Friday, March 17, 2017
TOO WONG FOO: THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, JULIE NEWMAR (1995)
Directed By: Beeban Kidron
Written By: Douglas Carter Beane
Cinematography By: Steve Mason
Editor: Andrew Mondshein
Cast: Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, Stockard Channing, Chris Penn, Arliss Howard, Beth Grant, Blythe Danner, Jason London, Melinda Dillon, Alice Drummond, Michael Vartan, Rupaul
Three drag queens travel cross-country until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town.
This film is rather simple. A getaway film. One that tackles many different hard hitting subjects and like a sitcom. Most of them are handled with kid gloves and In a rather cute manner that takes no real time and really not too much effort, but allows for fun that the audience can enjoy and get lost in.
The films main spectacle while focusing on drag queens of the time. Seems to be casting manly men and action stars Wesley Snipes who makes a rather unattractive woman and Patrick Swayze who actually could get away with it more. John leguizamo is the other co-star but lesser known at the time. He actually makes the most impressive transformation.
Patrick Swayze earned the role of sage Vida Boheme by improvising a 30-minute monologue inspired by the bullying he suffered as a boy studying ballet in Texas. MelGibson thought about taking the role and before he was a known star Viggo Mortensen audtioned for the role of Vida Boheme
Gary Oldman claims he was originally offered one of the lead drag roles but decided he didn't want to do another part that required extensive make-up after his experiences on BRAM STOKER’SDRACULA
Amongst the cast the actress that made me want to see this film tiger then the main stars is the great Stockard Channing. Not playing one of her many strong empowered female characters, but more a victim of domestic abuse. Not the first role I think of when i think of her, but it does allow her to show her range.
Though it is hard to believe that these small town folk who do seem more remote and removed then most of society. Would actually believe them to be actual women. But you just go with it as the film is cute and quirky.
This is where you can understand why when filming SOME LIKE IT HOT. Director Billy Wilder decided to make the film in black and white reasoning that if he made it in color. No one would believe the two stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as women.
As in one weekend they manage to give the town and it's citizens a makeover. While facing their fears and their own problems. All except Wesley snipes who is there more as a soundboard and Greek chorus to offer up commentary and one liners.
The melodrama the film tries to create is hard to fully believe, but you allow it as it keeps the film moving and you know is a hurdle that allows you to stay with these characters and enjoy your time with them.
The two villains of the film are so stereotypical and in the end toothless. A sheriff played by Chris Penn and a mechanic played by Arliss Howard. They barely make a mark and are only there as the film and it's plot requires them to. They end up becoming more symbols than characters and also as most other characters around them don't take them seriously. It's hard for the audience too.
They approach an interesting point in the story of one of the small town men falling for John Leguizamo's character and it is quickly dropped when he more or less pushes him onto the small town girl who adores him. Though we know his character eventually finds out Leguizamo's character is male after all. We never see a confrontation or any type of reaction. I am guessing that would darken the mood and is something that should more be tackled in a more dramatic movie. Though it does lend itself to what could have been.
The film is very colorful and fun. Though most of all comes off more quirky than anything.
Though the film Comes off more as a fad. As at the time it seems gay culture and cross dressing were becoming more and more mainstream and popular. The film to a certain degree maintains a forward momentum to showcasing LGBT culture and characters on the big screen. Unfortunately as a step. it is more stereotypical in it's presentation though in a harmful way is more in the eye of the beholder, but it doesn't seem to desire to hurt anyone. If anything more celebrate the culture. Even if for the lost part the characters are not necessarily sexless but aren't offered really any romantic or intimate interest either. So that they are characters but more symbols for the changing times.
It's a perfectly liberal fantasy of accepting outsiders and outsiders knowing there is another place they can call home. Even in unexpected places.
They find their strength there using their natural talents to build them up and vice versa for the townspeople. Though doesn't go too into the cross dressing culture.
A funky title with an obscure yet popular celebrity in the title to be nostalgic and find out how she fits in. More as a model of beauty, poise, shape, fashion and perfection as an icon.
The film feels more like a fairy tale. It attempts to be that glamorous
According to John Leguizamo in his autobiography, his frequent improvisation angered Patrick Swayze so much that Swayze tried to punch him in the face.
The film is of average length but feels like it plays faster than it does. So it never overstays it's welcome. Coming across more as a snack than anything Too heavy or hard hitting they might stay with you.