One of the best films I have seen, that took me by surprise, is Raising Victor Vargas (2002) starring Victor Rasuk. My good friend and I stumbled upon this movie a few years back at Blockbuster and LOVED it! The film, set in the Lower East Side of NY, follows the title character, Victor Vargas, as he deals with his family, his macho reputation, and his newfound love with a beautiful young woman in the neighborhood. This film really delved into the trials and joys of young love, and the importance of family. Living with his grandmother and younger brother and sister, the Vargas family have their outs and moderate dysfunction. However, their home is never without love and they come together when it matters most.
The film takes place during the summer and I loved the realness of teens running around in NY, trying to find something to do in the heat. However, the film never reached a point of feeling idle. One of the funniest scenes I have ever seen, that caught me and my friend off guard is when, Judy, the female lead and her friend are walking by some guys at the pool and one man shouts: "Which one of y'all wants to get f__d in the doody hole?" I lie to you not; this happened and it was hysterical in its random, off the wall nature within the scene. Worst pick-up line...ever! I suppose when it's hot outside, people are bound to say the first crazy thing that comes to their sun-fried brain. Ha.
Although "non-professional" actors were used in the roles, that fact was not apparent. The film, characters, and dialogue felt real and unrehearsed. It was easy to get lost in what was taking place in the characters' lives. Absolutely dazzling performance by the very handsome, Victor Rasuk. I recently ordered the DVD on Amazon.com and I recommend that you watch it as well.