Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Road House (1989)

Road House (1989)
Rated R

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Terry Funk, Sam Elliot, Kelly Lynch, Jeff Healey
Directed by: Rowdy Harrington
Tagline: Dalton’s the best bouncer in the business. His nights are filled with fast action, hot music and beautiful women. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Running time: 114 Minutes

I really wanted to review Road House as a straight critical review, I really did, but along the way, something happened: I watched the movie. It’s ridiculousness from top to bottom, and all points in between. And I love it.

Let’s start with the plot: A bouncer is lured away from his lucrative position bouncing at a popular big city bar/nightclub to a wild and rowdy bar in rural Kansas City. (Ok, sure) He gets the bar on the right track, and then runs afoul of a the local smarmy, evil rich guy that wants to take over the town for his own personal gain, so he’s gotta take him on and  defeat him. (What?) Along the way, he also meets and falls in love with a doctor (who conveniently was also the love interest of the old rich dude).

Add in to that the fact that it’s set in 1989, a fact which, when the film was released probably wasn’t that big of a deal, because everyone actually did have hair like the picture on the right. 23 years later, it’s absolute comedy gold.

Toss in a little bit of ridiculously awesome fight scenes, a throat rip (watching Road House actually made me like MacGruber better…), a blind blues man playing slide guitar, some awful acting performances, some awesome lines (“Pain don’t hurt”…”I use to f guys like you in prison”…others) and cap it all off with this (Swayze’s feathered hair), and you’ve got the most ludicrous and awesome 80’s movie I may have ever seen. No wonder my brother’s been obsessed with this movie for over a decade.

I have to admit that I was never big on Swayze back in the day. I was familiar with him, and thought he was funny on SNL (but really it was Chris Farley that was funnier in their shared sketch), and he was awesome in Point Break, but other than that, I don’t remember him from too much else. I know he was in Ghost (I never saw it) and I know he was in Red Dawn (also never seen), and I know that in the 2000’s he was on the Lifetime show The Beast (never watched). I know nothing of his career outside of these 5 things. A quick perusal of his IMDB page shows he’s done more that I know of, and I just have a terrible memory. There was Dirty Dancing (never seen), The Outsiders (duh! Everyone was in that…), Donnie Darko (which I didn’t like), To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar (didn’t see), and Black Dog (the Swayze/Meat Loaf/Randy Travis collabo about a dude driving a truck full of illegal weapons…I have seen this one). There were also a bunch of other movies and shows that I never heard of/hadn’t seen.

I still don’t know if he was truly a great actor, just really fortunate or a combination of the two, but I respect the work he did. Plus, anytime you get to be part of one of the greatest similes in the rap lexicon (“Ghost like Swayze”), it’s a tremendous accomplishment.

True story: Road House was one of the first movies I added to my Netflix queue, but it took nearly two years for me to finally get it. The reason? I put that I wanted the blu-ray (I just got my PS3 before I got Netflix, so I wanted to take advantage), and it remained at the bottom with the other unknowns that came and went. Finally, I noticed that that was what was keeping it from the queue, so I changed it to DVD and boom. It shows up. (I never said it was a good story…just a true story)

I laughed a lot more than I was probably supposed to, and may have even groaned once or twice, but this movie is just so awful it’s awesome.

4 out of 5 stars (the experience of watching it more than the film itself)

Streets ahead of Avatar


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