It would take a lot of doctorin' to equal the cost of a cow. I think he gets it from the mayor, but that does raise the question of why the mayor--who lives in town--has a cow that he can give in payment. And given that he is shown to be a wealthy man, why he can't pay cash instead. Actually, the thing which made the most sense to me also took me a while to figure out, though once I did, it was obvious. Joaquina, as I said, does not want to be called "[i]abuela[/i]," which means "grandmother." All things considered, it's likely she just doesn't want to think of herself as old enough to be a grandmother, which is understandable. Ana Ofelia Murguía looked young enough at the time, after all, and Joaquina still seemed to hold out some hope that there was more life left to her one way or another. But what confused me at first was what the boy had called her when she was little and where it came from. You see, he called her "[i]Queri[/i]," and I couldn't get what that had meant. It was only when I looked at the Spanish title of the movie--[i]Mi querido Tom Mix[/i]--that I worked it out, and once I did, it seemed obvious. "[i]Queri[/i]" is obviously a short version of "[i]querida[/i]"--the difference in last letter, of course, is due to the fact that Tom Mix is male and Joaquina is female. It means "dear" or "darling."

    Charming in a Senile Kind of Way When I first read the back of the box on this one, the thought I had was that it was like [i]The Three Amigos[/i] except actually in Spanish. And, you know, based on a story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it turns out. Who is not known to be a Chevy Chase fan, but since he's still alive, maybe I'm wrong about that. With the limited information I've been able to gather about this movie or the story it's based on, it might have come out in a short story collection written after that movie was made. It amuses me to think that this is true. Admittedly, the parallels aren't direct, but now, I'm picturing him watching it and thinking, "That Martin Short! What a genius!" And developing a story from the perspective of the villagers instead. Only no one knows, and so a great role for Martin Short goes a-begging. Or maybe it turned out his Spanish wasn't good enough, and he weeps quietly to himself in the night over it. Ahem. At any rate, this is the story of young Felipe (Damián García Vázquez), possibly (I don't remember, and IMDb is being singularly unhelpful, as it often is with non-English language films), who is spending his vacation with his Uncle Evaristo (Manuel Ojeda), Aunt Maribel (Esther Navarro Díaz), probably, and Grandmother Joaquina (Ana Ofelia Murguía). Who keeps demanding that he not call her "[i]abuela[/i]," because it makes her feel old. At any rate, Joaquina is a huge movie buff. I'm not sure what year it is, but it's clear that sound has not yet come to their town, and the biggest star--at least as far as Joaquina is concerned--is Tom Mix. She is obsessed with him, and she writes long letters telling him everything that is going on in their town. Including that bandits have started menacing the town. But a stranger (Federico Luppi) has come to town who she thinks just might be Tom Mix. With his help, maybe Joaquina can free her village. We see this story through the eyes of a child and through the eyes of the childlike Joaquina. In their world, it makes sense that the great Tom Mix would come to save them, though the boy is getting just old enough to question. But I think the nature of celebrity was changing, in those long-ago days. When Joaquina was young, she never would have known what her idols even looked like most of the time. Photography was expensive, and reproducing images in the newspaper was difficult. As technology improved, the people we idolized began stepping into our lives in a way they never had before. To a person who lived through the change, it must have been a kind of magic. Some of you may remember how giddy I was the first time Roger Ebert merely commented on something I posted on his blog; the fact that celebrities are real people with whom we can really interact is not always something which processes well. So why not believe that Tom Mix reads your letters and will come save your village? Of course, practically everything else in the movie fails to make sense. There are moments which appear to be in the movie because they're stock Western moments, and after all, Joaquina is a Western buff. So of course there's a Chinese laundry in town, and of course the Chinese guy (Zan Zhi Guo, merely credited as [i]El Chino[/i]--and it's his only film credit!) is able to use probably kung fu on one of the outlaws. Of course there is a daring chase. However, this does not explain things like why Evaristo ends up taking some of his payment in the form of a cow. Chickens, okay. He's a country doctor, and it's even explained that people pay with what they can, because they can't pay cash. But you know, cows are expensive, even in agricultural areas. It would take a lot of doctorin' to equal the cost of a cow. I think he gets it from the mayor, but that does raise the question of why the mayor--who lives in town--has a cow that he can give in payment. And given that he is shown to be a wealthy man, why he can't pay cash instead. Actually, the thing which made the most sense to me also took me a while to figure out, though once I did, it was obvious. Joaquina, as I said, does not want to be called "[i]abuela[/i]," which means "grandmother." All things considered, it's likely she just doesn't want to think of herself as old enough to be a grandmother, which is understandable. Ana Ofelia Murguía looked young enough at the time, after all, and Joaquina still seemed to hold out some hope that there was more life left to her one way or another. But what confused me at first was what the boy had called her when she was little and where it came from. You see, he called her "[i]Queri[/i]," and I couldn't get what that had meant. It was only when I looked at the Spanish title of the movie--[i]Mi querido Tom Mix[/i]--that I worked it out, and once I did, it seemed obvious. "[i]Queri[/i]" is obviously a short version of "[i]querida[/i]"--the difference in last letter, of course, is due to the fact that Tom Mix is male and Joaquina is female. It means "dear" or "darling."