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Aspen Extreme
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Aspen Extreme More at IMDbPro »

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A good skiing movie

10/10
Author: Scott-101 from arlington, va
20 March 2004

*** out of ****:

As a skier, I'm a little prejudiced to see a movie about skiing, with such good skiing action, and as someone who always thought of Aspen as one of the country's more overrated mountains, I'm happy to see it portrayed in such negative light (no one would ever make such a movie about Vail or Sun Valley, for example). Anyway, on to the film:

The film centers around two friends stuck in low-paying manual labor jobs, one of which, TJ, suddenly decides to go out and live the American dream. He wants to leave his blue-collar life behind and using his instincts and boldness, attain entrance into the upper echelons of society, in this case, skiing. Knowing he can't do it without his best friend Dexter, by his side, he convinces him in going along. The two embark in Aspen, and fall upon gorgeous women, a job they love, and fame and prestige. Well, at least one of them does. Dexter, although an able skier, does not get the ski instructor job as his friend does, and the two start to drift off onto two different paths. TJ gets all the breaks, and Dexter doesn't, to the point where it tears apart their friendship. One of the big strengths of the movie, was the authenticity and chemistry with which Berg and Gross display as friends, and the interesting, if not somewhat obvious paths, that the two take.

A couple of ladies make their way, into TJ's life on and off, one of which is played very well by Teri Polo, who's drop-dead gorgeous yet down-to-earth in this film, and who provides for one of the films most uplifting moments, when she arrives at Dexter's place right after he's hit rock bottom, and assertively throws his booze away, forces him into the shower, and to go jogging with her, so that he can regain control of his life, even though she always paid a lot more attention to T.J. The story is not afraid to dig into deep levels of tragedy, yet keep a balance, that makes it uplifting overall.

It's set in 1993, but there's a lot of 80s flavor in this. Along with the synthesizer-dominated score, T.J, is to a lesser extent the kind of Tom Cruise/Mel Gibson/Kurt Russell-like hero, who's just booming with masculinity. He's overconfident, he doesn't back down from a fight (including a fight with a comically villanous ski instructor who feels threatened by other good ski instructors, yeah that happens all the time on the ski slopes), he's strong and resilient, he goes full-force after whatever girls come his way, and he's clearly the good guy. On the whole, it's pretty action-packed and filled with plenty of genuine drama that I really do like it.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

not as horrible as 4.7 suggests

7/10
Author: LeFreak-5 from Toronto
6 August 2001

Bored and not able to sleep, I caught this film on late night television last night. I was intrigued by the opening credits, especially when I saw the names of fine Canadian actor Paul Gross and another favourite Trevor Eve, who starred in the wonderful British mystery series Heat of the Sun. I am also a fan of the old Chicago Hope, and it was nice to see Peter Berg in a very different role.

I am not a ski buff, and this film is not Citizen Kane. However, I found myself enjoying this flawed piece of work very much. Sure, the plot is goofy, implausible, predictable, and full of discontinuities. But I genuinely liked the heroes, took pleasure in their successes, felt sadness in their setbacks. Other reviewers have commented already on the gorgeous location photography and the skiing.

With commercials, this film ran almost 2.5 hours on TV, and I had little difficulty sitting through it. Sure, we all knew there would be a happy ending and the good guy would get the girl, but it still was an enjoyable bit of viewing on the way.

Worth a look if you are not a ski buff but like mindless romance/action. Must-see if skiing is your life.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Am I The Only One Who Found This Film Hilarious?

10/10
Author: Steve Edwards from Salt Lake City, UT
9 October 2007

Actually, I know I'm not because I've got a group of friends who watch this regularly and laugh like crazy. If they had hammed this up, like Hot Dog, it wouldn't have had a prayer but playing this ludicrous story straight up has yielded fabulous results. Franz, played by the lead singer of Spandau Ballet, is one of the greatest comic characters in film history.

There are no "rules" for unintentional comedy but there are a few elements that greatly make them watch able and Aspen Extreme has the lot. First off, good acting helps and the cast here is first rate. Berg, Gross, and Polo all deliver their over-the-top dialog as if it were penned by the Bard and the bit players are solid as well, from Franz to Karl Stoll to the Olympic hopeful from Oregon.

