United Artists via Everett Collection
It all starts with a mullet and an attitude. By the time that Patrick Swayze appeared as the legendary bouncer (or cooler) Dalton in 1989's Road House, he was two years removed from his star making turn in Dirty Dancing. Audiences already knew that he could dance, but nobody knew that he could rip a guy's throat out with his bare hands.
In the 25 years since its release, Road House has become a cult classic, both for its over-the-top fight scenes and Swayze's mock-philosophical dialogue and awesome hair. With its frequent appearances on cable television, it's never out of sight for very long, but we've compiled some fun facts to help you enjoy the greatest bad movie ever the next time you find yourself drawn in by the majesty of Swayze. Just remember the immortal words of Dalton: "I want you to be nice, until it's time not to be nice."
1. Although the film is set in the town of Jasper, Missouri, the exterior of the film's infamous bar The Double Deuce was built strictly for the filming on location in California and then was torn down. Some of the interiors were shot, however, in a real bar in Anaheim that has since closed.
2. Screenwriter David Lee Henry has said that Dalton was named after the town of Dalton, Georgia. He stopped at a bar there during a road trip and it ended up serving in part as the inspiration for his script.
3. Dalton is shown reading Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall, which is the basis for the 1994 Brad Pitt-Anthony Hopkins movie of the same name.
4. Movie trailers frequently feature parts that are subsequently cut before a film is released, but Road House has the unofficial record for the most occurrences of deleted scenes. The original trailer had at least five different clips that don't appear in the finished version.
5. The Jeff Healey Band, which serves as the house band of The Double Deuce, had their biggest hit "Angel Eyes" on the charts while Road House was still in theaters, but the song isn't from the movie. Healey, the blind Canadian guitarist, and his group recorded their album See the Light concurrently with the movie soundtrack.
6. In a sad coincidence, both Swayze and Ben Gazzara, who played Dalton's nemesis Brad Wesley, both died of pancreatic cancer… Swayze in 2009 and Gazzara in 2012.
7. As awesome as Swayze's mullet was, the actor himself didn't like it. In the book One Last Dance, Swayze's biographer Wendy Leigh quoted the actor as calling the Road House hair style the "bane of my existence."
8. Red West, who played the owner of the auto parts store (also named Red), was a high school friend of Elvis Presley. West was a charter member of Presley's "Memphis Mafia" and functioned as one of the singer's bodyguards into the 1970s.
9. Even though Dalton famously says that "Pain don't hurt," the axiom didn't apply to Swayze. Among the various ways he was banged up during shooting was when Marshall Teague, who played Jimmy (the bad guy who gets his throat ripped out), hit Swayze with what he thought was a prop log... only to find out that it was actual hard wood.
10. One of the fired bartenders from The Double Deuce was played by John Doe, better known to music fans as the founder of the punk band X.
11. Kevin Tighe, who played Dalton's boss, bar owner Frank Tilghman, was better known for his work on television. He was one of the stars of the '70s hit Emergency! and later played Locke's father on Lost.
12. Even though Swayze is shown practicing t'ai chi, Dalton never actually uses that particular style of martial arts in the movie's fight scenes. Instead he uses moves from various sources, including the Korean discipline of hapkido.
13. Annette Bening was originally cast as "Doc," the ER doctor played by Kelly Lynch.
14. Lynch said in an interview with The AV Club that Bill Murray and his brothers like to call her husband, screenwriter Mitch Glazer (Scrooged), every time that they see Road House on TV to remind him about her steamy sex scenes with Swayze.
15. Lynch reportedly spent a month hanging around a real emergency room to prepare for her role. She learned the proper way to sew a medical stitch… but then the script was changed so that she never got to showcase her new skill.
16. Dalton had a thing for Buicks. Before he leaves for Missouri the "beater" car that he drives to protect his prized Mercedes is a 1964 Buick Riviera. Once he gets to Jasper, he buys the 1965 edition of the same car model.
17. Just as he had with Dirty Dancing, Swayze sings on the soundtrack and his song "Cliff's Edge" is heard on a radio in the film.
