Road House (1989) (part 11 of 15)
Cut to later that same night, and Clay is lying alone in bed. She sits up, exposing her obvious boob job. She sees Dalton sitting outside the window, on the roof of the farmhouse. Completely buck naked. She grabs a sheet, steps through the window, and plops right down next to him, also with her bare ass against the roof. Ouch!
Actually, we cut to another angle on them and see they’re sitting on a blanket out there. Still, Swayze is buck-ass naked in this shot. Why have thou forsaken me, oh Lord? Some banter is needed here, so Clay sees some of his scars and warns that Dalton of the Future will be crippled if Dalton of the Present continues to live his life like this.
Clay: You already know that?
Dalton: No, I just said, “That’s what they say!”
She smiles and does a Vulcan mind meld gesture on him, and pushes his head back. I have no idea what all that was about, but it defuses the tension, and they both laugh. Yeah, c’mon. I think we all know 70 Year Old Dalton will just say “arthritis don’t hurt” and that’ll be that.
In her awkwardly bland tones, Clay says Dalton could stay in Jasper if he wanted to, but he really doesn’t know about that idea. Then he lies back, and as if my life couldn’t get much worse, I’m shown in gory detail that Patrick Swayze is an outie. Damn you, Rowdy Herrington! Why are you making me suffer? When will you let go of my life?!
Then Clay climbs on top of him, and there’s a wide shot of them, which leads to… Okay, this is just creepy. Brad Wesley is sitting in a rocking chair on his enclosed veranda, just watching them. And I should add that nothing says class like a rocking chair covered in fake cowhide. He pulls out a cigar, and… end scene. Oh, that can’t be good. Although, you have to wonder why Dalton’s having sex out on his roof, when he knows it’ll be plainly visible from Wesley’s place.
Daytime. Cut to Old Man Emmet driving up to the farm in his pickup, and Dalton helps him get a spiffy new aluminum trough out of the back. He asks Dalton about the woman he had up there last night. Emmet says, “If you’re smart, you’d pitch your tent!” Um, I thought he already did pitch his tent. I guess Emmet means that in another way.
We transition again to the Double Deuce, but for once, it’s not accompanied by Jeff and the Healeys rocking out to a bluesy number. In fact, they’re just setting up for the night when Dalton enters.
Dalton goes over to talk to Jeff, who’s sitting on the edge of the stage, trademark guitar across his lap. Jeff already knows about Dalton’s latest conquest. I guess word gets around fast in Jasper.
And here, we finally, finally learn the woman’s full name: “Elizabeth Clay”. Good lord. Can someone time how long it took from when she was introduced to when she got a first name? That might be a record for the female lead in a movie. I mean, we saw her tits before we learned her first name, which is just sad. And I can’t really prove it, but I have a hunch Dalton is just now learning her first name, too.
Then Jeff Healey drops the big bombshell. I’m sure anyone who passed kindergarten can see this one coming, but apparently Elizabeth used to have “a thang” with Brad Wesley. Is he the guy she was married to? No one ever says as much, so I have no idea.
Jeff reveals that when they broke up, Wesley “went nuts”. More nuts than randomly swerving all over the highway? More nuts than eating twelve portions of eggs in one sitting? Dalton looks ill, as would I, if I had to imagine my significant other bumping uglies with Ben Gazzara.
(On the commentary, Rowdy is still going on about all the “primary colors” he used inside the bar. Are you kidding me? That’s the only thing he can think of to say here? Is he still watching the same movie as me, or did he switch to Dick Tracy in the middle of his commentary track?)
Thankfully, there’s no time to dwell upon these revolting images, because someone informs Dalton that the liquor truck has arrived. Wow, a “liquor truck”. Does it play a little nursery rhyme over loudspeakers, just like an ice cream truck? Do all the power drinkers come running?
Dalton heads out back to meet the liquor guy. Meanwhile, out front, a big hog pulls up. Stepping off the motorcycle is His Grizzledness himself, Sir Sam Elliott (I’m just assuming he was knighted—if not, he should be, just for being in this movie) as Wade Garrett.
Of course, we never actually saw Dalton summon Garrett here to the Double Deuce. So I guess Garrett just has some kind of innate Dalton Sense that indicates his old compatriot is in trouble, and he scuttled off to Jasper as quickly as he could. He glances up at the Double Deuce sign and casually tosses off what could be the funniest line in the film.
The only bar for women without that fresh feeling. I mean, they really don’t have that fresh feeling. Like, doubly so.
