The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning sometimes the images are blurred with a watermark and you have to click on the image to see them. That's an aesthetic issue, but still annoying. One workaround I've found is to go to the url bar and add "https://" before the address, then hit enter.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ski School (1991)


There are movies, and then there are movies: the pinnacle of the art form, leaving an indelible impression on all who come in contact. For me, this film is that. I feel like there's hope in the world when a screenwriter, director, actors, and various crew can create something as pure and inspiring; when their vision comes to fruition in such a state of perfection that we as the viewer are left with nothing but our gaping jaws and the word "awesome" dangling upon our lips like lavender honey from a ten dollar jar.

Ski School is about a ski school with two rival ski instructors. Reid Janssens runs section one, and is the head ski instructor (for the purposes of a movie like this, he's the heel). Dave Marshak runs section 8, and he and his ski pals party all the time and don't take anything very seriously (he's the hero). Usually Reid's team wins the annual ski meet, but when he mistakenly sends ski prodigy John Roland to Marshak's crew, the balance of power shifts. At the same time, the head of the ski resort wants to sell, and he knows he'll have trouble doing that with Marshak and his boys partying all the time. Hilarity ensues as Marshak and crew fight back in an attempt to reclaim the mountain.


We watched this all the time in high school. It may sound like your run-of-the-mill bad sports comedy, but believe me, it ain't. Dave Marshak is probably the greatest hero in this type of film this side of Ty Webb. Janssens as the heel is almost too perfect, like he's a parody of the heel from the genre, which makes it all the easier to laugh when he's made to look bad. There's also tons of beer, and lots of scenes where people walk into a room and have a beer thrown to them, which was cool for us underage drinkers looking for role models. Plus, there is so much partying and funny pranks that when the two teams square off for the perfunctory end-of-the-movie showdown, it actually doesn't hurt.

Dave Marshak, played by Summer School's Dean Cameron, is the quintessential awesome head party guy for a movie like this. He's cut from the same cloth as an Otter from Animal House, and makes a Van Wilder look trite and clicheed. One of my favorite scenes with him comes after a woman in a bikini walks out of their dorm. "Does anyone have a problem with that?" he says in a pissed off voice. "Half-naked girls walking around at 9am? Last year they were completely naked by this time!" According to imdb, Marshak's name was originally supposed to be Marshall, but the director decided last minute that that was too ordinary. You can kinda tell that he dubbed all of the actors afterwards, because it looks weird when they say his name. I must say it was a great decision, though,because Dave Marshall doesn't have the same ring that Marshak does.


For the JAG fans out there, Patrick Labyorteaux, or Lt. Cmdr. Bud Roberts jr., is in this, as, of all things, a ladies man. He's still goofy as hell, he just seems to get tons of chicks. Then Marshak and his right-hand-man Fitz, hypnotize him into not wanting to have sex, and he spends the rest of the movie telling all these hot chicks that he's not interested. I never got the point of JAG, other than a bad show that me and my friends could make fun of. A navy lawyer getting into all these life-or-death situations just seemed odd to me. CBS has a habit of making hour-long dramas about weird things: a Texas Ranger who drives around in a pick-up beating the crap out of people, a Navy lawyer/action hero, a cantankerous navy forensics expert, and now I've seen advertised during football games a show called The Unit. They've actually gone as far as to make a crime drama about a penis?

Speaking of weird premises (premisi?) for TV shows, Darlene Vogel of Pacific Blue fame is in this as hot shot ski prodigy John Roland's love interest. At the end she's in one of the most unintentionally funny scenes. The guys in section 8 are barred from skiing in the finale because the bad guy has had them evicted from the ski school. They show up anyway with a bunch of beer, and everyone there except for Janssens and his cronies want them to compete. There's a chant going around of "Let them Ski! Let them ski!" For some reason the film makers decided when the shot was on Vogel, they would have her voice come to the forefront over the chanting. I think it may be dubbed as well. Anyway, she says in this hilarious, high pitched voice, completely out of rhythm with the background, "Let them ski! He he he he..." We had to rewind it and watch it a couple times.


One of the interesting things you'll see in the background are boxes of Miller Sharps beer, which is non-alcoholic. Considering this film came out in 1991, there was plenty of time before Alanis Morrisette released her hit "Ironic" to have seen it. Had she mentioned this film's inclusion of non-alcoholic beer in her song, she would've had at least one instance of irony. But she didn't, so instead she put out a song titled irony with no examples of irony in it. I guess that would be ironic, though, if the song's called irony, but nothing in it is about irony. Anyway, I'm totally digressing.

This is one of the rare cases where I have trouble in the confines of a blog describing just how good a movie is. You really have to see it to get the full effect. If you like to party, you'll love this. If getting drunk doesn't really appeal to you, though, I'd skip it. I'm personally at an age where I kinda don't do that stuff anymore, but this movie, for me, comes from a time when I did, and it's great to watch it now and reminisce.

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