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Pain don't hurt
December 30, 2012 12:57 AM   Subscribe

"Was it intended as a parody?" Asked Roger Ebert in his original review of the Patrick Swayze film "Road House," which premiered in 1989.

There's a case to be made for parody. The script was coauthored by screenwriter Hilary Henkin, whose work has often had a strong ironic sensibility, including the original script for Wag the Dog, as well as the stunning noir pastiche Romeo is Bleeding, and the misguided cop comedy Fatal Beauty.

Whether intentional or not, the film consists of a selection of over-the-top set pieces, including Jasper's Double Deuce bar, where the clientele is exclusively "troublemakers ... Too many 40-year-old adolescents, felons, power drinkers and trustees of modern chemistry." We see the bar transform over the course of the film from a dive where blind bluesman Jeff Healey plays behind chicken wire (Blues Brothers-like) to a reasonable establishment. This is thanks to Dalton, an NYU-educated philosophy student who has taken up work as a bouncer, played by Patrick Swayze. How? A lot of face punches.

Swayze manages to rent himself a $100/month room above a barn that coincidentally happens to be right opposite a pond from the film's villain, Brad Wesley, played by Jackie Treehorn himself, Ben Gazzara. They spend a lot of the film watching each other from open barn doors and three wheel recreational vehicles. (Alas, some consider Gazzara a less than ideal movie villain.) Gazzara's house is a wonder, filled with stuffed game. His minions drive monster trucks and bleed too much. He's also not much of a driver. His villainy is confined mostly to small-town political machine politics, and he boasts that he's bringing a J.C. Penny to town.

So the film is mostly fights, although it does have one magnificent throat-ripping. Nonetheless, it's filled with classic quotes and its own terminology.

Agony Booth offers a comprehensive recap here. And How Did This Get Made offered their own extensive commentary on the film.

It boasts obsessive fans, including Bill Murray, as costar Kelly Lynch recounts in this AV Club Interview: "[S]peaking of Bill Murray, every time Road House is on and he or one of his idiot brothers are watching TV—and they’re always watching TV—one of them calls my husband and says [In a reasonable approximation of Carl Spackler], “Kelly’s having sex with Patrick Swayze right now." The cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was inspired enough by the film to perform a Patrick Swayze Christmas song. Rifftrax has also tackled the film; samples begin here.

WMFU's deejay (and later Monk writer/producer) Tom Scharpling once acted out the entire film on air, by himself; the episode is available at their archives.

The work has been the subject of endless satires since it came out, including a re-edit that posits that Dalton is actually the villain of the film (and something of a dickhead). Squidbillies did their version, titled, simply, Swayze's Crazy. Parks and Recreation has also offered a creative reinterpretation of the film.

Best still, in 2003 the film was adapted into an Off-Broadway musical with the astonishing title Road House: The Stage Version Of The Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze, Except This One Stars Taimak From The 80’s Cult Classic “The Last Dragon” Wearing A Blonde Mullet Wig. The title sums up the adaptation, albeit neglecting to mention that the film's extensive fight choreography was recreated on a stage with the help of harnesses, bungees, and trampolines.

Jeff Healey lost a long battle with cancer in 2008. Patrick Swayze died in 2009. Ben Gazzara passed away in 2012. But at least they gave us road house, and there were never any sequels.

Well, there was one. But we won't discuss it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod (129 comments total) 161 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow
posted by k8t at 1:15 AM on December 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


I saw it at some special opening gala in Toronto, spring 1989. It was Jeff Healey's home town at the time, so it was a big deal. Intentional parody or not, I recall laughing out loud at various inappropriate moments. It was, is, shall always be, a silly movie.
posted by philip-random at 1:25 AM on December 30, 2012


A couple of years back when the DVD store went out of business they held a close-out sale to get rid of all their stock. Rummaging through the bins I found a copy of Road House with a big neon sticker with a low-low price on it. Nothing but fond memories for that movie. The first time I saw it was when watching late night TV with buddies. For a while it just ran in the background while we drank and talked, but gradually it lured us in, one after the other. The conversation became more sparse and turned to what was happening on screen. The unbelievable bar brawls. What? He does what?? No. Nooo. Then one of us starts laughing, I don't remember who, and suddenly the whole thing clicks and we're all roaring with laughter at the deadpan ridiculousness of it all. So remembering that, smiling, I take the movie home and put it on. It's running in the background while I'm doing other things, but even from glancing at it you can tell: this is terrible. Really, really bad. I was just despondent. And I got to thinking, "well, alcohol is a terrible drug" and other depressing thoughts, before I peeled off the low-low price sticker from the box and noticed where right underneath, in bright neon script, it said "2".
posted by deo rei at 1:26 AM on December 30, 2012 [63 favorites]


Now do this for Next of Kin!
posted by bpm140 at 1:41 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I assume I really need to see Roadhouse?
posted by Mezentian at 2:19 AM on December 30, 2012


deo rei says:
A couple of years back when the DVD store went out of business they held a close-out sale to get rid of all their stock. Rummaging through the bins I found a copy of Road House with a big neon sticker with a low-low price on it.
family guy says:
The episode opens with the closing of the video store. Mayor Adam West happily acquires the Garbage Pail Kids movie while Peter gets a copy of Roadhouse starring Patrick Swayze
(using observations like this in everyday scenarios can actually lessen the guilt of having watched family guy, it's part of my 10 step plan)
posted by samworm at 2:20 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I assume I really need to see Roadhouse?

