Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

WWW--I will always remember the Patrick Swayze of Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, Donnie Darko, To Wong Fu, and yes, even Red Dawn (but only in a "camp" sense). He was a great dancer and actor. Today, Patrick Swayze died of pancreatic cancer, and my heart goes out to his family, I know where they're at right now.

I'll never forget the first time watching The Outsiders and loving his big brother character because he was just so good, so real. When I went and saw Red Dawn he was just as great, not that it's a great movie, but we all have bills to pay, and so did he. The next time you watch Red Dawn, play songs from the Violent Femmes' first album every time a character dies, I swear to God it fits, it works. I nearly got into a fistfight seeing that one at the theater because I couldn't stop laughing since the scenario in it could never have happened logistically, it's literally a campy science fiction movie by the very closeted John Milius, a guy who likes to play with army toys in his advanced age. He should run for office.

But besides his role in The Outsiders, I have to say that the pinnacle of Swayze's acting career was as a motivational speaker/evangelist/closeted pedophile in 2001's Donnie Darko, a classic that I believe paints a fairly accurate portrayal in many parts of how unpleasant the 1980s really were. Yet, he was one of the good parts, and I'll remember him always for it. There will never be another actor quite like him. There are watersheds in everyone's life, and this is one of them. You made a very drab life and world a little more interesting, sleep well. What a cool dude he was.

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