9 times Hollywood showed it knows nothing about Brazil

. Dec 30, 2019
hollywood Photo: Kim Young Cha/Shutterstock

While the world slowly becomes aware of what happens in Brazil, many foreigners still only know our country through the many clichés created by pop culture. Stereotypical Brazil is hypersexualized, with people playing football and listening to samba, surrounded by thick jungle and avoiding monkeys and snakes. Oh, and someone probably has a gun. It is no surprise that when Brazil appears in a Hollywood movie, Brazilians brace themselves for the worst.

Here is a list of some of the worst takes on Brazil in film. Oh, and we’re not including that famous Simpsons episode, which we actually found really funny.

</p> <h2>Gilmore Girls (2000)</h2> <p>Ok, this is not Hollywood, but still. In the series&#8217; second episode, a ballet teacher says to her students: &#8220;Naked girls. No, no, keep those leotards on. This is not Brazil.&#8221; Yawn.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-photo is-provider-yarn"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <a href="https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/54f81701-972f-4dbd-b5e2-2ffbe0b80af3"><img src="https://y.yarn.co/54f81701-972f-4dbd-b5e2-2ffbe0b80af3_text.gif" alt="No, no, keep those leotards on. This is not Brazil." width="854" height="480" /></a> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Moonraker (1979)</h2> <p>From time to time, Brazilians realize how little foreigners know about our geography. But few movies have massacred the Brazilian map as much as Moonraker, when James Bond travels to Brazil pursuing the evil Hugo Drax. If that 007 adventure is your only source on Brazilian geography, you probably think that Foz do Iguaçu, the famous waterfalls in southern Brazil, is in Rio de Janeiro. Or that the Brazilian Amazon is also home to Myan pyramids.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-youtube wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1200' height='675' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/KFOOjYU16KE?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>The Rundown (2003)</h2> <p>In this movie, Dwayne &#8220;The Rock&#8221; Johnson must retrieve his boss&#8217; son in the Brazilian Amazon. And he has a nasty encounter with some monkeys. The problem? The baboons in the movie are actually from Asia and Africa. Not to mention the use of actors who <em>clearly</em> have nothing to do with native populations.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-youtube wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1200' height='675' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/WJXF9gcUcNU?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Brenda Starr (1989)</h2> <p>Perhaps we shouldn&#8217;t judge this Brooke Shields flick, which has a 34-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, for its inaccuracies. At the time of its release, <em>LA Times</em> critic Kevin Thomas <a href="https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-04-15-ca-39-story.html">wrote</a> that “it would have been an act of kindness for all concerned, including the paying customer, to have left it on the shelf where it belongs.” In regards to Brazil, Brenda Starr goes over the top with a hypersexual carnival scene. Oh, and at one point, Shields rides alligators like they were water skies.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-youtube wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1200' height='675' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/1sYQvZXEBwc?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Next Stop: Wonderland (1998)</h2> <p>In this Hollywood movie, the main character is seduced by your textbook Brazilian Latin lover. This man then invites her to check the amazing beaches &#8230; in the city of São Paulo. Nevermind the absurd accents of the so-called &#8220;Brazilian&#8221; characters, there aren&#8217;t any beaches in the city of São Paulo.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-youtube wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1200' height='675' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/4FrpLyK9mdw?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Eat, Pray, Love (2010)</h2> <p>Julia Roberts&#8217; character hooks up with a Brazilian guy. And while there aren&#8217;t any Brazilian stereotypes in this movie, the man in question is played by none other than Spanish-born Javier Bardem. We know that he&#8217;s a famous face and all, but couldn&#8217;t they have chosen a famous Brazilian instead?</p> <p>To be fair, Netflix cast Brazil&#8217;s Wagner Moura to play the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. So we got some payback.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-youtube wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1200' height='675' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/MGGGksL1ziM?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Blame it on Rio (1984)</h2> <p>The Hollywood flick starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine shows all women at Ipanema Beach sunbathing topless. Clearly, this wasn&#8217;t filmed in Brazil. Going topless here remains taboo and is largely frowned upon on public beaches. In most of the country, women who show their breasts on the beach could be charged for committing an &#8220;obscene act,&#8221; as established in a <a href="https://www.jusbrasil.com.br/topicos/10608816/artigo-233-do-decreto-lei-n-2848-de-07-de-dezembro-de-1940">1940 law</a>.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-youtube wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1200' height='675' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/E0Ud6-rV32Y?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>The Forbidden Dance (1990)</h2> <p>The movie tells the story of a beautiful princess from Brazil, concerned by a giant corporation&#8217;s destruction of the rainforest. In this movie, a Brazilian indigenous tribe dances the lambada as a form of protest against deforestation. For those unfamiliar with the dance, lambada<em> </em>is a dance from the state of Pará, and became internationally popular in the 1980s—especially in the Philippines, Latin America, and the Caribbean. It has adopted aspects of dances such as forró, salsa, merengue, maxixe, and the carimbó.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed-youtube wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align:center; display: block;"><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='1200' height='675' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/kL9VbDlmkVM?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;autohide=2&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'></iframe></span> </div></figure> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Desperate Housewives (2004)</h2> <p>Teri Hatcher&#8217;s character wants to learn capoeira, a martial art created by Angolans brought to Brazil as slaves. Or, as she calls it, the &#8220;kung-fu cha-cha.&#8221;

Know of any more examples of Brazilian stereotypes found in foreign movies and TV? Tweet us @BrazilianReport!

 
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