Directed by Peter Markle
Starring David Naughton, Shannon Tweed, Tracy Smith, Patrick Houser
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"What-a the fuck eesa Chinese downhill?"
Considered by many to be a classic of the genre, Hot Dog the Movie is an oddity, a film that tries to mash together a romance, a cornball sex comedy, and a straight-ahead sports movie without ever committing fully to any of them. It's also got an overbearing soundtrack and completely unlikable characters. But on the plus side, the nudity is wall-to-wall, so it sorta balances itself out.
The story is trite and negligible. Harkin Banks (Patrick Houser) is a young skier who's arrived at whatever mountain it is to compete in an international downhill competition. There's a Nazi-esque German guy and a wacked-out Japanese guy, and all the American skiers have names like Banana Pants, Dogger, and Slasher, which makes you hate skiers just a little more than you already did. Somewhere along the way, Harkin meets Sunny (Tracy Smith), a snarly young ski-groupie who initially hates Harkin, until he gets her into his cabin and gets all Glen Campbell on her, plucking his acoustic guitar and warbling his way through a really awful ballad. You wouldn't think it would, but it totally works, and the next thing you know, they're having a 'romantic' sex scene with fuzzy lighting and tinkly synthesizers. At least they get fully nude for the occasion.
The next day, the ironically named Sunny is as disagreeable as ever.
"What, we spend one night together, and now you think you own me?" She says.
Harkin's not sweating it too much though, because also on the mountain is awesomely-named millionaire ski bunny Silvia Fonda (Shannon Tweed), who really wants to bone the new kid.
But first, they all ski down a mountain to a really bad bar-band version of Prince's When You Were Mine. David Naughton's in there somewhere, too. He's the big cheese on the mountain. There's more skiing, some racial stereotyping, and of course, Shannon Tweed strips down to her silicone and seduces the young skier. Later on Sunny finds out, and she and Harkin have it out. He tries to hand her a hat as she bolts out the door.
"Hey, don't forget this."
"Why don't you give it to your girlfriend," she barks. "Miss Plastic Tits."
Haha, exactly, Sunny.
There's a climactic ski-off. It's called the "Chinese Downhill." Its sorta racist, but we apparently didn't know better back then.
Hot Dog boasts some impressive ski footage, enough nudity to keep sleaze fans awake, better than average acting, and more than a few visible boom mic shots. It also arrived at exactly the right time. Feather-light T&A was the order of the day, and goofy ski movies were hot in 1984. The terminally lame Snowballing did equally brisk business that year. Hot Dog the Movie was at least partly responsible for Better off Dead (1985), Hamburger the Motion Picture (1986), Ski Patrol (1990), and Ski School (1991). It may also have aided and abetted in the development of 'extreme skiing'. Bones were most certainly broken because of it. Director Markle obviously enjoyed the experience, because his next film, Youngblood (1986), was also about a winter sport - hockey. He later became a prolific television director, and is still going strong. Shannon Tweed went on to make one bazillion softcore flicks and have several children with professional asshole Gene Simmons. David Naughton had already peaked by the time he appeared here; he still toils away in low-budget films, but will probably always be remembered for American Werewolf in London (1981), the Dr. Pepper commercials, and that disco song he did. Tracy Smith made one other genre (ahem) 'classic' (Bachelor Party, also 1984), appeared in a few Perry Mason TV movies, and then wandered off somewhere. She has not been seen since, at least not by us.
I'm pretty sure no one is all that interested in Patrick Houser's whereabouts, but he has been known to hang out with David Lynch on occasion.
Availability: Hot Dog the Movie is available on DVD from MGM. It's also available for rental from Netflix, and it's still playing on late-night cable TV every five minutes. In fact, it's probably harder to avoid this movie than it is to find it.
Buy Hot Dog...The Movie at Amazon.