Meanwhile, out back, Dalton sees a pickup pull up, and inside are four various assorted goons. Goon Roll Call! This time around we have goon mainstays Tinker and O’Connor the Bleeder, and joining them for this outing are two goons last seen at Brad Wesley’s Pink Bathrobe Pajamarama: Seven Foot Nick Nolte Guy, and our old friend Captain Morgan.
They walk up to the liquor truck and harass the driver, trying to stop him from delivering booze to the Double Deuce. Dalton calmly tells the driver to “take a break”. In fact, he should stay on it!
Dalton attempts to be cordial, but the goons immediately begin tossing cases of beer to the ground and smashing bottles. And so, Dalton is left with little recourse other than to jump in and start kicking ass.
Yes, he pounds on all four guys simultaneously, because he’s just that much of a badass. And for a while, the movie does a good job of covering up how they’re pretty much just coming at him one at a time, like every other action movie where the hero is laughably outmatched.
Inside the Double Deuce, Garrett steps up to the bar, asking about Dalton. Tilghman comes up with a knowing look, because he recognizes Garrett. You see, when you hire a cooler, it’s like picking a Supreme Court justice. Tilghman had a short list, and Dalton was at the top of that list, and Garrett was number two.
He directs Garrett out back, where Garrett discovers O’Connor and Tinker holding Dalton while Captain Morgan mercilessly punches him in the stomach. O’Connor even yells, “How you like that, Kung Fu?”
Garrett says to Dalton, “How’s it going, mijo?” Captain Morgan tells Garrett to stay out of it, “Dad.” (Which is pretty funny, considering Terry Funk is actually the same age as Sam Elliott.) Then the trash talk reaches an eight on a scale of one to ten with this exchange:
Garrett: Well, I sure ain’t gonna show you my dick.
Not yet, anyway. Just wait a couple of scenes.
And so, the fury is unleashed. Garrett hunches over and punches the Seven Foot Nick Nolte directly in the nuts. “Goddamn,” he says as the guy keels over, “That hurts, du’nt it?” He then takes on all the other goons solo, and O’Connor ends up in the dumpster, where he most certainly bleeds some more. A moment later, Dalton recovers and personally finishes off Captain Morgan.
The rest of the Double Deuce bouncers finally figure out there’s a fight going on, but by the time they get outside, Dalton and Garrett are already tidying up. The two Best Damn Coolers in the World™ share a manly hug. Jeff Healey comes out and announces that the man we see before us is Wade Garrett. God, Jeff looks so bad on camera. His faces just make me cringe.
The rest of the bouncers are stunned into silence. Then they start giving shit to their former co-worker Captain Morgan, currently sprawled out on the ground, telling him how good it is to see him again. Classic. No, really, it’s classic and I actually laughed. Why is this movie in the Agony Booth, again? It’s one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen.
Here comes another nice touch, when Dalton and Garrett are cruising along in Dalton’s vandalized car that night, and the hole in the windshield lines up perfectly with Sam Elliott’s face. It’s a pretty funny visual, even though there’s an odd lack of wind blowing in Sam’s face. Regardless, Dalton says he has someone Garrett should meet.
They pull up to the “Jasper Community Hospital”, as a rather hastily painted sign on the building tells us. I think they just took down the “Spooner Beach Hospital” sign ten minutes ago. Garrett is initially thrown for a loop by Dalton’s odd choice of destination, but all becomes clear when Dr. Elizabeth Clay emerges. For some reason, she’s not wearing her tight braids and SJR glasses tonight. Garrett just grimaces and says, “I fuckin’ knew it.”
Cut to the three of them going over old times at a bar. By which I mean, they’re going over old scars—scars earned in fights, to be more precise. Well, Dalton and Garrett are, anyway. I don’t think Elizabeth has many scars to show off, unless she has a few of her patients’ charts on her at the moment.
Garrett eventually shows off a scar he’s “real sentimental” about, and it involves him standing up and unzipping his jeans. Elizabeth is giddy, overcome by all the charm in the air as he shows off this Y-shaped mark on his hip. And in case you were wondering, for Wade Garrett, the answer to “boxers or briefs?” is “none of the above”. Yes, he’s got dark pubes just popping out and getting all in my face, and it’s horrifying.
Elizabeth intuits that a woman did this, and she’s correct. Then Garrett asks her to dance. Wow. Usually I like to ask a girl to dance before showing her my pubes, but maybe I’m old fashioned. Unfortunately, they have to go to somewhere else to dance, because according to Dalton it’s already “daytime”, and the bartender is mopping up.
Cut to a diner, filled with good Christian corn-fed white people getting served bacon. Elizabeth and Garrett sashay into the shot, doing a little shuffle-step-shuffle to a song that sounds like the theme from those Motel 6 ads. I hope Dalton leaves a light on for them. But no, the song is actually “All My Ex’s [sic] Live in Texas” by George Strait. They have a good chuckle at Dalton, who’s yawning with reckless abandon. Perhaps getting beat within an inch of his life yesterday may have worn him out a little bit.
Garrett hangs his hat in Tennessee as they continue to dance by the jukebox. Elizabeth thinks Garrett’s going to sell her on what a great guy Dalton is, but Garrett instead wants to talk about how “I want you for myself.” Oh, so charming, and yet, so creepy. For one last flirtatious moment, he dips her, and then the dance has ended. “Thanks, Doc,” Garrett says as she heads off to the ladies’ room.
There’s a shameless close-up of her ass as she walks away, leading to this wondrous line from Garrett: “That gal’s got entirely too many brains [sic] to have an ass like that.” Really? How many brains are you allowed to have for that kind of ass? What is the perfect ass-to-brain ratio, Wade?
Sleepy Dalton, however, is preoccupied, lost in thought. Garrett immediately guesses what’s nagging at him. He says they’re “a long way from Memphis.” Oh, Dalton. Don’t be a depressed drunk. Unfortunately, the dramatic acoustic guitar on the soundtrack is probably not helping matters much.
Dalton tries to pretend “Memphis” doesn’t bother him, but Garrett knows “that dog won’t hunt.” Then the light of exposition shines just a bit more on the Memphis Incident: “That girl never told you she was married!” And then a bit more is revealed in this revealing: “And when a man sticks a gun in your face, you got two choices! You can die, or you can kill the motherfucker!” Put that shit on a license plate frame, because it’s words to live by.
Just then, Elizabeth comes back and immediately notices the creepy vibe around the table. She tries to puncture the tension by mentioning her shift starts soon. That’s fantastic. Leave work, drink and dance for 12 hours, then go right back to work, wearing the same clothes. And given the long shifts that most ER doctors usually work, this means Elizabeth probably hasn’t slept in about 36 hours. Ooh, let her operate on me! Me first!
She wonders why they’re not tired. Garrett says he’ll “get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.” Which will be sooner, rather than later, sorry to say. You have angered the Gods of Foreshadowing, Garrett. She and Garrett share one final flirtatious moment before she kisses Dalton goodbye and leaves. Uh. Wait. Wasn’t he her ride?
And just as this night of revelry, revealed pubic hair, and scamming on your best friend’s girl comes to a close, another rock number takes us back to the Double Deuce. This time, the Jeff Healey band is taking on the Cream classic “White Room”. Not my most favorite song in the world, but hey, it’s Clapton, so it’s got its merits. But now the song might as well be dead to me, because yuppies with big ’80s hair are actually trying to dance to it. They are dancing to “White Room”! This is roughly as seizure-like as you would imagine, and I never, ever want to see anything like it again.
Dalton and Garrett stand by the bar. So, I guess Garrett is working here now, too, or something? Then Jeff Healey just totally wails on the solo. It’s pretty amazing that he became such a great guitarist, despite being almost entirely self-taught. He really shouldn’t be acting in movies, but damn, the kid can play.
Up in his office, Tilghman surveys the peaceful scene, until he hears fire engines off in the distance. Immediately, Fat Bouncer Guy rushes up to Dalton to say that Red’s Auto Parts is on fire. Dalton and several others rush outside, and it’s true, the place is going up in flames.
Dalton pushes past the crowd and runs towards the fire. I guess he’s planning on judo tossing the flames or something, but just as he gets close, the entire store explodes in a massive fireball. Make that two fireballs. No, three fireballs. This is a Joel Silver film, remember? Actually… make that four. Hey, didn’t you see the fine print on the sign? The place is called Red’s Auto Parts and Unexploded Army WWII Surplus Ordnance.
(On the commentary, Rowdy even admits, “The explosions were always bigger than I thought they were gonna be.” Is he sure Joel wasn’t sneaking around behind his back, stuffing in more dynamite?)
Firefighters scramble, and Red himself shows up. He angrily tosses his mesh cap on the ground. Gosh darn it!