Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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

Running Time: 104 minutes
Directed By: Stephan Elliott
Written By: Stephan Elliott
Main Cast: Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Bill Hunter, Sarah Chadwick
Click here to view the trailer

Note: As a follow-up to my little diatribe at the beginning of my "Thelma & Louise" post, I've decided to now ban comment posting from anonymous posters. I want to firstly apologize to any anonymous followers of mine who were playing by the rules. I know it sucks for you guys, but to make things a little tighter, I think this is the best way to go. Maybe someday I'll reopen the comment posting to everyone, but for now, hopefully signing up for a Gmail account isn't too much of a hassle for people who really want to make their comments heard. Although, I can't imagine anyone is THAT gung ho to leave a comment on my lowly, little blog. Now then...


Not only did P.J. Hogan blast the ABBA tunes in "Muriel's Wedding" (which also starred Bill Hunter), but that very same year Stephan Elliott went a little ABBA crazy, filling his film with chit chat about the Swedish pop, not to mention the finale number - "Mamma Mia".

ROAD TRIP! Yes, this is a road movie, but it has drag queens so it's kinda' set apart from all the other road flicks you and I may be used to. While there are a few main characters in the film, the true central character is Tick (Weaving), a Sydney based drag queen who, early in the film, gets a call from his ex-wife to perform at a hotel, located in a remote part of Australia. Tick hesitantly accepts the job, partly because it's time to confront old demons and offers an opportunity to two fellow drag queens to join him: Bernadette Basinger (Stamp) and Felicia Jollygoodfellow a.k.a. Adam (Pearce). Before the final arrangements on how to get there are made, Adam buys a bus, which the girls christen "Priscilla" and head out on the road, complete with suitcases full of shoes and recording of all their favorite hits, which they'll lip sync to during their act. Along the way, the girls become victims of hate, victims of a broken down bus and victims of each other, as the girls get in and out of spats daily. They also meet various characters along the way, including Bob (Hunter), a mechanic whom Bernadette falls for.

Not only do Aussie's love their ABBA, they also love Bill Hunter, as I've seen three Australian flicks in the past month and he's been in all of them. I've gotta' say I'm a big fan of the guy, although I will say I didn't care much for him here and Stamp, Weaving and Pearce were clearly the stars of this show. In my opinion, Bill Hunter is a tried & true villain and should never be cast as anything else. Anyway, while we're on the subject of cast, I can't deny the talents of our three stars. I can't even begin to express my shock at the fact that Terence Stamp played a drag queen. I had no idea he was in this and it wasn't until I saw his name cross the screen, that I realized 1) he was a main character and 2) my God, was he going to be a transsexual? Yep, he sure was! That alone automatically makes this a must see. Kudos to Hugo Weaving too, who carves out his path to Hollywood with his portrayal of Tick - letting La La Land know that he has what it takes to land two of the biggest trilogies they've ever produced (The Matrix and LOTR). Even bigger kudos to Pearce, who, perhaps, plays a woman better than he plays a man and again, Hollywood takes notice. I'll tell you this, if smiling is important to you then see this movie now, because I smiled dozens of times and there were big chunks were you couldn't wipe the smile off of my face with mom's dish rag. Scenes to look out for include basically all of the musical numbers, including "Finally" (my personal favorite), "Mamma Mia" and "Shake Your Groove Thing".


On the other hand, while the film made me smile immensely, it also played out very predictable and the only real, lasting appeal is 1) the cult personality of the whole thing: the garb, the songs, the costumes, the over the top nature of it all and 2) seeing Stamp in drag. The film doesn't really worry about putting too much stake in it's plot and worries more about things like choreography and costume design, knowing where it's successes lie. Therefore, everything plot wise is pretty cookie cutter stuff. It's a film that IS a LOT of fun, but in the end, you realize that fun doesn't equal quality filmmaking and you acknowledge that. It's something I'd gladly watch again, while probably never quoting it as a favorite or anything. It just sort of left me with that *meh* feeling, again, despite all the smiles. To put it a better way: This film's fun exists in 5 - 10 minute moments and then we're left to trudge through a lot more average movie making until we get to another 5 - 10 minutes of fabulousness. Had they added about five or six more musical numbers and totally abandoned trying to establish any sort of plot, I think I'd have enjoyed it loads more. As it is, we're left with plot points that never get cleared up - ie. the never budding romance between Bob and Bernadette and likewise, there is a hinted at romance between Tick and Adam that is never explored or cemented.

RATING: 6/10  Tough one to rate, because I DID enjoy parts of it so much, while never really loving it as a whole.


November 20, 2013  12:02am


  1. Interesting.. for some reason I took as read that Tick & Adam were a couple, and it is only your comment that made me stop and ponder.. "where did I get that from", and realise.. i don't know.
    I love this movie - despite strongly disliking Abba, and , again, it was only your comment (everything plot wise is pretty cookie cutter stuff. ) that made me stop and think.. actually you are right.
    So more than a bit of a departure for me, and a film that, itself, probably feels very out-of-place sitting next to racks of Ingmar Bergman, a big 10.

    I guess i don't need to keep signing off as 'Ray' anymore do I?

    To any other 'annons' out there, I have always been using annon as i didn't know how to do it properly (yes, I know I'm a techno idiot), It's not as difficult as I thought. I don't know quite how bad the abusive comments were that made Andrew make a ban, but having seen how well and respectfully he copes with strong disagreement (at times) from me, they must have been very offensive. I know there is at least one or two other 'annons' out there who I have liked meeting here, so, if I can do it, so can you..

    1. Yeah, it's never said that Tick and Adam are together - if we were supposed to just assume it, then I didn't get that at all.

      Really, kind of surprised to know that you like this one Ray. Glad you did though!

  2. Hey Andrew Hopefully this worked,
    Anyways, it's Thomas Wishloff here, sorry I haven't had the opportunity to comment very much lately have been swamped with school. I haven't actually seen this movie, but I want to say that I'm very disappointed in the idiots who posted up the rude comments. If you want to do that go on IMDB.
    Also you an I have to Podcast at some point in the near future.

    Until then
    Thomas Wishloff

  3. Thanks for the kind words Thomas!

    Can you believe I actually forgot about the podcasting? Neither can I! It's been a hectic month or so at work and I've been busy and I do apologize. I'll shoot you an email whenever I can pin down a good time for myself. Sorry about that...

  4. Nice review. Not much to add, but I agree this is just a fun film. Every time I happen to come across this while flipping channels I always stop and watch for a while, and most of the time I make it to the end.

  5. Yeah, I could totally see myself catching this one on TV and sticking around - "Just till the next musical number....okay, just till the NEXT musical number!".


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

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