"What's the worst day you've ever had." "I dunno, probably the time we were arrested for stealing those telephone poles."

Secondly, nice cinematography and direction are almost essential. This film looks and feels like big budget Hollywood. It's beautiful.

Next, the soundtrack should be campy and Aspen Extreme's 80's rock track is hilarious. A perfect homage to Del Amitri. In fact, the whole movie is filled with 80s iconography even though it came out well into the 90s, "Hi, I'm Andy Mill…."

Finally, the writing has to be bad—really bad—and directed as if it were genius. The great Alan Dwan once said, in reference to comedic camp, "(sic)You can't tell your actors they're making comedy or they'll ham it up. They must believe they're making a serious film." As the above example suggests, and un-funny line on paper, when derived in the proper context, can be much funnier than if the joke actually had a punch line the made sense.

All I'm sayin' is that this film may not be Road House or Endless Love, but it's a dammed fun time and won't even need robots sitting in the front row you help you out.

"I'm not here for the party, azz hool. Zis iz my job!"

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Aspen Extreme to me is a genuine classic

9/10
Author: camelbone24 from United States
13 April 2008

Aspen Extreme to me is a genuine classic in that it is one of only few movies that best depicts the cultural, demographic and geographic way of life in a Rocky mountain secluded super ski resort town in the beautiful state of Colorado. In addition, the story itself portrays harmoniously with the real life vision of a young adventurous individual who has made exactly the same decisions that Gross' and Berg's characters had made. Surely there could be equivocal view points to the writer's main intent, however, anyone who has followed, skied or rode the same tracks as Gross' and Berg's characters instantly familiarizes with the care that is taken by the writer in exploiting the liberating experience of leaving home to enter into a world of majestic beauty mixed with a sport that people with a similar passion and drive share interest in. The story as well as the visual effects consistently draw back on the natural grandeur and beauty of the Rockies as well as the emotional evolution that takes place with each changing season while living in such a town that many consider to be a life influencing period in time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Cool Movie When I Grew Up

Author: michaelplewa from United States
24 February 2007

We got cable finally when I was ten or eleven and I must have watched this movie with my little sister twenty times. I recall first seeing Teri Polo in this film, and look how she turned out. Also, Peter Berg, an accomplished film director now. His Dexter Rutecki, though probably a poorly written part, was always resonant with me.

Then there was the rival instructor with the accent. Wasn't he in Spandau Ballet? Ah, memories. It gets certain moods right, like being in a Mountain town at the end of ski season. There's great footage of skiing and the story is probably crappy now, but it was enthralling enough for me when I was 11.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly watchable

Author: (secordman) from Toronto Canada
12 August 2001

Aspen Extreme is in the mold of movies like All the Right Moves, Youngblood etc. nothing special but just a fun little movie. Paul Gross and Peter Berg are two guys from Michigan who go to Aspen as ski instructors (??!) and explore their new vista. Berg of Chicago Hope and Gross of Due South make an excellent partnership, I found myself rooting for them from the beginning. Gross is the pretty boy who captivates both the rich teaser and the super cute radio jockey (played by the captively cute Teri Polo). The movie is humorous for much of the first half, but then takes a darker turn, and tends to drag on in the second half as well. The ski scenes are okay but I felt like I was watching a specialty adventure sports channel, in other words it was overkill. Otherwise it's just a late night timewaster which I expected to be boring but instead was fun and a good little movie to watch with a lady friend. 5 out of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Gross Steals The Show

9/10
Author: dansview from United States
17 December 2012

This is my new favorite movie, even though I originally saw it long before this review. I popped in the VHS last night during my period of unemployment and simply loved it.

Paul Gross played his part with such sensitivity, and a real down-to-earth quality. I totally believed him, and that's all you can ask from an actor. It seems that he was a 33 year old man, playing the part of a man living from ages 25-27. He plays a stud with self-doubt. That's not easy to do, but he pulls it off like a champion.

I love Peter Berg. He has done this role more or less before, but that's o.k. He still does it to perfection. He's the everyman. Finola Hughes played a slightly gentler version of the cold-hearted bitch she played in Stayin Alive, opposite John Travolta.

