There are films which are universally loved, cherished and adored, able to find a way into audience's hearts for a lifetime. Then there are the films which are so universally derided and loathed, if ripping them apart was treated as an Olympic sport, Ryan Hill and Steven Bost would be going for gold.
The two comedians will tackle the 1989 Patrick Swayze action-drama Road House in the latest installment of their "Ryan & Steve Bust a Movie" series tonight at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas in Bethlehem. In the show, Hill and Bost provide live, running commentary as the film is being shown to the audience.
"We knew people would be interested. People wanted to see what we could do with (Road House)," Hill says. "We were up for the challenge."
The duo has already torn up such box office duds as Battlefield: Earth, Glitter, Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake and Showgirls. However, Hill stresses Road House is different than previous "Bust a Movie" installments. "We decided on Road House because it's a movie that people love. They acknowledge that it is not good, not good in an awesome way, as so many people have said. Most movies we've done before, people love to hate. This one, people love to love but acknowledge it's not good."
Road House tells the story of rough and tough New York City nightclub bouncer named Dalton (Swayze), who is hired to provide security at the Double Deuce roadside bar in Jasper, Missouri. Dalton's mission is to restore order to the establishment while protecting it from evil businessmen. The film grossed a little more than $30 million at the U.S. box office, with a budget of $17 million, according to IMDB.com.
Bost says by the time Road House is shown to the audience, he and Hill will have sat through it seven times to prepare for their exchanges. "Much like in our standup, we want to know what we're saying (ahead of time), but leave a little room for improvisation ... If the audience groans, we'll milk it," Bost says.
The idea for "Bust a Movie" sprung from Hill and Bost's pastime of trying to outdo the other with snarky comments while watching some of Hollywood's worst cinematic offenders. Inspiration was also drawn, for Bost, from the show Mystery Science Theater 3000, and, for Hill, Doug Benson's Movie Interruptions. "I didn't realize we could pull it off live until I found out about Doug Benson's Movie Interruptions. We would watch these terrible movies ... we would try to outdo each other with witty quips, so we decided to do it in front of an audience," Hill says.
What goes into choosing the right flick to lambaste? "It's a very complex calculus," Bost says. "There has to be the perfect mix of awfulness, seriousness and notoriety."
Hill adds, "There are certain movies we can't do because they are aware they're not good. We can't do Sharknado. We want to go after a movie that definitely tries."
Suggestions from friends are also taken into consideration. Films not available or accessible for screening due to rights issues is often a factor. Straight-up comedies are also tough to crack, Hill says. "Road House is one of those 1980s movies that is kind of macho, along the lines of Top Gun in that '80s machismo ... We can't choose a film that is aware it's bad."
Hill and Bost's next target is the teen vampire saga Twilight, which will be screened Oct. 29. "Twilight is so perfect (for the series)," Bost says.
Hill adds, "It's a world we might not understand, but we're going to have fun with it."
IF YOU GO
- When: 8 tonight
- Where: Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem
- Tickets: $11, $9 for students and seniors
- Info.: 610-332-3378, steelstacks.org