It is mandatory if you wish to continue to post on this site. Otherwise, you will be put on read-only status until you become one with us.

Seriously, this is a train-wreck movie from end to end that I cannot help to watch every time it plays. Maybe not the whole thing, but a few scenes are required.
posted by lampshade at 2:22 AM on December 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


Thank you for "Full title: Road House: the stage version of the cinema classic that starred Patrick Swayze Except This One Stars Taimak from the 80's Cult Classic 'the Last Dragon' wearing a Blonde Mullet Wig."

I only finally saw this movie recently and my fav movies are Big Trouble in Little China, Tango & Cash and Conan the Barbarian so it was quite the event.

It. Was. Amazing.

I'd love to be a Murray brother just to call Kelly's husband.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:30 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


What would Roadhouse be a parody of?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:02 AM on December 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


I've told this story before, but the first time my wife saw Road House we watched it with another couple (my friend's wife hadn't seen it either). The ladies loved it, so the next time we got together with the same couple for a movie night, my wife suggested getting "another one like Road House." I said "Well, that's kind of the thing about Road House..."

I'm pretty sure Gazarra's character in The Big Lebowski was a direct lift from Road House. There are even near-identical shots of people partying on the grounds of their estates.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:04 AM on December 30, 2012


This movie is great.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:19 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


What would Roadhouse be a parody of?

Roadhouse, duh
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 5:20 AM on December 30, 2012 [13 favorites]


What would Roadhouse be a parody of?

Roadhouse, duh


Do not stare directly into it
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 5:24 AM on December 30, 2012 [12 favorites]


Well, you still have six days... (SLYT)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:26 AM on December 30, 2012


The pain ... doesn't hurt.
posted by texorama at 5:42 AM on December 30, 2012


Deciding to call it "parody" or satire does not change anything. It remains a dumb film.
posted by Postroad at 5:43 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


It remains a dumb film.

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would disagree with you.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:46 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was trying to come up with some kind of clever comment involving Frederic Jameson and the Shaw Brothers and The White Family but, hell, I'm just going to watch this movie again.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 5:55 AM on December 30, 2012


I don't buy for a moment that the people behind this movie had a drop of ironic or satiric intent in their entire bodies. It was the 80s. You didn't have to justify yourself or apologize for making a macho cheeseball kick-fest. You could actually mean it.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:56 AM on December 30, 2012 [18 favorites]


A few years ago, I saw Road House for the first time. It was...

It...

I...

That...

If you're interested in film, this is a movie that stays with you. It makes NO SENSE. As I wrote here [self-link, obviously], "Watching Road House is a bit like watching Last Year at Marienbad or Synecdoche, N.Y., if those movies were a little more nonsensical and, oh yes, risibly awful.

In conclusion:
You can watch it in muted confusion or hollering hilarity; there’s little middle ground for Road House. I’m telling ya, if David Lynch had directed Road House, film students would be discussing in hushed tones its surrealist leaps, its measured ambiguity, its self-contradictory pseudo-pacifist theme, and its sojourns into magical realism. But he didn’t, so instead we watch it with hoots of derision and hilarity.
posted by Elsa at 5:58 AM on December 30, 2012 [16 favorites]


Oddly enough, I think Elsa's quoted line there does take the cake.. But that can be said about a number of bad movies.
posted by k5.user at 6:14 AM on December 30, 2012


"Do you always carry your medical records with you?"

"I find it saves time."


How can you not love this film?
posted by Ghidorah at 6:33 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Dawson loves Road House! link
posted by mdrosen at 6:48 AM on December 30, 2012


I found it in the $5 bin at WalMart a couple of years ago so now I can watch it anytime I want.
posted by COD at 6:53 AM on December 30, 2012


I've not had cable or satellite or any sort of fancy TV for many years. I was discussing the possibility of getting cable with a friend, and she offered that no matter how many channels you have, no matter how great your reception and selection, you wil always end up at 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon watching Road House.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:06 AM on December 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


That's a really fun episode of 'How Did This Get Made.'
posted by mintcake! at 7:07 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't buy for a moment that the people behind this movie had a drop of ironic or satiric intent in their entire bodies. It was the 80s. You didn't have to justify yourself or apologize for making a macho cheeseball kick-fest. You could actually mean it.

Sure. I think you're probably right. But doesn't the Ebert quote from the time of release suggest that you could actually not mean it as well?
posted by Evstar at 7:11 AM on December 30, 2012


Is this the one with the sign in the men’s room about not eating the big white mint?
posted by theredpen at 7:11 AM on December 30, 2012


Oh hi, mintcake!
posted by theredpen at 7:13 AM on December 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


You didn't have to justify yourself or apologize for making a macho cheeseball kick-fest. You could actually mean it.