The scenery is amazing, and Teri Polo does a more than adequate job of playing the soulful local who hates tourists and materialism.

I envied the guys'friendship, their adventure, and the appealing lifestyle of Teri Polo's small town radio D.J.

Every actor did a remarkable job of reflecting emotional pain, disappointment, and anguish. I respect that.

Check this one out for its' 80s feel, as many reviewers have mentioned, the breathtaking scenery, and the fine performances that came as such genuine surprises. A memorable flick.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Old School Ski Classic

10/10
Author: steffan_adams from United Kingdom
5 February 2009

If you're a skier or a fan of the mountain, then this old school ski movie is a classic you don't wanna miss. Hardly a blockbuster but a great watch, the film is very much the skiing lifestyle of two young guys who chase their passion of skiing. It's got a good skiing scenes and an enjoyable storyline. It's about the ski instructor playboy, T.J. Burke and his uglier but but funny best friend, Dexter Rutecki. They ski in the rich and prestigious Aspen, beginning as ski bums before certain events see the movie develop a more concrete storyline. In short, this film will not be to everyone's taste but if you ski and enjoy the mountain life, watch it, you won't be disappointed!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Best Movie Ever

10/10
Author: dylan-ski from Breckenridge, Colorado
15 December 2006

I grew up on Mt. Brighton, which is where our story begins. Aspen Extreme is the true-to-life saga of two amazing Midwest skiers who move to the mountains to pursue a more fulfilling life away from the rat race.

Unlike most ski movies, the locations in Aspen Extreme are really Michigan and Aspen as advertised.

Aspen Extreme is not your classic slapstick ski movie. The dialog, situations and characters reflect real daily life in a ski town. If you want to step into Rocky Mountain life, sit back and relax for 90 minutes with TJ, Dex, Robin and Bryce!

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Solid ski flick

Author: Wuchak from Ohio/PA border
26 August 2013

"Aspen Extreme" (1993) is a ski flick about two guys from Detroit who decide to throw the dice and move to Aspen where they're hired as ski instructors. TJ is a walking stud with loads of charm (Paul Gross), but his buddy Dex, albeit likable, is a problem waiting to happen (Peter Berg). TJ catches the eye of two women: a local DJ, Robin (Teri Polo), and a high society vamp, Bryce (Finola Hughes). Meanwhile TJ and Dex seek to win an important powder skiing contest.

Someone described "Aspen Extreme" as "Top Gun on skis" and that's a good brief description as both films balance the drama with the action and have rockin' soundtracks. But there are huge differences in that "Top Gun" takes place at a prestigious military flight school and therefore involves military personnel, whereas "Aspen Extreme" is about two regular dudes who ride into Aspen with only their van and essential belongings. Furthermore, "Top Gun" takes place in San Diego, whereas "Aspen Extreme" takes place in Aspen, Colorado, where the film was shot (along with some opening scenes in Michigan).

You would think that the sport of skiing would have delivered up numerous movies over the years, but I can think of only two serious films on the topic -- this one and 1969's "Downhill Racer" with Robert Redford and Gene Hackman. Go figure. In any event, "Downhill Racer" is a favorite film of mine and "Aspen Extreme" doesn't come close to its greatness. Still, it's well-done for what it is.

There are a couple of scenes that standout: A scene where Dex foolishly decides to make some easy money as a drug courier. The sequence effectively shows how prone to paranoia you can get when you KNOW you're doing something wrong. Another scene effectively reveals a character's casual (and sick) love-'em-and-leave-'me mentality, and I'm not talking about a dude.

The mountain scenery is breathtaking, but there's one roll-your-eyes scene where one of the guys falls into a deep crevasse that has water in it (at that elevation in the middle of winter?). But, hey, it's Hollywood.

Some people complain about the film devolving into melodrama, but I never got this impression. The story takes place over the course of a couple of winters and is just showing the highlights. With the exception of the scene noted above, nothing struck me as radically over-the-top or out of the realm of possibility.

Teri Polo is a huge plus as she's very young and beautiful.

The film runs 113 minutes.

GRADE: B-

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