"To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar" is a film about three drag queens who end up getting trapped in a small town when their car breaks down on an epic cross-country journey. The film, which was released in 1995, stars Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo. I was first introduced to the film a couple years ago and absolutely loved it. The plot is not only hilarious, but it's filled with a lot of heart. However, the most striking thing about this film has nothing to do with the story line but everything to do with its cast.
Before "To Wong Foo," Patrick Swayze had starred in classic films such as "Dirty Dancing" and "Road House," where he's portrayed as a very masculine heartthrob. Wesley Snipes had previously starred in bad-ass action films, and John Leguizamo was known for his comedy. It would be hard to picture these three in a film where they're in full drag the entire time, but these straight men accepted the roles, and boy, did they deliver.
What I love the most about this casting is the men's decision to fully commit. Throughout the entire film, the men are covered in makeup and women's clothes. The style department commits, and the men are adored in glorious drag fashion. Not only do they look the part, they also change their voices a little, and are very delicate with their movements. Leguizamo's character even develops a crush on a local and flirts like a not-so-innocent woman.
The men took these roles seriously, which is what makes the film so enjoyable. Each was comfortable with his own masculinity to give this project all he had. I feel like we live in a time where masculinity has become not only toxic, but extremely fragile. Any time I see a man display his poor, weak masculinity, I remember this film, and I laugh.
Every man should strive to be like the cast of "To Wong Foo," and be strong enough with his masculinity to do things that would be considered feminine. I'm not saying they have to go full drag, but take a lesson from some of the most masculine men who were more than happy to get glam and tell a great story.