From the Kelly Lynch interview:

So I showed up for work, and I have to say that, between John Doe, Jeff Healey, and all these musicians, plus working with Sam Elliott and Patrick, it was like a barbeque on set every day. Just a really good time. All that “pain don’t hurt” and “I used to fuck guys like you in prison,” all those lines, we would be roaring at the time. I mean, it was just hilarious, you know? But no one winked at it. Everyone played it straight. I wore my tablecloth miniskirt dress, and we just had the best time. And I think it shows.

This is actually neither evidence of satire or against it, but for the fact that the cast thought the film was pretty hilarious. But the film presents what I call the Matthew McConaughey Conundrum. When he is absolutely batshit in a film, as in Magic Mike, it is almost impossible to tell whether it's knowing or if he's just bonkers. If he's just bonkers, he's gloriously bonkers, but it's hard not to sense an intelligence behind there. That deep in all that weirdness, somebody actually knows what they are doing and has taken it as far as they have because it's just fun and funny to do so.

That's how it is for me with Road House. If it's unknowing, it's so gloriously stupid that I can't help but respect its commitment. But then a guy rolls up in a monster truck and you think, okay, somebody's having a little fun with me here. But, just like McConaughey, if he's really making satiric points, he's doing it without winking, Road House never winks, as Lynch points out. It never lets on whether it takes itself seriously or not. And I actually prefer that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:22 AM on December 30, 2012 [16 favorites]


I always think of Flashdance as a sister movie, but with dancing instead of punching. Actually I'm disappointed that there wasn't a crossover.

Also: Every problem can be solved by kicking
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:40 AM on December 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


I can't believe I've never seen this movie. As a huge Buckaroo Banzai (not to mention Point Break) fan, it just seems so up my alley.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:47 AM on December 30, 2012


> It never lets on whether it takes itself seriously or not.

My wife's favourite bad movies are the ones where you can't tell. Roadhouse and Showgirls would be the masterpieces of this particular school of filmmaking.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:52 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Either that, or the ones where they earnestly reach for the stars and fall to earth (eg. Zardoz, Battlefield Earth).
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:53 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Still haven't seen it. Luckily its almost 2:30 Sunday.
posted by mannequito at 7:54 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, just like McConaughey, if he's really making satiric points, he's doing it without winking, Road House never winks, as Lynch points out. It never lets on whether it takes itself seriously or not. And I actually prefer that.

Great satire is absolutely earnest. Swift wanted you to eat babies. Frank Drebin was a cop. And Road House is absolutely, completely, internally convinced of its own fundamental rightness. It has to be.
posted by Etrigan at 7:55 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw the MST 3 k roadhouse tribute years before I finally watched Roadhouse. It did not disappoint.
posted by bq at 7:57 AM on December 30, 2012


I always saw Road House as a rip-off of Walking Tall, also a parody.
posted by Ardiril at 7:58 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


When Patrick Swayze passes on in "Ghost", he doesn't go to heaven. For his sins, he forever walks the earth, righting wrongs and tearing out throats. This is what I believe.
posted by ColdChef at 8:14 AM on December 30, 2012 [14 favorites]


A friend of mine believed it was an alternate universe. One where the most famous people in the world are bouncers.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:25 AM on December 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


I had the good fortune to see Roadhouse in the theater during its initial run and it has remained on my top ten list ever since. It's a deeply dumb but particularly fun movie and now I have to break it out again. Thanks Bunny!
posted by djeo at 8:28 AM on December 30, 2012


I approve of this post.

Right boot.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:30 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I've never seen this movie.

Roadhouse sits squarely in the pantheon of immortals on the quest for the meaning of life. Until you watch it, your journey has not yet begun young grasshopper. Forsooth there may be danger, but forsook your fear and dispatch your soul to err..ahh.....BlockBuster!!!

(or maybe it just a movie so horrible, it assuages our desire to rubber-neck at a multi-car highway pile up as we drive by. or something like that. i dunno)
posted by lampshade at 8:33 AM on December 30, 2012


Awesome post - thank you. Caught bits of the movie last night, and as always, I believe that as it played - 100% straight - it is an impressive movie, albeit *slightly* implausible. Well, maybe more than "slightly."

But in the Movie Universe of Temporary Suspension of Disbelief, it's hard to get more...perfect, perhaps, than this. Good guy is good, bad guy is bad, reckoning, etc.

But of course it's not just that - once you detract even one iota from the 100% straight interpretation, it just careens right into whackadoodle parody - and it's STILL enjoyable and must-see.

Win-win, no matter how you slice it.
posted by davidmsc at 8:35 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw this in the theater with my friends when we were all about 17 and it was the GREATEST THING EVER to us. Honestly, it felt like a movie made for teenage boys. We constantly quoted lines through the end of high school. I remember watching Next of Kin in the theater a few years later hoping for some of the same magic but sadly, lightning didn't strike twice.

I watched this for the first time in 15 years the other day and could not believe how insane it was, I guess I just didn't notice how crazy everything is. Didn't Slate or someone do an economic analysis of the insanity of the plot? That how on earth could a tiny town make one guy into a crazed millionaire when there was no industry to support it all?

