The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Road House (1989)

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This is one of my all time favorite movies, and I was considering posting it for a milestone, like 500, but circumstances have changed. It's unfortunate that Patrick Swayze's death is the reason I'm reviewing his movies this week, but I'm glad we can at least celebrate what made him so awesome.

Road House has Swayze as a legendary bouncer named Dalton, called into action in Missouri by Kevin Tighe to run his bar, the Double Deuce. Little does Dalton know that the town is under the thumb of a corrupt businessman played by Ben Gazzara. Now it's up to this legendary bouncer to clean up the bar, fight the corruption, and find love in a small town.

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What else do I need to say? This movie has it all. Great one-liners: "Pain don't hurt." Well, by it's very definition, it has to, or it wouldn't be pain. Monster trucks crashing through used car dealerships. Notes pinned to dead people with knives. Office malls doubling as hospitals. Women with big hair showing us their breasts. Marshall Teague telling Swayze he fucked guys like him in prison, to which Swayze responds by ripping his throat out. Oh yeah, and Sam Elliott as yet another legendary bouncer.

I can't tell you enough how much I love this movie. I don't think I've ever watched it with people and not had everyone in the room entertained. It starts good, and it never lets up. As an action film, it's an icon in the industry. Mike Nelson describes the "Road House-ian standard" by which he compares all other action films in his book Movie Megacheese. He also does a great Rifftrax of it, which you should check out. MST3K, in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, gave us the "Patrick Swayze Christmas" carol. GQ had it as the number one bad movie of all time, which I think is a compliment. There was even an off-Broadway musical made about it. Say Road House, and people know exactly what you're talking about.

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I'm not really sure what Swayze thought when he first received the script. "You'll be playing a legendary bouncer." Can you imagine anyone else in that role? The whole thing just seems to be sui generis: if you're going to make a movie about a legendary bouncer, Patrick Swayze should be it. Does he make the part believable? In a way, yes. I mean, let's get down to brass tacks, a legendary bouncer is about as realistic as a man born in 1840 in the anachronistically named Northwest Territory with the ability to heal himself, shoot claws from his knuckles, and smell really well, who then has his skeleton covered in an indestructible metal. We buy Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and I think we buy Swayze as Dalton, the legendary bouncer with a PhD in Philosophy from NYU even more. This is what made Swayze great. Road House wouldn't be Road House with any other actor in the lead.

As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of these types of movies, I've noticed a trend in some to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to the material. I have a feeling if this was made today, that would've happened here too, and the result would've sucked ass. Swayze had to know how ridiculous this was, yet at the same time, if he did, he never let us know it. He acted the hell out of this silly material. As did everyone else. When Sam Elliott shows up, it makes complete sense to all involved that we have yet another legendary bouncer. The film exists in this liminal space where legendary bouncers are common place-- they have a sort of celebrity akin to a movie star or a House Minorty Whip. Had this world been treated as a joke by the cast, we as the audience wouldn't have enjoyed it as much.

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People ask me about Road House 2 all the time, and I feel like I taint this post just a bit by mentioning it. The truth is, that sack-of-asscrack was simply a cash grab trading on the good name of the original. You'll notice Swayze isn't involved in it. Now that Swayze is no longer with us, I feel like that's it for Road House. If there was ever going to be a sequel, a real one that is, it would've needed Swayze reprising his role as Dalton, the legendary bouncer. To be frank, though, I really don't think we ever needed a sequel. If ever a movie stood alone, this was it. The problem with Hollywood is they force a sequel out of a great storyline that was fine where it ended. How many great sequels can you think of? Godfather II, Empire Strikes Back, House Party 2, Back to the Future 2, and Last Crusade (Temple of Doom wasn't a good sequel) come to mind, but that's it. Maybe Terminator 2 as well. I think one Road House was plenty.

I can't imagine anyone reading this blog hasn't seen Road House. I would suggest getting together with a bunch of friends and viewing it again, though. You may or may not want to go the Mike Nelson Rifftrax route. It's really funny, and I think it only costs $1.99 to download, but I'm sure you and your friends already have your own set of jokes and comments associated with the movie, so you may not want someone else's commentary. Either way, Road House truly is the standard by which all other action films are compared.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098206/

4 comments:

  1. I think the dagger note was made much better given that it was stabbed into Sam Elliot. If it had been the fat scared guy or something instead, it wouldn't have be nearly as much contrast between the good actor and the bad cliche that really made it amazing.

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  2. I think that's an excellent point. We often think notes stuck to people with daggers is an easy film cliche. We can almost hear Elliott's last words in our heads: "Beef, it's what's for dinnerrrrrrrr...." We wouldn't have had that effect with anyone else.

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  3. Daaamn, I need to rewatch this one! I think Im gonna have to have me a Swayze marathon. This movie was one of the first films I saw as a kid that had a hardcore sex sequence that shocked me.

    Its the one where theres some guy is raping/banging a girl in some dark room and he tells her "youre gonna be my regular Saturday night thing baby!" And then Swayze busts into the room and fucks him up!

    I remember Swayze being a true bad ass character in it. He played that type of righteous guy, who would rough up the bad guys to get them to play by the rules.

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  4. Yeah, my goal in doing the Swayze posts was definitely to celebrate his films and encourage people to get out there and revisit them, so I'm glad you're considering a Swayz-ithon.

    And the guy having sex in the back room is Gary Hudson, a guy who has popped up in some other movies on the site, and a guy I probably should've tagged by now. His best role was in a film called Bridge of Dragons (6/21/07), which he did with Dolph Lundgren, and if you haven't checked it out, I'd highly recommend it. He's a great guy.

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