September 15, 2009

An Action Icon Falls: Remembering Patrick Swayze:

Patrick Swayze died yesterday at the age of 57. While I know many of the ladies out there remember him dancing dirty and taking care of business with clay, I will remember his an action hero. When thinking of dope 80's actions movies, it's easy to only recall Arnold, Sly, and if you're feeling generous, maybe even Van Damme. Yet while that trio made wildly uneven films, Mr. Swayze brought the thunder, the lightning, and the torrential rain with a trinity of action movies: "Red Dawn," "Road House," and "Point Break."

 I can see that each of these movies defined some parts of my life. The first, "Red Dawn" occupied my 5th-6th grade, NAVY SEALS are the greatest breathing thing on the planet phase, a.k.a., I kind of wish my home town would get invaded, so I could go into the woods with my buddies and fight phase. Of course now that I'm older and I realize guerrilla warfare on our soil would probably not be fun, yet thanks to Swayze's work as the Wolverine leader Jed in "Red Dawn" it looked pretty damn appealing.

Now I'm not a really physically intimidating dude, I once ate 15 pudding cups at lunch in seventh grade in a spectacle of raw power, but that doesn't measure up  in the throat ripping badass spectrum. Yet somehow I managed to spend my summer of 2007 working as a doorman at a busy Cambridge bar. It was there that the wise older doorman taught me the ways of being a bouncer, and his first lesson to me was this: watch "Road House." So I did, and now thanks to Mr Swayze I was, am, and will be a better bouncer and person.

Which brings me to "Point Break." I'll be honest and say I was late to this party, I didn't see it until 2006, but since then I've probably seen it 10 times. This is a movie that introduced me to thislalife, a land where surfer bros named Bodhi could very well be Buddha, bank robbing presidents roam the streets, and the meatballs subs are so good you need to get two of them. Swayze's work in this film is amazing, everything from his introduction as some type of wave born surf god to his amazingly absurd philosophical quotes that he drops everywhere. And so Mr. Swayze, let me use one of your quotes to send you off.

" If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love. "


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