Friday, May 1, 2015

Out Cold: A Cult Tribute

It's Cult Tribute time guys! Yes, after a few days of wrestling and sports, we're heading back to the confines of entertainment to look at another lost national treasure. Today, we'll be talking about the 2001 film Out Cold, one of my favorite cult comedies released in the past fifteen years. Get it? Got it? Good. Let's not waste anymore time. ON WITH THE SHOW!

Out Cold: A Cult Tribute

What You Already Know

Easy; Out Cold was that snowboarding/party movie released in 2001 that was directed by a couple of music video dudes (The Malloys) and stars one of the London brothers (Jason). You at least know that; the London's are very distinct after all. Plus, there were a lot of snowboarding movies released in the early part of the new millennium that can easily be distinguished. You remember the one with Pete Sampras' wife, Rufus Sewell and the dude from Idle Hands? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Unfortunately.

The opposite of Out Cold. And Batman

What You Didn't Already Know

Out Cold is, for all intents and purposes, a comedic, snowboard adaptation of Casablanca. Yes, THAT Casablanca, the one with the million dollar quotes, scene stealer Claude Rains, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, a whole lot of Nazi's and the stiffest second banana since Hayden Christensen. While it doesn't follow everything from Casablanca's plot, the general theme is the same; boy named Rick (London) meets girl (Caroline Dhavernas) in exotic location, they fall in love, girl disappears and breaks boys heart, only to crash back into his life years later with a new, less interesting dude. The only differences is the exotic location is Cancun instead of Paris, Rick's hometown is an Alaskan town called Bull Mountain, the girl strands the guy with a duel bicycle instead of a train station, and the new dude (Todd Richards) is actually not a stiff. Oh, and there's a bunch of yuppies trying to invade the mountain and change it from a fun loving paradise into corporate Alaska. There was none of that in Casablanca that I can recall.

What you'll also find surprising is how many decent names there are in Out Cold. Seriously, there's quite a few. Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar, is the villain, and probably one of George W. Bush's favorite creations ever. Criminal Minds star AJ Cook plays one of the other love interests for Rick. The dude from White Collar is around, acting all weird. Thomas Lennon appears several times, most notably on a lesbian chat room of all places. Model Victoria Silvsted (playmate of the year) plays the daughter of Majors' character and any male viewer past puberty will enjoy every second she's onscreen. And then there's Zack Galifianakis and David Koechner. Yup, long before Galifianakis was starring in the Hangover movies and long before Koechner became the funniest sports reporter in film history, these two were mucking it up on Bull Mountain. And thank goodness, because they help make this movie the cult hit it is. Galifianakis is exactly what you'd expect him to be, and it's easy to see why he achieved the fame he did. If he only he hadn't decided to violate the Jacuzzi during the film's midway point. And goodness he's too funny here. Serving as the most unreliable narrator since all three guys in Rashamon, Koechner opens and closes the film with two monologues that are as funny as they are ridiculous. Don't believe me? Call Alan Greenspan, he'll tell you.

Best Performance

For what many would call a stupid comedy, there's a lot to like from the performances here. Galifianakis and Koechner, as already stated, are hilarious. AJ Cook handles herself well. The always underrated Caroline Dhavernas is splendid. And I haven't even mentioned London (wonderfully channeling his Pink character from Dazed and Confused on a more adult level) or Flex Anderson and David Denman, who are both effective as a timid snowboarder and the most oblivious man to ever be in the closet. But in the end, I think they'd all tell you that the best performance comes from Derek Hamilton, a relative unknown before and since who plays Pig Pen, brother of Galifianakis' Luke.

To say that Pig Pen is a stupid character would be an understatement; he is so dumb that he makes Jessica Simpson look like a Rhodes scholar. The only things he appears to be good for is hanging out, chasing women, quoting Planet of the Apes films or helping his friends get residue out of their bongs. Characters like that are generally more annoying than they are good. And yet, Hamilton acquits himself quite well, making the character's shortcoming less annoying and more likable. You want to root for Pig Pen, and best of all you want to laugh with and at him. In a movie with great comedic guys like Galifianakis and Koechner, Hamilton manages to be the funniest of them all. It's a shame he didn't get more work for this. But hey, at least Hamilton had this movie. It's not every day you can be this funny playing a character that can't spell romantic, or advise. Or bong.

Galifinakas and Hamilton

Best Moment

I could say everything, but that would be cheating. And we don't cheat here, unless it's with video games. So I'm going to go with the scene earlier in the film where Rick, Luke and Pig Pen are driving around. It's here where we get London's best line and the back story of his whirlwind romance with Anna (Dhavernas) that sets up the rest of the film. It features some emotional elements (London even sheds a tear), Galifianakis doing Galifianakis things and Hamilton killing it as Pig Pen. You'll love his constant drifting in and out of focus, and his final, glorious line of the scene, "Yeah, carpe THE diem! Seize the...carp!". Classic.


I don't think anyone out there, including the cast or crew, would claim that Out Cold is a classic film in the traditional sense. It's not, and it's understandable why a bunch of critics didn't enjoy it and why it quickly faded from the pop culture lexicon. But a good film doesn't always have to be Blade Runner or the Bridge on the River Kwai; sometimes it just needs to be a good time. Out Cold is a great time; it's funny, it's good natured, the soundtrack is really good and there's a whole lot of cool snowboarding footage. Plus, who doesn't love a goofy homage to Casablanca? If you're having a bad day and just want a laugh or if you're looking for a good cult film late at night, Out Cold is your flick. Go and rent it, order it, buy it, or stream it now! Seize the carp!

That'll do it guys. I'm off till tomorrow. Till then, watch Out Cold, go Canadiens and Wild, lay off the mini pizzas, fist pump for every fan in Cleveland that avoided the Sam Bradford era, boycott the Avengers: Age of Ultron (Free Whedon!), bring back Surge and Salsa Doritos, and as always, don't forget to do the DUCHOVNY!

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