Selena [1997]

Director: Gregory Nava
Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Jon Seda, Jackie Guerra, Constance Marie
Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 127 minutes

Is it real, or is it J-Lo? Both, as it turns out. There are 55 minutes of the actual Selena here, filmed live at Houston's Astrodome in 1995. The 23-year-old Tejano singer performs her light, catchy tunes all in Spanish, save for a '70s disco medley (which includes, poignantly, "I Will Survive"); polished and charismatic, if not extraordinarily talented, Selena was clearly on the way up before her death at 23 at the hands of an employee. That she was later portrayed onscreen by Jennifer Lopez, who has eclipsed Selena's stardom by far, no doubt partly explains the inclusion on the DVD of a 45-minute documentary (truthfully, more like a lengthy puff piece for Entertainment Tonight) about the Selena biopic. If you want to know how the filmmakers made those tough decisions about hair, clothes, and lip-syncing, you will not be disappointed. But the real thing's better. --Sam Graham

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