Cheese-tastic Classics: “Road House”

I have a little club outside of Kansas City called the Double Deuce… Used to be a sweet deal. Now it’s the kinda place that they sweep up the eyeballs after closin’.

Welcome to “Cheese-tastic Classics”, a new series here at FMR where I take a look at movies which have that distinctive “L’eau du fromage”… These are movies we all love, and they should be celebrated, but it’s undeniable that they are Cheeeeese-tastic!

What makes a cheesy movie? Damned if I know. You recognize that they’re fun, that you’re enjoying them, but at some level your brain is rebelling saying “Yes, but it’s not actually good”. Somehow though, regardless, you find yourself rewatching it again and again over the years. Killing time happily on the couch even though you’ve seen it 135 times already. These are the movies where the entertainment outweighs any critical brain function. These are the movies that wind up as people’s “Guilty Pleasures” These are Cheese-tastic!

PURE CHEDDAR BABY!!

I can’t open the series with a whimper, that’s not my style! So let’s talk about a Cheese-tastic Classic today! Let’s talk “Road House”!

$5,000 up front, $500 a night. Cash. You pay all medical expenses… I run the show. Completely. When the job’s done I walk.

Dalton’s the best damn cooler in the business.

Played by the late, great Patrick Swayze, Dalton is a Mercedes driving, Tai Chi practicing, cigarette smoking bouncer. He has a degree in philosophy from NYU. He carries his medical records around with him to save time. People keep telling him they thought that he’d be bigger.

Of course the Double Deuce is a hell hole. Aside from having an awesome house band (Jeff Healy), it’s a wretched hive of scum and villany. Dalton walks in on a surveillance mission and literally, there’s a fight breaking out within five seconds. Waitresses are getting manhandled. Drugs are being sold openly. People chuck bottles at the band’s chicken wired cage. It seems one in every three patrons carries a switchblade. The entire place is in a brawl ten minutes into his visit.

The current bouncers and bar staff are too busy hitting on women, sleeping, stealing, and starting fights themselves to keep the bar under control. So Dalton needs to whip them into shape. His first order of business is to fire two of the staff. One for having a bad temper and one for dealing drugs. His second order of business is to lay down some rules.

All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. And three… be nice.

As he begins to clean up the Double Deuce, Dalton moves in to a rented room in a peaceful farmhouse by a river. There, he can garage his Mercedes and practice his Tai Chi in peace.

It turns out, though, that it happens to be right across the way from local kingpin Brad Wesley (played by the late Ben Gazzara). As his efforts to reform the bar progress, Dalton’s purposes begin to cross Wesley’s. The local businesses all pay kickbacks to Wesley, who rules the town with his gang of thugs – some of whom are tied in with the Double Deuce staff Dalton is firing.

And so, the time-honored conflict begins. The “evil local land baron” vs. “the new Sheriff in town”. Dalton stands up to Wesley and his goons, and slowly convinces the locals to make a stand as well. Of course, it’s not going to be easy. Wesley cuts off the Double Deuce’s liquor supplies, and keeps sending the goons…

You’re too stupid to have a good time!

Of course, Dalton has a way with the ladies, too.

He attracts Wesley’s woman like a magnet – she practically throws herself at him on multiple occasions, even after Wesley gives her a beating over it. But Dalton’s not interested. He is interested in the Doctor daughter (Kelly Lynch) of one of the local businessman, though. After getting stitched up following one of his many altercations, the two begin to get involved… Eventually, she visits the farmhouse, Dalton calls on the power of Otis, and then shows her he knows how to do more than fight.

Pain don’t hurt.

Dalton stands up for the town and the Double Deuce. Thankfully, his old friend and counterpart Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott) comes to his aid. Garrett is getting a bit long in the tooth, but his experience makes him a formidable presence.

Wesley won’t be deterred though. He torches the local auto parts store, the store owned by Dalton’s girlfriend’s father. Then brings a crew into the Deuce and busts it up. He turns up the harassment on the local businesses, and has his goons give Wade Garrett a beating – then a stabbing. A deadly serious message… and a touch of tragedy to the story of the Double Deuce.