Also, whenever I think Bill Murray is the greatest person ever, a story like this comes along and reminds me he's ever better than he appears.
posted by mathowie at 8:35 AM on December 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was a big Jeff Healey fan at the time this movie came out, so I was both thrilled and appalled when I saw it.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:37 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Calling me sir is like putting an elevator in an outhouse. It don't belong."

Now, this'd be a magnificent line in any context. But when intoned by a bearded 1930s farmer in bib overalls? Who dresses like that despite living on what is evidently not a working farm but an estate in town? Yeah, that's why Roadhouse is an all-time classic in a genre all its own.
posted by gompa at 8:54 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


My son ever asks me, "dad, what's the point of a philosophy major?" I'm gonna say to him, "why, you can be anything ... a technical writer like your old man, or even the world's best bouncer!"

He'll say to me, "but dad ... a bouncer? Why would I want to be that?" and I'll lean in close and say "mullets and wall bonkin' boy. Mullets and wall bonkin'."
posted by mph at 8:56 AM on December 30, 2012 [13 favorites]


Now I'm going to go out and rent Road House. Thanks for nothing, internet!
posted by mazola at 9:04 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The director of Road House: Rowdy Herrington.

That is the actual name of an actual person.

(Also: Same initials!)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:08 AM on December 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


My son ever asks me, "dad, what's the point of a philosophy major?" I'm gonna say to him...

..."Why, that's an excellent question. Perhaps you need to major in something which lets you explore such things!"
posted by hippybear at 9:17 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think a strong case could be made for this whole post being a parody of Metafilter. Excellent work.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:20 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Thank you.
posted by eamondaly at 9:21 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy moly, it's that guy. He treats objects like women!
posted by moonbiter at 9:24 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for nothing, internet!

LOL Wut?
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:27 AM on December 30, 2012


Now I'm going to go out and rent Road House. Thanks for nothing, internet!

The VHS version is still in stock in various places. Which honestly, should be the only way to view the film. Complete with all the little video noise blurbs from having been fast forwarded and rewound too many times. Renting it works too.

But for less than $5, you too can own a piece of cinematic history. Something to pass on as a family heirloom to your grandkids. Brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

Road House [VHS] (1989)
Sale Price: $1.49
Shipping: $2.98
Total: $4.47


posted by lampshade at 9:32 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the film presents what I call the Matthew McConaughey Conundrum. When he is absolutely batshit in a film, as in Magic Mike, it is almost impossible to tell whether it's knowing or if he's just bonkers. If he's just bonkers, he's gloriously bonkers, but it's hard not to sense an intelligence behind there. That deep in all that weirdness, somebody actually knows what they are doing and has taken it as far as they have because it's just fun and funny to do so.

If that's how you feel about Matthew McConaughey, you absolutely have to see (if you already haven't) Killer Joe. The only way to describe it would be over-the-top batshit sleazy trailer park noir. With McConaughey playing the titular role, the movie is dirty fun. I'd liken the experience to having sex on The Zipper at one of those low rent summer carnivals (not that I would know!). It's been an absolutely terrific year for him between this and Magic Mike (which I haven't seen yet, but I am assured that his performance is one of its highlights).
posted by Edgewise at 9:38 AM on December 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


So right. If you had told me in any recent year, even 2011, maybe even early 2012, that 2012 was going to be the Year of McConaughey, I would have laughed in your face and maybe made some joke about getting older while they stay the same age. Yet as the year ends, here we are.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:47 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Road House lays bare emotional truth in a way that is comparable only to Ozu's "Noriko Trilogy," and yet with a lightness of spirit and sense of absurdity that is closer to Fellini's greatest works. It is suffused throughout with a triumphant humanity. In the canon of 20th century cinema, it is the Gospel of Luke.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:58 AM on December 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


However, in the film, they do keep a blind man in a cage, so there's that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:00 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


yeah, what TheWhiteSkull said.

so there. take that.

unbelievers.
posted by lampshade at 10:01 AM on December 30, 2012


I am so sad right now that Lovefilm does not have this film.

It would've made a perfect bad movie night.
posted by Katemonkey at 10:09 AM on December 30, 2012


"But viewed in the right frame of mind, it is not a boring one, either. "

Would that be a [5] or higher, Roger? *cough*

Oh I kill myself, lol
posted by Xoebe at 10:12 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


McConaughey's performance in Killer Joe was indeed something to behold, but I feel like I must insert a warning -- that movie is extremely... uh... how shall I put this. It's a hell of a movie to experience. It's NC-17 and for good reason.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:15 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Suspension of disbelief? Roadhouse demands that disbelief be expelled and forced to go to night school for its GED.
posted by dr_dank at 10:17 AM on December 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


(Let me put it this way. Think of movie that you would see with your inlaws, your grandmother, or on a first date. Now think of something that is the most polar opposite imaginable.)
posted by Rhomboid at 10:18 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Damn, I'm really going to have to see this now, after avoiding it successfully for over two decades. I thought that I was up on my eighties cheesefests, but now I get all the throat-ripping in Macgruber.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:21 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


At the time Roadhouse came out, I was a teenager working in a movie theater in small town East Tennessee. Roadhouse was EXTREMELY popular in my home town. It played for like two months. During that time, the projector in the theater which was screening Roadhouse developed a fault, and the film was frequently breaking. The theater owner, who had been in the business for something like 30 years at this point, figured out that the way to keep the film from breaking was to regulate the speed of the platters by gently touching them when it looked like the film was getting too tight. This became my job. For the two and a half weeks it took to get a technician out from Nashville to fix the damned projectors, I had to sit up in the projection booth and make sure Roadhouse played smoothly to a room full of hooting drunk rednecks. I saw the film twice a day, three times on weekends. I still bear the psychological scars. Only now am I able to love again.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:29 AM on December 30, 2012 [32 favorites]


What would Roadhouse be a parody of?

