1995. Cool of Swayze and Wesley Snipes to take the risk of being in this movie back then. It''s on HBO GO.
All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go
By JANET MASLIN
Transvestism is now Hollywood's favorite form of safe sex, since its naughtiness is so toothless and lends itself to such happy platitudes. A man can walk proud, inspire others and dare to be different, and all he has to do is put on a baby-doll nightie, preferably one with ostrich trim.
The latest such squeaky-clean sex comedy, with a plot that's a lot sillier than its title, is "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar." All of its ingenuity has gone into squeezing three masculine actors into giddy outfits and letting clothes unmake the man.
Actually, the casting and camouflaging of this film's stars is what works best. While watching "Wong Foo," it's sometimes possible to believe that Patrick Swayze (darling in demure pearls), Wesley Snipes (gleefully shaking loads of fake booty) and John Leguizamo (resembling Rosie Perez, though in his case it's amusing) are not men, though why anyone would want to think that about these three is a good question.
Certainly it's easy to believe they aren't gay, even if the screenplay weakly insists they are. The film omits any hint of gay sexuality and throws in the occasional redneck rapist, just to prove these drag queens are red-blooded heroes, even if they don't care to mess up their manicures in fistfights.
With the news that "Wong Foo" is about three flamboyant queens on a cross-country journey, the inevitable been-there-done-that sensation sets in. "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" covered Australia's version of the same territory in much saucier style, with an edge of spontaneity that this American version sorely lacks. In one scene, when Mr. Swayze, who looks enchantingly ladylike but hasn't anything like Terence Stamp's grande dame role in "Priscilla," suddenly shoos away an insect, he improvises so coyly that it's clear this film needed more of the same. Though he and his co-stars tackle their roles with mischievous humor, Beeban Kidron's direction stays flat even when the actors are funny.
It doesn't help that the screenplay, by Douglas Carter Beane, is so thin that one of its biggest events is the three main characters' having car trouble. After winning a drag beauty contest in the film's too-gala opening sequence, they join forces arbitrarily and set off on a cross-country journey. It's clear they're going nowhere when the screenplay begins resorting to the kind of celebrity name-dropping that's supposed to be witty on television sitcoms, full of references that suggest our dumbing-down is proceeding at a record pace. Menudo, Sally Struthers, Moms Mabley, Jayne Mansfield, Godzilla and "Driving Miss Daisy" are among the names dropped before the principals even hit the road.
Heading from New York to California, the three fashion plates make a brief stop in Bala-Cynwyd, Pa., where Vida Boheme (Mr. Swayze) looks longingly at the big house where she grew up, then sadly drives away. The film might have had more time to plug in pat explanations for his unhappy childhood if it weren't en route to an entire pat town. Once their car leaves them stranded in one-horse Syndersville, the travelers begin making friends and redecorating this dreary burg, guided by the idea that you are what you wear. The town's womenfolk will eventually trade in their housedresses (Stockard Channing wears one to scrub her kitchen floor) and their humdrum lives. And they'll start modeling finery that makes real women look like drag queen wanna-be's.
If the gay characters in such a film are purposely absurd, they're also much smarter than the heterosexual chumps needed to keep the story alive. For instance, a straight suitor supposedly falls for Chi Chi, the Latin spitfire played by Mr. Leguizamo, and has to be persuaded to pay attention to the real girl who really loves him. This happens despite the fact that Mr. Leguizamo is the film's least feminine cross-dresser, and that when he shows up in white frou-frou that bares his broad shoulders, he's pressing his luck. But for the film's final sequence, Mr. Leguizamo wears the r
It wasn''t a big risk. All the B-list and C-list men in Hollywood fought over those roles--it was just after "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" had done well in the US, and everyone thought this was a surefire hit. (It wasn''t--it only did modestly.)
Jeremy London was so cute then.
I love it!
I don''t understand why the local people in the small town are so bashful or oppressed. Michael Vartan was beautiful, albeit made-up like a thug.
This should have been a b-way musical- not Priscilla.
