This past Friday night I said to my mom, I need to order Roadhouse on DVD…because I have a feeling Patrick Swayze is going to pass away this weekend and I don’t want to be the guy who orders his movies after he dies.
In fact, over the last few months I had been increasing my Swayze movie collection exponentially. The man was a movie Icon to me… a symbol of my youth and the epitome of wanting to be cool…except Swayze oozed it, while the rest of us simply just tried in vain.
Back in 1987 my love for movies was taking off, at just 10 years old life was good. Then Dirty Dancing came out. Coolness supreme. In fact, Dirty Dancing stands as the ONLY movie my mom has ever seen more than once at the cinema (3 times to be exact). She dragged me along on two of those occasions. And I secretly loved this chick flick that made me want to be Swayze.
Later that year I begged my mom to buy me the very first issue of a magazine called Top40 because it had Swayze on the cover. I didn’t care what else was in it, I wanted to know more about Johnny Castle.
My mom, being my mom, bought the wrong magazine, and instead picked up another magazine with Swayze on this cover. This was to be my first ever Movie magazine. The article in this magazine talked about Swayze filming his latest movie in Namibia. It was called Steel Dawn, and as far as I knew, that was just up the road!….My parents soon corrected my poor geography and brought me back down to earth.
While all this was going on, South Africans were treated to more Swayze than you could shake a stick at in the form of one Mr. Orry Main. The confederate soldier with a swagger for the ages in the epic Civil War series “North & South”. Of course, I’d later learn that the swagger was in fact a trademark limp.
Youngblood – (yes, South Africa was a bit behind the times), with a slightly younger Swayze playing an Ice hockey player alongside heartthrob of the decade Rob Lowe. I became an Ice Hockey fan. So much so that I bought Ice Hockey magazines, games and dreamed of becoming an Ice Hockey star….just like Swayze.
Red Dawn – Iconic. With the remake that’s currently being filmed, I couldn’t help but wish The Sway would get himself a cameo to justify the remakes existence. But sadly this is not to be.
I caught up with older films as the years passed, but this was difficult living in a pre-Amazon era. It was however the new releases that were the big events.
Road House – Patrick Swayze as a bouncer, Sam Elliot as his mentor and a cameo by wrestling legend Terry Funk. OMG.
Next of Kin – (A movie I revisited just a one month ago on DVD) Swayze rocks the shiz as Truman Gates. A hillbilly detective that teams up with his family to revenge the death of two of this brothers! Featuring Liam Neeson, Bill Paxton and Ben Stiller!
Then, as 1990/1991 ripped my family in half with the deaths of my dad and brother in quick succession, my dependency on the world of movies soared. The safe haven I found losing my self in movies was at fever pitch. My 80s icons of Arnie, Stallone, Bruce Willis, Van Damme and Mel Gibson were keeping me afloat with their over the top action flicks, but Swayze was the one who was mixing it up in all genres.
Point Break – If you weren’t a Swayze fan by now, Point Break was the movie that gave you your induction into the Patrick Swayze fan club. Bohdi was the guru of rebellious cool.
Ghost – My love for Demi Moore was also at its pinnacle. So when she teamed up with Patrick on this iconic tragedy of love flick, the world’s hearts broke and we followed the endless love of Sam and Molly. And secretly all wanted to sign up for pottery classes.
As Swayze’s movies became more and more of a mixed bag, I found myself waning from his movies. City of Joy, Father Hood, To Wong Foo, Black Dog, Waking Up In Reno….they all disappointed. A Few years ago I came across his Chippendales’ skit with Chris Farley on the SNL: Best of Chris Farley DVD…and bowed before the greatness that was Swayze once again.
I currently have a movie called “One Last Dance” on its way to me, which is going to be wrought with irony when in arrives…
Over the years Swayze made the occasional AWESOME performance, such as Donnie Darko, but Swayze never quit hit the mark again.
Then in 2004 he made a cameo in old friend Whoopi Goldberg’s series “Whoopi”, and I was in shock. He looked frail, haggard and the shell of a man who once vowed never to let Baby be put in a corner.
The years passed and Swayze all but dropped off the radar. Then when his recent cancel battles, the world’s heart broke once again.
When I told my mom the news at 3am this morning. She burst into tears and cried as if we had lost a member of our family.
Perhaps we had.
Swayze could kick your ass, steal your woman, then dance the night away with her.
He was a man’s man.
He was an Icon.
He was The Sway
RIP Patrick Swayze