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Raising Victor Vargas
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Raising Victor Vargas (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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Raising Victor Vargas -- A Lower East Side teen-ager struggles to find some sanity while surrounded by an eccentric grandmother, a crazy new girlfriend, and a longing younger brother.
Raising Victor Vargas -- A Lower East Side teen-ager struggles to find some sanity while surrounded by an eccentric grandmother, a crazy new girlfriend, and a longing younger brother.


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Up 15% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Peter Sollett (story)
Peter Sollett (written by)
View company contact information for Raising Victor Vargas on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 May 2003 (USA) See more »
A Lower East Side teen-ager struggles to find some sanity while surrounded by an eccentric grandmother, a crazy new girlfriend, and a longing younger brother. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
4 wins & 12 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Latino Perspect on Victor Vargas See more (134 total) »


  (in credits order)

Victor Rasuk ... Victor
Donna Maldonado ... Donna
Kevin Rivera ... Harold
Krystal Rodriguez ... Vicki

Judy Marte ... Judy

Melonie Diaz ... Melonie
Matthew Roberts ... Hector
Alexander Garcia ... Al
John Ramos ... Macho
Theresa Martinez ... Judy's Mom
Altagracia Guzman ... Grandma
Silvestre Rasuk ... Nino
Wilfree Vasquez ... Carlos
Randy Luna ... Pool Boy #3
Jeff Knite ... Pool Boy #4 (as Jeff Asencio)
Juan I. Lebron ... Israel
Jacqueline Rosario ... Singer

Joe Rosario ... Security Guard
Gladys Austin ... Social Worker

Directed by
Peter Sollett 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Peter Sollett  story
Peter Sollett  written by
Eva Vives  story

Produced by
Jean-Michel Dissard .... associate producer
Alain de la Mata .... producer
Scott Macaulay .... producer
Vincent Maraval .... executive producer
Robin O'Hara .... producer
Peter Sollett .... producer
Cate Wilson .... line producer
Original Music by
Roy Nathanson 
Cinematography by
Tim Orr 
Film Editing by
Myron I. Kerstein  (as Myron Kerstein)
Casting by
Ulysses Terrero 
Production Design by
Judy Becker 
Costume Design by
Jill Newell 
Makeup Department
Angela Gallagher .... make-up and hair (as Angela Guinn)
Production Management
Carrie Fix .... production supervisor
Cate Wilson .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mariela Comitini .... second second assistant director
Carrie Fix .... first assistant director
Michael A. Moffa .... second assistant director (as Michael Moffa)
Art Department
Jill Alexander .... property master
Chris Buder .... set dresser
Laurent Gorse .... art department intern
Tara Healey .... set dresser
Javier Hernandez .... assistant property master
Mess E. Kauf .... carpenter
Jesse Kaufmann .... intern
Tyler Q. Rosen .... property master
Elizabeth Sobota .... set dresser
Sound Department
Steve Borne .... sound designer
David Briggs .... foley editor
Ryan Collison .... foley engineer
Anguibe Guindo .... boom operator
Nadine Finzi Maybruck .... sound editor
Branka Mrkic .... dialogue editor
Alex Raspa .... adr mixer
Reilly Steele .... sound re-recording mixer
Noah Timan .... production sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Michael J. Burke .... camera loader (as Michael Burke)
David Elwell .... best boy electric
Justin Scott Gravatt .... electrician
Melissa Guimaraes .... best boy grip
Matthew Hale .... key grip
Susan Heller .... electrician
Linda Kallerus .... second assistant camera (as Linda Slater)
Jude Kiernan .... camera loader
Scott Miller .... gaffer
Scott Miller .... still photographer
Matthew A. Petrosky .... first assistant camera
Craig Striano .... grip
John Woods .... electrician
Laurie Chakel .... grip/electric intern (uncredited)
Casting Department
Jesika Khadivi .... extras casting assistant
Richard Valbrun .... casting assistant (as Richard 'Misery' Valbrun)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Amy R. Burt .... assistant costume designer (as Amy Burt)
Editorial Department
Katherine Skjerping .... assistant editor (as Katie Fisher)
John Dowdell .... colorist (uncredited)
Location Management
Jeremy Gould .... location assistant
Eryka Seimona Henderson .... location manager (as Erika Seimona)
Jennifer Quesenbery .... location scout
Collin Smith .... location scout
Hughroy Williams .... key location manager
Music Department
Hugo Dwyer .... score mixer
Tracy McKnight .... music consultant
Alysia Oakley .... assistant to music supervisor
Other crew
Scott Burik .... set medic
Kristen Dubberstein .... assistant production coordinator
Shawn Hamilton .... production accountant
Matthew Hysell .... key unit production assistant (as Matt Hysell)
Jesika Khadivi .... production office intern
Raynelle Irene Mensah .... set production assistant: re-shoots
Tony Osso .... production coordinator
Josiah Silverstein .... production assistant
Sally Steele .... publicist
Bergen Swanson .... post-production office supervisor
Hope Walter .... assistant unit manager
Glen Duncan .... special thanks
Cleotilde Garcia .... special thanks
Emily Kaplan .... special thanks
Sylvie Perras .... special thanks
Todd Rubenstein .... special thanks
Michelle Satter .... special thanks
Matthew Sollet .... special thanks
Helene Sollett .... special thanks
Rob Sollett .... special thanks
Jan Somma .... special thanks
Todd Stephens .... special thanks
Will Sweeney .... special thanks
Emmanuelle Taylor .... special thanks
Eva Vives .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for strong language
88 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:NC-16 | Spain:18 | Switzerland:10 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:10 (canton of Vaud) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Zurich) | UK:15 | USA:R

