SXSW Film Review: We Like It Like That

Do the boogaloo

How to start a musical movement: Take the music your parents like, combine it with the music they don't, add a healthy dose of counter culture, and play it to a dance floor. It helps to choose a catchy name, like, say, the boogaloo.

Born out of young New York Puerto Ricans' disillusionment with their parents' mambo music and the social unrest of the Sixties, boogaloo mixed elements of traditional Latin music with doo-wop, jazz, and rock to create a funky new sound that stormed the city for a few brief years in the late Sixties. We Like It Like That tells the story of the birth, life, and premature death of the genre, straight from the mouths of some of its most iconic musicians.

Latin music nerds will flip out to hear larger than life performers like Johnny Colon and Joe Bataan recount the creation stories of hits like “Boogaloo Blues” and “Gypsy Woman,” but there's still plenty to enjoy for people who don't know the mambo from the cha-cha-cha. The music is infectious, the cultural backdrop of New York City gives a rich context, and first-time director Mathew Ramirez Warren has a knack for patching together compelling quotes to keep the narrative on track.

But perhaps what's most endearing about We Like It Like That is that it's truly an American underdog story. Most of the musicians came from and returned to humble lives after the boogaloo movement ran its course, making their nostalgia as fun to listen to as it is for them to share.

We Like It Like That

24 Beats Per Screening
Saturday, March 21, 7:45pm, Marchesa

Keep up with all our SXSW Film coverage at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More SXSW Film
SXSW Film Review: <i>Heavy Trip</I>
Review: Heavy Trip
A future cult classic, this Scandinavian export lacks the killer riffs

Josh Kupecki, March 12, 2018

SXSW Film Review: <i>You Can Choose Your Family</I>
Review: You Can Choose Your Family
Jim Gaffigan nails the lovable and despicable dad role

Ashley Moreno, March 12, 2018

SXSW Announces Lineup for the Free Community Concert Series
SXSW Announces Lineup for the Free Community Concert Series
The Zombies, Thao Nguyen, and SaulPaul highlight the three-day event

Joelle DiPaolo, Feb. 23, 2023

Longtime SXSW Film & TV Festival Head, Indie Film Icon Janet Pierson Transitions to New Role
SXSW Film Head Janet Pierson Steps Down
Pierson's deputy, Claudette Godfrey, assumes leadership

Kimberley Jones, Oct. 5, 2022

More by Dan Gentile
SXSW Music 2023: The Best Things We Saw on Friday
SXSW Music 2023: The Best Things We Saw on Friday
A Margo Price keynote, Koffee's evolution, & Obongjayar's rising star

March 18, 2023

SXSW Music 2023: The Best Things We Saw on Thursday
SXSW Music 2023: The Best Things We Saw on Thursday
Despite storms, we caught 03 Greedo, Sobs, Tangerine Dream, and more

March 17, 2023


SXSW Film, SXSW, We Like It Like That, Johnny Colon, Joe Bataan, Mathew Ramirez Warren

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle