Apr 3, 2018
Road House (1989) (part 6 of 15)
Up on stage at the Double Deuce, Jeff Healey performs his rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band”, still wearing that awful Hawaiian shirt. Dalton is now at his post, literally, at the side of the bar.
All around the bar, little vignettes of trashiness take place. The Platinum Slut is there, staring hard at Dalton yet again. Outside, two valley girls (in Missouri?) try to get in with (according to Fat Bouncer) a “Sears credit card” [!]. Steve comes up and says they’re friends of his, and invites them in. Oh, Steve. There’s a reason they call them “jail bait”, my friend.
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Dalton gets a refill on his drink of choice, coffee. The bartender asks if he wants “Leaded or unleaded?” Uh, which is which? I’m so confused! Cut to the oily, ratfaced bartender played by John Doe, who takes a $100 bill out of the cash register and stuffs it in his jeans pocket. I believe that’s called “skimming”, and as we already know, Dalton sees all and knows all, so he’s well aware of this.
Alas, Dalton’s glowering gaze is diverted when a girl steps up on a table and begins dancing provocatively. Hey, what woman can resist the primal, erotic sounds of “Travelin’ Band”?
(Around here on the commentary track is when Rowdy reveals the following: “I’m not sure where Joel got all the girls for the bar scenes. I think they had a lot of Playboy bunnies, and it was fairly remarkable.” I think they were all Joel’s ex-girlfriends.)
Dalton gets the attention of Steve’s Bud, who seems content in simply standing there and watching the woman dance. Dalton is somewhat annoyed that he actually has to point out—to another bouncer, no less—that people shouldn’t be allowed to drunkenly dance on tables. So Steve’s Bud goes over and tries to get the woman down, which provokes the rage of a skinny jerk, also in a Hawaiian shirt.
Skinny Jerk shoves Steve’s Bud, and Steve’s Bud is about to punch the guy out. But then he looks over at Dalton, who, with a simple nod, telepathically reminds Steve’s Bud of the “be nice” lesson.
Steve’s Bud politely asks the guy to get the woman down. So the guy full-on decks Steve’s Bud in the face, and flashes a switchblade. And this moment is a prime comedic highlight, because the guy weighs perhaps ninety pounds, and has a stupid man-perm, and repeatedly says, “Come on, mothafuckah!”
Dalton shows up and quickly disarms the guy. He then grabs the guy’s head, and slams his face right through a table, breaking the table in half. So much for taking it outside, I guess. You see, the rules don’t apply to Dalton: He is the rule.
Dalton holds the guy by the nape of the neck, showing off his bloody face. Dalton says, “Escort this gentleman to the door!” All of the Double Deucians are awestruck by the ease in which one man can be so expertly cooled. Dalton, ever the chivalrous type, offers a hand to the drunken dancing skank, and she steps down from the table without putting up too much of a fight. I guess she doesn’t want to get her face slammed through a table, too.
The bar is all a-titter. Random Patron: “Who’s that guy?” Tilghman shows up and quotes every Steven Seagal movie ever made: “He’s good. He’s real good.” (And then I looked it up, and it turns out this screenwriter actually did write the script for Out for Justice.) Jeff Healey winds up “Travelin’ Band”, and the bass player whispers in his ear.
“The name’s Dalton,” Jeff says into the microphone for the benefit of the entire bar. And thus we learn that Dalton, and to some extent Patrick Swayze himself, is the living embodiment of all that is good and right and badass in the universe.
There’s a warm, secure feeling spreading throughout the Double Deuce. But most of all, the Super Slut with the Platinum Helmet Hair just wants Dalton that much more. It’s clear that he makes her hair stand on end. Well, there’s that, and all the Aqua Net.
And now, ladies and gentleman, without much ado, there’s an abrupt cut to two people fucking. Just all-out in your face fucking. But hey, fucking is only natural. It’s certainly a natural ingredient in a movie like this, that’s for sure.
In this case, it’s good old Steve and his Jail Bait Valley Girlfriend doin’ the nasty in a storeroom. Yes, they’re doing it right there in a storeroom at the Double Deuce. Steve even growls the most romantic of pillow talk, too: “You’re gonna be my regular Saturday night thing, baby!” Now, who said men are afraid of commitment?
The door swings open, and suddenly the place is blazing bright, but neither one of them notices. At the door is Dalton, who seems to actually take a moment to appreciate and admire the buck-naked Steve. Eventually, he calls out, “Yo, Steve! You’re history!”
Steve, however, has a very reasonable excuse: “But I’m on my break!” It’s true. Look up the OSHA guidelines. You have to give him at least fifteen minutes to fuck every four hours.
Dalton chooses to match this stupidity with stupidity: “Stay on it.” Stay on his break! For good! Oh man, I love that. If I ever get fired from a job, I hope it’s just like that. And thus, one more head rolls tonight at the Double Deuce.
Closing time. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. The Jeff Healey Band congregates at the bar, and I shit you not, here’s the kind of conversation they have with each other: “You were hot that last set.” “Yeah, we were good, weren’t we?” The Jeff Healey Band: The only rock band that are their own groupies.