Everything that had come before, and all that came after.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:32 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]



I can't believe I've never seen this movie. As a huge Buckaroo Banzai (not to mention Point Break) fan


Can't really speak for Point Break but unlike Roadhouse, Buckaroo Banzai is f***ing great, unconditionally. Or more to the point, it owns up to its satire/parody/irony knowingly. It is smiles with you. Because a bouncer/philosophy major just doesn't rate on the same level as a brain surgeon/rock star/superhero. Not even close.

The movie that Roadhouse wants to be compared to is St. Elmo's Fire, which may not have any notable onscreen violence ... but it has inspired such metaphysical ultraviolence as this ...
posted by philip-random at 10:36 AM on December 30, 2012


Open up your heart and let the Patrick Swayze Christmas in,
We'll gather at the road house, with our next of kin.
And Santa can be our reg-u-lar Saturday night thing,
we'll decorate a barstool, and gather 'round and sing, oh,
Let's have a Patrick Swayze Christ-mas this year,
Or we'll tear your throat out and kick you in the ear....

(picking up from measure 20)

It's my way or the highway this Christmas at my ba-ha-har,
I'll have to smash your kneecaps if you bastards touch my car.
I got the word that Santa has been stealing from the till;
I think that that right-jolly-old-elf better make out his will!
Oh, let's have a Patrick Swayze Christmas one and all.
And this can be the haziest... (piano flourish)
This can be the laziest... (another piano flourish)
This can be the Swayzeist, Christ-mas, ooof theeem, aaaaaaaall!

La la la la, la la, la, la!

Crow: How long before it becomes a standard?
Joel: I think you'd gotta come with me... (drags Crow off by his head net)
Crow: Augh!
Tom Servo (to the camera): "We'll be right back..." (to Joel off camera) "Save a leg for me!"
posted by JHarris at 10:38 AM on December 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is the first movie in a long time to use the line, 'Prepare to die!' -- Roger Ebert, May 19, 1989

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." -- The Princess Bride, 1987
posted by kirkaracha at 10:39 AM on December 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


You all keep on talking like there are bouncers in Roadhouse. There are no bouncers.

There are plenty of coolers, however.
posted by joechip at 10:45 AM on December 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I never actually considered the parody angle. I always assumed it just was a ho-hum entertaining movie that just went ludicrously off the rails into batshit.

Roadhouse is a perfectly acceptable popcorn fantasy... until the throat-ripping scene. After that it careens into abject irretrievability. Once the throat gets ripped, turn off the movie and imagine your own ending.

See how much better it is?

I have several movies like this. Strange Days starring Ralph Feinnes and Angela Basset. Cool premise, decent execution... ending is a ludicrous Kum-Ba-Ya ending as Jan 1, 2000 dawns bright with possibility in an L.A. that was on the verge of exploding 24 hours ago.

When Lenny holds up his tie in the mirror and says "Does this go with this shirt?", that's is Strange Days throat-ripping scene. Turn the movie off at that point, imagine your own ending, because anything is better than what ended up on screen.

Road House is the model for this kind of movie.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:45 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I may have mentioned this before, but we saw Road House when it came out, with my best friend, his wife, and her parents. Her parents (devout Mormons) were more appalled by the sex scenes than the violence, which has always puzzled me to no end.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:47 AM on December 30, 2012


Also: Every problem can be solved by kicking

Tell that to the guy with the jabbity-point on the end of his boot.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:49 AM on December 30, 2012


-This guy didn't need to face-punch anyone (though he probably could if needed be.

-None of these guys look as pretty as Patrick Swayze. Wouldn't be surprised if there was at least one Philosophy degree in there dragging drunks out by the neck. You get a VARIED selection of backgrounds attached to people who work the hours we do in this industry.

These days, Dalton's degree is one of the least ludicrous aspects of that film to me.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:04 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always think of Flashdance as a sister movie, but with dancing instead of punching. Actually I'm disappointed that there wasn't a crossover.

Dancepuncher: the story of a dancer, killed by government thugs, resurrected by elves as a freedom-fighting cyborg whose punches carry the full force of The Nutcracker Suite.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:09 AM on December 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm REALLY tempted to put "create anthology of essays/short fiction based on MetaFilter Road House thread" on my 2013 resolutions list. Because damn near every idea proposed and story told here is a gem.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:19 AM on December 30, 2012


I always think of Flashdance as a sister movie, but with dancing instead of punching. Actually I'm disappointed that there wasn't a crossover.

