Hot Dog…The Movie (1984) – A Review
“Hi, my name is Squirrel. What’s yours?”
“I suppose a fuck is out of the question?”
(gets drink thrown in his face)
“Ask me when I’m in a better mood.”
What a strange title for a movie. It seems more descriptive of a documentary about the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest or something. But I guess it’s a bit more innovative than just having “ski” or “snow” in the title.
Hot Dog…The Movie details the exploits of Harkin Banks who’s headed to Squaw Valley to compete in a freestyle skiing competition. Between demonstrating his talent on the slopes he meets up with a zany bunch of skiers, has to deal with an arrogant arch-nemesis and has sex with some snow bunnies.
That about sums up Hot Dog. It’s become one of those quintessential 80’s comedies that offered up wacky humor and boobs in the setting of a picturesque skiing resort. You get from it exactly what you would expect. A movie that has wacky characters called Squirrel and Kamikaze and includes a gratuitous wet t-shirt contest isn’t trying to change the world, it just wants to give you some dumb laughs and make your eyes widen at the girls.
It’s essentially a slobs vs snobs story. David Naugthon is the leader of his wild band of skiing misfits. I was always surprised to see him in this. Headlining in Hot Dog seems like a step down from starring in An American Werewolf in London. But he gets to play one of those fun guys who has all the witty remarks, can mix a drink with ease and who everyone thinks is cool. He’s the cool guy every kid hopes to grow up to be.
Despite this ‘Rat Pack’ actually being pretty talented on the slopes, they continue getting beaten by Austrian Rudi Garmisch and his team thanks to prejudiced judges. You see this competition has European sponsors so in order to keep the money flowing in and keep the event alive they have to include Rudi whether he’s actually the best skier or not. It’s so unfair!
Usually this conflict would result in some juvenile attacks by the slobs against the snobs. Revenge of the Nerds made a whole movie with that premise. Yet here there really isn’t very creative payback dished out against Rudi and his followers. The most that happens are snowballs getting thrown at them and them falling down in the snow.
It’s not exactly laugh out loud funny. I would have thought they could of done some more outrageous gags. It attempts to be the Caddyshack of skiing, but doesn’t reach the rambunctiousness that movie achieved. It doesn’t make the whole skiing culture as wild and more importantly funny as they could have.
One thing in these movies that would always drive me crazy was the lead hero usually being a very uninteresting good guy. We’re supposed to be rooting for him, but he’s just so boring I could care less whether he’s triumphant in the end or not. I would much rather be hanging out with the more colorful characters and watching their antics. And that’s what happens in Hot Dog.
Patrick Houser’s Harkin is just a nice, good old boy from Idaho who’s only notable characteristic is that he’s a good skier. That’s it. So I didn’t care at all about him. The only time he really held my attention was when he was getting it on with the dueling leading ladies in the movie.
Tracy Smith is Sunny, the good girl. She’s cute and has a bit of an attitude on her. Despite everyone wearing snowsuits for most of the movie they do manage to get some topless action in. Smith is willing to show off her stuff. That’s a plus. However, most folks would be watching Hot Dog for Shannon Tweed. She has the more showy part of the shallow rich hot chick and fortunately is not afraid to disrobe completely. She looks very good.
Once Harkin arrives at Squaw Valley we’re immediately treated to a naked hotel receptionist and a random wet t-shirt contest. It’s as if the filmmakers knew they better show us some good stuff, since it will be awhile until they can manage to show us some more skin again.
The rest of the film consists of skiing scenes. They’re actually filmed pretty nicely, but I started to get tired of seeing them after awhile. I can only go so long watching people ski with 80’s songs playing over the soundtrack. The finale of all the skiers competing in one race to decide who’s the best has some good stunts and camerawork. It makes for a nice climax to the movie.
Hot Dog would probably go over better with someone who is actually a skier…and who likes boobs. You get them both here.
I’m sure hardcore skiers know this movie and most likely know the resort it was filmed at, the mountains featured, the hotels and restaurants the characters goto. After rewatching the movie I started to think Squaw Valley could make for a cool vacation. It’s a real place and I’m sure a lot of the locations seen in the movie still exist. I wonder if they have any Hot Dog tours.
I suppose I could understand why Hot Dog…The Movie would be regarded as the greatest skiing comedy ever by some. I’m not talking about a comedy that has a few skiing scenes, but an entire movie set at a skiing location. But it really would hold that ‘Greatest Skiing Comedy’ by default. One look at its competition and yeah I would easily award it that title.
Just comparing the posters it looks better than the other skiing comedies out there. They look like real crap!
So until that day when a skiing comedy comes along that’s better, Hot Dog will hold that crown.