Friday, September 18, 2009

Patrick Swayze

I want to say a few words about a decent human being.

Was Patrick Swayze the greatest actor ever? No. But by all accounts, he was as nice a guy as you'd ever want to meet. And he managed to be one of the most versatile actors of his generation. Here's a guy who could play the romantic lead, the tough action hero, and a dramatic leading man and be convincing in any of them.

Was he in great movies? No. But he was in some memorable ones, and some culturally relevant ones.

Dirty Dancing
The Outsiders
Uncommon Valor
Red Dawn
Point Break
To Wong Foo...
Donnie Darko

I take that back, one or two of those probably do qualify as great.

Roadhouse is a cheesy movie, no doubt. But he took the part because he loved martial arts and wanted to showcase his skills in that movement discipline too. And as cheesy as some of those lines can be ("I want you to be nice... Until it's time not to be nice"), they ring true for martial artists. Swayze was a martial artist almost as long as he was a dancer. He took up karate because he was being picked on by bullies who made fun of his mother's dance lessons. He showed them. His discipline -- a product as much of the dance as the martial arts -- kept him going and working through a horrific and painful fight with cancer. The man was a fighter, God love him.

There's a nice obituary in Entertanment Weekly that quotes his co-stars over the years saying all the best things about him. But the quotes ring true. They seemed to really love him.

But the best thing in the article is a picture of Patrick Swayze caught in mid-ballet leap -- tights and slippers -- in 1976. The look of bliss on his face is transcendent. He is one with the universe in his happiness. If you don't honestly look at the picture and smile, you're missing a soul.

Watch it one more time, and try hard not to be jaded. The man could dance.

If you can find them; maybe you can hire...

The A-Team movie is in production.

You can pick your jaws up off the floor -- they'll be there again soon enough.

Who's in this?

Col. John "Hannibal" Smith (I didn't realize Hannibal was just his nickname...) = Liam Neeson
Templeton "Faceman" Peck = Bradley Cooper
"Howling Mad" Murdock = Sharlto Copley
B.A. Baracus = Quinton "Rampage" Jackson

Oh, and they signed Jessica Biel too.

In case you're wondering, the script is straight action; not campy fun. I guess that means that bullets actually hit people and car crash victims don't walk away from multiple roll-overs. They're filming in Vancouver.

I assumed the A-Team isn't a Vietnam era unit, but what's with the international cast? Will they remain American Special Forces? I realize it's not like the TV show ever made much sense, but what's the link to the term "A-Team" otherwise?