A Terrific Movie to Rent--"To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar"
Patrick Swayze as "Vida Boheme" in Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar"
Okay, first of all, who the heck is Julie Newmar? Answer: the original Catwoman, and quite the fox.
Next question: who the heck is Wong Foo? I saw the movie, and I still don't know...the owner of the Chinese restaurant where Vida Boheme, Noxema and Chichi meet the agent who will send them on the road trip to Hollywood...
I liked this movie so much, and I thought Patrick Swayze was very brave for doing this film. He had just come off Dirty Dancing, which put him into superstar class as an actor, and took this part, as a drag queen, of all things, so totally against the macho, sexy, strictly heterosexual roles he had played so far, so totally opposite from type, in this little indie movie...
Patrick himself really didn't have a gay bone in his body. He was not only going against typecasting, his artistic decision to go for this role was a real stretch for a heterosexual actor to pull off...
He did it so well, with all his usual panache and charm, and made a totally believable Vida Boheme, and one of THE MOST sympathetic characters I've ever seen portrayed on film. (And I LOVE movies--I've seen a LOT of them!)
The story opens in New York City, at a Drag Queen Contest. Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze, what a splash!) wins the contest, which provides travel to Hollywood for the winner. She (he) then decides to take along Noxema, her roommate (played by the EXCELLENT Wesley Snipes). She consults with her agent (Robin Williams in a cameo role) as to how to stretch the expense allotment for travel to cover not one but three people...they've picked up Chichi (the boy in a dress, played by John Lequizamo), crying, in the alley, because SHE didn't win the contest.
They get a Cadillac, and old one, from a friend of the agent, for $50.00. This great big old boat on wheels, with the three lovely ladies in it, begin the ROAD TRIP.
They have many adventures along the way, and we get a great idea of who these people really are, as they discover America in a beat-up old boat of a Cadillac, going cross-country, from New York City, to Los Angeles. It's a trip we all should make...the movie location shots are so compelling, it almost distracts you from the great actors and their stunning personalities.
They get stranded in a little West Virginia town, called Snydersville (Spidersville, according to Noxema), because their car breaks down, and there they discover small-town America, who believes they are all ladies, and the dynamics of the relationship between Virgil (the guy who's repairing their car, and a wife-beater to boot) and Carol Ann, the Vigil's wife and punching bag, and also their emergency hostess.
The three of them transform the women in the town. They do glamour, and those women need glamour--it's totally missing from their day-to-day existence. In a lot of ways, the drag queens are more feminine than the female residents of the town. This part of the movie is so enchanting, so hilarious...
"Ladies, ladies, let's all suck it up and make this place tolerable..."
"The last black person to stay here was Sam Cooke..."
Chichi, reading from a romance novel...
"I'm here to save you, Princess Lorenza, I'm your knight in shining armour..."
Chichi, getting a ride...flirting heavy with Bobby Ray, who really thinks Chichi is a girl, an exotic one with the cutest little buns...
There are a few plot complications, as when Vida Boheme knocks the Sheriff out cold for feeling up her googlies...
Then there's Vida and Carol Ann, spending some time together in the kitchen...
"Virgil does like his way, doesn't he?"
One of my very favorite parts in this movie is where Vida kicks Virgil's butt, knocks the living hell out of him, after he smacks Carol Ann for no provocation at all, and gives her a black eye. Vida is aware of the situation and decides she just can't stand that anymore, and does something about it...
Noxema, hovering outside the marital bedroom door with Carol Ann and Chichi, as Vida is in there giving old Virgil a very thorough whomping...
"Vida works out...that's it, she works out. Stays in really great shape, y'know?"
Bobby Ray, to Chichi:
"If you were my girl, you'd never cry again from anything, except maybe happiness."
Carol Ann, to Vida:
"Sometimes I think we should get rid of all the men...except Mel Gibson, he has a cute can...but he shouldn't be allowed to think, or speak!"
Noxema in the town's beauty salon:
"If you want them to know there's steak for dinner, you've got to let them hear it sizzle!"
Carol Ann, to Vida, at the very end of the film:
"I'm very fortunate to have a lady friend, who just happens to have an Adam's apple."
Dorothy Parker and Vida Boheme:
"What fresh hell is this..."
I'll tell you one thing about the founding fathers, they sure had fabulous wigs!"
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