Day 361: The Birdcage (1996)

1402191132_4After today, there is only five days left in the year which means there will only be five movies left to watch so making the right choices is very important. I wanted to watch a film that featured the late, great Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting) and so I chose to watch The Birdcage. Armand Goldman (Williams) is a gay owner of a cabaret club called The Birdcage who gets a visit from his only son Val (Dan Futterman). Val tells him that he is getting married, but there is one problem. He is getting married to a girl whose father is a very conservative senator and so he wants them to pretend for a night that they are not gay, but a normal family. Armand agrees to do it, but there is only one problem and it’s his drag queen boyfriend Albert (Nathan Lane). The film also stars Gene Hackman (Enemy Of The State) as Sen. Kevin Keeley, Dianne Wiest (The Lost Boys) as Louise Keeley, Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal) as Barbara Keeley, Hank Azaria (Grosse Pointe Blank) as Agador, Christine Baranski (Trolls) as Katherine Archer, Tom McGowan (Heavy Weights) as Harry Radman, Grant Heslov (True Lies) as National Enquirer Photographer, James Lally (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) as Cyril, and the film was directed by Mike Nichols (The Graduate). 

296williamsl-20010630-10812-jpgFirst off, I want to start the article by saying how inconsiderate the character of Val is throughout the whole film. He is so inconsiderate to his father and Albert and just about anyone at The Birdcage that he forces them to change who they are. I understand why Robin Williams character Armand did it, but it’s frustrating to watch because you’re like I would’ve told this kid where to go if I was in his situation. That right there is a sign of great writing where you get emotionally involved in the story. So, I am definitely giving kudos to that department as well as the acting which was superb. Williams, Lane, and Azaria absolutely steal the show in the film with their comedic wit and over the top performances. When they are on camera, they make the film that much more enjoyable. What’s up with Calista Flockhart in this film? There is this one scene where she puts on a lot of makeup and she looks like a corpse being drained of all its blood. It’s just that scary looking, but her slim figure is her trademark. The film is just fantastic from beginning to end as you wait to see if they’ll pull it off, but there is a redeeming moment at the end of the film for Val. After that, you will definitely forgive him. I loved everything about the film, this is a classic and one that a fellow co-worker recommended to me and I am glad I watched. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Day 345: To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)

tumblr_lhkj8iszpi1qzt0ypo1_500The mid to late 1990’s was an interesting time in cinema as the LGBT era of cinema was starting to happen. I will however admit that To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar was not the first film to feature actors in drag, but it’s the film I chose for today. After tying for first place in the New York Drag Queen contest, Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) and Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) win a trip to Hollywood to compete in an even larger competition. However the two cannot travel by plane because Vida convinces Noxeema to bring along the inexperienced Chi Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo). While driving on the road, their car breaks down in a small town and they are stuck together with the locals until the car is fixed. However, they’ll soon figure out that they’ll make just as much of a difference in their lives as the townsfolk do on them. The film also stars Chris Penn (Rumble Fish) as Sheriff Dollard, Stockard Channing (Grease) as Carol-Ann, Blythe Danner (Meet The Parents) as Beatrice, Jason London (Dazed And Confused) as Bobby Ray, Arliss Howard (The Lost World: Jurassic Park) as Virgil, Alice Drummond (Doubt) as Clara, Jennifer Milmore (Friends) as Bobby Lee, Julie Newmar (Batman 1966) as herself, and the film was directed by Beeban Kidron (Used People).

542full-to-wong-foo-thanks-for-everything-julie-newmar-screenshotThe funny thing about this film is that all three of them play really great women and better than the women in the film itself. All three of them were absolutely terrific in this over the top lesson in acceptance cause that is what it’s really about. The whole film was about being accepted for who they felt they really were and isn’t that the battle going still to this day? The film may not have been ahead of it’s time, but it spoke some serious lessons and reminds us of how long the struggle has been going on for them. The best part is at the end when the town accepts them and protects them or at least we think they accepted them. I say that because most of them when it came down to it were like we have always known who you really were, but they accepted them. Patrick Swayze looked great as a drag queen while John Leguizamo could have probably passed as a real woman, and Wesley Snipes just looked like Serena Williams. It was great to see Robin Williams in the beginning of the film and maybe this foreshadowed his upcoming role in The Birdcage. The cinematography was pretty good and I liked the story enough to keep me hooked for the whole film. I definitely recommend this film for anyone who is a fan of the three and especially Patrick Swayze because he took every role serious. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.