|Directed by||Michael Pressman|
|Starring||Richard Yniguez and Danny De La Paz|
|Release dates||June 18, 1979|
|Running time||102 mins.|
|Box office||$1.9 million|
Boulevard Nights is a 1979 film directed by Michael Pressman.
Boulevard Nights is a focus on life in a gang. The movie portrays the dangers of street violence. Richard Yniguez plays a young Chicano who tries to get out of the gang, but he keeps finding himself drawn back into it. Boulevard Nights is all about brotherhood and survival.
Two brothers ... the street was their playground and their battleground and Everything happens on the boulevard - and the boulevard happens at night.
East Los Angeles, California 1979- Two members of an East L.A. street gang, 11th St, wander aimlessly one evening; getting drunk and horsing around. One of the cholos (a term for Hispanic gang members), Toby (Robert Covarrubias), decides to go to the neighborhood of their rivals, The Varrio Grande Vista street gang (also known as VGV) and cross out their graffiti tags (a sign of disrespect to rival gangs). Toby's friend disapproves and advises that they leave, however an arrogant Toby dismisses his friend as a "chavala" (a Mexican-American slang word for "punk" or "coward"). Toby's friend leaves and Toby continues to cross out the VGV tag and replace it with an 11th St tag. Proud of what he's done Toby prepares to leave when he's set upon by several members of VGV including Big Happy (Gary Cervantes), the senior member of the gang, and Chuco Avila (Danny De La Paz). The VGV gang members jump Toby and beat him into the dirt until they are stopped by Raymond Avila (Richard Yniguez), a well-respected former member of VGV and Chuco Avila's older brother. As the other gang members stop beating Toby Chuco, angry that Toby knocked him down while trying to run away, continues stomping and kicking Toby until he's physically restrained by Raymond. Raymond allows a beaten Toby to leave and the VGV members head home, bragging about the assault.
The film then focuses on the Avila brothers: Raymond, the older of the two, is a lowrider aficionado and works at a car shop where he customizes lowrider cars. Raymond is portrayed as a tough but very charismatic and easy-going young man who's successfully disassociated himself from gangbanging. Chuco, the younger of the two, is a newly recruited member of VGV. A hot-headed and reckless teenager Chuco seeks to prove his loyalty and toughness to the VGV. Chuco's willingness to prove his toughness has already caused problems for him as he has recently been expelled from high school after pulling out a knife during a cafeteria fight that he wasn't involved in (he pulled out the knife "just in case" and was caught by the school principal). Raymond takes Chuco to the car shop where he works and gets him a job. The no-nonsense owner of the car shop, Gil Moreno (James Victor), only hires Chuco out of respect and admiration for Raymond.
One night Raymond takes Chuco with him to pick up Raymond's girlfriend, Denise "Shady" Landeros (Marta DuBois)and cruise the "boulevard": a main drag in East L.A. which becomes an impromptu car show every weekend where young Hispanics show off their lowriders . Shady lives in a housing project in East L.A. with her family and works as a secretary for a business office in downtown Los Angeles. Shady has dreams of upward mobility and, because of this, tries to disassociate herself from barrio life. She wants Raymond to do the same but Raymond loves lowriding and is proud of his barrio roots.
