R.I.P. Houston's Patrick Swayze, And Here's To Your Five Best Characters
Houston's own Patrick Swayze passed away last night at the age of 57 after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer, and we are poorer for it. I'm not ashamed in the slightest to say that I was one of the man's biggest fans, and indeed have tried to live my life by the lessons taught by such movie mentors as Jed Eckert, Dalton Ross, and Bodhi.
Like all actors, the man made some questionable choices, but let he who never sported a Youngblood-style mullet cast the first stone.
These may not be Swayze's biggest roles; you won't find Ghost, or Dirty Dancing, or...Grandview U.S.A. but they're my personal favorites, and they're the roles that made him, well, The Swayziest.
Jim Cunningham -- Donnie Darko (2001)
Motivational speaker/pedophile Cunningham ended up being the most critically acclaimed role of Swayze's career, mostly because so-called "critics" never recognized the tortured soul inside "Nomad" from Steel Dawn.
Max Lowe -- City of Joy (1992)
Swayze said early in his career (during the filming of Skatetown, U.S.A., in fact) that he realized he could go the easy route and become a teen heartthrob, but wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. It only took 13 years, but he finally took a stab at a weightier role. It received...mixed reviews, but props to Swayze for not making Ghost 2 or Even Dirtier Dancing.
Bodhi -- Point Break (1991)
Oh, they laughed. Keanu "Whoa" Reeves and Johnny Castle in a surfer/bank robbery flick? It'll bomb, they said, it'll be the worst movie of the year. Two MTV Movie Award nominations (and one win) later, I don't hear them laughing anymore. And you know why? Because they never could've made War Child back off. Seriously.
Dalton -- Road House (1989)
The `80s action movie equivalent of a Renaissance Man: Dalton studies philosophy, preaches non-violence, and can tear your throat out with his bare hands. This scene presents a bit of a dilemma, however. I mean, if a guy tells you he "used to fuck guys like you in prison," does that make killing him a hate crime?
Jed Eckert -- Red Dawn (1984)
Every adolescent boy in 1984 played out the Russian invasion scenario in his head. And every one of those boys believed with full confidence that they'd be as stoic and capable as Jed. Never mind that the idea of Cubans dropping into Colorado was...a little far-fetched. Or that most of those same boys would end up happily licking the boots of their oppressors as long as the Russkies didn't take away their Ataris.