Shout Factory PRIDE Edition: Jeffrey, To Wong Foo, BOOM!, Can’t Stop the Music

Adam RuhlBlu-Ray Review, LGBT+Leave a Comment

Happy Pride everyone! A lot of companies seem to be getting into the Pride spirit this year (with varying levels of sincerity) but Shout Factory is really going all out and doing some wonderful things and putting out some very special releases. Not only are we finally getting Jeffrey and To Wong Foo on Blu-ray but just yesterday they announced they were putting out this gorgeous Babadook pride edition slipcover so you can all get Babashook.

On top of the slate of new Pride releases they are also having a giant Pride month sale with a percentage of all proceeds going to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a wonderful organization and community service. I’m going to link all of this article’s reviews back to Shout Factory’s site and encourage you to buy from there to donate. Now let’s get down to what you came for; behold, for the first time on Blu-ray: Jeffrey (a personal favorite of mine), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, Boom! (a personal favorite of John Waters), and Can’t Stop the Music.

Jeffrey

Synopsis from the Press Release:

Meet Jeffrey (Steven Weber, Wings), a struggling actor in the New York scene who has just made the biggest decision of his life: he’s swearing off sex … forever! No sooner has he made this startling vow than he meets the dreamy and sensitive Steve (Michael T. Weiss, The Pretender). With the help of his friends Sterling (Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Darius (Bryan Batt, Mad Men), Jeffrey decides to give love a second shot. But some unexpected news puts Jeffrey in a bind, forcing him to decide if he should take a risk on what could be the love of his life.

Adam Says:

Paul Rudnick’s master work is now on Blu-ray and it has never looked better! I can’t say enough about what a great, hilarious movie this is or how important it is to the community. The film also stands as a time capsule of an era that now seems long ago and, for many young people, it is a world that they never experienced. Jeffrey allows us to look back on all the things that have changed in the last three decades and the things that, sadly, have not. It’s important for everyone to see this film and now you can see it with a stunning new transfer. Its humor and heart will win you over and it’s message is just as powerful today as it was then.

Special Features Include:

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Actor Steven Weber And Film Critic/Author Alonso Duralde
  • NEW Interview With Steven Weber
  • NEW Interview With Producer Mark Balsam
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

Synopsis from the Press Release:

Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, and Wesley Snipes star in this hilarious adventure about three drag queens on the cross-country road trip of a lifetime. On their way to Hollywood for a beauty pageant, Vida (Swayze), Chi-Chi (Leguizamo) and Noxeema (Snipes) get stranded in the tiny Midwestern town of Snydersville. Determined to make the best of a bad situation, the “girls” set out to repair the broken hearts, broken dreams and broken nails of the small-town residents during one wildly outrageous weekend.

Adam Says:

For a long time after its release, I was not a fan of To Wong Foo. It was not entirely the film’s fault; it was released after the massive success of The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the year before. I considered this film something of a rip-off because of their vaguely similar plots; though I now know they were actually developed individually, without influence, around the same time. I still consider Priscilla the superior film both in plotting and its depiction of LGBT life (though to be honest, of the six lead actors across the two films, they managed to not include any gay actors but it’s not mandatory), however the years have been very kind to Wong Foo. There are great performances (RIP Patrick Swayze), a lot of great non-stereotype based humor, and, I feel, a genuine desire by the filmmakers to be fair to the community.

It’s this last point that stands out for me now watching the film twenty-four years later; there seems to be some glaring misunderstanding on the way drag works. I’ve never been a drag performer myself but I’m given to understand that it takes quite a lot of effort to prepare and most performers are not in hair, make up, and gowns 24/7, especially when they are loading into a car for a six day drive across country (and it is explicitly stated in dialogue that they are gay male drag performers and not in any way transgender). I get that it’s needed to make the plot (and most of the humor) work but it requires considerable suspension of disbelief to get around such a lazy story gimmick. On the whole though, I think the films virtues outweigh its flaws and it is quite a bit of fun. If you felt as I did back in 1995, I encourage you to pick up this disc, give it another shot, and welcome it into your LGBT Blu-ray collection this Pride month.

Special Features Include:

  • NEW – Easy Rider in Dresses: A Look Back at the Making of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar featuring actor John Leguizamo, Director Beeban Kidron and screenwriter Douglas Carter Beane.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots

Can’t Stop the Music

Synopsis from the Press Release:

The Movie Musical Event Of The ’80s … Is Back!

Pour yourself a milkshake and experience the magic, music, and mirth of the all-time favorite camptastic classic: Can’t Stop The Music! This (highly fictionalized) story depicting the creation of disco icons the Village People provides the framework for an outrageous musical extravaganza as only producer Allan Carr (Grease, Grease 2) could deliver.

Adam Says:

Can’t Stop the Music is everything you could want a musical, fictionalized origin story of the Village People to be, with one very peculiar twist. For a movie about a group famous for its gay overtones and from a famously openly gay producer, there is not one mention of anything related to gay men or the gay community in the entire film. It is by its very nature homoerotic, especially during the YMCA number in the locker room full of mostly naked muscle men,  but even that is glossed over without so much as a wink. This is the cinematic equivalent of someone being on the verge of coming out of the closet and not quite getting there. It makes the film an even more quirky, campy oddity than if they had just been overt in the first place. I strongly recommend following the film up with the Randy Jones interview as it adds great context. Too bad they couldn’t get Caitlyn Jenner as well as I would love to hear her reflections on appearing in the film.

Special Features Include:

  • NEW Interview with Village People’s Randy Jones–over an hour of stories and memories from your favorite Cowboy!
  • NEW Audio Commentary with The Fabulous Allan Carr Producer/Director Jeffrey Schwarz and Comedy Writer Bruce Vilanch
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Original TV Spots
  • Image Galleries

 Boom!

Synopsis from the Press Release:

Cinema icons (and twice-married couple) Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton light up the screen in what acclaimed playwright Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire) described as the best film adaptation of his work he’d ever seen. Sissy Goforth (Taylor), the world’s richest woman, has retired to her lavish island estate to dictate her memoirs. Her reclusive lifestyle is thrown into upheaval when roguish poet Chris Flanders (Burton) washes up on her beach. With the mysterious habit of calling upon a lady one step before the undertaker, Flanders has become known as “The Angel Of Death” — but an undaunted Goforth opts to tempt fate when she chooses to take Flanders as her next — and last — lover.

Adam Says:

While Boom! isn’t an LGBT film per se, it is Richard Burton/ Elizabeth Taylor camp of the highest order so Shout Factory has made it part of their Pride month offerings and it is spectacular. Boom is a favorite film of John Waters (so much so that he put the poster in his movies and provides the audio commentary for this release) but it was such a colossal flop on release that the film was all but buried for 50 years. Really, almost the only way to see it before this disc was if someone dug up an old 35mm print (how I saw it the first time) or a grainy low-res import DVD. SF’s new Blu-ray release beautifully restores the picture and sound and opens this film up to a whole new audience. Everyone needs to see this beautiful indulgent madness and some of the most outrageous Taylor costumes ever!

Special Features Include:

  • NEW Audio Commentary with Filmmaker John Waters
  • NEW “The Sound of a Bomb: Contextualizing Boom!” with film critic/author Alonso Duralde
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Vintage Photo Galleries
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Adam RuhlShout Factory PRIDE Edition: Jeffrey, To Wong Foo, BOOM!, Can’t Stop the Music