As they cruise the boulevard Raymond and Chuco come across members of the VGV cruising in a car. Chuco wants to hang out with the gang but Raymond, protective of his younger brother, tries to convince Chuco to stay with him and Shady. Shady on the other hand, wants to get off of the boulevard and go to a fancy restaurant. Chuco leaves with Big Happy and the VGV and Raymond promises to take Shady to the restaurant, but first he wants to compete in a lowrider hydraulics hopping contest. Shady is aggravated by this (especially after seeing two young Chicana women flirting with Raymond) and leaves to go home. Meanwhile as Chuco and the VGV continue to cruise the boulevard they are spotted by members of 11th St who follow them with the intention of getting revenge for Toby's beating. As the two gangs meet each other in traffic they identify themselves as rivals and hurl insults at each other, leading to a gang rumble in the middle of the street. As Raymond is trying to make amends with an upset Shady his friend Ernie (Daniel Zacapa) tells him about the fight up the street. Knowing that Chuco is involved Raymond asks Ernie to stay with Shady and he races up the boulevard to help Chuco. When he reaches the fight he finds Chuco and Toby fighting and Toby clearly has the upper hand (kicking Chuco on the ground the same way Chuco did him earlier in the film) as Raymond beats up Toby another 11th St member pulls a knife on Chuco and attempts to stab him. Chuco rushes the cholo and wrestles him to the ground. As Raymond pulls Chuco off of the 11th St cholo they look down in horror to see that Chuco has accidentally stabbed the young man. As Los Angeles County Sheriffs arrive and break up the brawl the two brothers split up. Raymond escapes capture by crawling underneath a van and then keenly getting into a car with a group of women and pretending to be their boyfriend. Chuco, however, is arrested by police later that evening.
Back at the Avila house Shady is putting alcohol on Raymond's ear in the bathroom (he cut his ear while crawling underneath the van). Shady complains that they have been together for over three years but Raymond continues cruising the boulevard every weekend and doesn't seem to take anything seriously. Shady then informs Raymond that her boss knows about a good-paying factory job in Montebello, California. Raymond takes offense to Shady's suggestion that he get another job, feeling that Shady is trying to change him into something that he's not and get him to deny his East L.A. roots. Before they can finish the conversation Raymond's mother (Betty Carvalho) comes into the bathroom to tell Raymond that Chuco's been arrested. Before Raymond leaves to pick up Chuco from jail Shady tells him that she's breaking up with him. When Raymond and his mother arrive at the jail they are met by an African-American police officer (Harry Ceasar) who Chuco's been mouthing off to. The police officer warns Raymond that Chuco will ultimately end up in San Quentin Prison if he doesn't get his act together. When they return home Raymond asks Chuco about the fight earlier and Chuco tells him 11th St started it but because the police didn't who was responsible they released everyone from jail. When Raymond asks Chuco whether or not 11th St knows who stabbed their friend Chuco tells him "That don't matter, does it?" surmising that 11th St will go to war with VGV regardless.
The next week Raymond goes to Shady's office in downtown L.A.. Raymond meets Shady's boss, Jerry Werner (Dawson Mays) and then asks Shady to have dinner with him that evening. Initially reluctant, Shady agrees. That night at the restaurant Raymond declares his love for Shady but also tells her that he can't change who he is (he loves lowriders and plans to open up his own car shop one day) but he will do everything that he can to make Shady happy, to which end he proposes marriage to her. Shady accepts and, knowing that Raymond hates fancy restaurants, the two leave and have dinner at a taco stand in East L.A.. That same evening Chuco and the VGV gang members return to their hangout and find that one of their friends has been badly beaten by members of 11th St. Irate the gang heads out in two cars to 11th St's neighborhood. When they arrive at an 11th St gang member's house the gang member's little sister comes to the door and tells them that her brother isn't there. Chuco bribes the little girl with a quarter and writes "VGV" on the palm of her hand, instructing her to tell her brother that the gang said "hi" when he returns home (the VGV sign on her hand lets her brother know that VGV knows where he lives and knows who his family is.). The VGV gang members are amused and impressed with Chuco's antagonistic gesture and the gang spends the rest of the evening partying and getting high on "angel dust". When Chuco returns home he is high on PCP and goes to his room to sleep. As he lays down he is startled to find a revolver pointed at him; he relaxes once he realizes it's Raymond, who is pointing Chuco's own gun at him. Raymond tells Chuco that he and Shady are getting married. Chuco is so inebriated that mutters a reply and goes to sleep.