Did You Know?

The film's working title was "Long Way Home".See more »
Judy:You're so easy to see through, it's embarrassing.See more »
Movie Connections:
Casado y Cansado (No Puedo Mas)See more »


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107 out of 149 people found the following review useful.
A Latino Perspect on Victor Vargas, 12 May 2003
Author: Mike Palomino from Northern New Jersey

Raising Victor Vargas: A Review

You know, Raising Victor Vargas is like sticking your hands into a big, steaming bowl of oatmeal. It's warm and gooey, but you're not sure if it feels right. Try as I might, no matter how warm and gooey Raising Victor Vargas became I was always aware that something didn't quite feel right. Victor Vargas suffers from a certain overconfidence on the director's part. Apparently, the director thought that the ethnic backdrop of a Latino family on the lower east side, and an idyllic storyline would make the film critic proof. He was right, but it didn't fool me. Raising Victor Vargas is the story about a seventeen-year old boy called, you guessed it, Victor Vargas (Victor Rasuk) who lives his teenage years chasing more skirt than the Rolling Stones could do in all the years they've toured. The movie starts off in `Ugly Fat' Donna's bedroom where Victor is sure to seduce her, but a cry from outside disrupts his plans when his best-friend Harold (Kevin Rivera) comes-a-looking for him. Caught in the attempt by Harold and his sister, Victor Vargas runs off for damage control. Yet even with the embarrassing implication that he's been boffing the homeliest girl in the neighborhood, nothing dissuades young Victor from going off on the hunt for more fresh meat. On a hot, New York City day they make way to the local public swimming pool where Victor's eyes catch a glimpse of the lovely young nymph Judy (Judy Marte), who's not just pretty, but a strong and independent too. The relationship that develops between Victor and Judy becomes the focus of the film. The story also focuses on Victor's family that is comprised of his grandmother or abuelita (Altagracia Guzman), his brother Nino (also played by real life brother to Victor, Silvestre Rasuk) and his sister Vicky (Krystal Rodriguez). The action follows Victor between scenes with Judy and scenes with his family. Victor tries to cope with being an oversexed pimp-daddy, his feelings for Judy and his grandmother's conservative Catholic upbringing.