You''re kidding, right R6? This film was ridiculous. Since when do drag queens dress like, well, drag queens 24/7? These guys aren''t drag queens; they''re transvestites or pre-op transexuals because they identify as women, not men who dress up as women to perform. Horrible, ridiculous movie that doesn''t even understand the culture it is purporting to portray.
I still thought Swayze did a great job in this.
MISS Noxzema Jackson
It''s a sweet family movie, like In & Out with Kevin Kline.
I agree with OP, and R2 is living in some kind of fantasy world.
John Leguizamo stole this movie.\
But what queen cast Blythe Danner and Stockard Channing as the leading ladies? Puh-leeze. Fag hags, both of them.
Gawd damn, I think Wong Foo is one of the lamest, unfunniest, most insultingly inept movies I''ve ever seen. Why anybody thinks it''s funny, I have no idea.
I watched it on HBO recently and didn''t hate it nearly as much as I did when I saw it during its original release. It''s silly and unbelievable but I was impressed by all the performances. Wesley Snipes in particular committed to the part more than I remembered (even if he looked absurd.) Patrick Swayze looked exactly like Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty.
I wonder if Wesley Snipes has to use his Noxzema in prison.
Miss Demeanor Tax Offense
Patrick was good, I agree.
So glad to see other posters who thought the movie was shit. And yet I do agree that Swayze''s performance was good! \
The movie, even at that time, was nothing but tired gay cliches that gay men had seen a million times. It was a tired mess of a movie. If it titillated or shocked middle American housecows then whatever. But I was bored out of my gourd.
I recall seeing this at a test screening in Universal CIty and you could tell it was a hand-picked gay crowd. There was only a few people who seemd to be really into it, while the rest of us sat in complete silence. I don''t think the studio was happy with our comments, because by the time the film had been released it seemed about 30 minutes shorter and the ending had been totally changed....and trust me, it didn''t help.
[r11] Blythe Danner and Stockard Channing = fag hags?
[quote]by the time the film had been released it seemed about 30 minutes shorter and the ending had been totally changed....and trust me, it didn''t help.\
How did it originally end?
How did it originally end, R17?
WORST FUCKING MOVIE EVAR.
ChiChi was a riot. That is all.
This movie was not only ripe with stereotypes and insulting to drag queens. It was insulting to women. \
The idea that Swazye and Snipes'' muscle queens, ( John Leguizamo aside) could have passed for women in any small town is beyond ridiculous. \
I remember watching this and thinking - Jesus, so in movie world all it takes to look like a woman is a sequin dress and a wig? REALLY?
Swayze and Snipes were good. Everything else about the movie was just shit.
Do any drag queens dress in drag 24/7??
On Moron Stage, Leguizamo was asked if he''s gotten any blowback for trashing actors he''s worked with in his Bway show. He referenced something about Swayze but didn''t elaborate. Has anyone seen JL''s show? What''s the Swayze story? Did they hate each other?%0D\
Chris Penn is dead, Swayze is dead, JL''s career is dead, Snipes is in jail. Curse?
[quote]Do any drag queens dress in drag 24/7??\
No. They especially do not do drag in small towns while driving across the country. This movie was a fantasy that tried to pretend homophobia DID not exist anywhere.
I know many of you, out there will disagree with me, when I say that To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar is the one greatest film that there has ever been. It does sound that I'm extremely overrating it, but I truly believe that To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar is up there with The Godfather and Citizen Kane I mean everything about is so good, that its close to perfection.
The acting is brilliant, every actor does an amazing job. Wesley Snipes as Noxeema is incredible, no doubt about it. He should of won an Oscar for Best Actor. Patrick Swayze is the one, who truly is the best actor in the film. He plays his antagonist role as Vida, so well that it is a travesty, he didn't win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Beeban Kidron certainly deserved an Oscar for Best Director.
There's no doubt about it, this film will be a classic in decades, even hundreds of years to come in cinema. This film is without a doubt, the Best film that Kidron has ever made.
