As many of you know, the Barrelhouse Standard interview question is "What's your favorite Patrick Swayze movie?" Personally, I'm a Road House man, myself. To me, that's the template of The Patrick Swayze Movie. However, I do recognize that one of the "right" answers (there are, hmmmmm, up to four; maybe five) is certainly Red Dawn. It's got everything you might be looking for in a Patrick Swayze movie (except, of course, Kelly Lynch as a small town doctor from the Big City): a ridiculous plot, loads of violence, flag waving patriotism, Charlie Sheen, etc.

I haven't seen Red Dawn in ages, but I remember it as a stupid but fun flag-waving, good old American kids stop the Evil Russian Invaders kind of affair. That's why I thought this article by David Plotz, Red Dawn: Its portrait of Russia is dated. Its portrait of America is timely—and terrifying, was especially interesting. Here's a summary:

But what's most unsettling about Red Dawn today is not its infatuation with the warrior death cult. It's that the movie's historical parallels have been turned upside down. In 1984, the Soviets of Red Dawn represented, well, the Soviets, and the Wolverines represented both the Americans and also the plucky Afghan mujahideen then defeating the Red Army in a guerilla war. But on re-viewing, Red Dawn isn't a stark reminder of Cold War fears. Rather, it's a pretty good movie about Iraq, with the United States in the role of the Soviets and the insurgents in the role of the Wolverines. In Red Dawn, the Soviets have invaded a country whose customs they know not—one of the only funny moments in the film is the Commies' inability to understand the Wolverines' connection to high-school football. They ham-handedly toss leading citizens into hellish prisons. They maltreat the civilian population. They appropriate private and government buildings for themselves...

Swayze the insurgent. Shit. Now that's scary.


Anonymous said...

What's especially terrifying is how well Lea Thompson can handle a heavy machine gun.

JP said...

I knew there was a reason I chose Red Dawn as my favorite Swayze vehicle.

(Although, admittedly, I thought that reason was C. Thomas Howell. Clearly I underestimate myself.)