The Swayze Effect

Which Patrick Swayze film is my favorite? I know it is a burning question many of you are too polite to ask. But, after years of dwelling on this one thought, I think I have narrowed it down to one of these three: Red Dawn, Road House, or The Outsiders.

The Outsiders is a really good film but low in Swayze. He is in only a few scenes where he plays the frustrated older brother. So I’ll have to eliminate that movie, not enough Swayze time.

Road House has lot’s of Swayze. He is in nearly every shot. And while we get to see him get down and dirty with Kelly Lynch, it seems a little too red neck at times. One of the Aristotelian theories of drama is to balance the protagonist hero with the villain in both strength, cunning, and wily ambition. The villain should also exploit the weakness of our hero. For Road House, the villains were just not bad enough for me to believe that they would ever be a challenge for the Swayze.

Then there is Red Dawn. The 1984 classic story about a group of high school boys who run off to the mountains after a joint strike from the Soviet Red army and Cuba only to return to their small town to fight for America’s freedom. While I do believe that the evil Soviet empire would strike Iowa first for that decisive blow… the acting abilities of Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, and C Tomas Howell just distract from the focus and pure adrenaline of the Swayze.

So I am going to have to say that the Swayze is best in a small 1995 film where he is a little older, a bit wiser, and a hell of a cowboy in Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill. Now I understand that these are “Unbelievable Adventures” but the Swayze is good enough to make me think for a moment that they are almost believable. He plays the title role of Pecos Bill like no one else has before. But you say P2, what about Stefano Conti, Steve Guttenberg, and Douglass Dumbrille? Well they did fine jobs in the earlier years, but no one comes close to the Swayze in looking tough with a fake mustache.

Yes, it has been too long since we have seen the return of the Swayze to our movie houses. Let’s hope that someone will hire him again soon.