Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Road House [1989]

[Cross-posted on the Bad Movie Night Facebook page.]

So this is kind of a weird one. Yes, okay, a lot of the movies we watch at Bad Movie Night are weird but what makes this movie weird is the fact that defining it really and truly as bad is kind of difficult. It's not really a big budget flop so much as it's a cult classic with a lot of people who really enjoy it. It's got a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes which is way higher than what we usually deal in and the entire Bad Movie Night crew had already seen it under non-Bad Movie premises except for Kay who over the years would hear Adam mention it and then after asking if they should watch it he would respond with, "No, let's watch a good movie." In all technical respects this movie is good. So what makes it bad? The absolutely bonkers writing and acting that, while maybe typical of 80s action, is really no excuse to a critical eye. This movie is the holy grail of enjoyably bad.

Patrick Swayze plays a bouncer who is famously good at his job. How one becomes a famous bouncer is never explained. Either way, a guy who owns a bar in Nowheresville, Midwest comes to his swanky club and offers him way too much money to come to his bar and clean it up. The bar is the kind of place where you are way overdressed if you are wearing a shirt and/or have all your extremities and the band plays behind a wire fence to protect them from smashing bottles. After assuming control, in no time at all he has the place cleaned up and stylish and has met a doctor he's into and things are pretty swell. It turns out, the plot wasn't really about the bar so much as it was about this evil rich guy who controls the town through violence and destroys businesses, occasionally with monster trucks, that won't pay him a percentage of their earnings. Sam Elliot comes in as Swayze's cool bouncer friend to try to help and becomes the best part of the movie until he is killed by the rich guy's thugs. What we get then are a long pond-adjacent fight between Swayze and the top henchmen in which he rips out his Adam's apple and a showdown at the rich guy's house in which the guy is killed because all the major business owners in town show up with shotguns (it's the Midwest, remember). 

This movie is the pinnacle of 80s cheese. The only way to watch it is to assume it is happening in a parallel universe that mostly resembles our own because it is just madness from start to finish. I couldn't write down every crazy line or odd read because this post would never end but I gathered a few below. And although I said the technical aspects of the movie were good, there were still some real WTF directing moments including a scene where the knife on someone's boot was zoomed in on and had an artifical sparkle, a scene where Doc is screaming at Swayze and an explosion happens behind her in time with her shouting, and a scene where Sam Elliot is riding in Swayze's car with his face perfectly framed by a hole in the windshield. There are reasons this movie is well known but honestly, there are plenty of good reasons this movie deserves to be called "bad."


[repeated line]
"I thought you'd be . . . bigger."

"Why don't you and I get nipple to nipple?"

"It's a good night. Nobody died!"

"Do you like pain?"
"Pain don't hurt."

"Wanna know why you disgust me?"
[punches him in the nose]
"You're a bleeder."

"You found my trophy room. The only thing that's missing is your ass."

Adam's Grandma's Review: "I liked it."

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