Thursday, November 13, 2014

Road House

Well, mijo, the time has come to tell you a little story about a man named Dalton (Patrick Swayze), a sensitive, philosophy-major kind of man from one of them fancy schools back East, who wasn’t too proud to work the bars as a bouncer, keeping ‘em safe for gentler folk. Well, Dalton tried to be peaceful like, but he knew the time would come when he would be called upon to rip out a windpipe or two, and that time came when he was hired to clean up the roughest dive of all: The Double Deuce. To do that, he had to go toe to toe with one sumnabitch crime boss, Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara), and …what’s that, mijo? You (the reader) want to know why we (the scorecard technicians) keep referring to people in parentheticals? Shut up, mijo, don’t get distracted. Did you prepare yourself like we asked? Did you bring the box of nicotine gum, the surgical gauze, and a fresh pair of big-boy undies? That’s good, then. You may just be ready for the rest of Dalton’s story; the story men call: Road House.

  • Ever notice that Swayze is wearing mom jeans in the poster? = -5pts 
  • The way the guy in the opening sequence announces proudly, “How about some gold plastic?” = +4pts 
  • Dalton - so cool, he only dances with his chin. = +3pts 
  • Setting your movie in a world of famous bouncers who all know each other and brag about being “the best.” = +17pts 
  • Dalton’s Travel Tips: Balls to the 1964 Buick! Roll into Jasper, Missouri in a brand new Benz! = +7pts 
  • Because it’s a magic Benz, that goes from New York to Missouri in one frame. = +7pts 
  • Jeff Healey, as a young, struggling musician, you probably played a lot of shitty bars. How would you like it now, at the height of your career, to play a role in a major motion picture as the front-man of a band playing in a shitty bar? = +27pts 
  • Can everyone in this movie smoke more, please? = -7pts 
  • John Doe as the sleazy bartender. = +3pts 
  • Cheating a pimp out of his hard-earned breast squeezing remuneration. = -3pts 
  • This dive can’t seem to turn a profit. We could cut back on furniture breaking, but that’d drive away our best clientele. = - 12pts 
  • Dalton demonstrates his used-car negotiation skills: “I’ll take it.” = +2pts 
  • The Double Deuce’s main problem might be that its entire staff consists of bouncers. = -8pts 
  • “I think you’ll be my regular Saturday night thing, baby.” = +17pts 
  • Welcome to Ben Gazzara’s Half-Naked Pool Party/Drunken Convertible Road Tour! = +6pts 
  • Dalton flows through tai chi by the riverside, sweat dribbling down every muscle. Soon, it begins again: elderly men, approaching from all directions, staring, staring, staring at the ideal form of Dalton’s body, perhaps regretting the loss of a youthful prime, perhaps in awe of a heretofore unknown desire. = +23pts 
  • The Jasper, MO Chamber of Commerce is right! It really is the stabbiest place on Earth! = -4pts 
  • My other armpit smells like the top of a baby’s head. That’ll be 25 cents. = +14pts
  • Welcome to Ben Gazzara’s fist in your face! = +2pts 
  • “This place has a sign hanging over the urinal saying, don’t eat the big white mint.” = +3pts 
  • Hey! Didn’t you see the sign? No extra-long bendy legs! = + 20pts 
  • Breaking a guy’s leg and throwing his boot on the roof. = +12pts 
  • From Road House Dating Tips: The best way to pick up a sexy doctor is to beat the shit out of some guys at a bar. = -7pts
  • We’re getting lung cancer from this movie. = -27pts
  • Dalton – so cool, you can trash his car, and he’s all like “sha bro, you trashed my car. Good one.” = +3pts 
  • Doo dee doo, just a bouncer with an NYU degree in philosophy, lounging on the hood of my car, lookin’ cool in case anyone is watching me. Doo dee doo…. = +7pts 
  • Ah, the picturesque Kansas City mountains. = -3pts 
  • Remodeling the Double Deuce in one night. = +2pts 
  • This radio only plays Otis Redding slow jams, over and over again, in case you want to have sex. = +6pts 
  • Welcome to Ben Gazzara Watches you Do It! = - 10pts 
  • Wade’s sage advice to Dalton on having killed a man: “I can’t believe you’re still dragging that shit around.” = - 7pts 
  • Welcome to Ben Gazzara’s Monster Truck Rally! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! = +5pts 
  • I used to fuck guys like you in prison. And that’s also a line in this movie. = +45pts 
  • Dalton resolves his guilt over ripping out a guy’s windpipe by ripping out Jimmy’s windpipe. = +25pts 
  • Scratching your back with a shotgun. = +12pts 
  • Shooting a stuffed bear, getting crushed by it. = -6pts 
  • Welcome to The Whole Town Shoots Ben Gazzara! = +9pts 
  • Elizabeth wasn’t sure about Dalton after he killed one guy, but killing two, that’s pretty hot. = -7pts 
  • Wait, why does Jeff Healey wear a wristwatch? = -2pts 
Total Score: +167pts
Available on: Amazon rental

Yup, mijo, that’s the story of Road House, a story that, despite the lack of Keanu Reeves, flies to Point Break heights. Roger Ebert said it: “Road House is the kind of movie that leaves reality so far behind that you have to accept it on its own terms.” So yeah, it might have made more sense if the owner of The Double Deuce didn’t scour the country for the best bouncer ever, and instead hired an interior designer to give the place a family-friendly, T.G.I. Friday’s kind of vibe, but screw it. And did it make sense for a crime boss to cause millions of dollars of property damage for the sake of a pissing contest with that bouncer? Hell no, but did it make sense for Ahab to chase after the white whale? Well, we don’t think so. We don’t really understand the concept of metaphor. But you see what we’re saying, mijo? What made Moby Dick great was its fight choreography and quotes like “Pain don’t hurt,” and what makes Road House great is its trenchant use of symbolism and fun facts about whales. Or maybe we got our IMDB and Wikipedia references mixed up there, but here’s our point: if you want a story of frustrated, hot man-action smothered in folksy machismo, it’s tougher than a woodpecker’s lips to find a movie that delivers like Road House.

Score Technician: Alex Pearlstein


  1. Just heard about this story, so I thought I'd leave this here:

    1. And to think, they were deadly enough when they just shot people for no reason! Adding throat ripping just seems like overkill.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.