Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowboarding Movie Database – All of Hollywood’s snowboard movies

We’ve looked at a few of Hollywood’s attempts to produce a snowboarding themed movie before, but today we look at every single one.

Here are a few of the things you should know about before we get stuck in:
  • We are only including movies where snowboarding is an important part of the plot, so we’re not including things like James Bond in View to a Kill, XXX and Jackie Chan’s Police Story 4 all which coincidentally have a short scene involving a snowboarding spy.
  • Art is subjective, but because we like to impose order and objectivity we’ve used ratings from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to compare the movies and to categorically determine if snowboarding themed movies were getting better or worse over time.
  • Keep an eye out for the one movie on the list is so bad it appears on the list of the worst 100 movies of all time on IMDb. That’s pretty good going because there are now over 755,000 films and TV shows on the site. Still at least surfing did worse because they have two on that list.
  • There have been 20 snowboarding movies over a 24 year period how many have you seen?...

1. Fire and Ice (Feuer und Eis)
3.8/10 (1987) – Action [Germany] 
Fire and Ice was a big budget ski movie directed by Willy Bognor, the man in charge of the ski scenes (and snowboarding scenes) in four different James Bond movies. Willy took his experience and a hefty budget and cobbled together an entire movie of cunning stunts, without any real plot or acting involved.
Although it mainly featured skiers it was the first snow sports focused movie to include snowboarding when Tom Sims and Steven Link were given a piece of the action a few years after they had acted as stunt doubles for James Bond in ‘A View to a Kill.

2. Fire, Ice & Dynamite (Feuer, Eis & Dynamit)
3.1/10 (1990) – Comedy [Germany] 
After Fire and Ice Willy Bogner managed to make the sequel that no one was asking for. This time to make up for the limitations of the first movie he decided to add a plot and he roped in Roger Moore and his incredible eyebrow to play one of the lead characters. 
Roger Moore is an entrepreneur who fakes his own death and everyone else has to partake in a variety of action sports to try to win his inheritance in a competition called the “Megathon”. So not a great plot, but at least it was something. Unfortunately the movie suffered the curse of being a German comedy movie and there were no further Fire and Ice’s. 
The movie also starred lesser known actors including Steffi Graf, Isaac Hayes and Buzz Aldrin.

2.2/10 (1996) – Comedy [USA] 

The first movie to concentrate solely on a snowboarding theme also holds the dubious honour of being the worst ever snowboard themed movie. The story is about the owner of a struggling ski resort opens it to snowboarders and starts a snowboard school. Starring Jim “Ernest” Varney RIP, Corey Haim RIP and Brigiette Nielson it is essentially Police Academy on snow. One IMDb reviewer describes it succinctly: “If you absolutely have to watch this be warned that you will have more fun setting fire to your genitals.”
This nadir of movie making currently languishes at number 64 in the 100 worst movies of all time on IMDb. 

5.9/10 (2001) – Comedy [USA]  
Out Cold is pretty much summed up by the quote on the poster “Animal House on Ice”... except its on snow.
Lee Majors (Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy), Zack Galifianakis (The Hangover) and Victoria Silvestedt (Playboy Magazine) star in the story of a ski resort that’s bought by a new owner who starts to change things for the worse, the employees fight back and some love ensues. This movie is a bit different in the world of Hollywood snowboarding movies because it actually features snowboarding from some decent pros including Tara Dakides and Devun Walsh and it was the first above average Hollywood snowboard movie.
Another pro snowboarder Todd Richards also appears in the movie in the role of Barry, a paralysed former snowboarder, which wouldn’t seem to be making best use of his skills.

4.1/10 (2002) – Action [UK] 

A bunch of people, including Pete Sampras’ wife, risk their lives filming a commercial and tangling with a Serbian war criminal. We reviewed this movie on the site a while back and despite it being largely crap we quite liked it. Look out for some pretty ridiculous Crouching Tiger type snowboarding stunts and the awesome snowboarding behind a train scene.

2.3/10 (2002) – Action [USA] 

This straight-to-video movie was so low-budget that all the information in IMDb was filled in by the director. His description of the plot is confusing which is not a good sign: “Ryker is always on a mission, an adventure: his own. That summer Ryker fails again to get his hometown girl in bed and again leaves for the west coast without notice. Again leaving Shawna untied and confused.
Untied and confused?
Clearly the director’s friends and immediate family didn’t like the movie because the few people who actually saw it voted it the second worst snowboarding film of all time. 