There was. It was called Dirty Dancing.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:21 AM on December 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


I just wanted to say that as a youngish person who sort of gaped at Road House, half of me thinking "what is THIS happy horseshit" and the other half both loving Jeff Healey and thinking Sam Elliot was the coolest thing on two feet but one gimpy leg (cmon, who's with me??).....I love this thread.
posted by nevercalm at 11:21 AM on December 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm watching it right now, and I was surprised that one thing immediately stood out, from the moment the opening scene started: the sound production. They just do not make movies like this anymore.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:24 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


In elementary school, we all developed a crush on Patrick Swayze after watching Dirty Dancing. Somehow I talked my mother into renting Road House--obviously, none of us knew what this was actually about in order for it to happen. And then, whoa. My parents were never that rigid on Things The Child Should Not See (I grew up watching The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, really having no clue as to why everyone was dancing around in their underwear, let's put it that way), but I did ah, tactfully have to cover my face with my hand when boobies were on display. I peeked anyway.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:25 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


But the film presents what I call the Matthew McConaughey Conundrum. When he is absolutely batshit in a film, as in Magic Mike, it is almost impossible to tell whether it's knowing or if he's just bonkers. If he's just bonkers, he's gloriously bonkers, but it's hard not to sense an intelligence behind there. That deep in all that weirdness, somebody actually knows what they are doing and has taken it as far as they have because it's just fun and funny to do so.

Each generation gets the Burt Reynolds it deserves.
posted by The World Famous at 11:38 AM on December 30, 2012 [29 favorites]


It's a modern caricature of the old western saloon, but it's also an existential movie where it creates its own universe; where it's safe to wonder if rural America is really just someone's idea of hell. It's also an homage to Walking Tall.
posted by Brian B. at 11:39 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's been an absolutely terrific year for [McConaughey] between this and Magic Mike (which I haven't seen yet, but I am assured that his performance is one of its highlights).

Though it was released a couple of weeks more than a year earlier than Magic Mike, I would include Bernie and also his work in Eastbound and Down in his annus mirabilis.
posted by roquetuen at 11:46 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe it's been 3 years since Patrick Swayze died. It feels like it was much more recent.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:48 AM on December 30, 2012


Ebert's review claims that Road House is the first film in a long time to use the line "Prepare to die." But Road House was released not long after The Princess Bride. This is clearly a trial of my faith in Ebert.
posted by The World Famous at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2012


Road House gives me the same feeling as watching Republicans on or outside of Fox News. You just can't believe people seriously say these things and yet in the end, you have to.
posted by juiceCake at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Like others, now I guess I’ll have to watch Roadhouse after all these years. I have friends who love this movie but I’ve never given in. The line between a bad movie and a great bad movie is so fine and personal.
posted by bongo_x at 11:53 AM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whoa, they released it on blu-ray in 1080p a few years back? I had no idea.
posted by mathowie at 12:15 PM on December 30, 2012


Whoa, they released it on blu-ray in 1080p a few years back? I had no idea.

Well, they just released The Room on blu-ray, so it's not like the bar is high.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:32 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The first time I saw Road House was a few years ago in the beautiful and elegant Borzoi Kabinet Theater of the metafilter-favorite Museum of Jurassic Technology, which typically screens documentaries about Russian scientists and philosphers, but that night hosted a drunken retrospective of classic Americana--Corvette Summer was the second feature in that night's double bill). IT WAS AWESOME.
posted by jjwiseman at 12:40 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won't walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will help you, and you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job. It's nothing personal... I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice.
Think of every Tarentino film. Now you understand where he got his driving moral philosophy. And I mean that as high praise.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:07 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


NYU has far and away the best philosophy department in the world, which makes Dalton's line that much funnier.
posted by painquale at 1:12 PM on December 30, 2012


Holy crap, Ebert was wrong about a bit of trivia involving two cult movies? Whoa, my world just trembled on its axis.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:17 PM on December 30, 2012


I'm not buying that it's parody, either, considering the spate of excruciatingly macho and achingly stupid movies that came out in the '80s: the Rambo movies, Top Gun, etc. And the ones with the cheesy fake Asian philosophy that took themselves too seriously, like The Karate Kid. So we wind up with this movie that has both, plus Patrick Swayze, the hot property of the time. Godawful.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 1:27 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]



A polar bear fell on me.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:28 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, Ebert was wrong about a bit of trivia involving two cult movies? Whoa, my world just trembled on its axis.

He was wrong about the Plexiglas, too, unless they upgraded the chicken wire while I was watching the beatings.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:49 PM on December 30, 2012


Play the board Game!
posted by travis08 at 2:23 PM on December 30, 2012


CORVETTE SUMMER!. FUCK YEAH! Similarly to JenFullMoon's experience, my sister & I convinced our 60-something babysitter to take us "Because Like Skywalker is in it." We were 9 & 8 at the time.

Boy, were we in for a surprise.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:41 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


First a discussion of the Blue Brothers and now Roadhouse. My year is complete.

The first time I saw Roadhouse I could not help thinking over and over that the owner of the bar was Roy (or is it Gage?) from emergency. Or he was someone on some bad early 70's drama?

