Four transvestites that sucked
Candy Darling was probably the sexiest transvestite that ever lived, but s/he wasn't just sexy -- she was also talented. A star of stage and screen, she worked with luminaries from Andy Warhol to Tennessee Williams and was, during the course of her short life, such a fixture on the New York scene that she inspired songs by the Rolling Stones ("Citadel"), the Kinks ("Lola") and a couple by the Lou Reed ("Walk on the Wild Side" and, with the Velvet Underground, "Candy Says"). She's also the subject of Beautiful Darling, a documentary playing tonight at the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax that tells her story -- in advance of that, here are four transvestites in movies that were much, much worse.
4. John Travolta, Hairspray remake
Though she was not nearly as good-looking as Candy Darling, Divine was another transvestite at the top of the list for all-time greatest: outrageous and hilarious, she was a suitably perverse muse for John Waters and an absolute scene-stealer as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, Waters' least perverse film. In the utterly unnecessary 2007 remake of that film, Divine is replaced by a hammy John Travolta, whose best qualification for the role is his apparent Waters-esque proclivity for soliciting blowjobs at the gym. And what the hell is that accent he's doing?
3. Robin Williams, Mrs. Doubtfire
When shitty dad Robin Williams transforms himself into an old British lady to win back the affection of his kids, various hijinks and madcap misunderstandings ensue, followed by heartwarming life-lessons. Let's just observe that, while Candy Darling inspired great songs by great bands, Mrs. Doubtfire inspired "Dude Looks like a Lady," Aerosmith's all-time worst turd in a career of mostly turds. Which pretty much sums it up.
2. Matt LeBlanc and Eddie Izzard, All the Queen's Men
Complicated reasons nobody cares about explain why an elite squad of World War II troops must dress as the most hideous women since Eddie Murphy's obese family in order to infiltrate some factory in Germany, and Matt LeBlanc and Eddie Izzard step up to take on the job. This crap movie's most compelling distinction is that, as a woman, Matt LeBlanc is somehow more disgusting than Eddie Izzard, which would be the first and only time in their respective careers for that to happen, but it wasn't enough to lure out the audience. All told, All the Queen's Men grossed a whopping $22,000.
1. Martin Lawrence, Big Mommas franchise
The old black-man-in-drag trick is pretty much its own genre at this point, with such luminaries as the aforementioned Eddie Murphy, the Wayans Brothers and Tyler Perry all having a go at it -- and they're all pretty terrible, so competition is, uh, stiff. Nevertheless, even though the Wayans' white chicks are more disturbing to behold and Tyler Perry's Madea franchise is slightly more protracted, Martin Lawrence takes the prize based on the sheer odious cynicism of Big Mommas, a franchise with no redeeming value whatsoever. At least Madea is sort of heartwarming, in its stupid way. Big Mommas is the intellectual equivalent of a four-collective-hour fart: tedious after about five seconds, and then just disgusting.