3.3/10 (2003) - Drama [France]
Snowboarder features a bunch of people I’ve never heard of and Melanie Laurent from Inglourious Basterds though if you blink you will miss her. 
Being a French movie it is of course a melodrama and the plot is described as: “A young snowboarder with talent but no ambition is introduced to the profession by a professional and Machiavellian snowboarder.” And being a French movie that means that is a loosely linked selection of sex scenes. Pour example...(This is NSFW)
The movie does feature snowboarding legend David Vincent, the man that had the Mushroom themed pro model at Apo for 17 years until it was dropped after last season. That must be some kind of record. 

8. Winter Break (aka Snow Job, aka Sheer Bliss)
5.1/10 (2003) – Rom Com [USA] 
That’s enough French smut it’s time for a nice safe American Rom Com. The movie stars stars Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie) and George Lazenby (briefly James Bond), but I haven’t been tempted to watch it myself because it was described by Nick Lipton from Yobeat as: “This is the worst movie I have ever seen. The box cover uses snowboarding and tits to lure you in, and then delivers the worst love story ever written or filmed.” Clearly he hasn’t seen Snowboard Academy yet.
If you want to read the rest of the Yobeat review go here

4.4/10 (2003) – Horror [USA] 
 Taking snowboarders vs skiers to the next level this movie features a mysterious skier dressed in black who goes around beheading teenagers. Disappointingly it doesn’t star any of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You can watch the trailer here or more conveniently someone’s put together a handy compilation of the best bits so you can get it all done and dusted in just 3 minutes and 1 second. 

2.7/10 (2005) – Comedy [USA] 
Another very bad movie in the annuls of bad snowboarding movies and as he apparently only watches movies with tits on the cover, Nick Lipton took the pain on our behalf. “Frost Bite is a wanna-be raunchy comedy that falls short in every possible way except for the amazing character JB, a few wonderful titty shots, and the inclusion of ex-pornsuperstar Traci Lords”.
The Chinese Downhill scene does sound promising though... “but of course there is a giant chinese downhill to settle the score once and for all. This is the coolest thing in the movie. Fights, weapons, blind people, horrible dialogue, and people literally shooting out of their bindings flood the scene.”

7.0/10 (2005) – Documentary [USA]
Featuring Shawn Farmer, Terji Haakonsen, Nick Perata, Travis Rice, Hannah Teter and Shaun White, First Descent is a documentary looking at the history and progression of the sport and culminating with trip to Alaska. It had a big budget and a theatre release which puts it in different territory to your normal snowboard movie. Not sure if this really fits in but it is as mainstream as any snowboarding movie has been, it gives us a nice even 20 movies and it does have a trailer complete with epic voiceover.
With a rating of 7.0 First Descent is officially the best snowboarding movie that Hollywood has produced. This is probably why

5.7/10 (2006) – Documentary [USA] 
The next year there was this documentary celebrating the life of the snowboarding legend Craig Kelly who died in an Avalanche in 2003.
There’s not much reviewing going on about this movie and the best write up was on Amazon:
“I don't care if you're a snowboarder or an artist or just a dreamer, this movie will inspire you. Craig Kelly the man and Craig Kelly the athlete are both personas to be reckoned with. This movie will make you ask yourself what the heck you're doing with your life, and why, if you have a dream, you aren't chasing it right now.”

You still here? Then let's continue.

13. Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt)
6.4/10 (2006) – Horror [Norway] 
Norwegians are good snowboarders and it also appears good snowboard movie makers as their contribution to fictional snowboarding gets a decent 6.4 rating on IMDb. In Cold Prey a bunch of snowboarders are forced to stay at an abandoned hotel with a pick-axe welding neighbourhood psychopath when their friend breaks his leg and they can’t reach their car. It’s essentially a watchable version of Shredder.
There was even a sequel in 2008 but unfortunately there no snowboarding in that one. Cold Prey 2 has an IMDb rating of 6.1, which proves that by adding snowboarding to a movie it will be 3% better. 

