“To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar” is a movie that doesn’t feel like it should exist. In 1995, Wesley Snipes had solidified himself as one of the baddest action stars in the game, John Leguizamo’s star was on the rise after “Carlito’s Way,” and Patrick Swayze was one of the most adored leading men after “Ghost” and “Point Break.” And yet, during a time when AIDS was still the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 25 and 44, the trio dressed in drag and starred in a groundbreaking queer film that is still adored by new audiences to this day. Drag superstars Vida Boheme (Swayze) and Noxeema Jackson (Snipes) score highly in a regional drag competition that qualifies them for the National competition in Los Angeles, when they decide to take the “boy in a dress” novice Chi-Chi Rodriguez (Leguizamo) under their joined wing as their protégé on their journey to the competition. The trio winds up in a small town called Snydersville after some car trouble, but their presence shakes up everything.

Sure, not everything in “To Wong Foo” has aged gracefully (it was the ’90s!), but the film is still loaded with all-time great dialogue and is shockingly ahead of its time. What starts out as a drag queen road trip movie slowly transforms into a drag queen Western, with Swayze, Snipes, and Leguizamo playing The Women With Fabulous Names. There’s empathy, kindness, and a deep well of emotional intelligence behind all of their performances, but especially with Swayze as the maternal Vida. Plenty of men could try their hand at Swayze’s most iconic roles and with remakes of “Point Break,” “Road House,” and the sequel “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” they have … but there’s only one Vida Boheme.



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