At the time this movie came out, I got hit next to my eye with a hockey stick. At the emergency room they called for a plastic surgeon to stitch it up since it was so close to my eye. Next thing I know this blond woman, as good looking of a woman as I had seen in person ever, walked in to the room. She said, "Let me have a look." I said, "Who are you?" "I am the plastic surgeon. Does it hurt?" I struggled so hard to remember what Dalton said, but all I could come up with was, "Yes, your finger is pushing against it." I so blew my opportunity to be like Dalton. I kept thinking if I could have only remembered that line from Roadhouse.

Pain don't hurt.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:48 PM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Foo! Saddest thing to watch the last seconds of the edit countdown just as you realize there's s typo…
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:48 PM on December 30, 2012


I felt like Romeo is Bleeding was in some ways one of the best movies I ever watched, Roadhouse even as parody doesn't come anywhere near it. Wag the Dog was good, but missing something to make it a feature movie instead of what feels like a padded out short or pitch, and I suppose I'll have to see Fatal Beauty just because. In any case, Hilary Henkin is one of the Hollywood talents who I look up on imdb every couple years to see if a new project is in the works, but as with all screenwriters, I'm not sure if her work is uneven or if the directors who film it and those who edit it don't quite know how to handle it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:56 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


PBZM, I have a smartass friend who on meeting Mark Hamill about ten years ago said: I loved you in Corvette Summer; FWIW, Mark Hamill laughed.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:58 PM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, Ebert was wrong about a bit of trivia involving two cult movies? Whoa, my world just trembled on its axis.

Neither was a cult film in 1989. They were mainstream pictures. Ebert reviewed The Princess Bride in October 1987 and gave it 3.5 stars. He would have been well aware of it when he reviewed Road House in 1989. And the line "Prepare to die" is not exactly 'trivia' from a cult film.
posted by The World Famous at 3:16 PM on December 30, 2012


Wasn't that Tom Cruise Cocktail vehicle around the same time as Road House? It was like in the 80's they'd run out of ideas for cocky-outsider-joins-career-and-changes-everything movies after Days of Thunder and Youngblood and just started choosing careers at random.

"Uh its like Top Gun, only Cruise is mixing drinks."

"See, its like Steel Dawn, except instead of Swayze being a psuedo-ninja roaming a barren landscape, he's a philosopher who has become a bouncer."
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:26 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The first time I saw Roadhouse I could not help thinking over and over that the owner of the bar was Roy (or is it Gage?) from emergency. Or he was someone on some bad early 70's drama?

It was Roy, Kevin Tighe. I worked with Randy Mantooth (Gage) a bunch of years ago, thinking what a tool he was the entire time. I idolized Gage as a wee lad on Emergency! and when I found out it was him it really gave a knee to the groin of my youth.
posted by nevercalm at 4:13 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not buying that it's parody, either, considering the spate of excruciatingly macho and achingly stupid movies that came out in the '80s

I regret to inform you that you are doing post-ironic-hipster-hate wrong. There is no room for context when you simply detest. Try flipping it with love, like:

I like to think that Roadhouse is basically a sequel to Eastwood's Which Way movies. Except the main character now feels alienated, because of his little talked about mother's death, enough to have lost his love and doesn't even hang out with his best friends Oville and Clyde anymore. Now he puts his fighting skills to good use by bouncing at the honky-tonk bars he used to love to frequent as a customer.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:00 PM on December 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I prefer to think that "Prepare to die" is not Inigo Montoya's line. Inigo Montoya's line is "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Separated into its component sentences, it ceases to be the iconic line uttered by Mandy Patinkin and becomes instead a mere assemblage of cliches.
posted by Etrigan at 5:37 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sam Elliott is so awesome. And Patrick Swayze—mm! Whatever alternate universe this movie takes place in, I want to go to there.
posted by limeonaire at 6:59 PM on December 30, 2012


Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women.

Just came in to say this.
posted by gertzedek at 7:28 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was living on a dirt road in the South, raising goats, growing marijuana in the woods, driving a Porsche, and studying Tai Chi when "Road House" came out... so I don't know what all the fuss is about. It always stuck me as sort of documentary, slice of life movie.
posted by Huplescat at 9:37 PM on December 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Okay, I'm finally watching this, and YOU GUYS DID NOT MENTION HOT SAM ELLIOTT. I actually like this movie now.

I would live blog it but it's just mostly crying otherwise.
posted by theredpen at 9:50 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do understand a lot more about the Big Lebowski now, though.
posted by theredpen at 9:54 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


who has taken up work as a bouncer,

You are the bouncers. I am the cooler.
posted by Catchfire at 10:17 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wasn't that Tom Cruise Cocktail vehicle around the same time as Road House?

Not coincidentally, two of the best riff trax there are.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:18 PM on December 30, 2012


Wasn't that Tom Cruise Cocktail vehicle around the same time as Road House?

Not coincidentally, two of the best riff trax there are.


Is that right? Because it would take an awful lot to get me to watch Cocktail again. Although, it might be worth it if they do a good mockery of those bar poems.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:42 PM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aiight, I'm watching the damned thing because of the thread, and...