The next day Raymond drops Shady off at work and then heads to the car shop where he finds that Chuco hadn't made it to work. Raymond returns to his house looking for Chuco, who isn't there. Raymond then goes to the VGV's hangout where he finds Chuco and the other gang members sniffing paint. Raymond is furious with Chuco and forcibly takes him to work, embarrassing him in front of the rest of the gang. At the car shop Raymond chastises Chuco about his irresponsible behavior and Chuco explodes at Raymond for "fronting him off in front of the homeboys". Raymond looks at Chuco in amazement, realizing that his little brother is fully immersed into gangbanging.
As Chuco becomes more involved with the VGV's and more brazen in his gang activity Big Happy takes a personal liking to him. Big Happy takes Chuco to get a gang tattoo (a cobra with the letters VGV inscribed in the snake) from Old Man Diaz (Carmen Filpi), a crazy elderly man who lives in a dilapidated tenement in East L.A.. That same day Raymond and Shady are at a bridal shop looking at wedding gowns. Shady notices that Raymond seems preoccupied and unenthusiastic and suggests that they go to their favorite motel to have sex. As they leave the bridal shop a member of 11th St drives by and notices Raymond's lowrider. At the motel Shady gets Raymond to tell her what's wrong with him. As they reminisce about how they met in high school when Raymond was still a gangbanger calling himself "Magic Man", Raymond tells Shady that he knew when to leave the gang but he isn't sure about Chuco who's become deeply involved with the gang war between VGV and 11th St..Shady focuses Raymond on his future life with her and the two have sex in the motel room. As Raymond and Shady leave the motel they are confronted by the 11th St gang member who spotted them at the bridal shop, along with some of his friends that he went back to get. The gang members antagonize Raymond and attack him. Raymond fights back and the initial 11th St gang member pulls a switchblade on him. As the motel managers come to Raymond's aid the 11th St gang member tells Raymond that they know Chuco was responsible for stabbing their friend and that they're looking for him, after which they run off. Raymond finds Chuco later that evening and warns him about 11th St but Chuco doesn't care. Big Happy instigates, challenging Raymond's machismo for not joining VGV for revenge.
While working at the car shop Chuco gets into an altercation with an 11th St gangbanger who notices Chuco's tattoo. As the employees break up the fight Chuco accidentally hits Gil Moreno in the nose. Gil has had enough of Chuco and fires him, telling him that he's not a good employee and even accuses him of stealing some wire spoke wheels. Later Raymond chastises Chuco for fighting the gang member at work. Chuco is indignant, asserting that he isn't a "chavala" and that he had the right to defend himself. Angry, Raymond tells Chuco that he's dumb to which Chuco replies that he doesn't need Raymond or his job at the car shop and leaves.
Upset, Chuco stays away from home for a week and misses Raymond and Shady's wedding. At the wedding reception held at the Avila house Raymond finds Chuco sitting inconspicuously on the front porch. Chuco apologizes for missing the wedding and tells Raymond that finds himself doing stupid things because he can't control his anger. As the two brothers make up their mother comes out to the front porch and asks Chuco to come in the house and dance with her. Raymond walks a drunken Ernie and his girlfriend to their car. He heads back into the house just as 11th St gang members pull up in a car across the street. As Chuco and his mother dance Toby and another 11th St member creep to a window on the side of the house. Toby fires a round from his revolver through the window intending to shoot Chuco, but instead shoots Chuco's mother as they switch positions while dancing. Toby and the other gang member run away as Chuco's mother collapses in his arms. Chuco runs out of the house after them but they drive off.
After Mrs. Avila's funeral Raymond and Chuco go for a drive out to the beach. Raymond wants to know who was responsible for killing their mother. Chuco didn't see anything and barely saw the car but remembers that the car had a lot of primer on it. Raymond remembers the car and knows who the owner is. Deciding to take revenge for their mother's death Raymond asks Chuco if he'd like to see the beach, figuring it might be their last time to enjoy the outside world as either death or imprisonment is imminent. Raymond and Chuco then go to the VGV hangout to get guns for retaliation. Big Happy wants to join them in taking on 11th St to which Raymond replies "This ain't barrio against barrio. This is familia.", letting VGV know that their retaliation against 11th St is personal and not to get involved.