10/10 Absolutely Recommended!
Oh shut up r28. you''re just trying to stir shit.
[quote] I don't see that much wrong with this movie. Granted, the principal singers might not be Luciano Pavarotti and Maria Callas, but they can certainly carry a tune. Burt Bacharach and Hal David are talented songwriters and I happen to love their songs, especially "The World Is A Circle", "The Things That I Will Not Miss", and "Question Me An Answer". Some people claim that Hermes Pan's choreography is ghastly and that the snowy mountain sets look as if they were made of plastic; I disagree on both counts. I've seen powdered snow before and the snow in those mountain scenes looked realistic to me. And most of all, in this film's defense, it is appropriate for a family audience (at least I remember it being that way when I saw it on Christmas Day a few years ago.) With all the outcry over sex and violence in the cinema these days, I find it refreshing to note that this film deserves its G-rating. And they don't say that naughty "F" word every ten minutes like some films I've seen. Thank God. So although this film may not be everyone's cup of tea, it does have some redeeming value and I give it ten points out of a possible ten. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Was this you too, R28?
This was one of my all time favorite movies.
I thought they were all good.
If they are on hormones, don''t they dress it 24?%0D\
They''re playing IN and OUT on t.v. today. Why do I hate that movie yet I really enjoy In and out.
Bit of info: Viggo Mortensen tried out for Patrick Swayze''s part.%0D\
loved the film
The movie would have worked for me if their luggage had been stolen or something, so there was a reason that they had to be in drag.
So did Rob Lowe, Willem Dafoe, and Kyle MacLachlen.
I was there
Stockard Channing looked beautiful and the best she ever looked when she lifted the red veil at the end.
[quote]It''s a sweet family movie, like In & Out with Kevin Kline.\
I''m watching it right now. His parents crack me up the most.\
Mom: "I need that wedding. I need some beauty and some music and some placecards before I die. Its like heroin."
In & Out played with the stereotypes and expectations of all men. It made just as much fun of the straights as it did the gays. It also called out how much of the hype around the "perfect wedding" is all about the expectations women are fed since they were kids. The Mom & the Bride (Joan Cusak is perfect and hilarious) are all basically raised to think this is all they've ever wanted, and Kevin Kline just feels obligated to fill the role.
The nice thing about IN & OUT is that it voices sympathy for the gay characters and all his fears. He gets fired from his job. He faces the irrational fears of his students, and his fiance.
There are some fantasy elements to it, but unlike Too Wong Foo wherein the characters are SO accepted- the gayness is actually invisible. The gayness is talked about and dealt with - albeit to a ridiculous level. It's proper satire.
The Too Wong Foo queens are accepted as "REAL" women- radically uber glam women- by all the townsfolk. The queer isn't even there. Too Wong Foo errs on the side of complete fantasy.
There''s also that weird scene in Wong Foo where the ''girls'' decorate the dreary room they''re forced to stay in. They toss a scarf in the air and it magically lands in a beautifully arranged way. It''s like something out of Mary Poppins. It''s completely inconsistent with the rest of the movie.
"I need a heterosexual, Code Red!"\
She''s hilarious in that movie.
That movie was nothing but one lame gimmick: three men dressed as women. Of course the free-spirited trannies breeze into town and transform the dreary lives of its occupants. And even though they''re trannies they''re REAL men who rescue women from abusive partners. What a shitty, stupid "feel good" movie.
"He should of won an Oscar"\
Beeban Kidron also directed Used People, another bad film rife with every cliche known to man.
I''m telling you, it''s just a sweet little fantasy family movie. Like the way things arranged themselves when they decorated the room, the three are also the only ones in colorful outfits at the women''s basketball reception in the motel. It''s supposed to be fanciful.
The Chinese restaurant in Jersey City, there since the 30s, is now a gym.