The problems that arise from Raising Victor Vargas are a few, but glaring errors. Throughout the film you get to know certain characters like Vicky, Nino, Grandma, Judy and even Judy's best friend Melonie. The problem is, we know nothing of Victor Vargas except that he is the biggest gigolo in the neighborhood. We know that he knows how to lick his lips, and comb his fro, and carry himself for the sake of wooing girls into the sack, but that's all. We know that Nino plays piano, and quiet well, you could see it by the awards on the family piano. We know his sister Nicki, is a gossip-loving girl with an invested interest in watching TV. We know that grandma is a hard-working traditional Latina woman who's trying to raise her kids with conservatively in a world of excess corruption. Yet where is the titular character, Victor Vargas? He's in this movie somewhere, but we only know what the movie tells us. This is by far the film's biggest flaw. Victor Vargas isn't so much a character but a ping-pong ball, bouncing between scenes with Judy and his Grandmother, but we never get to know who Victor Vargas really is. This is important because as I've mentioned the only thing we know of Victor Vargas is that he's a sexually active teenager with a libido the size of Manhattan. He's a total Alpha-male. Victor Vargas is not the kind of character I sympathize with at all. Why should anyone? So by the end of the movie, in the aftermath of the climax are we truly led to believe that somehow Victor Vargas has attained ANY depth and learned the errors of his ways? How could such a two-dimensional character have any depth? If only the director had worried a little more about fleshing out his main character instead of worrying about getting that perfect hand-held shot.

Raising Victor Vargas brings to life the world of the Latino inner-city neighborhood to the big screen. Something that few films have done before in the past. The film has been complimented for feeling so real, and I won't

argue with that. I haven't seen this level of reality since CBS aired Survivor. Seriously, although the movie has some nice shots of the city, the writer/director Peter Sollett was way too dependent on close-ups and hand-held shots. This problem is particularly noticed in indoor scenes that are so claustrophobic I was forced to perform deep-breathing exercises to keep from passing out. As the film continues, the shots get tighter and tighter with faces cropped from brow to chin on the screen; you can practically smell Victor Vargas's cheap cologne. The overall effect is unrealistic in contrast. The indoor scenes of inner-city apartments make them look small and cramp, which is not true. I've been in those type apartments; I used to live in one. They're not splendorous but they have high ceilings and they're decent living spaces. By the movie's standards you'd think that these apartments were 5x5 cells of brick-and-mortar, chipped paint and cracked walls. Unfortunately, Sollett's constant use of close-ups and one particularly bad shot with a zoom-in on one scene come off as totally amateurish. But Raising Victor Vargas is only Sollett's second film, and his most well known, a solid effort in filmmaking that will hopefully get better as he continues to make films. One review I read summarized the movie as, `Ethnicity for Ethnicity's Sake,' and I cannot agree more. If Victor Vargas were truly a great film and story, then the characters' applicability wouldn't matter whether they were Latino, Chinese, etc. Yet if you were to take this story and stick it in middle-class suburbia with a bunch of teeny-bopper white kids the results wouldn't be such glowing reviews, and we'd see the film's flaws more clearly. Indeed, some other aspects of the use of Latinos in this film bother me. While some aspects of Victor Vargas are accurate others I have to question. For example, Victor, Nino and Vicky all share the same room to sleep. This set off an alarm for me because it seemed contrary to what I believe. Any self-respecting Latino family wouldn't have two older brothers sharing the same room with a thirteen-year old girl. At first I was unsure, perhaps I was wrong, but after speaking with my grandmother I knew my problem with this was justified. Considering how conservative the grandmother is, you'd think that Vicky would have been sleeping in her room.

As a Latino who grew up in a somewhat conservative Cuban household, raised by my grandmother while my mother was working full-time, I could relate to the movie in many ways, which is why my critical viewpoints are bittersweet because I really wanted to love this movie. Unfortunately, my lack of respect for Victor Vargas sabotaged my feelings for the film. Maybe it's because Victor Vargas reminds me of those guys who were getting laid while I was playing with my Sega Genesis when I was seventeen. Maybe it's because without any further introspection by the film, Victor Vargas is merely a stereotypical hot-blooded Latino, who'll just end up shouting to girls from his car, `Hey bay-bee, ju want to get into my luv Mah-Cheen?' Either way I don't like him, so ultimately how can I like a film about him? So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go stick my hands into a bowl of grits.

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