18. The Otis Redding song "These Arms of Mine" is used during one of the love scenes between Swayze and Lynch. In Dirty Dancing, the same song is used during the initial love scene between Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
19. Kitschy stage director Timothy Haskell did an off-Broadway retelling of Road House in 2003 titled Road House: The Stage Version of the Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze Except This One Stars Taimak from the '80s Cult Classic 'The Last Dragon' Wearing a Blonde Mullet Wig.Try saying that three times fast.
20. Road House has been a running gag on both Mystery Science Theater 3000, where it was Crow's favorite movie, and in Family Guy, where Peter punctuates every fight by name-checking the film. Not to be outdone, teammates of Cincinnati Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton call him "Road House" thanks to his surname.
Do the Bourne movies make any sense? Enough. The first three films — The Bourne Identity Supremacy and Ultimatum — throw in just enough detail into the covert ops babble and high-speed action that by the end Jason Bourne comes out an emotional character with an evident mission. That's where Bourne Legacy drops the ball. A "sidequel" to the original trilogy Legacy follows super soldier Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) as he runs jumps and shoots his way out of the hands of his government captors. The film is identical to its predecessors; political intrigue chase scenes morally ambiguous CIA agents monitoring their man-on-the-run from a computer-filled HQ — a Bourne movie through and through. But Legacy has to dig deeper to find new ground to cover introducing elements of sci-fi into the equation. The result is surprisingly limp and even more incomprehensible.
Damon's Bourne spent three blockbusters uncovering his past erased by the assassin training program Treadstone. Renner's Alex Cross has a similar do-or-die mission: after Bourne's antics send Washington into a tizzy Cross' own training program Outcome is terminated. Unlike Bourne Cross is enhanced by "chems" (essentially steroid drugs) that keep him alive and kicking ass. When Outcome is ended Cross goes rogue to stay alive and find more pills.
Steeped heavily in the plot lines of the established mythology Bourne Legacy jumps back and forth between Cross and the clean up job of the movie's big bad (Edward Norton) and his elite squad of suits. The movie balances a lot of moving parts but the adventure never feels sprawling or all that exciting. Actress Rachel Weisz vibrant in nearly every role she takes on plays a chemist who is key to Cross' chemical woes. The two are forced into partnership Weisz limited to screaming cowering and sneaking past the occasional airport x-ray machine while her partner aggressively fistfights his way through any hurdle in his path. Renner is equally underserved. Cross is tailored to the actor's strengths — a darker more aggressive character than Damon's Bourne but with one out of every five of the character's lines being "CHEMS!" shouted at the top of his lungs Renner never has the time or the material to develop him.
Writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton Duplicity and the screenwriter of the previous three movies) is a master of dense language but his style choices can't breath life into the 21st century epic speak. In the film's necessary car chase Gilroy mimics the loose camera style of Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass without fully embracing it. The wishy washy approach sucks the life out of large-scale set pieces. The final 30 minutes of Bourne Legacy is a shaky cam naysayer's worst nightmare.
The Bourne Legacy demonstrates potential without ever kicking into high gear. One scene when Gilroy finally slows down and unleashes absolute terror on screen is striking. Unfortunately the moment doesn't involve our hero and its implications never explained. That sums up Legacy; by the film's conclusion it only feels like the first hour has played out. The movie crawls — which would be much more forgivable if the intense banter between its large ensemble carried weight. Instead Legacy packs the thrills of an airport thriller: sporadically entertaining and instantly forgettable.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Leonardo DiCaprio has reportedly hired a vocal coach to teach him to sing in a bid to win the role of Frank Sinatra in Martin Scorsese's upcoming biopic.
The actor, who previously worked with Scorsese on Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator and other movies, is said to be training with a voice expert to learn how to mimic the late Rat Pack crooner's distinctive sound.
A source tells British newspaper The Sun, "Leo has hired a top vocal coach to get him sounding like Sinatra. He is a massive fan of the singer and has always wanted to play him. He would be sick to miss out on the leading role because his singing wasn't up to scratch. He is now in intensive vocal coaching lessons to replicate Sinatra's distinctive style."
DiCaprio will have to work hard to master Sinatra's hits -- he is facing stiff competition from singers Harry Connick Jr. and Jamie Foxx, who have also been tipped for the part.
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