Movie Night: Y Tu Mama Tambien

It’s time for Movie Night, where we choose a movie based on any number of variables and feelings, create a themed menu to match, then spend Friday / Saturday night eating these foods and watching these movies!

Y Tu Mamá También

[ buy me ]

Synopsis, from imdb:

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.

“He really fell in love with me.”
“Who wouldn’t?”

One night when I was in China and possibly under the influence, I decided that if I could learn Chinese then I could teach myself to speak Spanish. I have a leg up, you see, because I already speak French, which means I practically speak Spanish as well. Surprisingly, the next morning I was still convinced this was a good idea. How was I going to teach myself Spanish? Well, obviously, I was just going to listen to a lot of Spanish music and watch Spanish movies and then, you know, I would just acquire the ability to speak it myself.

What is even more surprising, however, is how terribly this plan is going. I’ve been back from China for a month now and I still don’t speak any Spanish! Anyways, so as part of my teaching curriculum, I have to watch some Spanish movies. Which is why tonight’s movie is Y Tu Mama Tambien and the meal plan is “Mexican.” It’s Mexican night!

I almost watched this movie without subtitles, but then I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what happened at all. Subtitles are key, even if you speak French.

“At 4 AM Julio vomited in the street. Around 5 AM, Tenoch smashed his headlight on the way home. At dawn, Saba had his first experience with group sex.”

I had a vague idea of what Y Tu Mama Tambien was about. I knew it won some awards, was possibly a commentary on present day (2001) Mexico, and Gael Garcia Bernal was in it and I love him. But for a good 20 minutes at the beginning I kept thinking, “ohmygod, I can’t write about this for Autostraddle, there are way too many penises hanging around.” Literally. There is a lot of nudity (men and women) and sexual content in this movie. There is also quite a fair bit of homophobia, but if you haven’t seen it yet, I still think you should give it a chance. The nudity and sex scenes are well done, and the homophobia is justified and in character (surprise! Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna share a special moment).

This is not just a movie about sex. It’s about friendship and growing up between two young men in the summer between high school and college. It’s also about class differences in Mexico, as the two boys come from very different families. I probably would have grasped this more if I knew Mexican culture better.

“Julio couldn’t understand what he was feeling – it wasn’t rage. The only time he had felt this pain in his stomach was when he was 8 when he woke up thirsty one night, and on his way to the kitchen, found his mother in his godfather’s arms.”

It’s not so much what these characters do but rather what they say. The dialogue is key to the movie, which is why I’m glad I watched it with subtitles. There’s one scene while they’re in the car where Julio and Tenoch are teasing Luisa about an old boyfriend – there’s laughter and the mood is light, they are bantering, and then Luisa reveals something that’s the complete opposite of what you might expect and the mood changes so fast. It was one of my favourite parts of the movie; it felt so real and honest. All of Y Tu Mama Tambien was like that. It was set up like a raunchy male comedy, and probably would have been that if it had been made in Hollywood, but the characters were so layered and interesting and the story so raw that it was anything but your typical Road Trip Movie.

Luisa: You slept with his girlfriend?

Tenoch: This asshole also fucked mine!

Luisa: What about number 3?

Julio: Number 3?

Luisa: Your manifesto, not to screw each other’s girlfriends.

Julio and Tenoch: That’s number 5!

Definitely you need to see this movie right now. Don’t be put off by the penis aspect, it’s a bit shocking at first but in my opinion, part of what makes the movie so real.


for the enchilada:
+ large tortilla
+ cheese
+ salsa
+ green onion
+ 1 egg
+ chicken/some kind of meat (optional)
+ salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

There are many things you can put in an enchilada. If you’re my girlfriend then you hate beans, so you’d probably prefer a zucchini enchilada. If you’re me then you hate zucchini and want to replace it with chicken.

In my enchilada I fried up an egg and cut up some leftover steak and threw it in there. Enchiladas are actually really easy to make and don’t take much time at all. Put your stuffing in the middle of the tortilla and then roll it. What I do for the rolling part is fold the top and bottom ends (I know it’s a circle but just pretend) and then roll it right to left like you’re rolling a poster. The loose end should be at the bottom so it doesn’t open up.

Pour the salsa on top and then add some sliced cheese. I used cheddar, but a grated “mexican” mix is obviously good too (I think I bought a package of that once?).

Stick it in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted or until it catches fire. I use a toaster oven and anything longer than 5 minutes starts to burn.

Put the green onions on top!

for the guacamole:
+ 1 avocado
+ 1 or 2 baby tomatoes
+ onion
+ garlic
+ lime juice
+ cilantro
+ salt and pepper
+ balsamic vinegar (optional)
+ chili flakes (optional)

Guacamole is also easy to make. Really good guacamole is probably harder and requires more cooking talent than I have, so we’ll have to settle for just decent.

Slice open the avocado and mush it around in a bowl until it’s no longer solid. Cut small pieces of tomato and onion and add that in. Throw in the garlic (all chopped up). Add cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. I like balsamic vinegar with mine so I always add a bit of that, as well as some chili flakes to spice it up. Mix and eat with tortilla chips!

To complete the meal, drink a Corona or 3.

Have you ever seen Y Tu Mama Tambien? Do you have feelings about it? Share them!

