Road House (1989)

road house

“This place has a sign hangin’ over the urinal that says, ‘Don’t eat the big white mint’.”

The Scoop: 1989 R, directed by Rowdy Herrington and starring Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, and Sam Elliott

Tagline: Dalton’s the best bouncer in the business. His nights are filled with fast action, hot music and beautiful women. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Summary Capsule: There’s this guy and… oh heck, just read the tagline.


Sue’s rating: You know, Berres Bros. Highlander Grogg coffee is really good!

Sue’s review: Road House is quite violent, rather obscene and centers around drinking establishments of a sort that you would not find me dead in. Or alive in for that matter. I think Justin was aware of all this when he swapped it out with me in exchange for Runaway Bride. (Gotta love those battle of the gender-esque challenges.)

What our fearless leader didn’t realize of course, was that Road House and I have a long history together. I’ve probably watched it at least twenty times. I loved it as the… er… rather more youthful person I was in the late eighties, and I still like it a lot — although maybe my reasons for that have shifted as maturity (ha!) set in. I am quite willing to share my thoughts with you, however I need to start off with a disclaimer. If you are not related to me, feel free to just skim along for a while.

Okay, Spawns 1 and 2, I know perfectly well that sometimes you surf around Mommy’s little corner of the Internet when you’re at your Dad’s house. So hi! How’s it going? I love you guys! Hope things are going okay over there, and be sure to e-mail me because I think it’s awesome when you do. But, pay attention now. This is not a review that I particularly want you to read. When this paragraph is over, the two of you need to go do your homework, or play Digby’s Donuts or something. Okay? Remember, as sure as I knew what happened to those pretzels and as positively as I can identify exactly who left spilled oatmeal all over the kitchen table, I will definitely know if you read this review. I know EVERYTHING you do. Go look up “omniscient” in the dictionary. Try to pull a fast one on me and you’ll be writing that word a thousand times. Hugs to both of you. Now scoot!

I mean it.


Volatility refers to the ease with which gasoline vaporizes. Gasoline does not burn as a liquid, so it is important to have a fuel that vaporizes properly. If too much liquid fuel is introduced into an engine, the engine may flood, and the car will not run. On the other hand, if the gasoline vaporizes too easily, it may block the vehicle fuel line and cause fuel “vapor lock”. What this means is that if volatility is not properly controlled, a vehicle may not perform well. We blend our fuels carefully to promote good engine cold-starts and smooth warm-ups and prevent vapor lock and other problems associated with hot-running engines.

Okay, I think they’re gone.

Can I just say that Patrick Swayze had (and for all I know, still has) the most adorable posterior in the history of human civilization? At this point, I’m entirely too grown up to emit any happy dolphin-like “SQUEEE!”-ing noise when confronted by visual stimuli of that nature, but I sure as heck wasn’t back in 1989. Somehow nekkidswayzebutt made me happy and proud to be a woman back in the day. And somehow, even though I’m older and far more jaded about all things cinematic, nekkidswayzebutt more than makes up for all the stuff in the film I didn’t like. Is it normal to harbor nostalgic fondness for a complete stranger’s revealed… uhm… assets?

The short synopsis of Road House is that a professional bouncer, referred to as a “cooler”, named Dalton is imported to clean up an incredibly seedy and violent bar for an owner who dreams of grander things than sawdust on the floor and chickenwire as the first line of defense for the live band. Dalton is the ultimate cool dude. Dalton, a bit of a philosopher and student of human nature, teaches three basic rules to his junior bouncer back up team. They are as follows:

1. Never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected.

2. Take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary.

3. Be Nice.

I love number three.

We come to understand that women adore Dalton, men respect him and bad guys tend to need splints, cold compresses and lots of aspirin after they’ve met up with him. But, you know, he’s sort of internally tortured and there was that man he killed in Memphis… (Really, whenever someone ‘got killed in Memphis’, you know you’ve got plot issues.) Dalton is so stereotypically heroic that you almost want to puke. But then he drops trou and you tend to forget all about things like that. At least I do.

By nature and probably design, Road House is basically a classic western set in the 80’s You’ve got your lawlessness, your rich jerk who owns the town and bullies everyone in it, and naturally you’ve got the reluctant new lawman in town, his inevitable love interest and a personable mentor/sidekick. Tell me that doesn’t come right out of the John Wayne handbook.

In any case, Road House looks a little dated, it has some serious structural flaws and a surprising amount of foul language. What the heck though. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a mighty fine reason to make some popcorn and… reminisce.

"I said, I'M the prettiest! "
“I said, I’M the prettiest! “


  • Dalton’s “real” car is a Mercedes (with NY plates.)
  • Isn’t it a little cliche for Dalton to have “killed a man in Memphis”?
  • The transformation of the Double Deuce – Fastest remodeling job ever.
  • Cody’s (Jeff Healey’s) guitar style is really neat
  • The Monster Truck: Sort of cool or obvious compensation for shortcomings?
  • I bet Wade smells a little gamey. Doesn’t look like he’s bathed since 1974.
  • The bad guy who drives the big truck is Anthony DeLongis who had a few roles in the Highlander TV series.
  • Do you think firemen would know not to park their trucks so close to a burning building full of highly combustible material?
  • Considering the marks all over his medical charts and the fact that he was knifed right at the beginning of the movie, you can’t see any scars on Dalton when he does his gratuitously shirtless (thank you!) exercises. (Although you can see a few smudgy scars in the hospital.)
  • In the fight in the Double Deuce office, Pat has blood coming from his nose a few second before Dalton slugs him in it.
  • I think the car dealership is going to have one heck of a sale!
  • Jeff Healey, who plays Cody in the film has been blind since infancy. (He was born with cancer in his eyes and they had to be removed.) He taught himself to play the guitar when he was three years old, by holding it across his lap. He still plays that way and can hit chords and notes that other guitarists can’t because he uses his thumbs as well as his fingers. He is, I might add, a Canadian.

Groovy Quotes

Tighlman: (about the Double Deuce) Used to be sweet deal, now it’s the kind of place where they sweep up the eyeballs after closing.

Dalton: I don’t fly. Too dangerous.

Repeated line: I thought you’d be bigger.

Kari Ann: You got a name?
Dalton: Yeah.

Emmet: You honest?
Dalton: Yes sir.
Emmit: You expect me to believe that?
Dalton: No sir.

Dalton: People who really want to have a good time won’t come to a slaughterhouse and we’ve got entirely too many trouble makers here. Too many forty year old adolescents, felons, power drinkers and trustees of modern chemistry. It’s going to change.

Dalton: I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.

Red: I got married. To an ugly woman. Don’t ever do that. It just takes the energy right out of you.

Doc Elizabeth: Well Mr. Dalton, you can add nine staples to your dossier of 31 broken bones, two bullet wounds, nine puncture wounds, and four stainless steel screws. That’s an estimate of course.

Emmet: Calling me sir is like putting an elevator in an outhouse. It don’t belong.

Dalton: Pain don’t hurt.

Wade Garrett: You havin’ trouble?
Dalton: Oh you know. Nothing I ain’t used to. But it is amazing what you can get used to, huh?

Wade Garrett: This place has a sign hangin’ over the urinal that says, “Don’t eat the big white mint”.

Dalton: Give me the biggest guy in the world, smash his knee and he’ll drop like a stone.

Doc Elizabeth (seeing Dalton’s freshly and repeatedly vandalized car): Your fan club?
Dalton: They are devoted.

Tinker: A polar bear fell on me!

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Next of Kin
  • Extreme Prejudice
  • Red Dawn


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