Monday, March 13, 2006

The Swayze Effect

Which Patrick Swayze film is my favorite? I know it is a burning question many of you are too polite to ask. But, after years of dwelling on this one thought, I think I have narrowed it down to one of these three: Red Dawn, Road House, or The Outsiders.

The Outsiders is a really good film but low in Swayze. He is in only a few scenes where he plays the frustrated older brother. So I’ll have to eliminate that movie, not enough Swayze time.

Road House has lot’s of Swayze. He is in nearly every shot. And while we get to see him get down and dirty with Kelly Lynch, it seems a little too red neck at times. One of the Aristotelian theories of drama is to balance the protagonist hero with the villain in both strength, cunning, and wily ambition. The villain should also exploit the weakness of our hero. For Road House, the villains were just not bad enough for me to believe that they would ever be a challenge for the Swayze.

Then there is Red Dawn. The 1984 classic story about a group of high school boys who run off to the mountains after a joint strike from the Soviet Red army and Cuba only to return to their small town to fight for America’s freedom. While I do believe that the evil Soviet empire would strike Iowa first for that decisive blow… the acting abilities of Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, and C Tomas Howell just distract from the focus and pure adrenaline of the Swayze.

So I am going to have to say that the Swayze is best in a small 1995 film where he is a little older, a bit wiser, and a hell of a cowboy in Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill. Now I understand that these are “Unbelievable Adventures” but the Swayze is good enough to make me think for a moment that they are almost believable. He plays the title role of Pecos Bill like no one else has before. But you say P2, what about Stefano Conti, Steve Guttenberg, and Douglass Dumbrille? Well they did fine jobs in the earlier years, but no one comes close to the Swayze in looking tough with a fake mustache.

Yes, it has been too long since we have seen the return of the Swayze to our movie houses. Let’s hope that someone will hire him again soon.


  1. I like Dirty Dancing. When I was younger, I had a black and white Swayze poster on my wall that proudly read "Dirty Dancing" at the top, and "Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle" at the bottom. And my all time favorite Swayze quote, you ask? "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" Ah...Swoon!

  2. I liked him dancing with Chris Farley on SNL.

  3. hmmm i am not familiar with any of those. I have to agree with his SNL work.

  4. Wolverines! Yeah that movie made me wish (as a 10-year-old) ruskies would attack Ohio just so I could kill them and then kill them again. Now it makes me long for the days of the Cold War.

    But what about Point Break? Swayze steals Keanu’s thunder. The only thing that kept that wonderful flick from leaning too far Swayze was the mysterious power of Busey. – Swayze makes you cheer for the bad guys. He’s so cool in that Ronald Regan mask that he deserved the savings of the innocent. He, Jimmy, Lyndon and Dick deserved to be smoking doobies in Australia and riding waves. But instead, square Johnny (Keanu) needs to bust him. – However, the Swayze affect takes control of Keanu and he lets Swayze ride that last wave to heaven. Although, I like to think Swayze is still under water, living as the god Zeus, like he deserves.