Hollywood Movies


April 5, 20245 Mins Read

“Road House,” the new release from Amazon Prime starring a shredded Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor McGregor, purportedly takes place in the Florida Keys.

But the movie doesn’t resemble the island chain in either scenery or plot. 

It was filmed in the Dominican Republic, because that’s where filmmakers are welcomed these days with tax incentives and other economic breaks. 

“Road House” is about a down-on-his-luck and troubled ex-UFC fighter hired to clean up a beachside “Keys” bar riddled by patrons who constantly ruin the tropical vibe with fights and table-smashing and villains who want to force the owner to sell the property. 

Glass Key, however, is total fiction, along with the idea that the Keys are a dangerous place to visit a tiki bar and (still) famed for drug trafficking. 

“Why do you think they call it the Keys?” one character tells the 2024 version of Dalton, the expert bouncer. (That’s not the etymology of Cayo Hueso, by the way. Not at all.)

But “Road House” got one Keys classic right.

Fred the Tree and the Old Seven Mile Bridge, two Florida Keys icons, have cameos in the new “Road House,” a remake of the 1989 Patrick Swayze vehicle that was a cable TV guilty pleasure-turned-cult-classic.

Famous Fred – the sturdy Australian pine that survived Hurricane Irma – and the breathtaking aerial view of the Middle Keys are absolutely real and filmed in person.

The anonymous Keys crew that decorates Fred for Christmas each year even agreed to hold off for two weeks during the movie filming so Fred could be filmed in its natural glory. The delay was chronicled on Fred’s hugely popular Facebook page. 

No one expected “Road House” to be a documentary. It’s an Amazon Prime original movie made for the streaming giant that’s gotten decent reviews

The resiliency of Fred the Tree, though, is an emotional thread that runs through the plot. 

Fred is seen in the film’s beginning, as Gyllenhaal’s Dalton looks out the window of a bus headed to fake Glass Key for a job he initially turned down. 

A bookstore owner’s daughter then welcomes Dalton with a book about Fred the Tree – also fake, although there is a very real children’s book called “Fred the Tree” by author Leigh H. Guest that tells a moving story of hope after a Category 4 Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Keys in 2017.

But the rest of the “Keys” shown in “Road House” in reality are locations in the DR. 

Florida used to have a revolving door of movie crews coming in for long stays, lured by the Sunshine State’s once-competitive film incentive program. That’s over. 

Twenty years ago, Florida was the no. 3 destination for filming in the U.S., after Los Angeles and New York, said Chad Newman, Florida Keys film commissioner.

“We’re not in the top 25,” Newman said. “There’s no money here. It’s not that we even need a huge incentive, we just need something to get us in the room.”

The Keys get plenty of Hollywood work: car commercials, travel shows, reality TV,  including a Jersey Shore cast-goes-on-vacation. Star chef Gordon Ramsay shot a new show in the Keys. And many films have come down for exterior shots or weeks-long on-location filming. 

The series “Bloodline” became a Keys tourism success story and still brings people down to see the Rayburn house and other movie locations. 

“They spent $30 million in Monroe County,” Newman said. “That generated $60 million of tourism impact. 

But when it comes to Hollywood films set in Florida, movie studios are taking their business elsewhere. They skip Florida for states that will subsidize their multimillion-dollar budgets through film incentive programs that often lead to the creation of Hollywood-style industries in states like Georgia, a huge current favorite location.

An incentive is money provided by local governments to lure producers to their area. 

But Florida ended its film incentives. 

Monroe County Mayor Holly Raschein, the former two-term state representative from the Keys, said she’s a huge fan of film incentives, but it’s an area of policy lawmakers simply disagreed on years ago. 

During her eight years in the Florida House, Raschein watched the film incentive program fade to black. 

“There was just an extreme philosophical belief from the Legislature leadership, at the time, of not expending taxpayer resources on private enterprise, specifically the film industry,” Raschein told Keys Weekly. 

“I championed it,” Raschein said, of the film incentives program. “I worked closely with Film Florida. Other states are rolling out the red carpet.”

As for “Road House,” Raschein put out a light-hearted statement that gently points out some liberties the movie took with depicting the Keys. 

“We are very lucky to live in the fabulous Florida Keys, with a law-abiding sheriff, ‘Margaritaville’ playing in our bars at happy hour, friendly bikers sharing our roadways, and an occasional docile croc sighting,” Raschein said.

“The most accurate depiction of the Florida Keys was our very own Fred the Tree waving Dalton across the Seven Mile Bridge,” she said. “We invite Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor McGregor to our Florida Keys anytime to see and feel what it is like here, since they didn’t experience it while filming Road House. I will gladly give them a ‘locals’ tour of the islands myself.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Get our latest downloads and information first.
Complete the form below to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

No, thank you. I do not want.
100% secure your website.