12 Things I Learned from Watching Road House

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm
By Shane Rivers

With the passing of Patrick Swayze, the movie Road House has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how it inspired me…how it thrilled me…how it totally made me want to stay out of bars. I guess I didn’t realize it all those years ago, but much of my behavior later in life was molded by that first viewing of director Rowdy Harrington’s white trash epic. In an attempt to pass along a little of the wisdom I picked up from Dalton (Patrick Swayze) and company, I proudly present 12 Things I Learned from Watching Road House. Rest in peace, mijo.

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wade-garrett1. Wade Garrett is God – If everything that happens on this planet is subject to HIS will, then surely HE must be a fan of wet G-string contests and jokes about urinal cakes. I’m talking about God, of course. You might also know him by another name…Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott), the legendary bouncer and mentor to Dalton in Road House. His absolute coolness is on display in every scene, whether he’s riding a chopper, getting a sexy wink from a stripper, or just delivering the most devastating cock punch ever captured on film (I can totally imagine God punching Satan in the dick during Judgment Day, but maybe that’s just me). Sure, he appears to die in the film, but you just know he came back later, healed the blind bandleader, and then limped off into the sunset.

2. Get to Know the Band – Before I saw Road House, I thought bands were only good for doing one thing: playing music. Boy, was I wrong. Cody (the late Jeff Healey) and his bandmates are a virtual fountain of information about everything including who the local villain has a crush on. They’re also handy for introducing you to the patrons of a crowded bar after you’ve just kicked some guy’s ass. So take a valuable tip from Road House and befriend the local band anytime you move to a new town.

3. Women Can Be Smart AND Sexy – I always thought smart women were ugly and pretty women were stupid, but Road House showed me the error of my ways. While Elizabeth “Doc” Clay (Kelly Lynch) heads up the activities at the local emergency room, she can also rock a tight-fitting dress like nobody’s business. Who woulda thunk it? Thanks to Road House, I now know that women can hold degrees in medicine and still find time to give it up to the new bouncer in town within 48 hours of meeting him. That’s what I call progress.

brad-wesley-smiles4. It’s Great to Be the Villain – It’s pretty cool to be the villain. When you’re not bringing a J.C. Penney to town, you get to collect protection money, pay off local cops, burn down local businesses, flip coins to decide who lives or dies, keep a blonde tramp as a girlfriend, drive like a madman, and fire off a pistol inside a bar. Hell, you even get to lob spears at the hero from the comfort of your big-ass trophy room. Of course, you’ll probably get gunned down by local merchants in the end, but it’s a pretty fair trade. You da man, Brad Wesley!

5. Villains Need Monster Trucks – If you’re the town villain, you’re going to need something to tote around all your flunkies. And, really, is there a better vehicle for the job than a monster truck? Not only does it demonstrate your wealth, but it’ll look awfully stylish while roaring through the car dealership of the local businessman who’s offended you.

6. …And at Least One Giant Henchman – Sure, you’re going to fight the hero eventually, but you’ll first want to wear him down with a wide array of henchmen. If you’re a self-respecting villain, one of these loyal subordinates needs to be really tall. Not only will he be great for toting women around during pool parties, but he’ll also allow the hero (and your future opponent) to demonstrate his ability to defeat men of all shapes and sizes. Impressive names like Mountain are always a plus, and these guys should be hired immediately.

7. Pain Don’t Hurt – Getting a degree in Philosophy will allow you to amaze people with lines such as “Nobody ever wins a fight,” “It’s my way…or the highway,” and “Give me the biggest guy in the world, you smash his knee, he’ll drop like a stone.” In fact, I believe that last quote was originally attributed to Socrates. You’ll also be able to focus your mind to resist pain, which can be especially handy when getting stitched up after a barroom brawl. You’ll get bonus points if your area of study includes man’s search for faith and that sort of shit.

road-house-flirt8. Heroes Resist Temptation – Real heroes don’t like slutty women. That’s why you should always turn down the advances of the villain’s trophy girlfriend or the trashy waitress who shows up unexpectedly to bring you breakfast in bed. Instead, keep yourself pure for the brainy hottie who just so happens to put out on the second date. If it’s good enough for Dalton, then it should be good enough for you.

9. Polar Bears Make Great Weapons – When a fight’s about to break out, I always make sure to scan my surroundings for stuffed polar bears. They’re perfect for toppling onto people, and your victims are guaranteed to stay unconscious until you’ve taken care of your business. These stuffed animals will also confuse any witnesses, causing them to utter nonsense that’ll stymie the efforts of any investigating law enforcement officers. Thanks, Road House!

road-house-kill10. How to Kill a Man with Three Fingers – Lots of people like to use guns and knives to kill. Heck, some even run down their victims with automobiles. Me, I like to extend my index, middle and ring fingers in order to tear out my victim’s throat. It might seem a little unorthodox, but you just can’t argue with its success. Besides, you just never know when someone at the bar might need an emergency tracheotomy.

11. Karate Trumps Guns – If someone gets the drop on you with a pistol, there’s no reason to freak out. Just remember this simple rule: a karate kick can always be delivered before a trigger can be pulled. It might sound hard to believe, but Dalton proves this little-known maxim on more than one occasion. And once you’ve knocked that pesky firearm away with some roundhouse goodness, you’ll have to decide whether or not to apply lesson #10. Choose carefully, as making that fateful decision can result in moments of introspection and lots of somber music.

road-house-swim12. A Little Skinny Dipping Washes Away All Sins – No matter how many men you have to kill in the name of revenge, taking a dip in the local creek sans underwear will fix you right up. And while a sexy blonde isn’t required, it certainly can’t hurt. So dive right in and forget all about those bullet-riddled corpses, torn-out throats, and stabbed-to-death mentors. Boy, that water sure is nice.

And while you’re applying these 12 things I learned from watching Road House, it’s always important to remember perhaps Dalton’s most important lesson of all: Be Nice.