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.
To Wong Foo...
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.
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