9/27/2009

I Watch Every Ski Movie, Episode 1: Hot Dog... The Movie

so this is the first installment of my quest to watch every fictional ski movie. The first of many is Hot Dog... The Movie, I guess in case you got it confused with the food. As far as I can tell, the 1984 movie is one of the older ski comedies out there, and it shows: poofy, fluffy hair, mullets, and trucker caps well before they became ironic or cool again.

Like most ski movies, Hot Dog features lots of gratuitous nudity (it's supposed to be a teen sex comedy) but this one seems a bit seedier for a number of reasons. It also features one of the dumbest ski "sports" I've ever seen. We'll get to that later.

The movie starts with Harkin Banks (actor Patrick Houser, who wasn't in much else) driving across the country to Squaw Valley, California to enter a ski competition. He picks up Sunny, a female hittchiker along the way and they go into a bar with a wet t-shirt contest, then sleep together. This begins the sketchy sex-related stuff in the movie, as Sunny is supposed to be 17 -- apparently that was OK back then.

Eventually they make it to Squaw Valley, where antics ensue. Harkin makes friends with the motley crew of party guys with names like Slasher and Squirrel, as well as older pro Dan O'Callahan, played by David Naughton, who was also in An American Werewolf in London and Makin' It, a TV series based on Saturday Night Fever. They enter the race against bad guy Rudi Garmisch, an Austrian who enters wearing a huge fur coat.

There's also Shannon Tweed, staple of Skinemax movies and now Gene Simmons' wife. She hangs around in a hot tub topless and gets with Harkin, which upsets Sunny. Sunny goes to Garmisch, who gropes her in a sauna with his buddies looking on, and then is implied to have slept with her. Like I said, sketchy stuff happens in this movie.

There's some partying and stuff, with Dan making a drink in a fishbowl-sized glass called a "leg-spreader," which causes a girl to pass out immediately after drinking it, followed by a guy saying "now that's a girl I can take advantage of." Then Harkin and company challenge Garmisch's crew to game of broom hockey, which includes a lot of shenanigans. Eventually the ski competition begins. There's three events, a downhill race, a hot dog competition (aka aerials, doing stunts off a ramp) and ski ballet, which is absolutely the dumbest thing I've ever seen on skis.

Basically, you do ballet (or ice dancing) on skis -- pirouettes, spins, flips, and a bunch of corny flourishes. Apparently they used to do it in the US Freestyle Nationals, but wisely cut it. There's a video below. It's hilarious to see characters in the movie going "yes!" after these ridiculous-looking moves.

Unfortunately for Harkin, the whole competition is rigged, with Rudi Garmisch getting higher scores despite Harkin's superior performance. Garmisch wins, but then Harkin, Dan and crew challenge Garmisch's crew of black-jacketed Austrians to "Chinese downhill," which is apparently supposed to be a crazy highlight. "And now for the rules of the International, Chinese downhill: there are none." The beginning of the race shows guys with weapons, rockets, and all kinds of crazy crap, but eventually it's just Harkin vs Rudi. Harkin takes a totally extreme jump and wins. Hooray.

If it weren't for the creepy parts, this would be a pretty funny throwback type movie. There's really nobody famous in it, other than Tweed and Naughton, and the partying antics are kind of amusing. It's hard to rate these things, because they're all kind of lame, but I probably wouldn't watch it again.

And finally, here's the trailer, and a video of the ski ballet, which was later renamed acroski. This is a woman, but the guys in the movie did the exact same moves. Just look at this crap.



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