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Saturday, June 24, 2017

An Exhaustive Breakdown of Patrick Swayze’s "Road House"

At The Ringer website, essayist Mark Titus is writing a series about "good bad movies", a category into which he places Patrick Swayze's 1989 movie Road House. Titus has watched Road House many times and recently wrote an amusing "exhaustive breakdown" of this "good bad movie".

The poster for the 1989 movie "Road House"
starring Patrick Swayze
I never have watched the movie. After reading Titus's article, I wonder why Swayze made this movie two years after Dirty Dancing. I suppose Swayze was paid a lot of money.

Titus's article includes the following passages, photograph (the caption is mine) and video clip:
... Road House isn’t a movie so much as it is a religious experience, and one that defines the Good Bad Movies genre. ... Road House invented the concept and is the standard by which every other Good Bad Movie should be judged. But in preparing to compose the opus you are currently reading  —  which required rewatching Road House three times in the past week .... My point is: It’s nearly impossible to write an article about Road House that doesn’t make you want to quit reading halfway through  —  solely because you just want to go watch Road House again. ...

Here’s the best spoiler-free synopsis I can give you:

Road House stars Patrick Swayze as Dalton ...  He’s inexplicably world-famous for being a “cooler” (which is like a bouncer only, um, cooler?). A bar owner in Jasper, Missouri, who wants to improve a dive bar he owns called “Double Deuce” tries to hire Dalton away from his current gig in New York. ... He accepts the offer immediately. He shows up in Missouri to find a bar where beer bottles constantly fly through the air, women are sexually assaulted, verbal arguments turn to knife fights with the snap of a finger, and not a single cop car or ambulance is anywhere to be found. Dalton eventually ... cleans it up, much to the delight of the bar owner ....

Along the way, Dalton takes down a bunch of bad guys, has sex with one of the token hot chicks in town (she’s a doctor, which proves how classy Dalton is), turns down the advances of another (ditto), saves an old dude’s life, and occasionally wears a karate uniform top tucked into his jeans.

Patrick Swayze wearing a karate uniform tucked into his jeans
in his 1989 movie "Road House" (click to enlarge)
Eight Mind-Blowingly Absurd/Awesome Things That Happen in the First 15 Minutes of Road House

1) A man puts a $100 bill on a table; a woman stabs the $100 bill for some reason, and then the man kicks her chair over, causing her to fall backward. When bouncers come to throw him out, he punches one of them in the face. He then grabs the knife that the woman used on the $100 bill and uses it to stab Dalton in the arm, citing that he’s “always wanted to try [Dalton]” as his motivation. Dalton does not flinch — no one does, for that matter. After the guy and his buddy eventually get escorted out of the bar, Dalton stitches up his own stab wound in a back office.

2) Dalton pulls his 1964 Buick Riviera to the side of the road and tosses the keys to an old man sitting on the sidewalk, telling him that the car is now his. Dalton then uncovers a Mercedes-Benz in a parking garage, hops inside, and peels out. No explanation is given as to why he swapped out cars or why anything in this scene is relevant in any way.

3) As Dalton approaches Double Deuce, a group of bikers notice his Mercedes and ask him, “Hey hotshot, what’s wrong with Dee-troit cars?”

4) The Double Deuce house band is led by a blind man (played by real blind musician Jeff Healey), who plays a lap guitar and has to perform inside a cage made of chicken wire because the patrons of the bar throw beer bottles at him so often.

5) A woman pulls a wad of cash from her cleavage to pay her waitress for drugs.

6) A woman orders a “vodka rocks” at the bar. A man sitting nearby hears her order and says, “Hey vodka rocks, whaddya say you and me get nipple-to-nipple?” It is the first and last time anyone anywhere has used that phrase.

7) The owner of the Double Deuce uses a Sharpie to change “FUCK” to “BUICK” on a wall of graffiti so the message would instead read, “FOR A GREAT BUICK CALL 555–7617.”

8) And last but not least, the greatest scene in the history of motion pictures: A man offers a woman’s “pair of attitudes” to a random guy at the bar, telling him that for 20 bucks he can kiss them “here and now.” The random guy then aggressively fondles the woman’s breasts, which is apparently perfectly acceptable behavior to all parties involved. But when the random guy says he can’t kiss the breasts because he doesn’t have $20, all hell breaks loose and everyone in the entire bar starts fighting each other. I should again mention that no police are called, despite the thousands of dollars in damages done to the bar and the countless charges of attempted murder that could be filed.

Titus's article about the movie continues at length.

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