I barely remembered Road House from 1989 so when it was on TV last month and Matthew asked if I'd seen it I said, "Is that the one with Dolly Parton?"
Oops, I was thinking of Rhinestone, presumably because both movies begin with R. But considering how tuned in I was to Patrick Swayze in the late 80s, how could I make such a mistake? Have I never written about the Dirty Dancing slumber party I went to at Jennifer Puthoff's house in eighth grade? Unforgivable.
Road House was on TV in the living room and I was puttering around doing other things but sooner or later I stopped, stood still, and stared at the screen because I mesmerized by Patrick Swayze's lines. During one speech he gave to his staff at the Double Deuce bar, a "place where you sweep up the light bulbs after closing", Matthew came up with the idea that I should try to conduct a meeting comprised entirely of quotes from Road House. Fantastic!
For the past two years, at the end of rehearsals and before we hit the road, I sit around a large table with the Idols and tour management staff. I go over rules, regulations, and procedures. I have to explain what I expect of everyone, how we do things and, importantly, why. It's a lot for everyone to take in at once and I've tried to pare down the handout; it's gone from maybe 12 pages to eight or nine. I try to pass off parts to others so it feels less like a lecture and more like a conversation. I try to be funny but you know who's funnier than me? Patrick Swayze's character in Road House, Dalton.
Dalton is a working-class thinker, a martial arts roughneck with a philosophy degree from NYU. He's unflappable. He wears tight jeans and the pleaty-est pleated pants you'll ever see. He will cut you. And if anyone in my meeting remembers Road House and gets it? We'll be friends for life.
Dalton arrives in Jasper, Missouri to clean up the bar and leave when he's done. What, of course, he doesn't foresee is fixing the entire town by eliminating its evil warlord and falling in love with a hot doctor who's the evil warlord's ex-wife. Dalton is, they say, the best damn cooler in the business and re-trains the bouncers after getting rid of the negative influences on the staff. Dalton's character is basically introduced in the movie as he's stitching up his own stab wound that he sustained in a knife fight. See? Bad ass.
Please know that I will not be getting in any knife fights in my effort to emulate Dalton. I will probably not being doing much shirtless Tai Chi by any lakes this summer either and that kind of bums me out.
What I do need to work out is how I can make the following relevant to my meeting:
**"I'm telling you straight, it's my way or the highway. So anybody who wants to walk, do it now."
Note: everyone I say this too will be under contract and not actually allowed to walk. This will be pure intimidation on my part.
**"People who really want to have a good time won't come to a slaughterhouse and we've got entirely too many troublemakers here. Too many 40-year-old adolescents, felons, powerdrinkers and trustees of modern chemistry. It's going to change."
Note: Hm. Not sure if this really applies to the American Idol crowd.
**"Be nice. If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won't walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will help you, and you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job. It's nothing personal."
I like the above. A lot. If anyone at my meeting asks what a Double Deuce bouncer did, "And being called a cocksucker isn't personal?"
I will tell them, "No. It's two nouns combined to elicit a proscribed response."
Think about that!
**"I want you to be nice...until it's time...to not be nice.. All you have to do is watch my back and each others'."
There's more but I think you get the idea. My main task is making all this apply to ticket sales, meet and greets, and unruly teenyboppers at the aftershow.
**"Well, it was a good night. Nobody died."
"It'll get worse before it gets better," Dalton replied.