Patrick Swayze

This blog would not be complete without a post dedicated to quite possibly the sexiest man who has ever lived. That’s right I’m talking about Patrick Swayze.

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Ok so Swayze who has captivated women young and old got his start acting on Broadway as Danny Zuko in the musical Grease. Double yum. His first film was playing the part of Ace in Skatetown USA.

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Obviously most people have never heard of that movie, but they should because he takes off his belt uses it as a whip and roller figure skates. It is a must see. Seriously. His real breakout role was in The Outsiders where he played the highly muscled hunky Darry: older brother with a heart of gold.

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He went on to star in such famous movies as Dirty Dancing, Road House, Ghost, along with a bunch of movies in the 90’s that arent nearly as exciting as his 80’s sex symbol roles. Interestingly he acted both on Broadway and in London’s West End– obvious proof that he wasn’t just handsome, but talented as well.

Some of my very favorite Patrick Swayze moments include his first dance with Baby in Dirty Dancing where he demonstrates that he truly is a “love man”. Also this scene where he appears like an angel from heaven to bring to Baby the gift of sexy sexy dance. And of course you can’t forget his hungry eyes scene. Don’t get me started on Time of My Life….

Perhaps his most famous scene ever is a scene that I’m certain caused many women to take a new interest in pottery. Like seriously pottery wheel makers have probably never been so happy as they were when this happened. Seriously I tear up just looking at it. Its ridiculous.

So as everyone knows he passed away September 14th, 2009 leaving behind his beloved wife of 34 years– the love of his life whom he met when he was 18. I don’t like to think of Patrick as dead. Instead I like to remember him like this:

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And like this:

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R.I.P Patrick. You are missed.

 

The Outsiders and Food

So the food situation in The Outsiders is kind of bizarre. There seems to be an endless supply of chocolate cake in Darry, Soda, and Pony Boy’s home. For a family without a mother or father where both adults work two jobs these cakes are perfect. I have tried to make layer cakes and it is not easy! These cakes are perfect level and frosted flawlessly. I just find it super hard to believe the realism of more than one of these cakes existing in a house belonging to three men.

I mean seriously look at this cake!

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I get the symbolism of having Twobit eat chocolate cake and beer while watching, judging from his muscle shirt, Mickey Mouse sprawled on the floor like the overgrown kid he is, but still not super realistic.

According to the internet in the book The Outsiders, Johnny’s nick name was in fact Johnny cake so its possible that some of the scenes cut from the movie explained why these cakes were present other than their use in establishing the fact that the greasers were actually a group of overgrown kids that lacked any responsible adult or authority figure in their lives. The internet seems to be kind of obsessed with deleted scenes from the film. Here is a reel of said deleted scenes and they actually really explain a lot about the background info of the film.

 

Hair in Film: 80’s Glenn Close

So hair seems to play a much bigger role in characterizing characters in 80’s films than it does in film today.

Here are some examples:

In Fatal Attraction Glenn Close plays a crazy woman and thus her hair is pretty extreme. Through much of the movie it looks like you possibly shoved a finger in a light socket. It seems to get bigger the crazier she gets. You can compare this still of her first meeting with Douglas’ character:

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where her hair is at least pulled away from her face and somewhat tame, to this photo as the movie has progressed and she has completely lost it:

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Seriously. She looks like someone styled her hair with some sort of electric shock instrument. It has become an entity unto itself. She literally could not play a sane person with this hair. I would not believe it.

Yes, the 80’s were seemingly dedicated to big hair, but in her other 80’s movies her hair is pretty tame in comparison. In Garp her hair is smoother in texture and tamed into a bun or updo.:garp

In The Big Chill her hair is curly, but it is styled into tight coils rather than frizzy craziness:

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and in Jagged Edge, it is beyond tame. Smooth and styled to perfection:

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Essentially her hair changes texture and style in extreme ways for each film, and this is not counting the period films she did in the 80’s. This is a huge contrast to an actress of today like Jennifer Aniston who has had literally the same hairstyle for almost every movie she has ever done.

 

 

Cocaine in the 80’s

So far cocaine has been featured in nearly every movie we’ve watched with the exception of the teen movies, and to be hones when I think of 80’s movies its hard to block out the image of Scarface sitting with face down in a gigantic white pile of powder. So I guess the question is: how rampant was cocaine use in the 80’s?

