"Pain Don't Hurt": Moolah Theatre Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Road House

Categories: Go!, Movies

Allison Babka
Moolah bartender Sean McElroy fixes a drink.

"It's imminently quotable, just really sharply written and clever," McElroy says. "There's a guy I text every day, and it's nothing but Road House quotes."

And those quotes, of course, contain profound life lessons, like Swayze's lesson "Pain don't hurt."

"I've always been a big fan of the scene where Swayze gets a knife wound in his side during a fight and then drives himself to the hospital, where he meets Kelly Lynch," McElroy gushes. "He needs stitches, and she asks him if he wants any anesthesia. He refuses and says, 'Pain don't hurt.' If you could sum up the movie in three words, that would be it."

The Moolah is developing a reputation for catering to true movie lovers. The theater screens vintage films about two weekends per month -- Labyrinth and The Big Lebowski are recurring fan favorites -- and it coordinates themed drinks with whatever flick is playing.

"I would assume that people who come to the Moolah are film fans to begin with," McElroy says. "I can't think of any more beautifully put-together regular movie theater in the entire area."

But what draws fans to the Moolah again and again are the old, often obscure movies that play throughout the day in the bar. The building has several storage areas containing thousands of VHS films acquired over the years at thrift stores, and the staff's favorite movies are served up alongside local brews and fancy cocktails.

"As far as I'm concerned, we pretty much have everything worth watching from 1995 and older. All day long, we're watching old VHS tapes," McElroy says. "We have a DVD player, but it's not hooked up and hasn't been for a while. To me, there's a lot of stuff that doesn't look right unless it's on VHS."

But for now, McElroy and the Moolah team are concentrating on celebrating Road House in its full '80s action glory. Having watched the movie on VHS and cable over and over, McElroy is considered a Road House expert, but even he hasn't viewed it in a theater.

"It's a film I didn't seek out. It found me," McElroy says. "I've never seen Road House on the big screen, so this weekend is every bit as exciting for me as it is for anybody."

The Road House celebration will be held Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31, at the Moolah Theatre, 3821 Lindell Boulevard. The movie will screen at midnight, with trivia and other events happening about 30 minutes prior. Cost is $3. Follow the event on Twitter with #RoadHouse25.

Follow Allison Babka on Twitter at @ambabka. Email the author at

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