Hot Dog....The Movie (1984) MGM/Comedy RT: 96 minutes Rated R (language, full frontal nudity, strong sexual content, drug use and references, crude sexual humor) Director: Peter Markle Screenplay: Mike Marvin Music: Peter Bernstein, Mark Goldenberg and John Stewart Cinematography: Paul Ryan Release date: January 13, 1984 Starring: David Naughton, Patrick Houser, Tracy N. Smith, John Patrick Reger, Frank Koppala, James Saito, Shannon Tweed, George Theobald, Erik Watson, Lynn Wieland, Mark Vance, Sandy Hackett.
One of the best horny teenager comedies of the 80s, Hot Dog....The Movie redefines the three "s-words" of the genre, this time it stands for snow, skiing and sex (as opposed to sand, surf and sex)! This outrageously funny comedy centers around a freestyle skiing competition in Squaw Valley (Olympic Valley, California) where a group of wild and crazy ski bums take on Rudi Garmisch (Reger), an arrogant ski champion from Austria. Harkin Banks (Houser, Weekend Pass), a "hot dog" skier from Idaho, arrives with Sunny (Smith, Bachelor Party), a young hitchhiker on her way to San Francisco.
After a contentious encounter with Rudi, he meets Dan O'Callahan (Naughton, An American Werewolf in London) who helpfully explains that Rudi is a complete a-hole. Dan leads a group of skiers who call themselves the "Rat Pack"..... stoned-out ski bum Squirrel Murphy (Koppala), Japanese skier Kendo "Kamikaze" Yamamoto (Saito) and punk rocker Slasher (Theobald). There's two other members, Michelle (Wieland) and Fergy (Watson), but they're not on screen long enough to be given any character distinctions. The competition is divided into three parts: freestyle, ballet and aerial. Whoever earns the highest score from the three judges wins the whole competition. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against the American competitors because the competition has a lot of European sponsors, which means that certain European skiers make the cut at the expense of talented American skiers. Meanwhile, something (rather, somebody) comes between Harkin and Sunny, a blond bombshell named Sylvia (Tweed, 1982 Playboy Playmate of the Year) who sets her sights on naive country boy Harkin. At this point, I'd usually ask you to speculate on the outcome, but this kind of movie doesn't really call for speculation, we already know how things will turn out. However, it's plenty of fun getting there!
As movie geeks already know, horny teenager movies saturated theaters everywhere in the first half of the 80s. It would be easy for any one of them to get lost in the shuffle, does anybody really remember when flicks like Hot Moves and Gettin' It On! opened in theaters? One of the main reasons that Hot Dog stands out is that it replaces surfboards with skis, bikinis with tight-fitting snowsuits and huge waves with huge trees. That's right, it's a surfer movie transplanted to colder climates. Snow's up, dude! This movie came out when I was a high school sophomore and there was no force on Earth strong enough to keep me away on opening weekend. Interestingly enough, it opened the same weekend as the exploitation flick Angel.... you know, the one about the "high school honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night". I like to refer to January 13-15, 1984 as the "Sodom and Gomorrah" weekend of the year- a sleazy and perverted sex thriller and a horny teenager comedy in the same weekend, it's the mother lode for a 16-year-old movie geek! It's only rivalled by the "Sodom and Gomorrah II" weekend (April 27-29) when the smarmy sex comedy Weekend Pass and the dead teenager horror flick The Initiation hit theaters here in Philadelphia, PA. Please excuse this digression, but I have a memory for this type of thing, perhaps that's a good thing since I think of myself as a movie critic. Back to the topic of this particular review, Hot Dog is great from start to finish, it's a collection of hysterically funny scenes and awesome ski sequences. Among the movie's highlights...... a wet T-shirt contest, a violent game of broom-ball (between Rudi and his followers and the Rat Pack), a crazy party where Dan serves a drink called The Leg Spreader (it works), a motel desk clerk who steps out of her hot tub to sign in some guests and she wraps her towel around her head instead of...... I'm sure you can guess, Squirrel's sexual escapade on a ski lift and a free-for-all skiing competition called the "Chinese Downhill". In fact, it's the only time that the viewer understands what Kendo is saying, "What the f**k is Chinese downhill?" That brings me to how the filmmakers handle certain ethnic groups, between various characters referring to Rudi as "Adolph" or a Nazi and the stereotypical behavior that Kendo displays, one gets the impression that the filmmakers believe we're still fighting WWII (the big one!). This isn't so much a criticism as it is an observation, but isn't this type of humor outdated, even for 1984? I'm just sayin'......
Regardless of the previous comment, I really enjoy Hot Dog...The Movie, it's still funny almost 30 years later! They don't make them like this anymore, right? Of course, we're talking about 1984 B.A. (Before AIDS) and teens (and young people) could still engage in casual sexual activity without potentially fatal consequences. I would like to point something out, if I may? Take a close look at the skiing sequences, notice anything strange? Yes, we already know that the actors aren't performing their own stunts, that's a given. Look at the editing in the aerial sequences and you'll see what I'm talking about. It makes the skiers look like they're performing two or three flips when they've actually only done one (if that). Ever since another critic pointed this out, I always notice this while watching the movie. I watch this movie every January, usually in the first week. I make it a point to watch three certain movies in the month of January- Hot Dog..... The Movie, Youngblood (1986) and The January Man (1989)- these particular titles have January written all over them! I liked seeing David Naughton in action, I've been of fan of his since he played the lead in the disco-themed sitcom Makin' It, which ran for only nine episodes in 1979 (hey, I liked it!). While the show didn't last very long, the theme song (sung by Naughton himself) stayed on the charts for quite a while. As for the rest of the cast, they were a bunch of newcomers and they really haven't done anything really significant since this movie. The two leads (Houser and Smith) appeared in other wild comedies later in '84, respectively, Weekend Pass and Bachelor Party. In any event, the cast does a good job in Hot Dog, there's no reason to complain about the acting in a movie where performances aren't a top priority. The more pressing question is whether the teenage boys in the audience would like to see the actresses naked or not, that would be a definitive yes! Tracy N. Smith is quite attractive, even if she does have a garbage mouth. As for Shannon Tweed, she was a Playboy centerfold, need I say more? Hot Dog has a decent soundtrack and some nice cinematography, it's a movie that I don't mind revisiting every year. It almost makes me want to learn how to ski.......almost!