Mar 15, 2021
Road House (1989) (part 1 of 15)
The Cast of Characters:
Dalton (Patrick Swayze). A nationally famous bouncer with a Zen outlook on life. Stitches his own wounds, yet avoids airplanes and local anesthetic. Knows how to be nice, until it’s time not to be nice. Journeys to rural Missouri to clean up a bar called the Double Deuce, and take down a local crime boss.
Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara). The kingpin of rural Missouri. Becomes Dalton’s arch-nemesis. Easily engages him in hand-to-hand combat, despite being 20 years older and in no kind of shape whatsoever. Hires goons based primarily on the cars they drive.
Dr. Elizabeth “Doc” Clay (Kelly Lynch). The obligatory love interest. Falls for Dalton’s Zen bouncing style. Unfortunately, she once had “a thang” with villain Brad Wesley. What a shock, huh?
Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott). Dalton’s bouncer mentor. A grizzled veteran of many a bar brawl. Whenever Dalton is getting the crap beat out of him, Garrett magically teleports in. Also a nationally famous bouncer.
Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe). The owner of the Double Deuce. Hires Dalton to clean the place up. Brad Wesley’s goons are the only thing standing between him and his grand vision of creating the greatest yuppie bar in rural Missouri.
Cody (Jeff Healey). The Double Deuce’s blind blues-rock guitarist, played by… a blind blues-rock guitarist. Old friends with Dalton. Always there to introduce whatever new character is making an entrance. Think of him as this movie’s emcee.
People have asked me if I hold to a unifying theory that informs my writing on cinema. In the past I’ve told them that I simply judge a movie on its success or failure in representing the perceived point of view of the filmmaker, but now I realize that I was just saying something to get rid of them. What I really believe is that a film should be judged on how well it comes off when compared with the Patrick Swayze film Road House. For Road House is the single finest American film.
—Michael J. Nelson, from Mike Nelson’s Movie Megacheese
A word of warning: This could be the Swayze-est recap ever posted to the Agony Booth.
Ever since last year’s Patrick Swayze Christmas, which Jessica Ritchey observed with her recap of Ghost, people have often asked me: Why have a Patrick Swayze Christmas? Well, to be honest, the whole Christmas-related movie thing was getting old. Plus, when the first Christmas movie you recap is Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, all other Santa-related movies look like Fellini films in comparison.
And then there’s the fact that, to me, anyway, Patrick Swayze is a lot like Santa Claus. He may not come around every year, but every now and then, he drops a gift down my chimney in the form of a hilariously cheesy movie. And without a doubt, the most amazing gift Swayze ever gave this world was Road House.