To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

to wong foo

“Do you like my nails?”

The Scoop: 1995, Directed by Beeban Kidron and starring Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Lequizamo and Stockard Channing

Tagline: Attitude is everything.

Summary Capsule: Two of Hollywood’s manliest men and John Leguizamo dress up as drag queens . Women across the nation are torn between their love for Patrick Swayze and being jealous that he looked better in a dress than 90% of us.

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Heather’s rating: One strawberry-free Strawberry Social

Heather’s review: If there’s one complaint about Mutant Reviewers to be made (aside from that smell lingering in the office) it’s that the “Drag queens marooned in a small town” genre is underrepresented here. Actually that’s not a complaint at all, but I really wanted to bring Justin’s attention the smell. Everyone believes the Mutant Emeritus thing; there’s no need to keep hiding Sean’s body in the janitor’s closet.

I’ve been sitting on this review for a long, long time because I haven’t been able to figure out just what it is that makes me watch this movie once every few years. The recent death of Patrick Swayze had me re-watching famous clips of him in numerous roles and I was reminded that it’s his performance, as well as Snipes’s and Leguizamo’s that makes an otherwise throw-away film watchable.

Swayze, Snipes, and Leguizamo play three New York drag queens named Vida, Noxeema, and Chi-Chi, respectively (Ha. Chi-Chi. That’s real funny, movie). Vida and Noxeema tie as Drag Queen of the year (handed over to them by last year’s winner, Ru Paul) and they each win a tour package for Hollywood, California. They find Chi-Chi, distraught over not winning, alone and crying on the stairs after the pageant and the kindhearted Vida just can’t leave her there. Vida talks Noxeema into selling their tickets and buying a car for the three of them to take a road trip to Hollywood together. Their convertible breaks down outside of a literal “blink and you’ll miss it” town, where they have to spend a whole weekend while they wait for the necessary part for the old Cadillac. The three infuse the town with color and attitude, and change the lives of the townspeople for the better

There really is no reason for me to like this movie; the plot and dialogue are silly, the stereotyping is blatant and boring, and…well…basically I’m not into chick flicks. No offense to those who do, but you won’t normally find me watching anything featuring make-over montages and characters strutting around to “girl power” songs. That’s mostly what this movie is made of, with a plot about how three drag queens teach a small town the true meaning of love. If you’re into the aforementioned lady-type movies then I know you’ll love this. If you’re a heterosexual male, then maybe try Red Dawn or something.

It just shouldn’t work, but these three men were so good in their roles that one can’t help but watch and laugh; and the movie makes lets us do that instead of beating us over the head with a gay tolerance theme or smearing sex all over everything (although that actually sounds pretty rockin’, now that I think of it). It’s a fluffy, silly film to watch when you need a mood-lifter. I know I always feel better when I remember how my husband squirmed as he watched Blade drag a man by his equipment while he taught him the correct way to address a group of ladies.

I love the man, but he made me watch Sasquatch Hunters and The Lost Tribe. He had it coming.

America's Next Top Model: The Lost Season
America’s Next Top Model: The Lost Season

Intermission!

  • Patrick Swayze earned the role of Vida after improvising a 30-minute monologue inspired by the bullying he suffered as a boy studying ballet in Texas.
  • When I looked this movie up on Netflix one of the “related” titles it suggested was The Doom Generation. Someone please explain that to me (though on second thought, I may not want to know).

Groovy Quotes:

Noxeema: Little latin boy in drag, why are you crying?
Chi-Chi: It’s just ‘cause the two of you are so pretty, you know. You’re so pretty.
Vida: Yes, of course we’re pretty, but why are you crying?
Noxeema: Maybe she just found out Menudo broke up.

Vida: I feel like Miss Jayne Mansfield in this car.
Noxeema: Oooh, Jayne Mansfield. Not a good auto reference.

Carol Ann: This is the presidential suite.
Chi-Chi: Must’ve been one of those bad presidents.

Vida : So, I gather you like hitting ladies.
Virgil: Some ladies need to get hit.
Vida: Well maybe some men need to get hit back.

Sheriff Dollard: When the founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, what have you. “Liberty and justice for all”, they didn’t mean that.
Crazy Elijah: I can tell you one thing about them founding fathers of America.
Sheriff Dollard: What’s that?
Crazy Elijah: They sure had fabulous wigs.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Just about anything on Lifetime.

6 comments

  1. I don’t know Heather. I’m just not sure I could do it. I enjoyed reading your review though. Cool how you worked “Red Dawn” in there.

    As for “Sasquatch Hunters”, well… at least you got a review out of it.

    As for “Doom Generation” (which I haven’t seen, but have read enough about here that I know to stay away), I’m guessing it might have been recommended because they’re both road movies (if memory serves)? Still, pretty freaking random, though.

  2. Thanks for the comment, WD40, and much kudos for even reading this! I sincerely wasn’t even sure anyone would, as pretty much all of the male audience would barely finish reading the title before yelling “NO THANK YOU!”, most females would be disappointed and stop reading the moment they realized I wasn’t giving it a glowing review. Then again I am speaking very generally of both sexes here and am probably wrong, but this is the main reason why it took such a kick in the pants for me to finally review this film.

    Thanks for that little bit of insight on the DG/Wong Foo connection. That makes much more sense than anything I could come up with.

    I cannot hold your reaction against you. As I’ve already taken too many words to say, I would never have gotten past the first few minutes, much less watched this movie more than once, if it weren’t for the guys’ genius performances that made these ridiculous characters somewhat believable, real, and worth sympathizing with.

    RIP, Patrick Swayze. You were a VERY multi-talented individual.

  3. I really enjoy Too Wong Foo. I think your review is pretty spot on though, it’s pretty much luke warm. While trying to get any of my more conservative, hetero friends to watch it is always a pain, once I do they tend to enjoy it. It’s not a movie most will see more than once, but I think it’s funny enough to give a shot.

  4. I saw this film. I thought it was funny, and I’m a heterosexual male. Mainly becauseWesley Snipes always looks hard as nails, even when he’s in a dress and he just amps up the man factor by 5 just for being in it 😛

  5. Hey, looky there! It’s men. And they like the movie! Whaddya know? After telling my husband that I mentioned him in my review he got a reminiscent grin on his face and told me that he kind of liked the movie too. I guess that it’s not quite as off-putting to the heterosexual male demographic as I once thought. Yay for being wrong! (But just this once…)

    Eunice-You really should. It’s quite harmless, really, and perfect for the aforementioned days when you just wanna watch something fluffy and feel-good.

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