To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar [1995]

This clunky road movie about three drag queens (Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguziamo) who get stranded in a sleepy Nebraska town on their way to a beauty contest, is too uplifting for its own good. Released during drag's mid-'90s heyday when RuPaul and the Wigstock documentary were all the rage, To Wong Foo aimed straight for the mainstream with its inoffensive camp and "can't we all get along" moralism. While gay-activist groups howled about straights getting the lead roles in To Wong Foo, in the end the filmmakers really couldn't have done better than this trio of actors. John Leguziamo provides real sass and bite as a Latino (or should we saw Latina?) drag queen, and Wesley Snipes is surprisingly fierce as the imposing leader of the pack. Saddled with a cloying Southern accent and off-kilter wig, Patrick Swayze barely holds his own with his costars, though. To Wong Foo is best viewed as a cultural artifact of a time when it seemed as though drag could rule all tomorrow's parties. --Ethan Brown

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