First of all, let me set the record straight. Road House is a horrible movie. It's cliche after cliche wrapped up in cheesy dialog, over the top acting, and one liners that make Arnold Schwarzenegger cringe.
So why is it every time this piece of crap is on TV, I want - nay - MUST watch it? I just can't resist. What is it about Dalton's ridiculous hair and armpit hugging trousers that keeps me wanting more? Why does Brad Wesley's smug grin make me giggle like a schoolgirl? And why oh why does pain not hurt?
Let's dig into this eighties monstrocity and really get to the nitty gritty. Let's analyze why Road House is the best worst move ever created by man.
1. The Hair
OK, let's knock out this obvious one right off the bat. This movie was released in 1989. Just based on the hair alone, it's pretty obvious this movie was released in 1989. Even if they made a movie today that was set in 1989, they would have a hard time making it look at dated as RH (1989).
2. Dalton's "Job Interview"
One of my favorite scenes. Frank Tilghman wants to hire Dalton A.K.A. The Best Cooler in the Business. Dalton sets his terms right off the bat (while sewing up a bleeding gash in his own arm, of course) $500 a night. CASH. Really? Cash? This guy is the best cooler in the business but can't manage to open a checking account? Or maybe coolers are above paying taxes like the rest of us. Either way, Tilghman should have told him he's going on the ADP payroll system like the rest of his employees and to stop being such a dick.
To top it all off, Tilghman asks when he can expect Dalton to show up for work. You know, the job where he just got a $5000 bonus and potentially $3500 a week? He barely gets the question out before Dalton cuts him off by spitting out "Don't. I'll get there." He does realize this guy is is boss, right?
3. Everybody has Heard of Dalton
I don't care how good of a cooler you are. Are we really supposed to believe that there's some nation-wide community of folks employed in bars that would know who Dalton is? And it's not just the dutchboy haircut waitress who's heard of him. Apparently it's everybody who lives in Jasper, Missouri. That is one famous bouncer.
4. This Guy
It takes guts to be the only man in the place dancing with your shirt off. I like the cut of his jib.
5. Dalton's Head Shaking/Nodding
Dalton is a man of few words. If he's not talking, you can be pretty sure he's either shaking his head while smirking as somebody does something stupid in front of him, OR, he's nodding at one of his stooges to give them the signal to kick ass. Notice his hair doesn't move an inch while doing either.
6. This Guy
Not sure why the director found it important to spend three seconds on an out of place wierdo laughing during a fight scene. Twice. But it's okay. He accidentally gets knocked out with a bottle.
7. Dalton Isn't a Very Savvy Consumer
Dalton buys a used car so his precious Mercedes doesn't get keyed. What's his main concern? He wants to know if the headlight covers work. He doesn't even take it for a test drive. I guess it's instincts like those that make him so damn good. We see more of his bad decision making later on when he agrees to take a crappy room in a barn before even hearing what the rent is.
8. Brad Wesley
The smuggest movie villain of all time? Just try to convince me otherwise.
9. Dalton's First Meeting With the Bouncers
What does $500 a night (cash) get you? Original gems like, "It's my way or the highway. Expect the unexpected." and "It's two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response." Oh yeah, and "I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice." Money well spent.
10. The Floozy
We don't know her name and we don't care. The hair, the cleavage, it's the complete package of any good floozy worth her weight in Aqua Net.
11. Dalton's Coffee Preference
Leaded or unleaded? Even the lame jokes are dated. No person on the planet born after 1990 is going to understand this reference.
12. Patrick Swayze's Ass
You know, for the ladies in the audience.
13. Brad Wesley
Isn't he just the best?
Wesley's right hand man and head goon. Later on in the movie, he reveals to Dalton what he did to guys like him in prison. Surprised? Mmmm, not so much.
15. This Guy
I guess when he lost his job as a seventh grade math teacher, this guy's only option for employment was Hired Goon. Times are tough in Jasper.
16. "Pain Don't Hurt."
Arguably the most famous line in the movie and probably the most idiotic. Be sure to watch the director's cut for other beauties such as "Water ain't wet." By the way, Mr. NYU Philosophy Major, it's pain doesn't hurt.
Producer: "Nobody will believe this hot 29 year old blonde is a doctor. Give her some big glasses and a ponytail. Stat."