But Brad Wesley has underestimated the resolution of the best cooler in the business. You can’t make Dalton back down… a lesson Brad Wesley and crew are about to learn the hard way.

Fist fights, knife fights, sex, nudity, more fist fights, hot babes, explosions, fights and blues music. Road House knows what’s fun and serves it up in double sized portions. It’s loaded with great tough guy dialogue like, “Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he’ll drop like a stone.” “You wanna know why you disgust me? ‘Cause you’re a bleeder”, “If you’re gonna have a pet, keep it on a leash” and “This place has a sign hangin’ over the urinal that says, ‘Don’t eat the big white mint’”.

It has a great central character in the philosopher turned martial arts expert bouncer Dalton, a fantastic villain in the 50′s music loving Brad Wesley, a world-class sidekick in the grizzled Wade Garrett, and great music provided by Jeff Healy. It’s a fantastic mix of fighting, fun, and fooling around.

When it comes to Cheese, Road House is a “Cheese-tastic Classic”!

Daniel Fogarty

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46 thoughts on “Cheese-tastic Classics: “Road House”

  1. I LOVE this movie…… I could (and have) watched this over and over again ! Never thought of it as cheese…. saw it as a true to life, action/drama. Haha. When this came out, I saw it because I was in love with Patrick Swayze. When I actually saw it, I recognized the bar owner (played by Kevin Tighe) as Roy DeSoto from the 70′s show, Emergency….. A crush of mine from my really young days. Haha, I guess I always had a thing for guys who protect/rescue. :D

    Great choice for an opener!!!

  2. You finally found a movie not in my collection but I do love it. After all, I believe it is the favorite film of Crow T. Robot which inspired the MST3K song “A Patrick Swayze Christmas”. I should check and buy a copy. Must say I got a little misty eyed seeing Swayze and Gazzara together-2 stars no longer with us. Long may “Road House” stay standing.

    • Oh, man, now I feel kind of bad for mentioning Gazzara passed away but not Swayze.

      It was just because it was recent and I had a post on it…

      Oh well… Edit time! :D

      Meanwhile, I dont know about Crow T Robot, but I know I love it!

  3. Great movie; good action (occupational hazard) for main character (Swayze) and his (and town’s) search for inner peace so the Tai Chi and rural abode actually complement the movie and it’s pace really well for me. Barn setting is ideal to display simple good life versus modern bad boys across the river. “Calling me sir is like putting an elevator in an outhouse. It don’t belong. ” -Emmit

    And yes I dig the in your face bar scenes; solid cheese. Great pick :-)
    “The name is DALTON.” – Cody

    • Yeah, that’s actually the cheesiest thing to me in this whole movie. The Dichotomy of Dalton. He’s a kick ass bouncer, all scarred up, smoker… but then he’s a philosophy major, Tai Chi practionner mercedes driver, sensitive guy. LOL. Thats great.

      Its just so classic.

      Thanks for the support S! It’s awesome! :D

  4. Great choice to open up the feature with… Road House is a lot of fun, even if it doesn’t necessarily pass all the “cinematic classic” tests. I still have trouble picturing Patrick Swayze beating up a bunch of guys who beat up Sam Elliott, though. :D

    • Transitive Law failure at some point in the math for you, buddy?

      That’s going to be a point of this series I guess. Fun movies that I can’t call MTESSes with a straight face LOL.

      I get jealous when I see you writing up things like “Top Dog” and “Cool as Ice” :D!!!

      • Ha ha ha… I hear you, I hear you. That’s a large part of why I called my MTESS equivalent “Favorite Films”; no arguments over whether something’s a “must see” for everybody. Of course, on my ordinary non-favorite reviews I still had to split the “Top Dog” and “Cool as Ice” types off simply to acknowledge the inherent bias in reviewing a film I expect to be terrible. :D

      • Oh, I know. Anything more involved than “I watched this, here’s what I thought” just balloons into a lot of work really quickly. Still fun, though.

  5. Aaaahhh simpler times in the late 80′s when all you had to do after a massive bad guy killing spree was have a few friends say “I didn’t see nuthin” to get off the hook! The deadly throat rip is a classic!

