I'm not in the habit of vocalizing my thoughts on celebrity deaths. I find too often that people place a newly deceased celebrity's accomplishments on a pedestal befitting a god. It may shock fans of Anna Nicole Smith, but the only people comparing her to Marilyn Monroe were addle-brained entertainment reporters and obsessed bloggers. Marilyn Monroe, she was most certainly not.
But today has turned into an unexpected day of remembrance for Patrick Swayze, who died late yesterday after a drawn-out battle with pancreatic cancer. I was not much of a fan of Swayze's work, I'll admit. Ghost was a good watch back when it first came out, but I can't sit through it anymore--that goes for many movies from that pseudo-era. And I've never watched Dirty Dancing in its entirety for two reasons: 1) It's a chick flick; 2) It's not very good. I'll shield my face now from the inevitable barrage of rotten produce.
Patrick Swayze did star in one movie that I do like, though. Actually, like isn't the proper word. I love this movie. Roadhouse. Yes, that's right, I hold a B-rated fight movie in higher regard than anything else Swayze has ever done in his career. I can't help it. It's a nostalgia factor that can't be penetrated by logic or time. I saw Roadhouse when I was a tween, my parenting renting it from a little video-tape rental shack. My Dad and I were always eying the shelf for something with testosterone--Death Wish with Charles Bronson, Dirty Harry with Clint Eastwood, or maybe a Stallone or Schwarzenegger movie.
Roadhouse came out of nowhere for me. I'd never heard of Patrick Swayze or anyone in the movie besides one guy, which was a professional wrestler (I was once a wrestling fan) named Terry Funk, who played one of the henchmen. The movie oozed 80s machismo and I gobbled it up with a spoon. Fights, guns, hot women, cool one-liners, and a monster truck ... Boy Heaven. If you're looking for clever storytelling, great acting, and a firm grip on reality, I suggest you watch something else. I saw Roadhouse again a few years ago, and while the veneer has diminished, and I like to kid myself by believing my tastes have matured, I still liked it. And Sam Elliott became a Hollywood icon to me with this one movie by stealing every scene he was in.
I never watched an episode of his most recent project, The Beast, but I may have to now, knowing the man has passed on. If you've got a favorite Swayze movie, like I do, maybe this week would be a good week to track it down and sit back on your couch to enjoy the work he did. I'm going to be looking for my choice as best Swayze film this week at my local library with fingers crossed. If I don't strike gold there, maybe one of the television stations will air it as their half-assed tribute.
Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze.