Hulu’s biographical drama, ‘Flamin’ Hot’ follows the tumultuous life of Richard Montañez. Tracing his origins from a vineyard in California, the movie takes the audience on a journey that leads to Montañez taking control of his life and becoming a top executive in one of the biggest companies in the world. A good part of the film is dedicated to Montañez’s claim of inventing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but the spotlight is on Montañez’s relationships.
We see his unshakeable bond with Judy, who keeps him steady in the toughest times. It also touches upon his fraught relationship with his father and how they eventually make peace with their differences and move forward. With the movie covering a huge portion of Montañez’s life, you might wonder about its timeline. Here’s everything you need to know about the film’s setting. SPOILERS AHEAD
When Does Flamin Hot Take Place?
‘Flamin’ Hot’ begins in 1966 when Richard is just a kid playing in the vineyards where his family works. As a child, he focused on playing and having a good time. But this is also when he gets his first taste of marketing and selling products. At school, some kids make fun of the burrito that his mom makes for him. The next day, his mom sends another burrito for him to share with those children. Richard convinces them to eat the burrito and starts selling them for 25 cents when they become popular.
The story takes a time jump and lands us in the 70s when Richard is a young adult caught up in criminal activities. He becomes part of a crew that sells drugs and, as later insinuated, goes to juvie at one point. When Judy gets pregnant, he gets a wake-up call and has to become responsible for his family. He leaves behind his criminal past but doesn’t land a proper job until 1982.
With Judy’s help and recommendation from his friend, Richard lands a job at Frito Lay and starts working as a janitor. He decides not to be limited by his job and works hard to learn more about his place of employment. However, a recession hit the country in 1984, and Richard is stuck in the same job for the next eight years. His fortune turns in 1992 when he comes up with a new flavor for Cheetos.
Where Does Flamin Hot Take Place?
The events in ‘Flamin’ Hot’ take place in California. Richard Montañez was born in Ontario, California, and lives in Guasti. Here his parents worked at the vineyard picking grapes. He spent his entire childhood here but then moved to Rancho Cucamonga when he started working at Frito Lay. Before this, Richard had been directionless, with no idea what to do with his life. He had dropped out of school early and could barely read and write, with the situation so dire that he had Judy fill out his application form for the job.
Whatever the problems might have been before, once Richard starts working as a janitor at Frito Lay, he dedicates himself to the job. He manages to convince Clarence Baker, a respected engineer at the plant, to make him his protege. Under Baker, Richard learns all he needs about the plant’s machines. He proves himself to be a hardworking employee and becomes indispensable to the plant. But as other people around him lose their jobs, Richard comes up with an idea that could help everyone.
Richard’s experiments with chili on plain Cheetos lead him to create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. When his superior refuses to hear him out, he goes directly to the company’s CEO. When the brand doesn’t seem to do well in the market, he takes the initiative and, with the help of his family, friends, and co-workers, turns it around to make Flamin’ Hot a success.