Road House (1989) rating: Why, oh god, why?


The poster promises jeans and tee shirts.

Road House is a terrible film, briefly rejuvenated by Sam Elliot, but quickly defeated by absolutely everything else about it. Practically the only reason I watched this film was to see a young Patrick Swayze in tight jeans and a tee shirt. How did 1989 manage to fuck up jeans and a tee shirt so badly? The unspeakably awful clothing choices actually made Patrick Swayze unpleasant to look at.





Swayze plays Dalton, whose name evokes awed gasps from road house frequenters, since he is the bouncer among bouncers, who can clean up any bar. Oh, and he has a degree in philosophy from NYU. Just cause. You know. He’s deep. He is recruited to a bar in Missouri that has been overrun by a dangerous element. He surveys the scene, steely-eyed, from beneath an impressive mullet.

Actual line from film.

Actual line from film.

He begins to clean up the bar, but the rowdy bar patrons are merely a symptom of the whole town being owned by a rich prick named Wesley. He gets a cut from each business and extorts the owners in small ways. Of course he is infuriated by Dalton, who also happens to be dating Doc, his ex. She was enchanted by Dalton when he went to the E.R. and refused the local anesthetic while she stapled his flesh back together. She also admired his homemade stitches. Love at first sight.

It's cool, stitches ain't shit.

It’s cool, stitches ain’t shit.

Sam Elliot shows up as Wade Garrett. He is Dalton’s mentor bouncer. Apparently that’s a thing. He and Dalton join forces against Wesley, who for some reason has decided that Dalton is the biggest problem in Jasper, Missouri.

Pictured: Wade Garrett; Mentor Bouncer and Revenge Motivator

Pictured: Wade Garrett; Mentor Bouncer

Wesley begins blowing up buildings and shit, because fuck Patrick Swayze and his glorious, glorious mullet. The town cowers in fear, cause Wesley owns this town. I get it, I really do. I watch westerns. Bad men can have control over towns. But this is the 1980s, not the 1880s. Call in literally any authorities. It won’t take them days to ride their horses through the desert. They can be there that afternoon.


Someone go back and get a shitload of dimes.

Sam Elliot played Virgil Earp in Tombstone. He should know better. In fact, I think the entire film would be better if Dalton with his tai chi shit and mixed marshall arts teamed up with U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp instead of Wade Garrett. Those Earps could clean up a town.


Not Present: Virgil Earp and his moustache; U.S. Marshal, City Marshal, and Town Tamer Extraordinaire

Where was I? Oh right. I felt myself getting stupider while watching this film. Dalton kills a guy by ripping his throat out with his bare hands. Doc is appalled. Wade gets killed. Dalton goes on a rampage killing all of Wesley’s henchmen in more conventional ways, like crushing them under a stuffed polar bear.




…not this








Doc shows up just in time to see Dalton defeat Wesley and make his throat-ripping claw, struggle inwardly, relax his claw, become angry and make it again, several times, realizing, I guess, something about him being an ok guy.


Shhh, Dalton. Find your happy place…

Dalton doesn’t kill Wesley, who takes advantage of his hesitation to go for his gun. The townspeople show up and shoot him though, reclaiming their town, before hiding the guns and preparing to lie to the authorities in a massive town-wide cover up. And then Doc and Dalton live happily ever after, or at least skinny dip happily in a lake. Wait, is that really how this film ends? Yes. Yes it is.


1 Response to “Road House (1989) rating: Why, oh god, why?”

  1. 1 Jonathan Dasani January 11, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I never want to see this film ever. Thank you, Zoe.

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