29 Things We Learned from the ‘Road House’ Commentary


Road House
By  · Published on March 18th, 2024

Welcome to Commentary Commentary, the place we sit and take heed to filmmakers speak about their work, then share essentially the most fascinating components. In this version, Rob Hunter revisits Rowdy Herrington’s Road House commentary.


Rowdy Herrington‘s Road House hit theaters in the summer of 1989, and while it wasn’t a bomb, it wasn’t a success both. It got here, and it went, however the years have been very form to it since with the movie discovering new followers who take pleasure in its simplicity, its quotability, and its sweaty, bloody enjoyable. A remake is because of hit Prime this month, and it’s best to put together your self now to begin listening to folks bash it deference to the unique “classic.”

As somebody who very a lot enjoys Herrington’s movie, I’m content material calling it a B-movie blast with its lone hero who’s new to city, the massive unhealthy villain and his military of cronies, and its explosive, throat-ripping finale. The movie is a house video mainstay, and it just lately received the 4K UHD remedy from the parents at Vinegar Syndrome and a slick particular version from the Australian label, Imprint. Both releases are loaded with extras together with an older commentary observe from Herington. So after all, earlier than sitting down subsequent week to look at the remake, I made a decision to provide the observe a hear.

Keep studying to see what I heard on the commentary observe for…

Road House (1989)

Commentator: Rowdy Herrington (director)

1. The neon signal that opens the movie was created by the movie’s artwork division particularly for this crane shot. The precise bar’s identify is The Arsenal.

2. “For this shot, I had asked the producer to find a girl who had great legs,” he says, relating to the lady who we see exit the Ferrari after which comply with in the direction of the membership. They introduced in an Italian mannequin who specialised in stocking advertisements and such.

3. He feels very lucky to have gathered such a stellar forged right here together with Patrick Swayze who was sizzling off Dirty Dancing (1987), Kelly Lynch who was really below contract with United Artists, Sam Elliott, Kevin Tighe, and plenty of extra.

4. Herrington requested that the entire actors who get into fights right here really knew find out how to struggle, after which the fifty-plus stunt performers and struggle choreography by the nice Benny Urquidez helped push the brawls excessive. The struggle legend has a cameo in the course of the monster truck scene on the automotive dealership.

5. He sings the praises of legendary cinematographer Dean Cundey, and he loves that they shot it in Panavision anamorphic widescreen.

6. There was some pushback when Herrington selected a Mercedes for Dalton’s (Swayze) fancy automotive. “It’s a rather expensive car to shoot over a wall and explode.” The beater automotive, in contrast, was chosen merely for its cool headlights.

7. The Double Deuce bar, seen first at 7:35 from the surface, is definitely only a facade. They constructed these two seen sides with lighting within the home windows, however there’s nothing behind it. The inside of the bar was constructed on a soundstage. Red’s Auto Parts store throughout the car parking zone can also be a two-walled facade.

8. The script known as for a blind guitarist who performed the instrument in his lap, and it was a direct reference to Jeff Healey who author David Lee Henry had seen carry out in Canada. The movie’s music supervisor really introduced in Healey to audition, and he clearly received the job.

9. The mustachioed bartender, Pat, is performed by John Doe of the band X.

10. “Obviously, I didn’t write this scene,” he says because the sweaty prick provides the opposite sweaty jerk the prospect to kiss his woman’s breasts for ten buck a pop.

11. Herrington’s spouse and son each got here down with meals poisoning the evening earlier than the movie’s first taking pictures day, and he was involved that he would catch it too. Of course, he was extra involved about beginning his first studio image. “I think I was nervous enough that whatever the germ was, I killed it.”

12. One of the issues that drew him to the movie was its exploration of a world most individuals didn’t know. Bouncers, certain, however most individuals had by no means heard of a “cooler” like Dalton.

13. He credit producer Joel Silver with offering most of the younger feminine extras for the bar scenes and occasion at Wesley’s (Ben Gazzara) home. “It was fairly remarkable.”

14. Red West performs the auto components supplier, and Herrington discovered him to be an enchanting man. He had been good associates with Elvis Presley, knew martial arts, and labored as Presley’s bodyguard at occasions.

