Sunday, January 15, 2012


How is it that I've not seen this until now? 
ROADHOUSE, 1989. Directed by Rowdy Herrington.

"A tough bouncer is hired to tame a dirty bar." (IMDB)

I don't know if I spent more time laughing (not with them, but at them) or cringing, but despite being cheesy as hell, this film is pretty good. As in, if you grew up in the eighties, you'll be entertained, probably a lot. Which is also to say that if I had seen this back in the day, it would have clearly been one of my legitimate favorites (no irony or sarcasm involved). But you can't not get lost in the nostalgia; for instance:

Clothing/Hair. You will see mullets. You will see satin/chiffon puffy evening gowns worn *in a bar.* You will see a peroxided young lady perform a strip tease that leaves her wearing nothing on top and a pair of white, lace, waistband-over-the-navel panties, which is meant to be sexy . . . (yeah, it was the eighties, but come on). This is the only film in existence where you will see a medical doctor (Kelly Lynch, also peroxided) sporting a gingham mini-dress, winged hair, and power bangs. And how about those pleated white pants (on the men)? It's fun.

Outlandish Factor. Do fights really break out in bars this often? Maybe, but try having a squad of buffoons pommel around IN A MONSTER TRUCK (submitted most likely for the sole purpose of using it to bulldoze through a car dealership in the film's second half) and having nearly every conflict end in a fiery explosion. Pool stick antics to evoke a fight. Knifings. Giant, stuffed wildlife animals in bad guy's living room. Dialogue snippet---"Prepare to die." Dalton's (Patrick Swayze) response? "YOU ARE SUCH AN ASS HOLE." Seriously, who wrote this? I kind of love them.

Casting: Patrick Swayze teams up with Kevin Tighe (Anthony Cooper from LOST, or the Chop-Poker guy from Tales From The Crypt), Ben Gazzara (Jackie Treehorn from Lebowski), and probably the best smooth-talking biker of all time SAM ELLIOT (Gar from Mask!) . . . there was no way this film could lose with this lot. Tighe is hard to accept as a good guy if you've seen him in virtually anything else he's done, and he did that surprised, egging-it-all-on kind of leery look acting that he always does, but he was pretty spot on---the others were all perfect. Elliot's ratty gray hair was a nice touch, although I do kind of wish they'd given him a bigger mustache.

I need to own this.