Film and TV

Five Fierce Films to See Before RuPaul's Drag Race Returns

​The fourth season of Logo darling RuPaul's Drag Race hits television screens this Monday, January 30, promising more drama, more glamour, and (we hope) even more hot glue. 

 This season brings a whole new line-up of guest judges, from Kelly Osbourne to Jennifer Love Hewitt to Modern Family's Mitchell, plus the biggest cash prize yet ($100,000). The contestants include both seasoned and new-to-the-scene queens, with drag personas like Jiggly Caliente (named after the Pokemon puff) and Willam, who says in her introductory video that she's "done just about every cop show, usually as a hooker or ... a hooker."

Local fans can watch the always fierce RuPaul skillfully manage the roles of both Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum at Apollo's Lounge in Phoenix, where you can also enter this season's RuPaul's Drag Race Fantasy Challenge: Stop by on premiere night to pick up your form, select your favorite contestant, and earn points each week toward season-end cash prizes.

In the meantime, here are five of the fiercest, most fabulous drag-queen films you can watch whenever: 


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Rundown: The Australian precursor to To Wong Foo, this road-trip movie stars Hugo Weaving (looking strangely lovely years before assuming the wig of the Lord of Rivendell) and Guy Pearce as drag queens Mitzi and Felicia, plus perennial movie villain Terrence Stamp as transsexual Bernadette. Filled with cutting, quick-witted, and racy dialogue - this one's not for the kids - this international cult classic also took the Oscar for Best Costume Design.
Memorable Line: "Is it true when you were born the doctor turned around and slapped your mother?"

The Birdcage (1996)

Rundown: This American remake of a French classic is worth it purely for Hank Azaria and his over-the-top "Guatemalaness," even before you add the incredible performances of both Robin Williams ("Madonna, Madonna!") and Nathan Lane (doing his best campy martyr). Both a critical and box-office success, the film is hysterically funny - and even a little suspenseful - as it espouses messages of love, family, and being true to who you are.
Memorable Line: "Actually, it's perfect. I just never realized John Wayne walked like that."

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

Rundown: Capitalizing on the rising popularity of drag queens in the '90s - with a cameo by RuPaul herself - this film dumps three drag divas (played wildly against type by Wesley Snipes and the late Patrick Swayze, plus prettiest-one-at-the-ball John Leguizamo) in the middle of small-town America. Like so many "Other" figures in Hollywood film, these three queens serve as ethereal guardian angels to American homogeneity before continuing on their way. Still, it's a story with all the glitz, camp, and heart you expect - and did we mention Wesley Snipes in heels?
Memorable Line: "I know that I am very fortunate to have a lady friend who just happens to have an Adam's Apple."

Connie and Carla (2004)

Rundown: Written by and starring My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos, this super-campy film follows Connie (Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) on the run from the Chicago mob. The two performers end up in Los Angeles, where they hide as a drag-queen double-act at a local club (it's like...a disguise within a disguise within a disguise!) The movie requires some massive suspension of disbelief, but between David Duchovny as Connie's love interest, a cameo by Debbie Reynolds, and a whole lot of sugar, this one is sure to make you smile.
Memorable Line: "I kissed Jeff and I wanna kiss him again without my wig!"

Glen or Glenda (1953)

Rundown: Making the list as an honorable mention is this must-see exploitation film about transvestitism starring and directed by Ed Wood (whom Johnny Depp portrays in the 1994 Tim Burton biopic). Considered by many to be one of the worst movies ever, Glen or Glenda contains some incredible narration opining that women are so lucky to get to wear comfortable clothes - the kind of clothes every man should get to slip into after a long day's work (and which ones would those be?). The real exploitation here is of star Bela Lugosi, who is so much better than this crazy, disjointed film.
Memorable Line: "Beware of the big, green dragon that sits on your doorstep. He eats little boys, puppy dog tails and big, fat snails."

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Amanda Kehrberg
Contact: Amanda Kehrberg