Geek of the Day
Barry the Bachelor
Start your own Cult
I am the grown child of two nearly-hippie ski bums from Vermont. As a result of that, I've long felt tied to certain cultural influences that bypass others. I fondly remember my parents getting babysitters for me so that they could sneak off to see some cheesy, early 80s skin flicks disguised as ski comedies. You know the type: someone from out of the area goes to a ski resort, becomes somehow liberated, has great hot tub sex with a beautiful man or woman (tastes depend on times, thank God), goes back to shitty life with a new outlook or finds a way to make a life for him or herself on said ski mountain. It's a great formula. Not one of the films had any real substance, but that didn't stop scads of people from going to see every possible incarnation.
For my generation, there wasn't such a solid lock on a genre. In the 80s, we had a glut of science-related films that stuck with us forever: WEIRD SCIENCE, MY SCIENCE PROJECT, REAL GENIUS, etc. We had the Brat Pack stuff. Other than that, what did we have?
In 2001, we finally got something akin to what made my parents find reasons to sneak out of the house. It didn't have the rampant drug use, sexist jokes and bare breasts that the earlier films did, but it did what it could considering the time in which it was made. In 2001, we got OUT COLD.
The movie follows true to the formula. A bum from Bull Mountain, Alaska leads a fairly contented life. He has no worries, has good friends, a decent chance with the one hot local gal. One day, a monied bigwig from Texas (Lee Majors) arrives with the news that he has just bought the secluded resort and intends to completely remake it into the image that has always made money for him. Bull Mountain is shortly to become Snownook. Rick Rambis, our hero, finds himself torn between desire for financial success and wanting to keep things the way they have always been.
To complicate things further, Majors has brought to town his two daughters. One is the only girl that Rambis has ever loved, a lovely French girl with whom he had a brief fling in Mexico at a place called Pedro O'Horny's. He was never able to get over her. Every OTHER bloke in town has a thing for Majors' other daughter, former Playmate of the Year Victoria Silvstedt.
Rambis winds up in the Fight Of His Life to finally take a side. He's forced to decide whether he'll lay it all on the line for his lost love or to move on to something more available. He must choose between responsibility and good pay versus loyalty to his friends and the last wish of the man who left him marginally in charge of Bull Mountain.
The ending to this movie really sucked. It was lame beyond the realm of what's normally possible. Once you can simply accept that and move on, the movie's just plain fun.
First of all, I have to note the performace of Zach Galifianakis as Luc. This bearded bastard was incredibly entertaining without truly stealing the entire film. He certainly could have, but somehow managed to hold back. The poor guy has a nasty habit of getting drunk, passing out, then having his friends do really mean things to him. They manage to convince him he's driving a car that's out of control, get him a little oral action from a polar bear, and other terrible, terrible things. He's chock full of 80s references and witty repartee and just manages to keep the movie amusing enough to roll along nicely. Just watching his references to the new uniform cramping his "Hardy Boys" during the outtakes at the film's end is priceless.
Secondly, there's Victoria Silvstedt. I'll tell you this now: she doesn't get naked for you. Be that as it may, she's still a pleasure to watch. She has a scene riding an electric bull that will definitely, um, effect one or two of you. There's another scene in which she so traumatizes poor Zach that he's left pantless and molesting a hot tub. The greatest, though, is a moment when she uses Luc's brother Pigpen to get revenge on her father in a very public, very embarassing and very female way.
Thirdly, there's Lewis Arquette. I had no idea when I saw the film that this crazy bastard is the father of every other Arquette in the world, but after thinking about it, it makes a certain degree of sense. He's a raving looney, a nutbag, the kind of person you think about blowing off at the bar but wind up buying him drinks because he's so amusing. He shows up like some kind of demented Greek chorus, reiterating the prevailing moods of the film and generally making us wonder what's in that "mountain pure" glacier water up there.
Another high point is the King of the Mountain race. Held every year, the winner has earned the respect of his peers and must have beers bought for him. The goal: be the first person to the statue of Papa Muntz with the most beer still in your (still uncovered) glass. Cheating is encouraged, and flashing to distract is welcome. The footage is mediocre - they could have used a Warren Miller on the shoot - but the idea and the way it was done make it fun to watch.
Generally speaking, this is a fun movie to watch. It has no redeeming social value, was poorly written, doesn't have good action shots and wasn't particularly well made. So what! It's fun! It's a stupid film about stupid shit and it's a lot of fun to watch. Give it a shot some night while you're getting drunk with your buddies or your girlfriend (this is a chick-friendly film) and relax. It's not the good stuff that our folks had, but it's all that we have.
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