    • LOL! That’s a freaking awesome point… this town had the world’s most absentee cops ever. And then yeah, the throat rip! He almost does it twice… he preps it to use on Wesley, but then relents…

      Of course, Wesley gets what he’s got comin’ anyways!

  6. I always thought of this one as more of a ‘guilty pleasure’ than true cheese, but you’re right about it’s eu d’fromage. There’s definitely some curdled dairy products in the mix.

  7. LOL. I love play a drinking game to this movie. I totally agree with the cheesy-ness, but it’s totally a must watch list.

    Anyway, the first thing I always think of when I hear Roadhouse is this lovely clip…you’ve probably already saw it.

    • Nope. Never saw it. Not exactly a stand up comedy expert :D I’ve browsed past this guys videos on Netflix 100 times

      LOL! Just got to the Roadhouse joke. Heh….

      That’s a funny bit. That telegraph part cracked me up. I guess this bit is the title of that show cause I remember it.

      Fun stuff Jen, thanks!

  8. Fogs,
    Love the string…love the flick…Your blow by blow description did justice to a true classic..I know I made my feelings known about this film in the past. I recently caught it on AMC and had forgotten that Brad Wesley had his own helicopter…nuff said

    • Yeah, its just an excuse to revisit and remember the movie. You know, have a little fun with it.

      It is a crazy good flick in a cheese-tastic way. I love that one minute Wesley’s hitting his girl for flirting with Dalton, the next he lets her do a strip tease in front of the entire double deuce. LOL. Or the game of chicken he plays singing Sh-Boom. He was awesome.

      So was Elliott. What a buddy to have for a movie sidekick. LOL

      “Catch ya later, Mijo…”

      • Forget what I said about this not being in my collection. I couldn’t help myself. After I wrote the first time I went to Amazon and ordered a Blu-ray of it. I think it’s about time I owned this classic.

      • HAHAHHAHHAA!!

        The power of the blog right there! I’m more than happy about steering you to pick up this beaut! LOL Hope you enjoy watching it again as much as i did! :D

  9. Great Choice Fogs, Its funny I just picked this up on Amazon and was planning on writing up a review. This is one of those films where when I catch it on tv I can’t change the channel. Just the other day I was telling someone that if Roadhouse and A Seperation were both on, I would watch Roadhouse 100 times out of 100. Sweet Ass Review!

    • Haaa! Yeah, I read your thoughts on a Separation, and without having seen it myself, I’d say I’d have to agree,

      It’s entertaining! That’s one of the primary purposes of a movie is to entertain! It doesnt have to be high brow, or speak to any kind of intellectual standards… you just have to enjoy it.

      And Road House serves up the entertainment in spades! ‘

      Thanks for the support Adam!

    • LOL. “The Squonk” is it? :) Nice!

      I’m torn. I would like to think it was tongue in cheek, but when you look at the movies that were hitting it big then, this just seems to distill all those elements into one potent brew. I wonder if they had any inkling as to it being cheesy or tongue in cheek or anything. I’m willing to bet they did take it seriously.

      I sure dont. I love it, but its a fun, lighthearted, laugh filled experience for me. I never actually sweat Brad Wesley or anything. LOL!

  10. As others have said, an excellent, excellent first entry to the series, and quite possibly my favorite piece of guilty cheese (or whatever you want to call it) that there is. Never will there be enough written on the brilliance of Road House.

    It’ll be damn funny/sad when they try to remake it in 15 years with Zach Efron.

    • Mannnnn… this is supposed to be a celebration of the film! Not a nightmare! LOL

      Although they already made Road House 2 straight to DVD. Uchck.

      Anyways, thanks Dylan, yeah, got some fun ones lined up for this series, think I’ll run it bi-weekly.

      • I Have Road House in a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, Sir. I LOVE Road House. But My Father Love Love LOVES Road House ;) hehehe
        See The Diff?!
        Yeah.
        If He Could Be Any Human, Living or Dead or Fictional, He’d Be Sam Elliot In Road House… minus the fact he dies in the flick. But That’s Who He’d Be hahahahaha

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