When Raymond and Chuco return home they are greeted at the front door by Shady who sees the guns and begs Raymond not to retaliate against 11th St. In Chuco's bedroom Raymond and Chuco load the guns with Raymond instructing Chuco on how they will plan their assault and admonishing Chuco to keep control and only shoot the individuals who killed their mother. Gil stops by the house to check on Raymond and Chuco and, as the two talk, Shady goes into Chuco's room to talk to him. Although the two hardly ever speak to each other Shady conveys her fears for Raymond's safety to Chuco, asking him what he would do if he were her. As the sun goes down (Raymond insists the attack be done at night when it's "completely dark") Chuco sneaks out of the house and drives off in his own car while Raymond lies in bed with Shady. Raymond realizes Chuco has left and goes after him.
With Raymond trailing far behind him Chuco drives through 11th St's neighborhood. Chuco finds the gang partying in a shack and accosts one of the gang members when he goes outside to urinate. When the other gang members come outside and realize what's happening they challenge Chuco who pistol-whips another 11th St member (Angel Salazar) and forces them to tell him where Toby lives. Chuco forces the gang back into the shack by gunpoint and locks them in. Chuco arrives at Toby's house and barges through the front door brandishing a double-barrelled shotgun. As he searches for Toby room by room, Toby attacks Chuco from behind. Toby's family looks on in terror as he attempts to wrestle the shotgun away from Chuco. When he isn't able to get the gun from Chuco, Toby runs out of the back door with Chuco hot on his heels. As Chuco gets outside he's shot in the shoulder by members of 11th St, who've arrived at the house to save Toby. The cowardly Toby sees his gang and sees that Chuco is wounded and starts to head back towards him. Chuco aims the shotgun at Toby and as Toby attempts to run Chuco shoots him in his back, killing him. As the 11th St gang members are shooting at Chuco Raymond drives up and helps Chuco into his car. As they drive off one of the 11th St members fires a round into Raymond's car, hitting Chuco in the neck.
Raymond races through the streets of Los Angeles trying to get Chuco to a hospital. At one point he pulls the car over and uses his shirt to compress Chuco's wound. When he asks Chuco why he left without him Chuco replies "I'm not that dumb. I'm just not that dumb." implying that he went to face 11th St by himself because Chuco didn't want to ruin Raymond's life because of his gang activity. By the time they arrive to a hospital Chuco has lost consciousness and doctors rush him into the hospital. Sometime later Raymond gives a statement to a police officer and then sits down to drink a cup of coffee. When Raymond returns home the next morning Shady is waiting for him at the front door. He gives her the news; Chuco has died from his gunshot wound, and she sobs in grief. Later that day Raymond is sitting on the porch of his house grieving the loss of his mother and brother. Shady comes out to comfort him as they gaze at the Los Angeles skyline
- Richard Yniguez ... Raymond Avila
- Danny De La Paz ... Chuco Avila
- Marta DuBois ... Shady Londeros
- James Victor ... Gil Moreno
- Betty Carvalho ... Mrs. Avila
- Carmen Zapata ... Mrs. Londeros
- Victor Millan ... Mr. Londeros
- Gary Cervantes ... Big Happy
- Daniel Zacapa ... Ernie (as Garret Pearson)
- Jerado Carmona ... Wolf
- Jesse Aragon ... Casper
- Robert Covarrubias ... Toby (as Roberto Covarrubia)
- Eliseo Estrada ... Hopper
- Mary McFerren ... Receptionist
- Dawson Mays ... Jerry Werner
- Alejandrino Morales ... VGV Gang Member
- Mario Morales ... VGV Gang Member
- Javier Morales ... VGV Gang Member
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