Title: Road House (1989)
Released: 1989

Fix: Patrick Swayze, the 80’s, bar fights, big hair
Platforms: Hulu

Hulu Summary: 

Bouncer-for-hire Patrick Swayze sets out to clean up the baddest honkytonk in a Missouri town.

FYA Summary:

The year was 1989. The mullets were transcendent, the hair spray was plentiful, and the bouncers were famous. Okay, that last part isn’t true. But for the purposes of this movie, you’re going to have to pretend that it is. Jasper, Missouri is home to the Double Deuce, a shithole of a bar so bad that its owner has to go out of state to recruit the most infamous bouncer in America to come clean the place up. Dalton, known as a cooler, makes an absurd amount of money to come into bars and clubs, get the staff into shipshape and teach them how to handle their awful clientele to keep the place from being trashed every night. What the owner of the Double Deuce fails to tell Dalton is that in addition to needing to get his shithole in order, the bar is located in a town that’s basically under the thumb of a wannabe redneck mafia king named Brad Wesley, and this might be a tougher job than advertised.

After falling for a beautiful emergency room doctor and with help from an old friend, Dalton learns to navigate Jasper and the Double Deuce before ending up in an epic showdown with the town baddie. There’s also a monster truck and a taxidermied animal menagerie. 

Does Road House pass the Bechdel test? God, no. But people do dance on tables and blow stuff up, and can we really ask for more than that from the decade that gave us Reaganomics? 

Familiar Faces: 

Patrick Swayze as Dalton

As if Dirty Dancing, Point Break, and Ghost weren’t enough, Patrick Swayze gave us this kitschy gem of an action movie. The man was a gift. And nobody else could get away with wearing a karate gi as fashion. 

Kelly Lynch as Doc

Kelly Lynch plays Doc, and don’t worry, she puts on her glasses when she’s at work, so you know when to take her seriously. You may recognize Lynch from other ’80s classics like Cocktail and Drugstore Cowboy. I’d like to tell you that the fried hair she sports in this movie was some weird anomaly, but nope. That was just some stark 1989 realism.

Sam Elliott as Wade

Wade is Dalton’s best friend and mentor in the cooler industry who zooms into town on his motorcycle to lend a hand. Sam Elliott is a national treasure who’s been around forever and has been in everything from Westerns to The Big Lebowski. I’m sure his spectacular Road House hair was the envy of Kelly Lynch and every other woman on the set and I think he might have invented the hipster man bun in this movie.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Must Show I.D.

This is definitely a fun movie to watch with a crowd, especially one with an appreciation for amazing ’80s hair and fashion. But this may not be the most family-friendly choice as it is rated R, as in ridiculous amounts of T & A and more than one hella awkward sex scene you may not want to watch with your teenager. Ask me how I know.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Bottoms Up

Dry January is over! Drink ‘em if you got ‘em! To be fair, the movie is set in a bar, so this feels like a no-brainer. To be truly on theme, it calls for some cheap whiskey in a smudged glass or a mediocre American beer. But whatever you choose, please, no throwing bottles at the band.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Vintage

With the Jake Gyllenhaal remake releasing next month, it came to my attention that a tragic number of people have never seen this nostalgic masterpiece and if that’s you, it’s past time you remedied that.

The sheer 80’s-ness of it all, the aforementioned hair, and the boxy linen suits belong in a damn time capsule. Oh god, and the Texas tuxedo bad guy with his appropriation choker, and the farmer who just wears long johns and overalls all the time. Don’t even get me started on the most uncomfortable-looking sex scene to ever be filmed. In addition to some truly iconic lines, Road House is a perfect snapshot of what Hollywood thought America looked like before the irony of the ’90s arrived. But once you get past all the gleefully silly trappings, at its heart, Road House is really just a story about a guy who can’t resist helping people who need it and the irreverent biker who loves him.


Kandis (she/her) is a proud member of the Austin FYA book club chapter who loves vampires, romance novels, live tweeting CW shows, and Jonah Griggs. She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.