“Just what this country needs: a cock in a frock on a rock.”
With a soundtrack that ranges from The Village People to Judy Garland to ABBA, this movie is, in my opinion, amazingly awesome, and every time I watch it I find it to be funnier and funnier. Though at times incredibly non-PC, I think half the reason it’s so successful is because it gives overdramatized accounts of real situations (example: Bob the hippie marrying an illegal Filipino woman while drunk). It’s this glam-ing up of characters both in the literal sense and situational sense that makes this movie brilliant.
One of the reasons I love this movie is because it’s legitimately funny without seeming too dated even though it was made over fifteen years ago. I like that when Bernadette goes for help, the people she brings back aren’t all that accommodating, and you actually laugh even though it’s sort of a shitty situation the girls find themselves in and has really offensive undertones. The idea of the characters being rejected by the over-conservative mainstream is both mocked and satired, creating a light-hearted flick with deep, complex problems and issues. It’s one of those films where you don’t think about what happened until after it already happened, so you’re left with something to discuss hours after the film has passed.
I also like that the tension Mitzi builds up before meeting his wife isn’t added to by an incredibly awkward situation. The flashbacks of his son being born heighten the drama, but rather than confront her with strange, I-haven’t-seen-you-in-a-million-years-and-don’t-know-what-to-do confusion, there’s a realistic reunion where the two of them realize that underneath everything, they’re still friends.
There’s not much to this movie that you can’t like, although the first time I watched it, I think I was a bit too young to look at ping-pong balls ever again. Now I can appreciate the ridiculousness of the burlesque mockery, where that type of sexual degradation is accepted more than drag queens. I realize the dark comedy and social statement the creators of this movie tried to get across, and I have the ultimate fucking respect.
If you haven’t seen this movie (which, if you’re in the 1001 Movie Club, I hope you did), go rent it now, or buy it even. It’s both outwardly and inwardly funny, as well as warm, sentimental, and intensely dramatic all in one. Hell, I might just go watch it again.
The Movie Mistress