Road House (SE)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Zen cooler Daulton is brought into Jasper, Missouri to help fix up the Double Deuce, a bar with hillbilly charm, but a bad reputation. Jasper Kingpin, Brad Wesley doesn’t care for Daulton’s zen lifestyle or moose-like hair, but mostly he doesn’t like Daulton coming into his town and changing things. Things come to a head as the bar starts to make progress and eats into the profits of Brad Wesley. A battle of epic proportions and Sam Elliott’s moustache get underway.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If this movie could be any more perfect, I don’t know if I’d be able to keep myself from ever wanting to do anything again. To understand this movie is to understand the parameters in which the world of Road House is set in. Gone is the logic that you can have more than one store, one bar, a hospital, two houses separated by a lake and a car dealership. Because the resources for places that fall outside the realm of these few establishments do not exist, we don’t have to worry about arbitrary things like hot tile roofing or until the very end, police. It’s a very simple existence and when you’re a kingpin of this small town and some kid comes in to disrupt the flow of your bloodline (extorting money), you need to snap back times two. That’s what makes Brad Wesley such a sympathetic character, and also due in part to the brilliant acting of Ben Gazzara. He plays Wesley as a ruthless and vacant kingpin, but the subtleties of his character which reveal his humanity and compassion can be found all over the movie, such as the scene where Red’s store catches on fire (“where’s the firemen? I want to buy them a drink), his nighttime pool orgy (as he pinches a fellow’s cheek, “I love this guy”), and when he meets Daulton at his estate (as the music plays, “will you shut that shit off! It has no soul.”) Gazzara brought more out of Wesley than I think the writers initially had in mind.
Daulton of course, other than doing his part to maintain balance in the universe, moves briskly throughout the movie much the same way Wesley does, in that they both have principles, rules and codes they live their life by. One can’t help but imagine that if Wesley wasn’t busy extorting poor business owners that probably never make a profit, and Daulton wasn’t busy banging doctors and throwing drunks out of a bar, these guys would throw down on some Playstation 2 and eat Doritos. Or at the very least, shoot some hoops. If Sam Elliott’s Wade Garrett were alive, he’d join them. It’s quite obvious that I can write volumes on the genius of Road House, but simply put, the movie has everything going for it. Every character knows their role in the film and director Rowdy Herrington made sure that it was all kept in check and no character started big timing and looking for more screen time. The movie is fast paced, to the point, and there’s nothing it demands from you other than 25% of your attention, and if your girlfriend was like that, you’d be happier man. So break up with her.
Commentary Featuring Director Rowdy Herrington – With a name like Rowdy Herrington, you’d expect the guy’s balls to be carrying HIM in a wheelbarrow. Unfortunately, the man is as exciting to listen to as my grandmother reciting her illnesses (which are all terminal). Though Rowdy does understand Daulton’s psyche (which is what matters) he chimes in so infrequently, you feel like you’re just a watching the movie without commentary. Hearing his thoughts on the “modern western” definitely was fascinating. But it's like the saying about being disappointed when you meet your heroes.
Commentary Featuring Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier – The View Askew boys talked up Road House in the intro to the Clerks X DVD commentary and were subsequently brought on for a go at it. They come prepared with some of the coolest trivia and tidbits on the film and also, for a good portion of the movie, regale us with Daulton/Chuck Norris type lines like, “Daulton doesn’t tea bag, he potato sacks.” Funny shit.
Trivia Track – This is one of those subtitle deals where nuggets of info relating to the movie and time period are shown on screen. My favorite is when Daulton is stabbed in the first scene: “That didn’t hurt Daulton.” That’s right bitches.
Featurette: "On the Road House" – Rowdy Herington, The Swayze, Kelly Lynch (who's still really hot), and Marshall Teague (Jimmy, the guy who gets his throat ripped out) all look back on the making of Road House with stories on shooting (The Swayze and Teague used no padding in their fights), interesting fun facts (they filmed said fight scene 71 times). Die hard fans will notice Road House fight coordinator as the weird looking guy that John Cusack kills in Grosse Point Blank.
Featurette: "Sneak Peek - Road House 2: Last Call" - Basic behind the scenes for the sequel.
Documentary: "What Would Dalton Do?" – In a strange and different twist, this documentary involves real life “bouncers” and “coolers” (there’s a difference by the way) talking about their chosen profession. Pretty interesting, but then unnecessarily goes another five minutes with made up scenarios and the bouncers giving their take on what Daulton would do.
This is a must buy for any moderate to hardcore fan of Road House (or anyone with testicles). The movie has shit blowing up, lots of fighting, blood, drinking and a good bluesy soundtrack. There are enough quality special features to make it a purchase without being packed with half ass features you won’t ever use. You can watch the flick with your lady so she can pick on and laugh at the wardrobes and 80s style hairdo, while you envision yourself ripping your boss’ throat out at the company party. Everybody wins (except your boss)!