Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Gods Must Be Swayze

I was going to try and write something fun today, but then Patrick Swayze died. And then my first instinct was to write something about Patrick Swayze and make it funny, but I thought, “You know what? I liked me some Patrick Swayze. I don’t want to poke fun at his death.”

So I decided to write about what Swayze meant to me.

You see, Swayze was one of those actors that sort of creeps into your subconscious. He wasn’t ever a huge action star like Stallone or Schwarzenegger, and he wasn’t a great actor like Pacino or De Niro, but his movies were fun and he was a better actor than the action stars and a better action star than the actors.

He had a few really big hits, like Ghost and Dirty Dancing, but for me personally, I will take the trifecta of Red Dawn, Road House and Point Break. If you think about it, wouldn’t you rather watch those three movies back to back instead of the Godfather Trilogy, or three Matthew McConaughey (low rent Swayze) movies? I thought so. Red Dawn was early in his career, but he had already developed that Swayze Swagger. Road House was probably one of the most underrated movies of the ‘80s, and for my money it was Swayze at his best. And Point Break was, well, let’s just say it had Swayze, Keanu AND Gary Busey. Those are some icons, man. And there was never a villain I wanted to be more like than Swayze’s Bodhi. Seriously, I tried to take up surfing after watching Point Break, which was no easy task because I lived in Missouri. That is the Power of Swayze.

As a matter of fact, remember that crush you had on Jennifer Grey after Dirty Dancing came out? That was also the Power of Swayze. Look at her in that movie. She’s cute, but she was no Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock. But she was America’s Sweetheart for one glorious summer, and I think that was because she was touched by the Swayzemaster. I still believe that if Swayze would have starred with her in Wind instead of a bland Matthew Modine, that movie would have been a hit and Jennifer never would have gotten the unfortunate nose job where she went from cute and quirky to plain and forgettable. The Power of Swayze, remember that.

Some other things about Swayze that I liked: his hair. Really, the guy had some cool locks, didn’t he? And I’m not saying that in an ironic or sarcastic way. Just think about Swayze’s hair for a moment and you will realize how cool it actually was. It wasn’t over done, like in a romance novel cover sort of way, but it was thick and luscious and obviously touched by God. Poets should have written about his hair.

And if I could choose one body style to emulate, it would be Swayze’s. I mean, think of a shirtless Swayze from back in his heyday. He had some great muscle tone, but it wasn’t over the top. It was just enough that you would think, “I won’t mess with him, because he could probably rip out my jugular.” With the proper diet, exercise and dance regimen, most guys with a medium build could have a body like Swayze’s. And if you have a body like Swayze’s body, you can pretty much have anything else you want as well. The Power of Swayze.

And one last thing I loved about Swayze: he could dance really good and nobody made fun of him. I think the only two guys that ever looked bad ass dancing were Swayze and Baryshnikov, and Baryshinikov could have never starred in Next of Kin or sexed up Demi Moore in Ghost. His dancing had the power of a case of dynamite. If you don’t believe that, then try to imagine what it would have been like if Swayze would have played Kevin Bacon’s role in Footloose. If Swayze would have danced angrily through that feed mill to “Never”, that building would have NEVER stood a chance. It would have exploded from the sheer power of his dancing. I’m also pretty sure that dancing would still be considered dangerous and illegal in Footlooseville if Swayze had come to town. Hide the kids and protect your women because that is the Power of Swayze.

Swayze’s career kind of peaked in the early ‘90s, and he never really did anything to speak of after that. But that’s okay. The Swayze I will always remember was the one that gently caressed a dying Charlie Sheen in the snow, that lovingly pushed a penny up Demi Moore’s apartment door, that dominated Keanu Reeves in every scene they had together, and that totally made me want to have Jennifer Grey as my girlfriend for one shining summer.

Because that is the Power of Swayze.


Anonymous said...

I took my very first date to Ghost, where we just held each other's hands. Still remains one of the most romantic memories of my life.

GW said...

Too soo-- Oh, never mind. How sweet.

Nat Topping said...

My first reaction to this news was anger, as I was immediately reminded that this man's misfortune ruined the perfect title for a sketch show about a year and a half ago.

My second reaction was guilt for being angry about that, followed shortly by embarrassment for having shouted something inappropriate when I heard the news.

Such is the power of a ruined joke.

Also, rest in peace Swayze.

Chris Othic said...

Nat, at least your perfect title for a sketch revue blossomed into a plagiarized title for a blog entry/eulogy.

Joe Janes said...

Great essay, but I think Chris needs to spend a few hours alone with his Swayze poster and tub of petroleum oil.