Full disclosure, the entire reason I’m watching ski school is for Dean Cameron. I’ve been a fan of the dude since catching summer school on late night UHF movies. Bunch of stuff though that I’ve enjoyed, whether it’s the guest shots on Alf
, or Rockula
… The man’s got talent and he’s one of the few people I was willing to drive to Chicago to meet!
Ski school Is really your typical slacker frat boy type of film, in the same vein as animal house or van wilder or PCU… The only difference is, it doesn’t take place at a college, it takes place at a ski resort and our slackers happen to be instructors. Kind of.
The real fascinating thing about ski school is how very little skiing we actually see. There’s inserts, and they’re done in such a way where I almost wonder if there was some brief skiing bad that I was too young to be aware of. I do remember the
jackets… It’s another reason why the movie appeals to me. It’s set in the early 90s… I always like to tell people that the 1990s I remember or not the same as the 90s you remember. My adolescence was firmly planted in the early 90s… A transitional period between what people think about the 80s and what people think of as the 90s. Right in this little sweet spot between 1989 through 1993, it’s a strange error with the character of its own, and it’s fully displayed here. It’s fun to be back in this time, with the fashions, the bright colors, the faded jeans, and the music. And ski school
makes full use of the pre-alternative metal that was going on at this era.
The resort is predictively run by yuppies, and they hate the slacker house of section 8, run by Dave and Fitz. But when the yuppies blow off the most promising new skier to show up the season, he ends up in section 8 and this helps ignites an all out war between them and section one. It’s all very by the numbers and predictable, young guys in their early 20s goofing off, sabotaging each other, and really all just about
partying, women and beer. Like I said, it gives me a lot of the same vibes from PCU, but it does have a shortcoming. Occasionally we’ll get some exposition about them being too wild and rowdy or something, but we never actually feel imperiled. There’s never any danger of them got getting thrown off the mountain or shut down. The section does get suspended for about five minutes at one point but get themselves back into the competition through the sheer power of charisma. It happens so quickly that as a plot point it may not have happened at all.
The film ends of course, with a one on one between the bad guy and the new guy, with the wager being whoever loses leaves the mountain for good. But this only comes up within the last 15 minutes or less. If we’re gonna have these kind of stakes, we kind of needed them to show up earlier in the film. It would also be helpful to see more actual ski training. Like I said, there’s very little of it here, and the whole ski resort as a backdrop… It feels tacked on an arbitrary. You could basically transplant this anywhere, it could be baseball camp, drama camp, high school or college, he could be anything. He never seems to matter to the characters except as an excuse as to why they’re there. It never drives the action.
All of this makes it feel a little bit subpar, very direct to video, and back then, direct to video was still a dirty word. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a goofy time with an ensemble led by a Cameron, you could do worse. It’s a sort of film I definitely would leave on if it showed up on cable one night. It’s also interesting enough that I am looking forward to popping in the sequel.