I’ve decided a weekly movie night is in order, I want to get around to watching all the classic and well known movies that I should have seen already, or that I saw snippets of as a child and now can’t remember. It all started the other morning when Andrew and I randomly started talking about the Australian classic Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, he and my housemate both incredulous that I hadn’t seen it.
I vaguely remember scenes from the movie as a child and being utterly terrified of Hugo Weaving’s face in drag. Let’s face it, he’s not the most attractive man, let alone a woman. I also remember snippets of the scene when men try to attack Guy Pierce’s character and getting too scared to go on (clearly I was an easily frightened child).
We had the soundtrack to Priscilla at home though and I loved it and knew every word to every song. But I think the main reason I never got into Priscilla was that my sister had taped To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar onto VHS and we were completely obsessed with it.
Too Wong Foo is pretty much the American version of Priscilla. They were made at almost exactly the same time and both centre around a handful of drag queens going on a road trip and encountering some hatred from the inland rednecks/bogans.
The major difference being, the men in Too Wong Foo are always in drag and, bizarrely, most people seem to think they are women. Obviously the humour is very different as well. Unfortunately mid-nineties Australian humour grates on me something awful, so Priscilla lost a few points with me there. Also, Too Wong Foo has a bit of an all-star cast; Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and Robin Williams makes a cameo.
Upon re-watching Too Wong Foo as an adult the other night, I picked up on so many more jokes than when I was a kid, as is often the way. I was also delighted to see the nightclub in which the ‘Drag Queen of the Year’ awards are held in the opening scenes is none other than Webster Hall. A venue that I spent more than one night dancing up a storm at on my 2010 trip to NYC.
While I did enjoy Priscilla and would love to see the stage version, Too Wong Foo will always have my heart. We go back to the days when my sister and I would watch it on the red couches at home, both trying to convince each other it wasn’t our turn to get up fast forward through the ads…
Have you seen either movie? Which do you think is best? Also, which classics should I watch? A few more on my list are: The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction and The Godfather.