By: Eric Filipkowski
I’ve never met a ski instructor in my entire life, but thanks to Ski Patrol,I hate all those rich jerks… with their cocky, entitled, attitudes, their frosted blonde hair and their fuscia, day-glo sweaters! You think you’re better than me?!
I’m honestly not sure what to expect from this movie. When I was a kid, we had an 8mm camcorder and my brother and I figured out that we could tape movies we rented at the video store using the rca inputs. This was one of those movies, so realistically, I’ve probably seen this movie 20-30 times, though not once in the last 15 years.
I mean, it’s just one example in a long line of “Animal House on <x>” movies that were so popular in the 80’s; this one being “Animal House on Skis“, of course.
It’s got to be cheesy, right?
I came into this thinking I was gonna blow this thing to pieces with my Hollywood Hipster irony bazooka, but the more I dwell on it, the more I start to think that I actually like this movie.
In a non-ironic way!
I mean, here are some highlights that come to mind:
- Some rich white guys frame the lone Mexican ski patroller (George Lopez, in one of his first roles) for shoplifting in a hardware store. They tell the owner that they think “the ethnic fellow” is pulling a “Frito Bandito number”.
- There’s a scene with an obese woman of ambiguous sexual orientation taking a dump with her pants around her ankles when the bathroom door gets blown off.
- The ski patrollers roofie a tweener (a guy who’s really short but not quite a midget) and when he’s passed out, they stick him in a slightly scaled down, exact replica of his bedroom, to trick him into thinking he’s grown into a giant over night. Then, when his head bursts out of a Santa’s Village house they’ve stuck him in, they all laugh and take pictures.
I mean, that’s funny, right?
Sure, there’s some awful parts, too. Most of these revolve around the black guy from Punky Brewster and his magic powered, yet super cheap-looking karaoke machine that we’re supposed to believe has enough power to have an outdoor concert to, complete with sing-along, ski jumping exhibition, lip-syncing and dancing. But not everybody hates that stuff as much as I do.
If that’s not enough, it’s got Martin Mull, Ray Walston and the guy who created Freaks and Geekswho’s not Judd Apatow!
At the very least, I think this experience will have shown me that I should have an open mind.
Well, my sneaking suspicion was right! I love “Ski Patrol“!
Sure, the middle drags a bit, but the only real fault with this movie is timing.
It is a quintessential 1980’s movie that just happened to come out right at the end of the 1980’s. I really believe that’s why this thing isn’t a bigger hit. You can’t even buy it on DVD, unless you get a DVD copy of a VHS tape, complete with tracking issues, like I did. (Thanks, Rob!)
Plus, I think my mom threw out all my old 8mm tapes!
Everything I thought was going to be funny was, plus there was a whole bunch of stuff I forgot.
The farting dog. The runaway wiener shack. The small tree that whacks unsuspecting skiers in the nuts.
And how could I not remember the stereotypical Japanese tourists taking rapid-fire pictures with their cameras! That could have been the next “Dong, where is my automobile?” if not for the fact that this movie was released at a time where people wanted things like moral ambiguity, tough decisions and realistic, emotional reactions to actual problems. What’s funny about that? Well, just watch something like “Reality Bites” and I’ll tell you what: NOTHING.
Instead, you have a movie rife with cliches, casual racism and slapstick comedy. All the stuff you find now in a hit show like Family Guy.
So, while you might find this movie dated, I say it’s actually ahead of it’s time and that’s why I give it my famouse, patented thing that I just made up: 7 comedy snowmobiles out of 8.
Download the podcast here: ‘Ski Patrol’ with Roger Rose
Or stay right here and have a listen:
Our featured guest: Roger Rose
As the star of Ski Patrol, Roger had many memories to share about the making of this film, but Roger also dips into his long career in show business, including his past roles in front of and behind the camera. Though you may have missed his role here or in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, chances are pretty good you have heard his voicework on television. In both animated shows (in which he has reached god-like status is geek culture for a reoccurring role in The Tick) or in countless commericals and trailers for both film and tv, Roger has been omnipresent. His love for animation and comics has spilled over into producing Comic Book: The Movie:
Our featured contributor: Eric Filipkowski
Actor, writer, comic, cartoonist and blogger extraordinaire, Eric can be found at his home at Hollywood Phony as well as various other web and television endeavors. We are extremely excited to have Eric reflect on his cinematic memories here at Natsukashi.