Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ROAD HOUSE 5.0 out of 5 stars

In Road House Patrick Swayze is just a big hairy American winning machine, August 13, 2008

Road House is an 80's movie that orbits around the sun that is the art of bouncing. And it stars a man named Swayze. How did it possibly take us, Sid the Elf, this long to review this perfect flick. This movie has everything: The right star at the right point in his career with the right wavy mullet. The perfect plot, the perfect villains, everything just clicked. It remains the best example of big-budget B. It wasn't a success by conventional standards. But, is there another movie that makes you stop flicking channels for at least a minute every one of the 250,000 times it's on every week, or is that just us? Sid's theory on Road House: It was an experiment to see if B could ever resonate with a mainstream audience(because of its Swayze Power). Or maybe the crazy head of some studio said "You know what? I feel like making the ultimate 1989 guy movie. And if I get lucky, it will hold up terribly over time, and in 20 years it will be called 'One of the best action B movies ever,' by Sid the Elf. Well, congratulations Crazy Head of Some Studio. Road House is one of the best action B movies ever.

Now, Sid would never mislead you. Road House does star a Swayze, but it's Patrick unfortunately, not Don. Don's brother plays Dalton, the best cooler in the South. What is a cooler you ask? Well, from what we gathered, it's like a bouncer coordinator. But apparently, it also entails doing lots of Tai Chi shirtless but with skin-tight chick's sweatpants. Anyway, Tilghman(the fat wussy guy who owns the Double Deuce) lures Swayze away from his current bar to come to Jasper, Missouri to be the cooler at the Double Deuce. This begs the first of many, many questions in the film: If Tilghman is enough of a high roller to throw enough money at Dalton to get him to work at the Double Deuce, why on Earth did he buy a bar in Jasper, MO that is such a dump that they have to put chicken wire in front of the band to protect them from all the beer bottles they get thrown at them? Let Sid save you some time, don't ask questions. Just sit back and ride the B wave. So, that's Dalton's situation. He now is the cooler at the worst kind of dive bar. We mentioned the chicken wire, there are huge brawls every night, and apparently people occasionally wind up getting iced at the DD. Why don't we ever hear Jasper mentioned with Compton, West Baltimore and the like? Oh, because they got Dalton. That's right. At this point we're let in on Dalton's routine when moving to a new town. He rolls in in a sweet Benz convertible, but then he buys the goofiest old car he can find and uses that instead. He needs a place to stay right? And he clearly has a nice amount of cash. So of course he lives above Mike Pipper's barn for $100 a month. Just for the record, Mike Pipper's real name is Emmett and the exchange he has with Dalton when they first meet is too good to be true. You will feel embarrassed for the characters when you watch it, it's inevitable. Dalton goes to the Double D to see what it's like first hand. He's got a badass rep, because people start whispering about him when they find out who he is. Maybe they weren't sure if he really existed, like Bigfoot. Now Dalton meets his bouncing crew, which includes Terry Funk, who Dalton inexplicably fires telling him he should go to barber college. We didn't get it, either. Terry Funk could have just cross-face chicken winged every barfly that got out of line. But, the fact that a third-tier WCW wrestler was in the movie, adds at least 1 star automatically.

Now that Dalton has his crew set, and the ground rules laid down, it's time to clean up the DD. Of course, that's not going to be easy, Dalton is going to have to kick a butt or 20 in order to accomplish this, especially after he pisses off Brad Wesley by firing one of Wesley's relatives. Wesley is a real big shot in Jasper. He mentions at one point that he brought many businesses to town including JC Penny and 7-11. Well, we have to give him lots of credit for the 7-11. This guy has a stable of goons that he sends to the DD to mess with Dalton and kick his butt. Oh, did we mention that Wesley looks just like Handsome Dan's dad? Cuz that's kinda important. In one of these fights, Dalton gets sliced with a knife. He has to go to the hospital, and his doctor is Kerri Coughlin from Cocktail. Dalton is so used to getting scraped up in bar fights he carries his medical file with him(did he steal it with the help of Dr. Van Nostrand?)and it may or may not include his resume because the Doc comments on Dalton graduating from NYU in Philosophy. He's also is so used to injuries that he refuses local anesthesia before getting his knife wound stapled with the timeless gem, "Pain don't hurt." Dalton continues to have trouble with Wesley. We find out that Dalton's woman(Doc) is Wesley's old flame, which really makes him nuts. But Dalton gets some help. His mentor, Wade Garrett(Sam Elliot) comes to the DD(which he labels the Double Douche) to show Dalton what he'll look like in 25 years and scare him into quitting the glamorous life of being a cooler. When Garrett sees the terror Wesley inflicts on the town and the power of Wesley's henchman, Billy Ray Cyrus's little brother and #12 Jim Kelly, he implores Dalton to get out of town. But Dalton doesn't listen. Westley's goons go to the DD and find Garrett there alone. They kill him, they leave the knife in the guy with a note under it, signifying some goofy thing Wesley said to Dalton in an earlier phone conversation. Then, the goons burn down Dalton's buddy Red's store, including an awesome explosion, and they burn down Emmett's barn and Dalton's sweet bootytime tin roof.