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According to this rehab website, cocaine was the “most popular recreational drug in the 80’s”. The article even claims that cocaine usage was more rampant than alcohol use. That is a pretty hard core claim. The movies of the 1980s certainly seem to portray cocaine as a drug of the beautiful and the rich. What may be more relevant is the massive amount of modern movies that portray the late 70’s and early 80’s as a mecca of cocaine amidst a disco glamor backdrop. Movies like 54 which portrayed the famous nightclub in its heyday and Blow, a hard luck story about a cocaine smuggler portray a decade where drugs were everywhere: at every party, in every nightclub, and in a vial in the pocket of every Hollywood starlet.

One of the best examples of cocaine use amongst Hollywood youth is that of Drew Barrymore darling of the movie E.T who went to rehab at the ripe old age of 14 for cocaine usage and was often reported to be spotted in the popular nightclubs of the 80’s like Studio 54 snorting cocaine and smoking cigarettes.

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We see cocaine use in 80’s movies like Wall Street where it is just part of the new world of making money. There are articles like this one where Dennis Quaid claims that cocaine was an expense built into movie budgets.

It seems coke was to the 19080s what pot was to the hippies of sixties and seventies, and nowhere is that better portrayed than in the films and social scene of Hollywood.

The 1980s car obsession

So it seems that a rather alarmingly large number of television shows and movies that came out in the 1980s revolved around a car. We’ve already explored the fact that a teen movie without a minor role being played by an automobile did not exist. The Ferrari in Ferris, the Rolls Royce in Sixteen Candles (two in that movie actually if you count Jake’s Porsche), the Yellow bug in Footloose, ect.

I find this pretty strange because its not like the automobile was a new invention… there had been decades of bigger- than-boat cars before the 80s. I think the most bizarre example of this trend was the Knight Rider. We didn’t have cable when I was a kid so I watched what ever was the antenna could pick up and a gem I remember vividly from my childhood was a TV show that starred David Hasselhoff and his chest hair

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Here is the weird thing…. in my memory the car was totally a girl and most likely David Hasselhoff’s girlfriend. In my memory it went something like this:

Her name was KITT. She had a weirdly electronic but sultry voice and flashing red lights. Her body was sick. He was a lucky man.

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She kind of nagged him a lot, but when she was pissed she went into her special crazy “attack mode” and then you had better watch out.

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She meant business and she didn’t mess around when it came to her man.

This is not right…. memories are fickle weird things that are obviously bad with facts. So KITT was a man. I went back and watched some youtube clips and learned this the hard way. Definitely a man. The voice is a bit feminine but that might just be the English accent. So my whole memory of this show is very strange now because maybe KITT and the Hoff were just buddies? I find this super disappointing, but regardless there was a television show that essentially starred David Hasselhoff’s hair and a black sports car…. It does not get weirder than that.

Take a look at a great example of the love affair that was Michael and KITT:

 

 

Grease 2- the Humiliation

So this is a film class. We are watching a bunch of hits: Academy Award Nominees even, but what about the bombs of the 80’s? If we want to talk bad movies there is nothing that rivals the disappointment of Grease 2.

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Also known as the worst sequel ever made. Gone are the peppy gang and the heart winning hero and heroine. Instead we have some unmemorable performances from some unmemorable actors.

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First, lets talk sequels. Sequels are not always good… in fact sometimes they are so terrible it makes you cringe to even place them in any sort of juxtaposition with their originals. Their badness taints the original just by association.Grease 2 is a perfect example.

Did you know it existed? I didn’t until like two years ago, and I watched the original maybe five thousand times as a kid. I love that movie. My love for it is ridiculous. I found the sequel because it sometimes plays on Oxygen when they run out of romcoms people actually have an interest in seeing. Or maybe Lifetime. They are sort of interchangeable.

So the one thing 1982’s Grease 2 has going for it is Michelle Pfeiffer.

Returning characters include Frenchie, Eugene, the coach, the principal, and the diner waitress, the rival gang member…. not exactly the workings of a hit. So in this movie they basically reverse the roles and Sandy’s Australian cousin who is actually pretty hot… not John Travolta,but certainly more attractive than a lot of 80;s heart-throbs, tries to get himself a pink lady, Michelle Pfeiffer, by impersonating a motorcycle rider. You don’t need to know his name because after this movie, he dropped off the face of the Earth and went wherever once promising young actors go when they die.The film was a huge flop and ruined the rest of his life not to mention his career.

Highlights of the movie include robotic exchanges between the helmeted heart-throb and a bored Michelle Pfeiffer, and a luau pool party musical scene that is unrivaled in awfulness.

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If you move to the last few minutes of this clip you will see Michelle Pfeiffer singing. And the luau scene as well.