18. Brad Wesley's Boots
They're um....well, they....uh. Yeah.
19. Dalton's Wardrobe
Strong with the force, this one is.
20. "Right Boot."
Producer: "Tell the boys in post-production to make it shine. That would be sweeeeet."
21. These Two
I guess the bus to the pretend army guy and cowgirl convention made a rest stop at the Double Duece.
22. I already mentioned, the hair. Right?
23. Floozy Gets a Black Eye
Just so we don't forget Wesley is a bad guy. That director's cut we mentioned earlier contains a scene where he kicks a puppy and calls his nanna a whore.
24. Dalton and Doc's Love Scene
Again, for the ladies in the house. Nothing says romance like doing it up against a filthy brick wall. In a barn.
25. Swayze's Belly Button
26. Dalton's Fightin' Slacks
Look closely and you can totally see his package.
27. Wade Garrett
All his exes live in Texas. Oh yeah, and everybody knows who he is too.
28. Brad Wesley
Smuggest. Villain. Ever.
29. Floozy's Topless Scene
You know, for the men in the audience.
30. Keith David
Anybody else find it strange that his character doesn't show up until after an hour into the movie?
31. The Monster Truck
Just so we wouldn't forget this movie was from the 80s, they tossed in a monster truck for good measure. At this point in the picture I had the same thought as everyone else: "Is this thing ever going to drive over some cars or what?!?"
33. Dalton and Garrett Disagree
Producer to screen writers: "I don't care what the reason is, but you guys better come up with a scene where Wade blocks one of Dalton's passionate punches. That would be sweeeet!"
34. Dalton and Doc Disagree
Just when we think things couldn't get harder on Dalton, he has a fight with his gal pal too. Up until this point in the film, Kelly Lynch is so hot we don't notice she can't act for shit. It's during this scene that...yeah, we sort of notice.
35. Swayze's Still Got It
It's been a couple of years since Dirty Dancing but he's still got some moves.
36. Jimmy's Evil Villain Laugh After He Blows Up Emmet's House
I heard they play this clip in all the best acting schools. So students know what not to do.
37. Dalton and Jimmy's Slightly Homoerotic Fight Scene
Just two glistening dudes fighting in the moonlight down by the river.
38. That One Part Where the Writers Got Writer's Block
Dalton and Jimmy's fight is over. Jimmy is dead, Doc is horrified the man she loves just killed another man, and Dalton screams out Wesley's name. He floats Jimmy down the river and screams, wait for it..."Fuck you!" Riveting.
39. Brad Wesley
We've all heard of unconditional love. Brad Wesley invented unconditional smugness. Even though Dalton took out all his goons ninja style, Brad never doubts for a second he'll win. Now that's smug.
40. Dalton and Wesley's Fight Scene
For a dude pushing 70, Wesley can really take a beating. Even though Dalton has a gun shot wound, he prevails. But for some reason, he doesn't kill Brad. Why? To set up the most hilarious scene in the whole picture....
41. The Entire Town Gets The Chance to Shoot Wesley With Shotguns
Not only can Brad Wesley take a beating, but he gets shot four, yes four, times. All the old dudes he screwed over for years get in a line and started blasting. They even manage to ruin his favorite coffee table.
42. The Cops Show Up
Hey, wadda know? There are police in Jasper. Never mind half the town blew up or got set on fire and a dead guy floated down the river last night. Must have been all those shotguns going off in Wesley's house that finally woke them up.
43. Scooby-Doo Ending
Man, the last twenty minutes have been a downer. Blood, death, and violence galore. Cue Tinker for some last minute comedy relief. He didn't see nothin'. A polar bear fell on him. Funny stuff. You guys do remember you just committed murder, right?
44. Creepy Ending Scene
Only the true die hard fans like myself will notice this one. Dalton and Doc are skinny dipping and look they're about to get busy in the lake. Just one small problem: poor third-wheel-Cody is on the bank playing guitar. He may be blind, but he's not deaf. Awkward.
I hope you enjoyed these reasons and many more why Road House is the best bad movie ever made. Do yourself a favor and don't skip it next time you're surfing the channels. It doesn't get any better than this. Or worse.
Robert Brumm is a professional Road House enthusiast and the author of several books. He's never had a polar bear fall on him and admits that pain does indeed hurt.