Back in the mid to late 90′s there was a run on “sports related” movies. With the releases of films like Rad, Gleaming The Cube, Days of Thunder, and to a lesser extent even Breakin’ 2 – Electric Boogaloo, movie production companies were doing anything they could to capitalize on the sports movie craze. Hotdog: The Movie, was looking to do the exact same thing. Was it successful? Eh, I dunno… maybe?
Hotdog: The Movie
Harkin Banks is a country boy from Idaho. He does one thing really well: skiing. Banks is on his way from Idaho to Squaw Valley California to compete for the first time ever in a freestyle skiing competition. Along the way he picks up a cute and headstrong girl named Sunny. Once in Squaw Valley Harkin meets up with the other skiers and manages to run into his idol, an Austrian by the name of Rudolph ‘Rudi’ Garmisch. To say that he is less than appreciative of his fans would be an understatement.
As the competition starts, Rudi and Harkin end up being the only skiers that really matter. Although Harkin does manage to be befriended by a group of misfit skiers (with names like Squirrel, and Mad Dog) it’s pretty much just the two key players the competition focuses on. There is a bit of a love triangle (square?) between Harkin, Sunny, Rudi, and the resident snowbunny and all around tramp, Sylvia, played by none other than Shannon Tweed. In the end, the competition comes down to less about the skiers ability than the popularity. Isn’t that always the way?
As with so many movies based around a sport, the real attraction here is the skiing. There are long chunks of the movie dedicated to watching skiers flip, fly, and well… ski down a mountain. If I had any clue how much actual skill it takes to pull off these moves, I might have been impressed. The sections of the movie where they are actually focusing on the story … ahem … “story” aren’t all bad. However when they ARE bad, they are really bad. The comedic moments are decent enough, but the “emotion” that is meant to be found in a fight between two lovers is also painfully comedic. During one particular fight, Harkin is apologizing to Sunny while she is trying to leave him and he tells her “don’t forget your shampoo.” Not in that “hey you took everything else why not take this” kinda way, but more like an aside. It was weird.
The end skiing bit is actually kinda fun to watch and, should it become an actual sport, I would totally dedicate time to watch it. It is called a “Chinese Downhill” in conversation, over and over again. So much so that the Japanese skier (that only apparently speaks Japanese) says “what the f*** is a Chinese Downhill”. That one actually got a chuckle out of me. Anyway, its a free for all where all the skiers gear up and take one shot down the hill. Think of it as a skiing version of Mach Rider. Decent stunts, and easily the most interesting bit in the entire movie.
Hotdog: The Movie isn’t the best sports related movie I have ever seen, but it damn sure isn’t the worst. Though as I was watching it, all I could think about was how there was a pretty good run for ski-related movies back in the mid 80′s. It’s worth mentioning that there is also absolutely no way to act like a total bad ass one second and then moments later have to perform, what can only be described as a ballet on skis the next. This one is called a “sex comedy” by some listings, and while I can see why, I don’t think it’s the best at portraying either part of that genre very well.