Must-Watch Drag Films: A Dragaholic’s Essential Guide, Part 2

Contributing Author: Star LaBranche

Enjoy part 2 of our Must-Watch Drag Films Essential Guide series! And don’t forget to check out part 1.

The Birdcage

Year: 1996
Category: Comedy

Synopsis:
Two star-crossed lovers long to marry and want their parents to meet each other. The only problem is that his parents are two gay men, one of which owns a drag club and the other is the star attraction. Her dad is a conservative senator that is against gay rights. This hilarious version of La Cage aux Folles takes the viewer through the complex and dynamic lives of all the characters and culminates with both families having dinner while convincing the conservatives that Albert in drag is a woman.

Choice moment:
When someone notices the boys “play leapfrog” on the dinnerware.

Why it’s so great:
This movie deals with sensitive and complicated issued through humor and by displaying the humanity of its gay characters. In a time where gay characters are often shown as side kicks or flamboyant comic relief, The Birdcage places them front and center and shows them to be amazing, multi-faceted people.

Pair with:
Your favorite musical theatre friend who has seen La Cage aux Folles.


The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

Year: 1994
Category: Comedy-drama

Synopsis:
This film, which was later turned into a musical, follows two drag queens and a trans* woman across the Australian outback in their lavender tour bus, affectionately named Priscilla. The queens get into various hijinks during their journey. Some of it is fun and lighthearted, while some is dramatic and dangerous.

Choice moment:
Tick’s reunion with Benjamin.

Why it’s so great:
Priscilla is a multidimensional movie. It takes place in beautiful Australia (home to drag legends such as Courtney Act) and shows views a little of the country’s history and culture. But it also shows the darker side to society, where LGBT are not accepted or even allowed to exist without harassment and violence.

Pair with:
Your favorite  foreign film lover.


Paris is Burning

Year: 1990
Category: Documentary

Synopsis:
This movie is a ground-breaking documentary that captures the lives and times of LGBT New Yorkers and Ball culture. The film interviews famous icons such as Pepper LaBeija and Willi Ninja. It shows the hopes, dreams, struggles, and realities of what it was like to live in this culture and be a part of a famous drag house.

Choice moment:
The difference between reading and shade. Every Drag Race fan should know this!

Why it’s so great:
Paris is Burning is important for so many reasons. It’s an example of a culture that was being largely ignored and shoved aside by mainstream media. It’s also highly intersectional and deals with a variety of issues, including race and gender identity. Sadly, so many of the participants of this documentary died before their time that this remains all that’s left of their exceptional lives.

Pair with:
Your most hardcore drag friend.


To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

Year: 1995
Category: Comedy

Synopsis:
Three drag queens, Noxeema, Vida, and Chi-Chi, take off on a cross-country adventure to take part in a huge drag pageant. Along the way, they have to stay in a small homophobic town, where the locals learn about acceptance and the girls teach them about life, the drag way. In the end, the town rallies around the queens to protect them from an abusive sheriff.

Choice moment:
“Do you like my nails?” Honorable mention: RuPaul’s cameo as Rachel Tensions.

Why it’s so great:
This is the first movie about drag queens that a lot of people were exposed to. It showed the queens as fully-rounded human beings that can be empathized with. Also, it cast three male actors that usually play masculine roles to show that there is no shame in putting on some heels and a dress.

Pair with:
Someone who is new to drag, but wants to learn more.


Victor Victoria

Year: 1982
Category: Comedy

Synopsis:
Starring Julie Andrews, this movie is the tale of Victoria, a down on her luck singer that decides to masquerade as a drag queen in order to make ends meet. While pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman, she meets King, a straight man that has mob connections, and they fall in love. In the end, Victoria reveals herself as she truly is and her allegedly gay boyfriend performs her drag act.

Choice moment:
The amazing musical numbers.

Why it’s so great:
The confusing, but hilarious double drag is one of those layers upon layers movie twists that makes the film interesting and weird.

Pair with:
Your favorite Julie Andrews fan that might not have heard about this movie yet.

 

See what films made part 1 of the list >

Tune in next time to see what movies make our part 3 of the list! If there’s a film you’d like to see in the next part, leave a comment below or tweet it to us at @DragaholicNews.