By Sierra (Murphy, Tx.)
Fabulous darling, this movie is simply fabulous. I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a comedy with more intelligent humor than a kick to the crotch or people running into sliding glass doors, not that that isn’t hilarious. With actors like Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo you’d think this would be an amped up action movie loaded with guns and gore. It’s actually quite the opposite. To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, or simply to Wong Foo is a comedy cult movie in which you get to see these macho actors trade in their guns for glitter and gore for garters. That’s right ladies and gentleman, they’re drag queens. And if that wasn’t enough they play it off so convincingly you’d think they always had boas on their biceps. I’ve watched this movie several times with different people and many of them from time to time forget that the actors are men. I still forget that they are men from time to time.
The story in its simplest form is about three drag queens… well two drag queens Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) and Noxzema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) accompanied by a drag “princess” Chi-Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo), who go on a road trip together from Manhattan to Los Angeles to compete in the Miss Drag Queen of America beauty pageant. Along the way, however, high-jinx inevitably ensues. They have a run-in with the antagonist cop Officer Dollard and soon after their car breaks down leaving them stuck in the middle of nowhere until it’s fixed with nothing to do but fix the problems of the local residents and paint the town red. Almost literally but most assuredly, fabulously.
Some basic information you might want to know before going into this movie is that it’s rated pg-13, is considered a comedy, and has of course, drag queens. This movie is 1 hour and 49 minutes in length, being just long enough that it’s not a rushed movie and not too long that those with a shorter attention span start to wonder if the movie will ever end. In truth, though, it’s one of those movies that you wish wouldn’t end. The movie was also directed by Beeban Kidron, if that means anything to you.
This movie is hilarious. If you liked The Bird Cage you’re going to like this. Its comedy is a little more toned down as it seems to focuses a little more on the story than The Bird Cage, but I think it’s still more fabulous anyway. I know it might seem immature to some, but drag queens make me laugh. Nothing against them, I adore them, but they do, they just do. So in the comedy department To Wong Foo with Jonh Leguizamo in cha-cha heels beats out the already flamboyantly feminine Nathan Lane, as comical as he was.
What I like most about this movie though is that it touches on issues most movies like to shy away from, starting with the obvious gender issue, it covers abuse, and even touches on prejudice in the police force. The characters are very much the image of, “I’m here and I’m queer so get used to it.” But they aren’t always an invincible pillar of confidence and energy. They get shaken up, they get scared, they get and sad. They tear themselves down but also lift themselves up, they love, they feel, they get angry. The movie did an excellent job of, without blatantly saying it, conveying to the viewer that even though they are drag queens they are people. They struggle but they persevere, they grow as people yet still remain who they are. They each have their own personalities and backgrounds and morals and unique reactions to the same problems we encounter, simply in a different form, in everyday life. This movie makes you want to meet and get to know these characters personally.
Plus just watching it you can tell the actors had loads of fun making this movie; you can see it in almost every scene. Especially Wesley Snipes: you know he had a great time the whole time. That itself is an extra bonus, when I can tell the actors had fun, that energy sort of… pings in me and I share the fun with them, making the experience that much better. And let me just say, the soundtrack and the clothes… FAB-U-LOUS! Why I believe those two things alone are worth watching it.