The chinese place it is supposed to be "The China Bowl" was a real place. A divey midtown place with 8x10 pics of celebrities from the 50''s and drag queen customers. The title was inspired by a real picture and autograph on the wall. But when Time Square got all gentrified it became a BBQ place called Virgil''s. The screenwriter ("Little Dog''s" Beane) was so pissed about what was happening to New York (this was the beginning of the Disneyfication of midtown) that he named the character of the wife beater - yes you guessed it -- Virgil.
Some of you need to lighten up. %0D\
"Priscilla" was equally as unrealistic and ludicrous, yet is praised.
[quote]The Chinese restaurant in Jersey City, there since the 30s, is now a gym.%0D\
It was the Canton Tea Garden (or Canton Tea House) near the old Loews in Journal Square in Jersey City.%0D\
It was one of those old style "Chinese" restaurants that you rarely see around anymore. God I miss that place.%0D\
R49, for me the problem with Wong Foo (as compared with Priscilla) was that it was heavy handed in a hetero way. Priscilla has a much gayer sensibility.
I never really thought about how in To Wong Foo, the "guys" were always in their female state - which makes them more tranny than "gay." At least in Priscilla, the guys appeared male in many scenes except when playing drag - except for the tranny, who was clearly identified as a tranny. So I guess you could say at least Priscilla did not confuse sexuality and gender.
[quote] And even though they''re trannies they''re REAL men who rescue women from abusive partners. What a shitty, stupid "feel good" movie.\
What''s wrong with that. Feel good... saving women ... acting like men who you swear you really are...\
Perhaps you would have liked a more real movie about all of you dying of AIDS; oh yeah, you didn''t like that either.
heard rumors Spielberg wanted to make b''way musical of "Wong Foo", then found out Universal failed to get stage rights. Little Dog guy has them. He is contemplating doing it with Spielberg with his BF/songwriter or BF songwriters Whitman/Shaiman or non BF songwriters Menken/Slater
After the less-than-stellar reception given the musical of PRISCILLA now on Broadway, R53, don''t look for a musical WONG FOO anytime soon...
You guys who didn''t appreciate a little splash of silly fantasy in life remind me of Adolf Hitler.
To Wong Foo is absolute rubbish.\
None of the wit or heart of Priscilla.
Yes, that Priscilla writer had such talent.\
Have you SEEN "Welcome to Woop-Woop"
A piece of shit film that borders on offensive. The fact we are even discussing this dreck saddens me.
But Dorothy you do collect a nice royalty every time they show it - all those Rodgers & Hammerstein songs being played!
[quote] You guys who didn''t appreciate a little splash of silly fantasy in life remind me of Adolf Hitler.\
Speaking as a grandchild of holocaust survivors, nothing on this thread is as offensive as your comment.
I''d love to see screen tests and/or photos of other actors who tested for the leads.\
Has anyone seen them? Do you know where to find them? Do you know which actors tested?\
My bother''s partner is a drag queen and he got him one of John Leguizamo''s screen worn tops from Universal for a Christmas present one year.
"None of the wit or heart of Priscilla."%0D\
Priscilla was overrated and unrealistic. A couple of drag queens driving around the desert in a giant shoe? Nevermind the fact that they each had a wardrobe that would be in excess of a million dollars.%0D\
And the Aboriginies scene is borderline racist.
I loved that they gave Noxema a Peggy Bundy wig for the finale but what the fuck about her skin tone? She looked blue.
Got the DVD today. Lots of extended scenes in the extras.
Was the "original" ending an extended goodbye scene with all the town saying bye?
Michael Vartan was in this.
[quote]Priscilla was overrated and unrealistic. A couple of drag queens driving around the desert in a giant shoe? \
It''s a fucking movie, not a documentary, Nitwit.
Any screen tests of other actors in the DVD''s extras?
OKAY, I'm WAY late to the parade but I just watched this in a bar for the first time, EVAH! I found it totally without substance but terribly cute and was impressed by what I suspect are the best performances ever for PS and WS. Very cute holiday favorite I'd call it.
