Flamin’ Hot Image

Flamin’ Hot

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | June 14, 2023

First, let’s deal with the 800-pound flaming hot Cheeto in the room. Several years ago, Frito Lay disputed Monteanez’s claim that he invented the flaming hot flavor and produced internal documents showing how they had been developing it for years. The screenwriters of Flamin’ Hot address this full-on with scenes showing Frito Lay hard at work in the lab as well as reinforcing that it takes a very long time for a company to develop and release a flavor. They also ensure that when Richard tastes his first flaming hot Cheeto off the line, he declares they did not use Judy’s recipe. There is also a lot of fun with the accuracy of the lead’s recollections, with many scenes being shown in multiple variations.

However, Frito Lay did not make a janitor into an executive for nothing, and that is the real story here, not who turned everyone’s fingertips red. Anyone who has been pressed flat by the glass ceilings of advancement will acknowledge that getting from the broom to the boardroom is a historic pole vault. The drama showcases Monteanez’s true genius. He led a global corporation into exploring markets that changed the face of the planet. Even if Monteanez didn’t make it, he was the one who knew how to sell it. And any young student or adult stoner will tell you that this red powder is everything in the snack world, especially now that lime is added.

“…Longoria draws amazing work from her ensemble.”

Watching Flamin’ Hot mirrors the joy of scarfing down a bag of the crunchy red stuff yourself. It makes your eyebrows raise, is instantly addictive, and goes by very fast. The undeniable zing that throbs throughout directly results from Longoria’s direction. She shows how a performer at the director’s helm will be tuned into bringing out the maximum impact of each sequence. Part of this is actor knowing actor, as Longoria draws amazing work from her ensemble. The energy-maintained scene per scene, including the dynamite montages, matches De Palma at his best (Scarface). This rhythmic pulse works perfectly for a movie with this much heart.

Flamin’ Hot is the kind of inspirational American dream story we need a lot more of. Hitting every note of the little guy versus overlords tune, Longoria gives us the best Neo-Capra movie since Coppola tackled Tucker. What makes this rags to riches story more genuine is the challenges starkly presented that many must overcome to make it. It also highlights the secret economic power all Americans hold as constant customers. Every day, we vote with our dollars as to what in society stands or falls. This a powerhouse picture that will paste a red-stained grin on your mug. Longoria’s debut shows her to be a director with a dynasty of great cinema ready to be unleashed.

Flamin' Hot (2023)

Directed: Eva Longoria

Written: Lewis Colick, Linda Yvette Chavez

Starring: Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Emilio Rivera, Dennis Haysbert, Matt Walsh, Tony Shalhoub, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Flamin' Hot Image

"…mirrors the joy of scarfing down a bag of the crunchy red stuff yourself."

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