In the foreground, Dalton and Tilghman confront the oily bartender about “skimming the till”, and drinking a lot of the bar’s alcohol. Dalton’s mind is of course like a computer, so he’s got all the exact stats on John Doe’s thievery worked out. He tells Tilghman that the guy’s costing him “150 a night”. Dalton tells John Doe to “consider it severance pay. Take the train. [?]” Listening Comprehension Pop Quiz: If not Dalton’s way, then what way? That’s right: The highway.
John Doe appeals to Tilghman, but Tilghman, sounding very shaky, just dittos everything Dalton said. Way to live the dream, pal. Doe flings a dishrag at Tilghman as he storms out.
And so, the remaining employees of the Double Deuce gather ’round the bar.
Tilghman: Well, it was a good night! Nobody died!
Alas, this recap is still young.
And maybe nobody died, but four people were fired in one day. Not to mention one guy getting his face smashed in, and at least one table getting destroyed. It’s not exactly what I would call a “good night”.
And then Dalton the Optimist warns that “it’ll get worse before it gets better.” And how! He is talking about the script, right?
On that uplifting note, Dalton leaves the bar to go back to his Buick Riviera. After all the heads that rolled tonight, it’s no surprise for him to find his tires flat, his windshield smashed, and the antenna bent. Ah, the life of a cooler. All that effort on headlight shields, and he forgot to get an antenna shield. And a windshield shield. He pulls an ice pick from his tire as a Randy Newman-esque piano riff segues us into the next scene.
The song plays behind a scene from Animal House. No, actually, it’s a lot of goons and half-naked women cavorting around on the lawn of Brad Wesley’s mansion. They head over to the pool, where they all start drunkenly stripping down. Wow, so apparently they have amazing pool parties in Jasper, Missouri. Who knew?
Meanwhile, across the lake, a shirtless Dalton sees their revelry from his window, and it’s enough to make him glance up from his book. (That book being Jim Harrison’s Legends of the Fall, no lie.) He shuts off a nearby lamp to get a better look. Ew, pervy!
The women are now topless, and diving into the pool, and getting tossed in heave-ho style. One of the heave-ho-ers is Captain Morgan, so it’s good to see he’s not taking his firing too hard.
Dalton continues to watch shirtless from his bedroom, possibly masturbating. And then, and then, would you believe that Brad Wesley himself shows up, in a pink bathrobe no less? Again, this villain is not making much of an impression in the “intimidating” department.
Hanging all over him, by sheer coincidence, is the Platinum Skank, now in a bikini, but still with her helmet of hair. Wow, not even the humid conditions around a heated pool can put a dent in that helmet.
Wesley pinches the cheek [?] of one of his goons, who looks like the seven-foot version of Nick Nolte. Meanwhile, Dalton is still in his window looking perturbed, and for some reason he starts trembling like he’s got a bad case of the willies. Maybe he’s trying to shake off the sight of Ben Gazzara in a pink bathrobe. So, anyway, now that the movie has established that Brad Wesley is connected to several disgruntled ex-employees of the Double Deuce, the scene ends.
Cut to the next morning at Dalton’s loft, where he gets awoken by a woman calling his name. It turns out to be good old Carrie-Ann from the bar, and she’s still rocking the Moe Bangs. Dalton just groans into his pillow. She brought him breakfast, for reasons that shall remain unknown. Perhaps she fears another Dalton Day of Downsizing is imminent, and wants to remain in his good graces.
And she’s there just in time to see Dalton get out of bed… fully nude. Yes, he not only sleeps in the buff, but he makes sure that his co-workers know all about it. He walks around, casually showing off his (oddly flat) naked ass, not only to Carrie-Ann, but to all of us poor souls in the audience.
Carrie-Ann makes a face like Christmas just came early. Or maybe she just came early. Seriously, this is the expression you’d expect a woman to make if she came home to find everything in her house was now gold-plated. Even her children.
Thankfully, Dalton puts on a pair of jeans. There’s still no clue as to why Carrie-Ann came over, but she starts warning Dalton that he shouldn’t have fired the skimming bartender, whose name turns out to be “Pat”. She refuses to elaborate on this, and just gives him a jelly donut and a cup of coffee. Dalton, morning cigarette precariously dangling from his lips, just tosses the jelly donut aside and goes for the coffee. I wonder if he’s a distant relation of Coleman Francis.
Carrie-Ann laughs, and it turns out she’s laughing because she’s “looking at a dead man”. Not exactly a knee-slapper, is it? Carrie-Ann’s sense of humor is more cerebral, I guess.
Well, after that content-free conversation, we cut to a two-lane country road. A red Mustang is wildly swerving across both lanes to the doo-wop sounds of “Sh-Boom” by the Crew Cuts. Why, look! It’s Brad Wesley, driving like a moron for no apparent reason! He’s croaking, “Sh-boom, sh-boom! Yadadadadadadada!” and brazenly crossing the center divider line over and over again.
He almost rams head-on with a car coming the opposite way. Just by pure coincidence, the oncoming car is a certain Buick Riviera, being driven by a certain cooler, who immediately has to swerve off the road to avoid being hit.
With one final “Sh-boom!” from Wesley, the scene ends, with the clear insinuation being that Wesley is such a heartless bastard, and so drunk on his own power, and just so very, very evil, that he’ll risk his life for the sole purpose of scaring the crap out of everyone else in town and asserting his dominance. If you didn’t get that lesson from this scene, however, don’t fret. It’s sort of a motif.