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Flamin’ Hot Review: A Tale of Passion and Hard Work

Flamin’ Hot Review: Many times it is simply one’s gut and desire to do more that takes one ahead in life. No academic qualification can come close to the strength of one’s conviction. History is witness to leaders who rose in ranks based on their determination more than their qualifications. Sure, the journey is not smooth and there are times when one is very close to tasting failure. But it is times like that when one’s true strength shines through.

Disney+’s latest biopic ‘Flamin’ Hot’ starring Jesse Garcia is a tale along these lines. The movie is directed by actress Eva Longoria, making her directorial debut. The movie is adapted from Richard Montanez’s 2013 memoir titled A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive.

Flamin’ Hot Trailer

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Flamin’ Hot Summary

The biopic begins by showing Richard Montanez’s childhood growing up with a huge family of 11 members. His parents worked at a vineyard to make ends meet. He did not share a good rapport with his father. His father always beat him up and never supported him. Richard soon joined the street gangs and began indulging in illegal activities.

He took to changing his ways after his wife got pregnant. He was a high school dropout and also was in juvenile jail which made it even harder for him to land a stable job. After multiple tries, he lands a job at Frito Lay as a janitor. Seeing the huge machines at work, his interest draws him to know more about the process.

He begins asking questions to the engineers and befriends one of them soon. When recession hits and there are layoffs everywhere, he begins brainstorming about making a new product which will increase the sales at Frito Lay and reduce the layoffs. He comes up with the idea of adding spice to the product, and not just any spice, but a fiery hot spice that is popular in Mexican food. Eventually his trials become a success, and it is launched by Frito Lay.

After a few initial hiccups, the product is a raging success. Richard is promoted to the manager of marketing as well, owing to his strategy to target the Hispanic community with products that would appeal to them. In real life, Richard Montanez retired from Frito Lay in 2019 after 40+ years of service.

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Flamin' Hot Review - A still from 'Flamin' Hot' on Hulu.
A still from ‘Flamin’ Hot’ on Hulu. Credits: Hulu/IMDB

Flamin’ Hot Review

When watching biopics, you know that the lead is going to be successful in the end. What makes these movies interesting is seeing the journey that the lead goes through to reach that success. With Flamin’ Hot you’re already aware that the snack variant is going to be a success, but Matorez’s grit and determination to make it a success is what makes the movie watching a worthwhile experience.

But no biopic is devoid of controversy and Flamin’ Hot is no different! While there is no concrete proof that Montanez introduced the flavor since according to historical evidence there were already trials for the new spicy flavors happening at the company’s labs. While the movie is claimed to be the history told from Montanez’s point of view, it does also create an interesting angle to the origin of the infamous Cheeto variant.

Flamin' Hot Review - Official Poster of 'Flamin' Hot' now streaming on Hulu and Disney+
Official Poster of ‘Flamin’ Hot’ now streaming on Hulu and Disney+

Flamin’ Hot also manages to draw attention to the marginalization which was much more pronounced in the 1900s than it is now. Mexicans were treated as people who were less deserving to sit on the same table as the whites, the racism was rampant and they were also treated as intruders and misfits. Children got bullied in school for eating spicy food, for speaking a certain way, and well, for being Mexican. All Mexicans were seen with a suspicious eyes and were reduced to staying at the margins of the socio-economic chain. A lot has changed since, and there is still a long way to go still.

Flamin’ Hot Rating – JAL Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

JAL gives Flamin’ Hot a flaming 4.5 hot Cheeto points!

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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
A writer and translator by profession, Nandini is also known for using a lot of pun.

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