The Extended Play Movie Podcast continues its journey discussing some of our favorite movies. It should be no surprise that the 1989 cult-classic, Road House ended up on our list. The film can be viewed in one of two ways: complete cheeseball drivel or campy pseudo-philosophical gloriousness. Many people will settle on the former, but we will always come down on the ladder.
Starring Patrick Swayze, the film handles itself as a western. Dalton (Swayze) is recruited to turn over a bar in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas and becomes head bouncer. Naturally, he has a run-in with Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara) which leads to an inevitable battle to retake the town. It fits the western motif and who better to play the drifter than Patrick Swayze.
Keep in mind, Swayze was originally set to star in last week’s entry Tango & Cash, but backed out at the last minute to take this starring role. Life was made more pleasurable with the fact that we got Kurt Russell in Tango & Cash and Swayze went on to star in this guilty-pleasure masterpiece. It becomes even more delightful when you realize that this was a traditional Joel Silver movie.
Not only did Joel Silver produce this movie, but Steve Perry came along to executive produce this movie with Silver. Dean Cundey was brought onboard for director of photography, and Michael Kamen was brought in to compose the music for this film. If you listen carefully enough, you can hear some cords of Lethal Weapon pop up in the fight scene between Dalton and Jimmy.
First, there are plenty of awkward moments when you watch this film. Patrick and I had the pleasure of catching a midnight showing of this movie a couple of weeks ago. In fact, it was a few weeks after we recorded the podcast and raised so many more questions we wished we had discussed during the show. That awkward sex scene between Swayze and Doc (Kelly Lynch). It was not sexy and the audience felt how awkward that was. Not to mention, she was prepared because she was not wearing any panties to begin with.
That Thai-chi exercise that Dalton was doing out in the middle of that field. It was littered with latent homosexual overtones throughout the film, which is common in eighties male action movies. However, when you had Emmet and Brad Wesley gazing on his glimmering body slowly making his way through his routine. I mean, I am comfortable in my sexuality to say that he had me feeling some kind of way.
Do not even get me started on the goof with the parking lot. When the bar (miraculously) reopens with a paved parking lot, but somehow how at the end of the movie it turns back into a dirt lot?! Did Tilghman not pay the paving crew? Did they come back and repo the parking lot?
The major point the movie did correctly was the addition of Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott). It was played as the semi-retired gunslinger that came into town to help out the younger protégée. While his screen time is a bit limited, it was a master stroke of cinematic genius that graced this movie. Of course, his character was used as more of a plot device to propel the movie into its more ridiculous third act. Yet, we manage to forgive the filmmakers for that.
Road House is a compilation of what makes a fun and cheesy movie. In many ways, it is the epitome of an eighties film, filled with classic clichés but full of grit that the movie embraces them proudly. Swayze was taken far too early from this world, but the man has left a proud body of work that still impacts us to this day. While we may no longer have him around, we can still watch his movies and remember the man he was.