Roadhouse – 5 stars
A small town is run by the ruthless Ben Gazarra, who shakes down the local businesses to support his decadent lifestyle. He lives in the gaudiest mansion, and he is surrounded by a thick, loyal squad of yokel goons. He also has a few 80s trashy blondes in his coterie, like Julie Michaels–
Interesting note on Julie. Roadhouse was her debut. In her subsequent roles, these were the names of her characters: Naran Anie, Professor, Professor (uncredited), Accident Victim, Accident Victim (uncredited), Sandy, Mom, French Patron (uncredited), California Blonde, California Blonde (uncredited), Pedestrian, Female Bar Patron #2, Barrista, Fashion Show Patron, Florist, Slutty Woman, Female Fan, Julie Mermaid mother, Harem Girl (uncredited), Groupie (uncredited), Female Club Goer, Maggie, Woman on Bike, Laundry Wife, Marilyn Monroe #2, Catherine Moore, Caitlin’s Sister, Frat Girl, Woman (uncredited), Vampire, Jane (uncredited), Catherine, Tami, Sillicate UC, Cage Dancer, Agent Elizabeth Marcus, Susan, Irene, Waitress, Waitress (uncredited), Amy Cutler, Freight Train, Susie Q, Cinnamon.
One business won’t knuckle under to Gazarra – The Double Deuce. Instead, bar owner Kevin Tighe calls in a zen master bouncer with a degree in philosophy (not joking – the script references that the professional bouncer has a degree in philosophy from NYU). That bouncer is Dalton (Patrick Swayze) who stands up to Gazarra, calls in a bouncer compadre (Sam Elliott), cleans up the bar and the town and says all of the following:
“Pain don’t hurt.”
“Nobody ever wins a fight.”
“My way… or the highway.”
“All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. And three, be nice.”
“Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he’ll drop like a stone.”
“You’re too stupid to have a good time.”
“It’ll get worse before it gets better.”
Roadhouse also features Kelly Lynch, the emergency room physician who patches Dalton up.
The year this picture came out, she was in Drugstore Cowboy. I wonder which film she is most proud of? Regardless, I’ve had stitches like 5 times and there’s never a Kelly Lynch at the emergency room. Ever.
By now, Roadhouse has become a cult classic, but when I saw it, I knew it was something special taken at face value, no sniggering. To this day, I can’t stop watching it. It’s an awful film, and the inquiry should end there, but there is such earnestness in the effort that at 2 am, having just had 5 beers and a half bag of gummy bears, when Swayze says
“I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.”
I’m like, “Hell, yea. Dalton. That’s some heavvy ass shi**!”
And now, every punch in the face in the movie!