As you all should by now know, Patrick Swayze succumbed to cancer yesterday after a lengthy battle which was revealed to the press only just last year. Upon hearing the news I was shocked and saddened, and my condolences go out to his family during this painful time. Hence, in honor of the late and great Mr. Swayze, I’ve decided to compile a list of 10 of my favorite movies he starred in, some of which you may be surprised to see here, and others that most if not all will agree make the grade. Oh and ladies; don’t worry. Just because I’m a dude doesn’t automatically mean either Point Break or Roadhouse is number 1…or does it?
10. Red Dawn (1984)
To start off our list we’re going to take a little trip back to 1984, when the Russians were still the Evil Empire and Pepsi was more popular than Coke. Little was known then that the cold war would be quelled in under a decade and that one day a man named MC Hammer would pioneer parachute trousers, and so Red Dawn was release and added to an already mounting number of anti Soviet flicks. Many would argue that this movie is in fact the most notorious of the bunch, and helped kick start the subsequent slew of Red Scare fare such as Rocky IV, Red Scorpion and what have you. As a movie I found this to be quite silly because nothing made any sense, except only to setup a situation whereby a bunch of high school kids could take up arms against Russian soldiers. The suspension of disbelief required to sit through Red Dawn was just too much for me to take, however there are a couple of redeeming features. First of all, tons of people get shot, and secondly, tons of people get blown up. As a red blooded male that in itself is enough to make any top 10 list. Patrick Swayze did make the most of his role here, and it was kinda cool to see him and Charlie Sheen share screen-time. All that was missing was a little dirty…
9. Dirty Dancing (1987)
Calm down ladies, please. I know most of you would have this ranked much higher if not at number uno, but believe me when I say there is method in my madness. True that this is the flick that catapulted Swayze to super stardom and made him a sex symbol and all those wonderful things. Can’t argue with the fact that Dirty Dancing was the first film to sell over a million copies on VHS (state of art at the time). Who doesn’t know that famous line, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner?” Classic, simply wonderful. And the dancing? Oh, the dancing. Fine, I’ll give you all that, but what really drove me nuts about this movie was that darn song. You know the one I’m talking about…God what a cheeseball cacophony that was. Patrick Swayze did certainly show off his dancing talents however, and though this was a far cry from the testosterone laden Roadhouse, he still was the man.
8. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)
First thing I thought of when I read that title was, “What the hell kind name is that for a movie?”. Then, when I saw the trailers and promos for it, I thought to myself, “What the f@$% are John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze doing in a movie together?” Well, that and I wondered what was with all the drag and all. I know I mentioned earlier that I’m a red-blooded male but I gotta say this movie was fun to watch, albeit a little strange. I found myself forgetting that the men in drag were indeed men as all the actors, especially Leguizamo and Swayze really had me going, and for all intents and purposes when the guys dolled up they became chicks. For the homophobic among you (that’s all you closeted frat-house types) I’d recommend watching this movie with your best friend while drunk and see what happens. Just kidding, you like women only. As mentioned earlier Swayze did a good job in drag and pulled off the poise and grace a real woman might have. This is perhaps attributed to his dancing skills, but nevertheless, you gotta hand to a guy who can make a movie like this and STILL be the man.
7. Steel Dawn (1987)
Certainly not to be confused with number 10 on our list, this post-apocalyptic science fiction Mad Max look-a-like was a creative departure for our main man during this period. Set some time after WW3 (for those of you who are historically challenged, this hasn’t actually happened yet) the movie was about as cliched as you could get, but that didn’t stop it from being a ton of fun to watch. Once again Swayze impressed us with his skills, this time with a sword, and he easily pulled off the gruff, no named wonderer role, very much akin to Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken. In fact, I always wondered why he didn’t do more movies like this since he fit the part so well. I could have easily pictured several sequels and think that had they gradually increased their budget with each installment I’d be looking at one sweet box-set on my shelf. Alas, you can’t have everything you want. Most people haven’t seen this one but if you’re any kind of fan of action sci-fi then you should definitely check it out.
Okay guys, settle down now. Put away those broken beer bottles and tuck your wife-beater shirts back in your pants. You’re probably all thinking why this flick ain’t number one on the list. Well, the great thing about living in a free society is that you can make up your own little list to show your friends and then throw beer bottles at each other, so if you don’t like it then tough. I will say this about Roadhouse though; it was cool as hell. It’s one of those movies that once you start watching it you’ve got to see it through the end, and then afterward you walk over to the mirror and size yourself up and convince yourself that with a bit of exercise and some whey protein you too can be a tough guy. Curiously enough Patrick Swayze was the recipient of a Razzie Award for Worst Actor for this movie which escapes me totally. His performances were always pretty solid and I didn’t think Roadhouse to be an exception in that regard, but oh well. Generally regarded as a ‘dude flick’ (as opposed to a ‘chick flick’), this movie stands in stark contrast to Dirty Dancing and not many actors could pull that off in those days. Stupid Razzie Awards…
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