Ok B fans. If you really know your stuff, you know at this point, it's showdown time. Dalton has to get it on with Wesley. But first, he has to go through the top henchman. See, Road House sticks right with the B blueprint. The top henchman is Jimmy. Lots of thought went into that one. He looks really fruity, hanging earring and all, he even gave Dalton an uber gay "come here" gesture at one point. Anyway, he and Dalton start to brawl, and Jimmy is kind of whupping butt and he's even talking some smack(e.g."Damn, boy. I thought you were good."). And suddenly, Jimmy says to Dalton, "I used to f--- guys like you in prison." WTF! Where did that come from? A lesser man would have been totally creeped out and thrown off his game. But, not Dalton. He snaps Jimmy's leg and rips his throat out! Awesome. It was even better the 2 times we watched it in slow mo. But, Doc gives Dalton the business for killing Jimmy. So now Dalton has to go after Wesley. Before he can get to him, though, he knocks a huge stuffed polar bear onto Uncle John(the really fat henchman). Handsome Dan Sr. has got a lot of guts, Sid must say. He just watched Dalton rip a guy's throat out, then he tells him, "I've always wanted to fight you Dalton." They start to go at it, fight we mean, and Dalton has Wesley pinned and he sees himself in the mirror. He is repulsed by the violent image he sees and is obviously thinking about Doc's disapproval. So he gets up and starts walking away, giving Wesley a great opportunity to kill him. The lesson, as always, women ruin everything. But, Dalton gets lucky. All the people Wesley has screwed over in the town all show up together at the exact second Dalton needs them to and they each shoot Wesley, killing him as Doc and Dalton look on, stunned. By now, the cops are arriving at the scene. There's a corpse that has been shot roughly 5 times, 8 other people in the room, 5 of whom have guns right in their hands, and a guy trapped under a large stuffed polar bear. Naturally, the cops are going to conduct a lengthy investigation, interrogate everyone in the room, and possibly arrest everyone right? Well, when the cops ask what happened, they got 7 "I didn't see anything" and one "A polar bear fell on me." Everyone has a chuckle, including the cops. Ok, case closed. And...scene. Yup, that's all she wrote. The movie ends.

Road House is a perfectly crafted B classic. It's got everything you can ask for, right down to the cheesy Dukes of Hazard ending. They even threw in some pretty sweet explosions for the hardcore B fans. The only things missing were cameos by Don Swayze and Jim Kelly's hair right after he took off his helmet. And the tagline was a little off. It was originally, "It's last call...for action!" Don't get us wrong, that's extremely B. But Sid likes to switch things up. We're changing the tagline to, "Cheap fabric and dim lighting. That's how you move merchandise." However, we did really enjoy Swayze's performance, surprisingly. Sid feels that B is just in the Swayze blood. Patrick delivered his 784 tough one-liners with Segal-like intensity, a must in a B classic. The flick also had more than enough people to make fun of. But there are two things that make Road House stand out from other B to make it a first-ballot hall of fame B. One, there are more Double Deuces and Dalton's Mullets out there as names of fantasy football teams than you can count. Also, this movie is on somewhere every minute of every day, we're convinced. Sid will even get sucked in and watch 5-10 minutes of it when it's on Telemundo. But, possibly the greatest thing about Road House is the fact that Sam Elliot and Patrick Swayze can forever say, "We invented the tough but still pretty're welcome."
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