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Emily Choo started as an intern with Autostraddle when she was 18 years old. She's now 10 years older and lives in Toronto with her partner and cat. The defining moment of her career was when Riese said this about her: " I think Emily Choo is a very bright, 'poetically inclined' girl who pays attention to everything and knows almost everything (the point of stuff, how to read, how beautiful things feel, how scary things feel, etc.) but doesn't believe/accept/realize yet that she knows almost everything." She still doesn't believe she knows anything, so, thank you, Riese, for that.

Emily has written 100 articles for us.


  1. It’s a beautiful movie about mortality, and what goes better with death than sex? When faced with mortality, humans fuck. So it’s a very sexual movie, not in a soft-core way, but more in a desperately sad way. The best thing about this movie is the emotional portrayal of the central male friendship. Very different from the lack of male emotions on film in the US. Honest and realistic.

    • “The best thing about this movie is the emotional portrayal of the central male friendship. Very different from the lack of male emotions on film in the US.”

      yes!! Exactly. This is why I love this film. They may initially seem like typical, oversexed young men, but the characters are written with such great emotional depth – something we see very little of in mainstream American films (for men or women). I also like the feel and pace of the film.

  2. I love this movie, a watched when I was like 13years old. And my jaw was down, hehe, I watched again when I was 17 and I felt in love ^^ Is beautiful, Luisa is lo máximo

    And about learn spanish, if you only want to talk it. Is very easy, but if you wanna learn the grammar, orthographic, verb times.. Pfff, is nothing like french, is harder. I have 21years old speaking a learning it and I’m not even know the half of the language

  3. holy shit! thank you for bringing this movie out to the open, it’s amazing and i love it to pieces. i played this for a movie night and everyone loved it.
    the ending made my jaw drop and cry a bit (but then again i cried when i saw e.t., i haz feelings). i love this movie and this is the perfect food to go with it. tequila for drinks guys!!!

    • i know, my parents asked me if they could borrow it and they never looked at me the same way again.

      also if you want to make it a double feature spanish movie night i really recommend antes que anocheszca/ before the night falls it’s a great movie and probably more parental unit friendly than y tu mama tambien.

      • You really think Before Night Falls is more parent-friendly than Y Tu Mamá También? I remember lots of gay sex in that movie…

        • yeah but …..(warning semi spoiler) it doesn’t wait until the very end to explain why everything happened. i thought it was all the sex in general that got to them. i recall one mexican actor saying something along the lines that people looked at it as pornography and not having any point to it.
          anyway i thought before the night falls would be a better one because it tries to recount the life of reinaldo arenas and brings javier bardem (who is a little more well known, and for comfort of knowing someone i guess) as the lead.i guess i just thought it would be because the main plot isn’t really about sex.
          anyway it’s still a good movie

    • I think I may have actually watched this (or at least part of this) with my mom and had it not be too awkward, but I’m not sure. She’ll probably read this before I can ask her, so hi Mom, did we watch this together? Was it awkward? Or was it The Dreamers, and was that awkward? (P.S. Now you can stop asking me what my username is here.)

      • omg!!!! i watched the dreamers alone and it was still awkward as shit hahahaha i cannot imagine what that would have been like watching it with mom around!

  4. This used to be my favorite movie when I was younger. To ensure you see it in its raw form as you are meant to, make sure you get the unrated version (none of that R-rated business).
    Either way, I absolutely adore Gael Garcia Bernal and every single movie he has ever done (think Bad Education, Amores Perros, The Motorcycle Diaries,…)!

  5. I snuck in to this movie when I was 16 and it was rated NC17 just to see Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna kiss.

  6. oh i like this post! i also watched this film in order to improve my spanish.. yeah XD
    another one i watched for that purpose is temporada de patos, a really sweet film about the friendship between two teenage boys (there’s even some gayness there). it’s funny, pure and innocent, and it’s mexican too, so all in all it fits very well with this movie night!

  7. i tried to ignore the subtitulos in this movie when i was watching it, but we were playing drinking games… so i ended up reading the english subtitles and talking to the TV in spanish. overall really great movie, though! love.

  8. Ah, I love this movie. Very beautiful indeed. This is one of those that couldn’t have been done by Hollywood for the exact reasons you mentioned. Such a lovely exploration of friendship and feelings.

    Speaking of movies in Spanish, have you watched ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ yet? So, so good! I’m a sucker for modern(-ish) day folktales.

  9. You wanna talk about awkward movies?

    I watched Mysteries of the Organism when I was 14 with my mom and some friendly hairy people on a slightly dirty couch in an anarcho-communist infoshop.

  10. You wanna talk about awkward movies?

    I watched Mysteries of the Organism when I was 14 with my mom and some friendly hairy people on a slightly dirty couch in an anarcho-communist infoshop.

    Bitch please.

  11. What I love the most about this movie is that someone (presumably a producer someone) watched it and went “Alfonso Cuaron should definitely make the next Harry Potter film”

  12. I watched this with my mom at the cinema and it was awkward. Also, as I was 14 at the time, I think I didn’t understand half of the film really. Watched it again after reading this article and it’s a great film! Especially now that I’ve actually traveled to Mexico.

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