Tuesday, September 15, 2009
To Patrick Swayze, Thanks for Everything! Wong Foo
Maybe this weekend you and your significant other are heading over to the video rental store to rent a Patrick Swayze movie, in memoriam. You'll argue whether to take a chick flick like Dirty Dancing or Ghost, or a guy movie like Point Break. And you'll find that all of these are already gone, because everybody has the same idea when an actor dies. So maybe I can recommend you what I think is the best Patrick Swayze movie: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. It is an intelligent and funny movie, which makes you think. Maybe not everybody *wants* to think when going to the movies, especially not about difficult things like gender issues and tolerance, but I'd say that forcing you to think generally makes for better films.
The opening scene with Patrick Swayze is a classic: He comes out of the shower, a perfect image of masculinity, and then step by step through clothes and makeup transforms into a drag queen. The film then evolves into a road movie, a fish out of the water story, with the drag queens stuck in a small town, chased by a homophobic sheriff. The movie teaches us about the difference between just looking away and true tolerance, and that alone makes it worth watching. Add some superb acting from actors you wouldn't expect in those kind of roles, and you get a truly superb movie. Recommended!