I just saw Road House for the first time. Road House is not one of the greatest films I have ever seen, but it is certainly one of the most amazing films I’ve ever seen. It is one of those rare films that is so unintentionally insane that you wonder if maybe it wasn’t unintentional.
Patrick Swayze is Dalton, a big time bouncer with a Zen approach who is hired to come to clean up a crazy bar in a small town called Jasper. It has all the makings of a “flashy big city guy moves to small town and slowly falls in love with the folksy ways of the natives, while learning a little something about himself along the way” kind of film. It isn’t. It is, again, sheer insanity, a film whose eccentricities keep you glued to the screen. There is a blind musician, a bad guy who hits the brakes on his dirtbike just long enough to laugh maniacally, boots with razor blade tips, and boobs. Lots of boobs. But don’t worry, ladies, the director (Penn State grad Rowdy Herrington) wanted to make a film that appealed to all audiences, so there are lots of scenes with a chiselled Patrick Swayze with his shirt off, including an awkwardly long scene of a greased down Swayze doing yoga in the yard while “The Bad Guy” Brad Wesley watches from his house across the lake. (Swayze and his arch enemy lived across a small lake from each other.)
One thing the town of Jasper is short on is an effective police force. Despite numerous knife fights at the Double Deuce, no officer ever makes an appearance. Despite several explosions, there are no investigations. When a Bigfoot truck destroys an auto dealer, there are no questions asked by the local authorities. Even after Dalton (spoiler alert) kills a man with his bare hands, no police show up to ask him any questions. Jasper truly is a vigilante town.
It is also a small town with a hot doctor. Needless to say, despite their apparent differences, the hot blonde doctor who wears short skirts to work and the tough guy bouncer fall in love. Or at least lust, despite the pain she must have been the morning after (spoiler alert!) having sex against a jagged stone wall. The love story endures its ups and downs, as the doctor doesn’t really approve of her boyfriend ripping another mans jugular vein out of his neck (women can be like that). But after Dalton proves his love by killing several men by more traditional means, she falls in love with him all over again. Love can be funny sometimes.
The film also had one of my favorite taglines ever: The dancing’s over. Now it gets dirty. I am not making that up. Another interesting note is that two of the stars of the film also starred in the Big Lebowksi. Sam Elliot, who starred as Wade in Road House, was the Stranger in Lebowski, while Ben Gazzara (Brad) starred as Jackie Treehorn in Lebowski.
The writing in the film is delightfully awful, and one has to wonder if some of the writers maybe one day moved on to writing for Silk Stockings. If you have not seen this film, it qualifies as a MUST SEE. I am giving it a B+, so brilliantly bad that it’s great.
PREVIOUSLY: JGT reviews 12 Angry Men.