Ski School (Blu-ray Review)

Ski-SchoolSki School is a little cult film from 1991 revolving around…yeah you guessed it, a Ski School.  The film is a little sex comedy that didn’t make a tick at the box office but managed to attract a crowd on VHS.  So much of one that a sequel was made and released in 1994.  Now, there is cause for celebration for this Olive Films release of the film by its fans because the DVD of the film was a complete miss.  Released in 2007, the DVD for the film only featured the film in a Pan and Scan edit.  SUCKFEST!  Apparently the DVD even said it was widescreen on the box.  Rest assured Ski School enthusiasts, you can now see the film as it played in theaters and was meant to be seen courtesy of Olive Films.

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Skiing is a high stakes game for Reid Janssens, the preppy, pretentious and very serious skier who rules the slopes. And then there’s Dave Marshak, a reckless party animal, but with equally impressive skills on white powder. Like oil & water, these two do not mix. So, it’s a fight to the finish as they set out to win the title in the end-of-season downhill race, which tests their endurance as they battle one another on and off the slopes in the action-comedy Ski School.

I’d never seen Ski School in its entirety before this viewing.  I feel like I caught scenes and moments on TV and that was many years ago.  So this was pretty much fresh.  Its a cute little male sex comedy that I think being from around the era of a lot of these kind of movies made me have a soft spot for it.  The cast really has no stand outs and the film lacks any sort of big comedic scenarios to remember it by, but I found it charming enough to entertain me throughout the run time.

This film has your basic structure and outline of every 80s teen sex comedy and just says…here’s how we’re different – we’re in the ski slopes.  You have the hot girls, the guy looking to get the girl, the blond jock and his goons, the big competition that everything rides on…you know this kinda stuff.  What this film brings to the table is that it has a LOT more boobs and sex scenes than the others.  At times it feels like this could be a Cinemax late night attempt to try to cross over from softcore to this.  Not really, but if you’re on my wavelength maybe you catch my drift.

One member of the cast I DID recognize.  And it took a while.  Patrick Labyorteaux was driving me nuts wondering where it was I knew him from.  And I didn’t want to go to IMDB and make it easy, I wanted it to hit me randomly.  And it did.  He’s one of the stoner surfer kidnappers in the legendary 90s family classic that mixed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Karate Kid and Home Alone; 3 NINJAS (“Rocky loves Emily, Rocky loves Emily”).  So yeah, there’s a proud moment and one I’m sharing here in a public forum.  But damnit, have you watched 3 Ninjas lately?  Its hilarious in ways they never intended.

Ski School works well enough that I get its appeal.  One thing I appreciate about it is that none of the film ever feels forced.  There aren’t any moments where the film feels like its putting all its chips in and trying way too hard for a comedic sequence.  That also allows it to focus a little more on its characters.  The film is sort of a middle of the pack for what it is and for its era, but its enjoyable nonetheless.  Oh and did I mention there are a ton of naked breasts in this movie?  Geezum!

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  While this transfer has a some issues here and there, overall its a pretty impressive look for this cult comedy.  The image is a tad on the soft end, but it looks pretty clean.  You get really good detail.  The snow on the ground is well defined feature many different looks at its texture.  Surfaces feature smudges and scuffs.

Depth:  Things are a little flatter here, but overall there is some good distancing of character and environment and movements are smooth.

Black Levels: Depending on the lighting, blacks can hide detail or merely shade it.  There is some very light crushing present.  Overall, not that bad at all.

Color Reproduction:  So this is that period during the late 80s and early 90s where wild colors were on overload.  They are well represented, bold and vibrant here popping off the screen.  Impressively with no bleeding.  Also, other colors pull off a more natural look where need be.  The palette gets a nice representation.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a little on the warmer side and consistent throughout.  There is a scene or two with some crushing on the skin.  Overall though, detail is great.  Stubble, sweat beads, freckles and other markings are pretty clear from most distances.

Noise/Artifacts:  A light layer of grain and some very very minor compression issues.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This is a nice, loose and clean sounding audio track.  The score, vocals and effects are balanced and free sounding in the mix.  Its got enough oompf too with the lower frequency sounds.  The track and mix is in really good shape and sounds pretty impressive.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Audio is clean, crisp and clear.

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Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:47) 

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If you want a typical 80s (Yes, I know its 90s, but its EARLY 90s so it still looks and smells 80s) sex comedy with a bit more exploitation than normal and starring nobody you know, Ski School is where its at.  On the whole its an average film with some good moments and overall fun vibe that keeps you on its side.  This Blu-ray features a decent presentation with a solid video transfer and great audio.  Don’t let the overall score fool you, for a movie only disc, this is a nice release. Your only bonus feature is a trailer, but this movie was a surprise to people getting the Blu-ray upgrade so just the movie making the jump should be celebration enough.  Fans of the film should be pleased with this release.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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