During the Easter weekend, some of you may have wasted your time celebrating the resurrection of sweet Jesus with colorful eggs and jellybeans (Or if you’re old school like my grandma, by making a replica of the empty tomb he rose from; it doesn’t have chocolate inside for the kids, but it DOES have boredom and despair, and future atheism). But what some of you didn’t know is that there is a far more recent savior at hand, hailing from the glittering Babylon of 1989. He doesn’t require you to believe in him, or chase the sin from your lives, or engage in the ridiculous nonsense of giving alms to the poor (If God really loved the homeless, he wouldn’t have made them so crazy. Or homeless).
This savior’s name is Dalton Russell, and his Gospel is the movie Roadhouse.
Dalton is a model for every boy and man in our nation. He rolls hard, and loves harder. He leaps bare-assed into his jeans every morning, because only lesser men wear a protective layer of cotton between denim and their genitals. He waxes philosophical about man’s search for faith and order, stitches up his own knife wounds, bangs beautiful women in a barn loft, and still finds time to wage a one-man jihad against the forces of evil in Jasper, Missouri.
He’s the best damn Cooler–apparently the captain of bar bouncers–in the business, and he gets recruited to clean up the Double Deuce, where drunk rednecks fight like feral nomads of the south, stabbing each other over Budweisers and 80’s bimbos.
Dalton eventually plies his trade against the organized crime of the region, which apparently has a strong presence in bum-fuck Missouri, growing fat and rich by squeezing such local industry as the auto parts store, the 7-eleven, and the JC Penney’s.
This isn’t really a review, or even an organized blog entry. This is just a celebration of the genre that is the Perfect Movie. Not the Oscar Winner, or the Year’s Best, or the stupid Desert Island List, where people mechanically spit out titles like Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Apocalypse Now–the same people who, curiously, never seem to watch any of these greats, but instead have their television permanently set to Street Whores and Album Wars: The Making of a Hip Hop Star, Season 15.
The Perfect Movie has:
- A few genuinely good scenes and lines of dialogue, chased with a shitload of bad ones
- Good or serviceable actors who mangle their performances to the point that a YouTube video can be made of it, and achieve at least 1 million views
- A tag line that can be emblazoned on a $24.95 T-shirt that you’ll buy when drunk and make your dog wear
- Enough of a hold on you that you own a VHS copy that was taped off TNT in 1995, the regular and collector’s edition DVD, the Blue Ray disc that was just a DVD-quality transfer with two unseen, shitty scenes slapped in, and a download from BitTorrent, complete with several viruses that have been gleefully recording your Chase bank login info
Fuck Kirk Cameron and his Left Behind movies. Roadhouse is a film that truly saves people. Most of its greatness may be completely unintentional, but that only augments its beauty. It’s the film equivalent of penicillin: Somebody set out to make something completely different–a delicious action movie pastry–then screwed it up and tossed it in the trash, where a curious blue fungus began to grow on it. Eventually, somebody rubbed that fungus on an open wound and was instantly healed (yay wikipedia!!!)
Roadhouse takes us back to a glorious time in our culture, before the sickening march of liberal progressivism left its filthy sandal-print on the face of our nation. Men were men, and women were nothing but painted-up trollops that provided beer, physical pleasure, and third-act plot devices.
Like a White Trash Ronin, Dalton rides into Jasper, Missouri to educate the staff of the Double Deuce on the finer aspects of bar administration: how to spot light-fingered bartenders, how to respond to the harmless jests of intoxicated patrons, and how to rip out a man’s windpipe and show it to him while he suffocates.
It’s interesting to watch Patrick Swayze in this film. The greatest Shakespearean actor in history couldn’t have pulled off Dalton Russell unscathed. But Swayze, saddled with a lustrous, feathery mullet and a pair of jeans so tight that he probably developed deep vein thrombosis, comes as close as humanly possible in selling Dalton to the viewers. For a man whose film work gets a lot of play on The Hallmark Channel and Oxygen, Swayze always had a layer of menace bubbling beneath the surface.
Anyway, he takes over managerial duties at the Deuce, and starts bringing bid’ness back. This angers the local crime syndicate, who send waves of increasingly villainous henchmen to put that little honky-tonk back in its place. The creme de la creme of baddies is Jimmy, who’s fond of twirling pool cues like a ninja and tossing out such manly taunts as: “I used to fuck guys like you in prison!!”
The sweet courtship between Jimmy and Dalton finally culminates in a moon-lit battle beside a pond, where both warriors struggle for supremacy over the other in a desperate dance of punches, groin kicks, and tangled chest hair.
In between fatalities, Dalton pitches woo to Jasper’s ER doc, who waits a whole two dates before hanging the FIRESALE sign in front of her vagina.
Yeah, women get set back fifty years because of this movie. It doesn’t help that, after Sam Elliot rides into town to party with the Dalt-ster, the good doctor lovingly plays grab-ass with both of them, getting passed around like the veteran groupie on the tail end of a Motley Crue tour.
Hundreds of other joys reveal themselves during the course of this movie. Tiny backroom fires that cause stores to explode in thundering mushroom-cloud glory. Villains who crash through businesses and roll over civilians in a giant monster truck. Friendly, sincere attempts to quell barroom conflict that immediately result in homicide with a hunting knife.
Road House is the kind of film where, as dozens of corpses sizzle in the background, as Dalton has more blood caked on him than Rambo, the po’ folks of Jasper say aw-shucks, we didn’t see nothin’, and the only cop to ever make an appearance makes a face that says: “Oh well, what ya gonna do?” Indeed.
This is not a movie to rent. This is a movie to liberate from the bottom of the bargain bin at Best Buy, where it’s buried underneath all those unsold X-box games and I Know What You Did Last Summer, Part Ten sequels. This is something to cherish, to store lovingly alongside your copies of Battlefield Earth and The Postman. This is cinematic rapture.
Many years from now, when I’m trapped inside a nursing home and Javier the ex-convict is jamming spoonfuls of peaches into my mouth, I’ll comfort myself with the holodisc version of Road House, where a life-size Dalton Russell will float into my living room, sweaty and shirtless, telling me that “It’ll get worse before it gets better”, “That dog won’t hunt”, and, of course: “Pain don’t hurt.”
No sir. This type of pain hurts so good.