The big difference in the movie (besides the lack of great actors, convincing musical numbers, dancing ect.) is that the craze is all about motorcycles instead of cars. If there was a time machine I’m fairly certain this movie would have been unmade. Its sad and awful and makes me queasy.

Dance Innovations of the 80’s

So how did people dance in the 80’s? Dance movies from the eighties show us a plethora of styles– from the popping and locking in the final scene of Footloose to Jennifer Beal’s crazed frenzy in Flashdance to Johnny and Baby’s infamous mambo, the 80’s was all about dance.

A major trend that rose in popularity was “breaking” essentially breakdancing. We see it a bit in Footloose, but in reality it’s popularity corresponds with the rise of hip hop. When I think of break dancing I kind of picture this guy:

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You know: track suit, sweat band, ect. OR this guy:

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Repping Adidas, weird sunglasses reminiscent of Robocop, boom box the size of a school aged child. In fact everyone (as we can see from poor Willard’s pathetic attempts) was breaking in the eighties. They even made movies (yes plural) about it. Here is a clip from the timeless classic Breakin

Magical I know. Maybe its just me but that rapper bears an uncanny resemblance to Ice Cube…. or is it Ice T…. you know the detective in Law and Order SVU– the one TV show that makes me feel super old for loving it.

Another amazing dance trend in the 80’s was the roller dance. People put on fancy costumes like thisroll dance

and jumped and twirled about, and what’s even more bizarre is that this trend turned into this: the World Roller Skating Pairs Championships of 2013

People also enjoyed roller disco parties which I imagine to be like a drug crazed hippie party but with the added fun of unexplained bruises to go with the hangover.

In the eighties, people liked to “slam dance” especially to punk music.

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This is where the mosh pit seems to have originated from. I watched an instructional video on slam dancing. Essentially you have two choices: crouch low stick your arms out and walk in a weird criss-cross motion hopefully pushing people out of your way violently or you can stand in one spot and march lifting your knees really high and head down eyes closed….weird… or last but not least: you can “pogo” which is basically jumping up and down non-stop and maybe getting hit in the head by other “pogo”-ers. Fun Stuff.

So basically in the 80s there was dancing for everyone, but seemingly, dances that could cause serious bodily harm were especially popular. Whether you chose to scrape your face on concrete or asphalt break dancing, or shatter your ankle jumping into the air on roller skates, or even get a bloody nose slam dancing the 80s, dancing was an extreme sport.

 

 

Xanadu: The most underappreciated of 80’s musicals

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Most people have no idea what Xanadu is….and that is tragic. There is truly nothing more than fantastic than an Olivia Newton John musical — the film captures all of the bizarreness of 80’s musical conventions and brings them to life amidst day-glo clothes and roller skate dances. So the basic plot of the movie is that an artist (unsuccessful of course) moonlighting as record cover painter falls in love with a roller skating Greek muse (yes the divine creature who inspires great works of art). He then decides to open a roller rink nightclub with a construction entrepreneur and proceeds to make the muse violate all muse rules by falling in love with him.

There is no doubt in my mind that Xanadu might feature the most epic musical ending number ever. I mean there is something about an entire roller rink nightclub erupting into a clapping chanting number that repeats the film title over and over again amidst synchronized roller-dancing while Olivia Newton John and her romantic lead walk-dance around tight rope walkers, women spinning on ropes from the ceiling, and pop and locking dancers in gangster suits, his tresses blowing in the wind created by the whirling roller skating couples around him, that is simply genius. Yes, it feels like something out of a drug induced Cirque de Solei hallucination, but that is part of its amazingness.

This over ten minute long ending number showcases the ultimate Olivia Newton John performance.

First she tap dances:

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than she dresses in leopard print rock and roll gear and gives the entire rink a concert:

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next she becomes a cowgirl with her own personal troupe of ribbon spinning fringe covered western girls:

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finally she dons an iridescent Greek goddess ensemble leading the viewer to believe the magic is almost over, but no.

BAM

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she transforms into her muse self to blow kisses at her mortal man as her sisters skip about her. The scene ends with laser light beams teleporting her rapid fire to heaven (or wherever muses come from). This ten minute long scene contains over five costume changes, like six different musical styles, terrible special effects, cheesy acting, an obsession with an athletic trend that involves leg warmers, and all of the gaudy decadence one can hope for from a musical of the 80’s. There is literally nothing better.

And for the best part: the most famous musical lead of the golden age Gene Kelly stars in it. xana 1

 

Here is the scene that makes the movie: