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To Wong Foo continues the Drag Queens triple.  After a beauty pageant the three winners cash in their plane tickets, grab a caddy and head for Hollywood. They have some car trouble and learn some lessons along the way.

To Wong Foo:

This movie and Priscilla are not knockoffs of each other.  They were filming at the same time on different continents. While Priscilla gives us a taste of Australian Outback, To Wong Foo gives us a sample of America. Our trio consists of Noxeema (Patrick Swayze), Vida (Wesley Snipes), and Chi-Chi (John Leguizamo). Noxeema & Vida tied for first in a beauty pageant and Chi-Chi is distraught after loosing.  Vida is a person who takes people under her wings and helps them thrive.  She argues with Noxeema, who she helped grow into a drag queen about helping Chi-Chi.  The go take a victory lap at the famous China Bowl restaurant.  They meet Jacob (Robin Williams) and he takes their plane tickets and sends them to a car lot for a good deal.  Sitting in the booth Vida notices a picture of Julie Newmar. It’s sign to Wong Foo and the inscription is our movie title.  Vida takes it as a sign they need to help Vida.

They choose style over substance and choose a Caddy at the car lot and head out on the road.  Vida has not made peace with her family after her decision to be a drag queen and when confronted with an opportunity to see them she runs.  Vida and Noxeema agree help move Chi-Chi from man in a dress/drag princess to drag queen.  So they begin their journey to Hollywood.  They are anxious about staying a motel but Chi-Chi pushes ahead and they are accepted.  Because there is a women’s basketball convention there.  On the road again they are stopped by Sheriff Dollard (Chris Penn) who is racist and wants to use his law enforcement power to make out with Vida.  He feels her up and finds out she is a man.  Vida decks him and the trio think he is dead.  They run off but leave a shoe behind.

Car trouble causes them to be stuck but Chi-Chi pushes ahead again and gets them a ride to town.  This small town has never seen the likes of them.  Up until the end of their say people assume they are women.  Their car will take a while to fix so they commit to make the town and it’s people fabulous. Vida helps the local women with style and advice.  Noxeema befriends a local widow and helps her come out of her shell.  Chi-Chi finds romance with a local boy.  The locals Beatrice (Blythe Danner) and  Carol Ann (Stockard Channing) benefit the most.  Carol Ann is an abused wife.  Vida teaches Carol Ann’s husband Virgil (Arliss Howard) a lesson and it inspires Carol Ann to stand up to him.  Beatrice learns to embrace love even if it is different and goes after Jimmy Joe (a black man). Chi-Chi realizes that her guy does not realize who she is and she is not best for him.  So the Trio make over Bobby Lee (Jennifer Milmore) aka Roberta and set her up with Bobby Ray.

Sheriff Dollard is alive and laughed at by the state troopers for being beat up by a girl.  He makes a list of places to find homos and sets out searching for the trio. He checks all of those places and even does a traffic stop but strikes out.  He is drinking away his troubles in a bar and talking about them when Virgil walks in and tips him off.  Dollard rides into town calling out the drag queens.  They townsfolk are all dressed in red for the Strawberry Festival.  A figure in a red veil walks out and says the shoe is hers. But it is Carol Ann.  One by one the towns people all stand up for the trio and the Sheriff and Virgil are run out.  The town celebrates with the Trio.  Each member of the Trio has made decisions to move forward and confront the issues in their lives.  The town sends them off in style and in Hollywood Chi-Chi wins the nation pageant.


To Wong Foo’s trio is different but fun and the soundtrack is a blast. The movie is much more of a comedic look at things than Pricilla.  Issues are addressed but not as deeply.  It is a romp comedy more that Pricilla’s dramity.  But an interesting movie and Swayze’s Vida is the standout here.

Add It To Your Library:

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The movie soundtrack/score was done by Rachel Portman. Here is a track with her and a fun group:  I Am Body Beautiful – Rachel Portman & Salt-N-Pepa

Buy the soundtrack here (from Amazon) or on iTunes.

Name That Movie:

The clue this week was:  Jumping off of “Superman” and John Ratzenberger last week, Ratzenberger starred alongside Billy Crystal in this 2001 Pixar feature about nightly activities.
Which lead us to the following movie:  The movie is  “Monsters Inc.”


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