Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pain Don't Hurt, But This One Did

We've all got our favorite Patrick Swayze movie. Don't deny it. Maybe you're a fan of that poofy shirt that he wears all through the afterlife in "Ghost." Or maybe you're old school, and you remember him best as a Greaser in "The Outsiders." And then there's always Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing": Nobody puts baby in a corner.
Not me. I am now and will always be a devotee of the zen Koan "Roadhouse." This is the one where Patrick played Dalton. He has a philosophy degree from NYU. His entire life would fit inside the trunk of the new Mercedes that he drives. He carries his medical records and X-rays with him wherever he goes. He is the cooler. He has just three rules: One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it's absolutely necessary. And three, be nice. You don't want to be around when it's time to stop being nice.
I've been watching "Roadhouse" for the past twenty years. Usually it's the chopped-up for commercial TV version, but that doesn't keep me from watching from start to finish, or alerting all the other Double Deuce aficionados along the line. Pitch that remote onto the coffee table, we'll be staying put for the next couple hours. Ben Gazzara as the town's master of all things evil, Sam Elliott as grizzled Jedi Master Wade Garrett, and Kelly Lynch as a Doc who might just have too many brains. It's Rowdy Herrington's best work, and it might have been even without the Swayze presence. Patrick is the glue that binds this story together and makes it one for the ages.
My wife was slow on the uptake when it came to the cult of "Roadhouse" and all things Swayze, but when she heard that he had lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, the tears she shed were irony-free. I know how she feels.


Anonymous said...

God rest his soul.


Anonymous said...

I remember the first time I saw "Roadhouse" with my friend Alex. He kept muttering, everytime another gal took off her shirt, "Where is this roadhouse?".