5 Reasons I Will Always Tune Into Selena

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Selena is always on TV. Seriously. Go turn on your television, scroll through the channels, and somewhere hidden between Chopped and a marathon of Golden Girls is Selena. I’ve probably seen the movie five times and only one of them was straight through (in a high school Spanish class). The rest are combined choppy viewings that happened between the film’s release in 1997 up until now. I’m sure that number is going to keep increasing as I get older because it is hard to resist watching this movie whenever it’s on. There’s something about it that makes you change channels regardless of what you’re doing or how far into the film the broadcast has gotten. Today is Selena Quintanilla‘s birthday, so in honor of the lady that inspired the film, here’s five reasons I tune into Selena no matter what.

The Music

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If you like singing in languages you don’t necessarily understand, lyrics that include made up words, gutteral Beyonce-like Heeeeeeyyyys, Celine Dion-esque ballads, AND catchy dance songs, then you’ll appreciate Selena’s music. There are serious love songs, poppy, fun songs, and songs with flower metaphors that will make you cry. I’ve never done karaoke, but I would consider embarrassing myself with a rendition of “I Could Fall In Love.” And if that’s not enough, she also has dance moves to go with them– most of which are just her spinning around in circles.

The Way It Makes J.Lo Seem Like A Good Actress

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Jennifer Lopez isn’t… the best actress. The issue is that a lot of the time she’s totally unbelievable as the character she’s playing, like in Anaconda where she’s supposed to be a documentary filmmaker. Sometimes she just gets casts in bad movies period (Gigli, anyone?). But J.Lo was believable as Selena. Even Roger Ebert thought so saying, “The teenage and adult Selena is played by Lopez in a star-making performance.” Another critic, James Berardinelli, wrote, “Jennifer Lopez is radiant as the title character, conveying the boundless energy and enthusiasm that exemplified Selena, while effectively copying not only her look, but her mannerisms.”

The Clothes

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You know how when someone wears a hippie costume for Halloween it’s totally exaggerated even though everyone knows no hippie actually dressed that extremely. Well, Selena’s wardrobe is like that for the ’90s. It’s sooooo ’90s that it seems fake, as if someone nowadays is making a joke version of what the decade’s clothes looked like. Except they aren’t and it’s real. Selena wore some amazing performance outfits that nearly always included a bra-top and something ridiculously high-waisted. The photo above is of the real Selena, but the outfit was recreated for the film. Don’t tell me looking at these pictures doesn’t make you want to paint your lips red and  put on some butt enhancing pants.

The Cheese Factor

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There’s a reason why I’ll tune into Oxygen or Lifetime whenever Selena is on, but never re-watch Citizen Kane on TCM, it’s more fun. I can casually watch Selena because it doesn’t ask too much of me. I don’t have to figure out any symbolism because if there is any, it’s immediately clear exactly what it means. Selena’s romantic relationship with her band’s guitarist is soothingly corny. Her dad is strict and gets mad about her bustiers in a very “Oh, Dad! You’re so predictably old fashioned!” sort of way. And, in one of the childhood scenes, Selena gazes up at the moon then pictures herself literally spinning around and becoming an adult performing on stage. Moon gazing is the ultimate cheesiness and I eat it up.

The Story

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Selena’s death was very tragic– for those of you who don’t know, she was murdered by the president of her fan club. The movie doesn’t focus on this, though, and just has a few  scenes about it at the end followed by real footage of Selena performing. It really is tastefully done. Selena’s life was interesting outside of this event which is why her story makes for a good movie. She was just a young girl in Texas who sung in a band with her siblings, but with the determination of herself and her family, eventually became a Grammy winner, “The Mexican Madonna,” and one of the most popular Latin musicians ever.