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Pain Don’t Hurt: Why Road House Rules

by gwolinetz on September 15th, 2009

Generally speaking, women that are my age remember Patrick Swayze for his role in Dirty Dancing. Men that are my age remember him for his role in Point Break. People who like maudlin, sentimental crap remember him for his role in Ghost.

Really though, if there’s one thing that he should be remembered for, it’s Road House. On the Joe Posnanski scale of movie expectation, this movie is a 3. I expected a 0 star movie, but Road House is friggin’ awesome, so I got a 3 star movie.

And since Mr. Swayze has now left this mortal coil*, I figured this would be a good time to explain why Road House should be remembered as his magnum opus.

*I want to make sure that everyone clicks through, if only to read the headline that Peter Travers put at the top of that blog post. “Remembering Patrick Swayze: Muscular Poetry in Motion.” That’s the title. Muscular Poetry in Motion. Now, Peter Travers has been writing professional for longer than I’ve been writing at all, so there’s that. But, really? Muscular Poetry in Motion? Come on, man.

OK, here we go. Five awesome things about Road House:

1) The ripping his throat out scene
- OK, so let’s lay out some of the plot here: Swayze plays Dalton: a philosophy doctoral candidate, an avid reader, the best bouncer around because he keeps his cool and uses force only when necessary. But don’t fuck with the guy. When Brad Wesley’s henchman come and try to screw with the old guy that rents his barn to Dalton, Dalton goes all Jeet Kun Do on them.

So when Sam Elliott meets his maker, Dalton loses it completely and while fighting with the guy near the lake, he rips his throat out and leaves him for dead face down in the shallow water just as Kelly Lynch drives up. It’s one of the more improbable scenes in the movie, because I’m not a physician or vigilante, but I’m pretty sure ripping someone’s throat out can’t be done by grabbing the side of their neck and pulling.

Anyway, I’m glad I mentioned Kelly Lynch …

2) Kelly Lynch
-She ain’t the world’s greatest actress, but she absolutely melts the screen in this one. In fact, she’s the main reason that I can’t watch this movie on AMC. And I’ll leave it at that.

3) Swayze’s tai chi scene
-So, I assume this scene is supposed to underscore that Dalton is a very cool guy because he’s very philosopical and all that. Great. Why couldn’t they just take 30 seconds and pan over a copy of Walden on his nightstand or something? I didn’t need shirtless Swayze making me feel inadequate. If he reads philosophy and poetry and kicks ass and has dynomite areolas, what the hell is my wife supposed to see in me?

4) The fat guy
-I don’t know where they found this guy or why he hasn’t gotten more work, but this guy is the most underrated part of the film. He’s absolutely, hands down the worst henchman ever. You’d think with all that weight behind him, he’d be at least marginally effective in fighting with people. But this guy gets his ass kicked non-stop throughout the entire movie and keeps coming back for more. I don’t know what Brad Wesley is paying him to work for him, but I’ll double it.

The fat guy is also the only thing in the movie that the director got wrong. The fat guy should have died in this movie, but he was allowed to run away and save his life. This is bullshit. He’s such a dick in this movie. This fat bastard should have bit it at the end.

5) Sam Elliott
-Sam Elliott is badass in The Big Lebowski. He’s badass in Tombstone. And he’s badass in this.

And that’s just five reasons that Road House rules. I didn’t even get into Kelly Lynch’s dad who owns the store that Wesley’s men trash, Jeff Healey(!) as the band leader at the bar, and the script.

RIP, Dalton. Pain don’t hurt.

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