4.1/10 (2008) – Drama [USA] 
Starring Mike Madsen, Luke Goss (from Bros) and the Kellan Lutz (from the snowboarding actors article) comes the inoffensive and dull Deep Winter. Two friends, a snowboarder and a skier, set out to ride a mountain in Alaska, snowboarder dies in the attempt and the skier later goes back to finish things in memory of his friend while he also gets it on with the snowboarder’s sister. It’s got a few pretty decent skiers and snowboarders doing the riding so those scenes are watchable, but other than this movie is just made up of an overly drawn-out and tedious dose of soul searching.
If you like snowboarding and mopey shit like Dawson’s Creek you can catch the whole movie here.

15. Shred
3.8/10 (2008) – Comedy [USA] 
For some unfathomable reason somebody decided to resurrect the corpse that was Snowboard Academy and try and make another crappy comedy with the same basic plot. Starring Tom Green, former pro-snowboarder and Jackass regular Dave England, and Olympic gold medallist and pot smoker Ross Rebagliati, this is the story of two washed up snowboarders try to start up a snowboard school. This movie is bad.
and there was a sequel...

2.9/10 (Video 2009) – Comedy [USA]

Following in the path of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and probably expecting this series to perform just as well at the box office, the makers of Shred and Revenge of the Boarding School Dropouts (RBSD) filmed both movies simultaneously. After the failure of Shred, RBSD went straight to video obscurity. I can’t find trailer, I haven’t seen the movie and I can’t be bothered to continue with this cr…

5.5/10 (2010) – Adventure [USA] 
We spotted this one last year, but again haven’t gone to the trouble of actually watching it either. The really bad Photoshopping in the poster was enough to send us running. It’s a kid’s movie about a magical bracelet that has the power to stop time and it stars Danny Trejo (Machete) for all of 5 minutes. Some kid ends up with the bracelet and has to decide about whether he should use its power for good or evil. 
Spoiler: I suspect he uses it for good.

6.4/10 (2010) – Thriller [USA] 
Two snowboarders and a skier get stuck on a chairlift in a closed resort; a bad premise that actually turned out a decent enough film and a simple premise which really reduces the amount you can write about it.

6.7/10 (2010) – Comedy [USA] 
Another movie we reviewed a while back. It only has a small amount of snowboarding, but we’re still claiming it as our own because we liked it. Handily for reviewing purposes the plot is succinctly explained in the title.

Statistically Hollywood snowboarding movies are getting better.
Here is a chart of all the ratings the films got over the last 24 years, starting off with the lows of Fire & Ice and Snowboard Academy and ending up with likes of the slightly better First Decent, Cold Prey and Frozen. 

The good news is that gradually these things are improving (the purple trend line) and according to that the next film will be an above average attempt by Hollywood to make a snowboard movie because it will get a rating of 5.4/10. And here’s what you can look forward to...

(2011) – Rom Com [UK]
Bill Nighy, Brooke Shields, Sophia Bush, Felicity Jones and Tara Dakides (in her second Hollywood snowboarding movie) star in the story of a girl who heads to the Alps to work as a chalet girl and ends up becoming a professional snowboarder, a story which pretty much mirrors Jenny Jones’ life. 
If I can get myself to a screening you can look forward to a review when it’s out on the 18th February.

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  1. Good post here.

    I've always wondered why Hollyweird managed to misrepresent snowboarding so badly. Bad action shots. Horrible looking outerwear. Stunt shreds missing their grabs, etc.

    Good to know it's (kinda) getting better??

  2. Where's Johnny Tsunami?

  3. Good call. Never heard of Johnny Tsunami before, but it looks like we missed a dozzy

  4. You forgot to review Dead snow, or Død snø in the original title. It's no Holliwood flick, but as you have reviewed Fritt Vild (cold prey) it came to my mind. Epic chainsaw and snowmobile scenes, sadly not too serious snowboarding involved, but a good one anyway. I recommend it :)

  5. Good snow-based horror movie, but weren't they snowmobiling? If they did snowboard, there wasn't enough to hit our arbitrary list criteria.

  6. Johnny Tsunami is a classic, that and I think there is an argument for putting Aspen Extreme on this even though it is mostly skiers.

  7. You forgot what might be not only one of the worst snowboard movies, but maybe one of the worst movies ever made- "White Air" Riley Smith, Dominique Swain and Tom Sizemore. But Scotty Lago makes a quick appearance as himself when he was sixteen but like everyone they even pronounce his name wrong in the movie!

  8. The snowboarding movies that I like is....
    1. The Art Of Flight
    2. chalet Girl
    3. Most extreme primate
    4. Johnny tsunami
    5. Out Cold

  9. another movie called Switch


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