In the first scene in the bar, Jeff Healy is behind plexiglass... until suddenly he announces a break to 'drain the main vein', and somebody throws a beer at him most of which makes it through the CHICKEN WIRE. Since I'm not watching the movie for its continuity skillz, I'll soldier on.


ebert's notes ftw
posted by hap_hazard at 11:48 PM on December 30, 2012


Watching the movie because of this thread. Favorite line so far: "It's quiet, and the horses let me know if anyone comes around."

Guard horses. Guard horses.
posted by compartment at 12:48 AM on December 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


CORVETTE SUMMER!. FUCK YEAH! Similarly to JenFullMoon's experience, my sister & I convinced our 60-something babysitter to take us "Because Like Skywalker is in it." We were 9 & 8 at the time. Boy, were we in for a surprise.

Not just Skywalker, but Kim Milford, a class act who left us way too early. Dude sang in Jeff Beck's band and recorded with T.O.N.T.O. during the Stevie era, his sister was nominated for an academy award (and was in Heathers… not to mention longtime Richard Gere's girlfriend), and Kim was one of the originals in Rocky Horror (the guy on the floor)… to name but a few of his accomplishments. Sure, Mark had Star Wars, but what else fore or aft?
posted by readyfreddy at 3:08 AM on December 31, 2012


I leave town for a couple of days and come back to this?!? It's like Christmas a couple of days late.
posted by Gronk at 6:27 AM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Road House and Point Break are movies from a time when it was okay to watch a movie to have silly fun and you didn't have to be subjected to two hours of poop jokes.

I miss this time.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:57 AM on December 31, 2012 [2 favorites]




Does it have to be intentional to be a parody?

"Watching movies with Woody Allen: Road House

…''Yes,'' Mr. Allen said, letting the notion sink in for a moment. ''But if you were asking me, I would say that 'Road House' achieves a certain poetry that ‘Billy Jack’ doesn't. ‘Billy Jack' is beautifully made, but you can see the message of it too plainly, you know, and it's just not as well done. …
''O.K., is this a good place to stop?" Mr. Allen asked. ''It is? Fine.'' He called back to the projectionist.

In the Middle of Nowhere

''I think, first off, you take the film from the beginning, there's that beautiful scenic opening,'' Mr. Allen said. ''The sense of this road house that's isolated out there, and then the town, which is one of the great images in American film. It's a town in the middle of nowhere, just a few buildings. I mean, it's just a little general store, a bar, a livery stable, just stuck out in the middle of the wild like that. You have a sense that this is what those Western towns really look like.''

Mr. Allen noted the complex tangle of relationships that are economically sketched out, one by one, in the opening scenes. ''From the first, because of the way Herrington shot it, you can tell that there is this intense fascination between Red and Dalton; it's almost love at first sight or something,'' he said. ''And it's wonderful the way he snaps around when Dalton cocks his fist, because you know, immediately, that you're dealing with a tough guy. It's done so offhandedly. There are certain things that you don't think in words, that you think emotionally. You know, it clicks in some subliminal way. Here, you think to yourself, oh, I would like to have this guy on my side. So that then later, when he does go on West's side, it's so wish-fulfilling.

''And the bad guys are handled in a great way, too. The first word out of Wesley’s mouth is that he doesn't want any trouble. At several points during the movie, Wesley tries to be reasonable. So it's not just a bunch of bullies. It's more complex than that.''

The connecting threads of the relationships are built one strand at a time. Even the tough guy who humiliates Dalton in the bar comes back into play, later, redeemed and nuanced. But through it all, the overriding mystery is the character of Dalton himself; quiet, calm, utterly competent and yet yearning for something. ''This guy is not a pushover,'' Mr. Allen said, ''but you have also seen this goodness of spirit that he has. Patrick Swayze is an interesting choice for the part because Dalton is such a passive character in the whole thing. He's just quiet and passive and nonassertive. And he's a small guy, not a big, beefy cowboy star.''
...
''If any actor has ever created a character who is the personification of evil, it is Ben Gazzara,'' Mr. Allen said.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:14 PM on December 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I bought Road House as a present for a friend a few years ago as a joke after glancing at the cover. Not realising it would change my life forever. It is now our favourite hang out movie. So. Much. Fun!
posted by latch24 at 1:48 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um... wow.

I had totally forgotten that Patrick Swayze's first movie was Skatetown USA as Ace, leader of the toughest roller-disco gang on wheels.

Have you seen his "I'm a bad roller-disco leather daddy and I'm gonna spank you w/ my belt" scene?.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:34 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Way behind, but holy shit *Killer Joe*. We should note, for any on the fence about seeing it, that it's directed by William Friedkin, based on a Tracy "August: Osage County" Letts play. The cast is stellar. It's risky, ballsy filmmaking and is in NO WAY safe. Nobody on the movie chose a dialed-back performance over a totally committed one. It's strong work.

But it earned every bit of its NC-17 despite a wholesale lack of the sort of graphic violence or sexuality that rating usually implies (nothing in the unrated director's cut I saw couldn't have been done on stage, e.g.).

However, be warned, because it may, in a fundamental and irrevocable way, forever damage your relationship with fried chicken.
posted by uberchet at 12:45 PM on January 2, 2013


Girlfriend needed another item to get free shipping, so Road House blu ray, ordered. I am weirdly excited.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:54 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


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