Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I've Had the Time of My Life...

I know I wasn't alone in my sadness at hearing of Patrick Swayze's death yesterday. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for months now, so I wasn't surprised, but saddened all the same. I will always remember him best for his breakout movie, "Dirty Dancing". I remember when the movie came out in 1987; I was 16, and I loved, loved, LOVED everything about it. I practically wore the soundtrack cassette tape out, adored every single schmaltzy song on there. Seems to me there was a second soundtrack, "Dirty Dancing II", and I believe I owned that one as well.

We were talking about the movie today in our leadership book club (thankfully the one guy in our director's group had already left, so he was spared the estrogen-driven conversation) and I asked the others, who are at least 10-15 years older than me, if they liked the movie as much as I did. It was a resounding "Yes!", so I guess it wasn't just the teenage crowd that identified with the movie back in 1987. Then we were talking about if the movie was one that "crossed generations" now; so I texted Paige, because I thought I remembered her saying she liked/owned the movie a few months ago, and being surprised to learn that. Sure enough, she said she loved it, and had taken her copy of it to college with her.

Some of you may groan at the movie and at this whole topic; I'm sure there were many people who DIDN'T like it. But I remember loving the whole premise of the movie--- Jennifer Grey, the ugly duckling, meeting gorgeous and talented resort dancer (and quasi "bad boy") Patrick Swayze and becoming part of the resort staff's late night (gasp!) dancing gatherings. Then her final dance at the talent show, running down the aisle and leaping up into Patrick Swayze's arms and being lifted up over his head? I mean, who didn't want to be "Baby", after seeing the movie!? Nobody puts Baby in a corner! I loved Jerry Orbach in the role of Baby's father, and he was always one of my fav actors on Law and Order for years after that, in part probably because of this first role I ever saw him in.

The hubby yelled to me last night, from his perch in the living room (Monday night football, two games) and asked if I knew Patrick Swayze had died. I said yes, I had seen a headline on the internet earlier in the day, and he said "Oh, why didn't you tell me?" You see, one of his favorite movies is "Roadhouse" (although I don't know if I'm supposed to tell the internet that)... we have watched that Patrick Swayze movie no less than 5 times on cable tv in the last few years - it is one of those they show pretty often.

I started to title this post "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner", since that is one of the great lines that we all remember. But I thought the final song of the movie, sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, was a more fitting goodbye to an actor who had several great movies and a 30+ year marriage to his wife.

He had no drama, no drugs, no tabloids (until the end, with his cancer), he was just a good guy and a great dancer, with some memorable movies and a life cut short by a devastating illness. I'm going to have to buy the movie and watch it again, for old times sake.

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