For obvious reasons, most of the TV and other appreciations of
the late Patrick Swayze have been heavy on clips of his role as the title spook
in Jerry Zucker's "Ghost" (1990). Never
mind I cried like a baby when I first saw it (don't ask). But I think Swayze is
miscast: with his impish, faun-like features and the coiled, sensuous menace and grace
of his powerful body, he seemed the kind of shade who would be more at home
somewhere other than the celestial destination implied at the end of the film.
More to the point are Swayze's performances in his 1987
blockbuster, Emile Ardolino's "Dirty
Dancing" (if only they didn't cut the
dance numbers up so much and let him take over the screen like an Astaire or
Kelly) and in Kathryn Bigelow's "Point Break" (1991).
In both films he plays the threatening, charismatic and tainted seducer who
initiates a blushing virgin (Jennifer Grey in "Dancing;" Keanu Reeves in "Break") into the world of good and evil.
Similarly, one of the chief pleasures in Rowdy Herrington's "Road House" (1989)
are the scenes in which Swayze gets to unleash his latent, balletic violence
without restraint or apology.
And let's not forget he made one fine looking woman as one of a trio
of drag queens in Beeban Kidran's "To
Wong Foo Thanks for Everything" (1995).