15. Swayze studied Tai-chi to organize for the scene the place he goes by way of a routine within the solar by the water.

16. Herrington had his groups incorporate loads of major colours into the wardrobe and manufacturing design. “It was a choice that I made in order to accentuate how larger than life all of this was. It’s a bit of a cartoon in a sense.”

17. They needed to rent bodyguards to “keep the women away from his motorhome” as they’d attempt to rip off his clothes.

18. Elliott initially declined the position of Wade as he felt it was too much like the one he performed in Mask (1985), however Herrington introduced him in for a gathering to speak extra concerning the character, and he modified his thoughts. “I can’t imagine this picture without Sam Elliott.”

19. They found throughout manufacturing that Kathleen Wilhoite, who performs a waitress named Carrie, may sing, in order that they determined to include that into her character. It’s a pleasant contact, and he thinks it means that these round Dalton are blossoming together with the adjustments he delivered to the bar.

20. Lynch was really contracted with United Artists to do a Sam Kinison movie, however the comic was deemed too wild by the studio and his film was canceled. That left her accessible for Road House.

21. Keith David performs the brand new bartender, Ernie, and his unique introductory scene — he involves the bar together with his girlfriend, will get right into a struggle with some rednecks, and is helped by Dalton — was minimize from the movie because it was already working too lengthy.

22. He says that Jimmy’s (Marshall Teague) hand movement at 1:21:06, mainly palm up and fingers inviting somebody to come back nearer, has been ripped off by quite a few different films since… together with The Matrix (1999).

23. Swayze needed to do the stunt the place Dalton leaps and tackles Jimmy off the shifting motorbike, however they wouldn’t let him. We see him dive, however the minimize to the bike is a stunt man. “He was angry.”

24. The huge struggle between the pair was shot over 5 nights. “These guys got really tired.” He means that it’s really more durable to hit or miss then it’s to hit and make contact. Herrington had heard a couple of martial artist ripping out somebody’s trachea throughout a struggle, so he added it right here.

25. Silver used to go to the set and recommend varied one-liners, and that features “the classic Joel Silver” line the place Jimmy says “I used to fuck guys like you in prison.”

26. The close-up of the bloodied rose tattoo on Wade’s corpse is a reference to a scene that was trimmed that noticed Wade speaking about his one real love that he misplaced, a lady named Rose.

27. The huge stunt with the Mercedes was speculated to see it land on its roof, however the stunt driver had it going so quick that it accomplished its barrel roll and landed again on its wheels. “It was very exciting.”

28. The shotgun-wielding thug strikes by way of the home and discovers the opposite henchmen all knocked out/killed, however Herrington really shot every of these scenes with Dalton doling out the ache. They had been all trimmed to deliver down the working time.

29. The solely harm among the many movie’s quite a few stunt personnel got here with the man flipping over the railing after Dalton throws the knife into his chest. The man was speculated to flip and land on his again on the containers simply out of body, however he flipped too far, landed on his ft, and broke his ankle.

Best in Context-Free Commentary

Road House is actually a modern western.”

“I have to say, this was a lot of fun to make.”

“This still cracks me up to this day.”

“Very important for actors to have chemistry if they’re gonna have a meaningful relationship on the screen.”

“We didn’t have to spray ’em down at all, that was real sweat.”

“Only a wrestler could hit the deck like that.”

“The explosions were always bigger than I thought they were gonna be.”

Final Thoughts

Road House is arguably the preferred of Herrington’s movies, however I’d go to bat for the remainder of his first 4 options which additionally contains Jack’s Back (1988), Gladiator (1992), and Striking Distance (1993). It stays an excellent time that hits all of the anticipated beats however does it in sweaty model. Herrington leaves some minor gaps right here and there on the observe, however it’s nonetheless an excellent hear as he shares some entertaining ideas on the movie’s manufacturing. They actually don’t make ’em like they used to anymore.

Read extra Commentary Commentary from the archives.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since earlier than you had been born, which is bizarre seeing as he is so rattling younger. He’s our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists ‘Broadcast News’ as his favourite movie of all time. Feel free to say hello if you happen to see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.