The costumes in Priscilla cost about $20,000 and went on to win the Oscar. There is nothing in those costumes that looks outrageously expensive. The movie itself was little more than a collection of bad-taste jokes and misogyny, but it's still light years better than Too Wong Foo (which was written long before Priscilla was made, but filmed after that film's success).
really? I found it maybe cliched but misogynistic? How could one even take it seriously?
I got to meet Miss Julie Newmar and she signed the DVD personally to me and the signature in the logo is her real signature.
I got to work with Miss Julie Newmar recently. Even at her age, she's still a goddess. I can't even imagine meeting her when she was in her prime.
Was Stockard Channing's abusive husband played by Arliss Loveless supposed to be closeted?
Is that why he was angry and violent?
that scene in the bar hints at that, the cop clearly was
Oh, brother OP! It has never been anything approaching daring or risky for actors to do drag. It's as old as theater itself. "To Wong Foo..." is an especially cringe worthy, unfunny, and senseless "comedy", I thought. It's hard to send drag back 50 years, but they managed! Swayze, and Snipes both give very obvious performances that any highly thought of community theater actor would have approximated, don't you think?
As someone who has watched this movie many many times, and I LOVE the movie, its is so much better than that Priscilla Queen of the Desert. This came out in a year where we had other gay hits as well, and Rupaul was in the top of their celebrity time before Logo relaunched her. People are asking in these posts about drag queens wearing drag 24/7, I believe in the case of this movie it was never said if they did it all the time or did go back to being men by day. I assume they were men by day and performers at night. They take on ChiChi and decide to take her in and teach her to be a better drag queen. So I think that is why they took the whole trip in drag, and they had to run into that issue due to Patrick's licence being wrong, and then that Sheriff coming after them and then due to how people treat GAY people and their conception of this in a Hick town they were afraid what would happen. This shows a Hick town who might not be so good with change or so happy with having a bunch of gay men running around town be transformed by these drag queens to a more tolerant town that has learned to have fun again and not be afraid to be themselves. And the end is wonderful when Chi Chi wins! I really do wonder what the real end was. As for jokes at the time and culture gay quips and reading of each other as drag queens is what they were commenting about, just watch the after show for Rupaul's Drag Race you will understand. But, truly unless you are Gay or Gay friendly you might just never get this movie.
R79 You're so low brow, I just want to pat you on your little head.
I wonder if they ever showed this in the prison where Wesley was incarcerated.
I love this movie. Yes it's fluffy and frivolous and maybe it doesn't play into the exact nature of Drag Queens, but what's wrong with taking a light hearted journey with three Campy "Career Girls" and laughing and ooing and ahhhing at the over-the-top clothing and characters? It was great seeing 3 men's men slip on fabulous clothes and act the hell out of their roles and hopefully they took some close-minded people with them. The one-liners and classic film references were so great and too this day I love spotting the then unknown actors in very minor roles.
I enjoyed the movie. Don't overthink it, dear friends, it IS just a bit of fluff, as said above, and harmless humor. Say what you will, but you must admit, Leguizamo looked FABULOUS in that white outfit at the end. I wonder if they had fun making the film? I'd also like to know who else may have tested for the leads.
It was a harmless piece of bubblegum, and it was interesting to see the three men, particularly Swayze, and what they could do with their parts.
But it paled next to Priscilla, which had a deeper story, more well drawn characters, and even now resonates.
And while Terence Stamp's career was resurrected with Priscilla, and Guy Pearce's was arguably launched with it, there's a general consensus that Swayze's and Snipes' careers suffered by appearing in the movie - though their careers in action films had all but been played out by that point.
R84 - I don't think Snipes career suffered. Certainly his career in action films hadn't played out.
He made all three Blade movies after To Wong Foo...
I enjoyed both movies. But really beyond the fact the three male leads in both movies are drag queens - there is very little else they have in common. It's kind of like comparing The Deer Hunter and Bambi.
You can kill me now, because the one performance that I really enjoyed was Robin Fucking Williams in the restaurant. He actually made me laugh and I never laugh at Robin Fucking Williams. But, he was in and out and that was just the right amount of time.