Director: Rowdy Herrington
Stars: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliot, Ben Gazzara
A critic's take: “Road House lays out its story with the subtlety of a wrestling match, and probably with less sharpness or savvy.” – Hal Hinson (The Washington Post)
Why it's bad (meaning good): Back in 1989, Patrick Swayze (R.I.P.) was every woman’s fantasy man, thanks to his turn in the schmaltzy romantic smash Dirty Dancing. So, understandably, he wanted to regain some of the macho, guy-friendly appeal he exuded in flicks like The Outsiders (1983) and Red Dawn (1984). His strategy: star in a pair of muscular action films, Next Of Kin and Road House, both released in 1989. Unfortunately, though, neither film was any good, and his unconvincing performances in both critical pariahs earned Swayze dreaded Razzie nominations for the Worst Actor statue.
In hindsight, folks were way too hard on Road House. It’s actually inconceivable to think that Swayze’ honky-tonk barroom brawler movie didn’t leave audiences cheering up storms back in ’89, now that Road House has cultivated a reputation as an unabashed, chest-bumping romp for dudes who love seeing other guys beat the piss out of one another. And don’t get it twisted: Swayze pranced around like a swan in Dirty Dancing, but here he knuckles up with credible ass-kicking flash.