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Posts tagged “Ski School

Ski School 2

Ski school 2 is actually a really different movie than the first one. This is weird, because it’s still written by the same guy, and while 1994 is just past the era the first film was made in… It’s close enough that I really expected something similar.
We open with a burn out maintenance man in a small cabana that looks a lot like a low rent frat room. He’s posting a wedding invitation to Dave… The hero from the last film, about his ex girlfriends impending nuptials. Dave receives it at his home… An abandoned school bus which he proceeds to drive back up the mountain to try and stop the wedding and win her back. Or, well stop the wedding mostly. Because he doesn’t have any plan on how to get her back….
Dean Cameron is the only person other than the writer to return for ski school 2. This is perhaps the first big red flag. I was kind of looking forward to it though, because it’s also the first film role for Will Sasso. It’s early days for Sasso, just ahead of his time on MADtv, and he’s still a little rough… Chewing the scenery more than usual.

Cameron on the other hand… Cameron is funny as ever, but he’s trying to show his age. He would’ve been around 27 when ski school came out, and could still pass for 23. But his hairline was starting to recede a little more aggressively than the long floppy hairstyle can hide, so it’s been cut short, and his skin has kind of started to harden. He looks every bit his age of 32… In fact, he looks closer to 35 in this. And see, that’s the problem. Being a goofy broke loser slacker in your 20s is funny. It’s fun. These are party days and you’re still finding yourself. But being that same sort of character in your 30s… It comes off as a little pathetic. Cameron‘s timing is still dead on, but he’s too old for the charm to really work without a bigger storyline. If we were to go back to summer school, Mark Harmon plays a similar sort of goofy slacker… But he’s got an arc there. The entire movie is really about him growing up without losing his sense of humor. Taking on some real responsibilities in his own lazy surfer dude way. But Cameron doesn’t have an arc here. He’s just there to bust up the wedding. And that’s kind of a problem. There’s a few fun antics here, and I think there’s enough Time spent with the main characters for you to be invested in them as familiar faces, but I don’t know if it’s enough for me to really root for them.

Also keenly felt is the absence of a good foil for Cameron. Having Fitz as the best friend to bounce humor off of in the first movie really enhances Cameron‘s performance. It sells the jokes and makes everything work. It also in many ways tries to turn that original one into an example piece. This one has the trappings of an ensemble, but it’s absolutely Cameron‘s movie. It’s star driven and he is the star… And he is just not… sympathetic.
One of the things that really strikes me about this film, is it lives up to its name. We get a lot more ski action this time around. It’s pervasive in the movie and drives a lot of the action. It’s our reason to be. It’s also the only time that Cameron really manages to make any sort of meaningful connection with the ex girlfriend. It’s not when he’s crashing the wedding party with an impromptu chicken dance, it’s not when he’s sabotaging the bachelor party or showing up as a stripper at the bachelorette party. The times he really connects with her is when they’re skiing and he’s coaxing her to go back to basics. This is good stuff, and we needed more of it. We needed more of Cameron‘s devotion to the forum, his lover skiing, his skill and his training abilities. It’s so weird. For a series that is supposedly all about this renegade ski instructor, we really don’t see much about skiing in his life.
I have a hard time recommending this, even if you were a fan of the original. I happen to be a big fan of Dean Cameron, particularly in his prime, but this is not it. I can almost see the down slope of his career starting right here, and it makes me more sad than anything else. Stick with the original, and of course, summer school.

Ski School

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.