Road House

“You’ve got a degree from NYU. What in?” “Philosophy.” “Any particular discipline?” “No, not really. Man’s search for faith. That sort of shit.” Care to guess who that philosopher is, and in what 1989 movie he kicks ass, trades quips with Sam Elliott (long before the Coen brothers got the idea), defeats Ben Gazzara, and wins Kelly Lynch? There can be only one man, one answer, one made poignant by his death last year: Patrick Swayze in Road House. The 1989 movie finds Swayze in a contemplative mood. He’s a man of peace, yet not one afraid to fight. But the true fight, my friend, lies within one’s own mind. And the calm Swayze seeks through his mastery of martial arts is a deeply spiritual quest. But men—bad men, ruffians and rednecks—are drawn to his calm. They’re unbalanced and volatile; they flow like water to the serene Zen center that is Swayze, so that he, the sensei, can instruct them. Because he has a Ph.D in ass-whooping. And each beating is a lesson. 21 and over; preceded by Point Break. (R) BRIAN MILLER

Tue., Feb. 16, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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