Saturday, December 5, 2009

Movies: Road House

Because I watched this movie on VH1 on the plane, missing the first five minutes, the last ten minutes, and all the good parts in between that were replaced by commercials, I’m not sure that I should be reviewing it here. But I’m so fascinated by its extreme 80s-ness that I can’t help it. Everyone fell in love with Patrick Swayze’s moves in Dirty Dancing, but it’s in Road House that he shows his real moves, doing shirtless tai chi in front of his rented bungalow (no phone, no tv, no air conditioning—my kind of man!) while the next door neighbors—an all-male family of rich boors who, it turns out, have garnished their wealth by terrorizing the town’s small business owners—drive by in helicopters and monster-trucks. At one point, papa rich boor insists to Swayze that he’s done the town good—it’s because of him that they have a JC Penney. Oh, the 80s!

Only in the 80s could a movie with a plot this thin even be made—Swayze’s Dalton is the best cooler in the business (except for his gray-haired mentor, Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott in a fit of casting brilliance)), and he’s paid a pretty sum to leave his big-city digs and help revamp a rowdy roadhouse where brawls rage every night, so violent that the band—led by a blind blues guitar player—plays inside a chicken-wire cage. Dalton cleans up not only the bar, but the whole town, taking out the rich bad guys, and hooks up with a babelicious nerdy girl-doctor along the way (she staples shut a huge knife wound in his torso after he refuses any anesthetic, drives a red jeep, and looks ultra-hot when she takes off her glasses and unbraids her hair). I don’t know what happens in the end, but I wouldn’t mind watching the whole thing through again to find out.

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