Cinemea Culpa: Road House

We all make mistakes. To err is human. Occasionally we purposefully avoid a movie because of particular tastes or dislikes and in some rare cases we find out that what we passed on turns out to be a great movie after all when we finally get off our high horse and give it another chance. This new column’s sole purpose is a way of penance for all those mistakes, gaffs and blunders we stoopidly made in our youth or even in recent times for movies we should’ve seen.

Road House (1989)

Road-house-posterEleven-Year-Old Me: The reason I skipped out on seeing this awesome example of an un-PC vulgar, violent machismo about a very zen-like bouncer who is hired by bar owner to help clean up his place as well as protect it from other bad businessmen was I was too lame to care about such cheesy action movies. I was deeply involved with slasher flicks at this age and unaware at how much this type film would be extinct in the next few years. I also wasn’t a fan of Mr. Swayze because I was an 11-year-old boy who cared very little for Dirty Dancing and I didn’t take him seriously enough.

What Did I Miss: Finally seeing this masterpiece a few months ago, I realized what I fool I was. I always thought a super violent macho cheesefest about a bouncer who works in a rough bar was so outrageous in concept that it could have only been the work of some lame-brain bumpkins. It still is a crazy plot for a major motion picture BUT that’s what makes this go from easily-forgotten to schlock masterpiece. The dialogue, the fights, the music, the nudity are all over the top and I realize now it’s main appeal. It’s directed by a man named Rowdy Herrington for pete’s sake! ROWDY! This movie’s so chauvinistic it would make Michael Bay blush. It was a simpler time back in the 80s and we weren’t so afraid to push the envelopes and it was way easier and accepted to make films this way. It’s essentially a modern western in the sense that it takes place in a rural, south-western town. A man with virtually no past (or first name) is hired to rid the town (bar) from trouble and there’s no law and order other than street justice. 

Actually, I don’t think the old west was this wild as the town in Road House. I think everyone is on a 24-hour ‘roid rage. Every man is an asshole drunk caveman with a perpetual boner whose first instinct is to take what they want, bark and curse at everyone and anyone and solving all their problems with extreme violence. And the ladies aren’t any better! It’s absurd how much gratuitous violence and debauchery there is in this guy’s bar. I’m actually shocked there isn’t more murder happening every night in this place. A bar brawl is so common-place that the bar band continues the music without skipping a beat. And like a drunken Phoenix the bar is repaired and re-opened every day. It’s insane how much money he must spend on the furniture and decor of this dive to have to replace it every day! I mean where does the owner even get all these new tables, chairs and stools everyday? Does he have a warehouse with hundreds of tables and stools? And all the money wasted on broken beer and spirits behind the bar too. Yet, he has enough money to hire the best cooler/bouncer in the business. (I’m sorry but are there really bouncers so good at their jobs to have reputations not just in one town but hundreds of miles away? This is the same kind of universe that has widely popular arm wrestling tournaments like Over The Top [Look for our review for that Stallone gem soon!]

Here’s a good compilation of about half a dozen of the bar fights (JUST the fights in and around the bar mind you.)

Dialogue Examples: 

  • That gal’s got entirely too many brains to have an ass like that.
  • Pain don’t hurt.
  • I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.
  • I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.
  • If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won’t walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can’t walk him, one of the others will help you, and you’ll both be nice. I want you to remember that it’s a job. It’s nothing personal.
  • You know, I heard you had balls big enough to come in a dump truck, but you don’t look like much to me.
  • I used to fuck guys like you in prison.

As you can see, this is not Shakespeare but I’m sure most of you chuckled at most of these lines. As a kid, and up till I saw it, I always thought that Swayze’s zen-like philosophy that was in the trailers and clips I’ve seen was just pretentious and silly; especially for a frikkin’ bar bouncer! But now I’m hitting myself over the head that I missed the joke and fun that all my friends have been enjoying since 1989. Better late than never. I had an absolute ball watching every stinkin’ cheesy moment of this picture. If you ever avoided Road House because you felt it was beneath you or too stupid-looking, please give it another chance. I was glad to. Oh, and it even features Big Foot!

Notable Scenes:


8 thoughts on “Cinemea Culpa: Road House

  1. I had a similar evolution with my opinion of this film, only I was a 14 year old girl in 1989, so I started out watching Roadhouse only because I liked Patrick Swayze (and being disappointed because his character is kind of an asshole), and then realized sometime in the last few years what an amazing trash classic it is! I guess in 1989 I was too stupid to have a good time.


  2. I’ve never seen this whole thing but DID watch the sex scene online after reading that Bill Murray & his brothers call Kelly Lynch’s husband EVERY SINGLE TIME this movie is playing somewhere & they see the sex scene.

    I’m definitely watching the whole thing now.


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