50 Movies for 50 States Part Two – The `80s: #6 – Colorado, Film – Copper Mountain

#6 – Colorado, Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain (1983), A Rose & Ruby Production, directed by David Mitchell, written by Damian Lee and David Mitchell, with Jim Carrey, Alan Thicke, "Rompin''" Ronnie Hawkins and Rita Coolidge, cinematography by Alar Civilo, original music by Brian Bell, editing by James Lahti and Mairin Wilkinson, filmed at the White River National Forest in Colorado

The plot: Canadian brohams Bobby and Jackson go on holiday to the Copper Mountain ski resort in Colorado. They embarrass themselves in a variety of not very clever ways while trying to hit on women. Insecure Bobby can’t talk to girls without launching into an impression of a famous celebrity. Bobby may be autistic. Jackson, the “smooth” one, enters a professional skiing contest because that’s the kind of thing you get to do at Copper Mountain – show up at a skiing world championship match and just expect them to let you race with the pros. That’s the Club Med Experience. Oh yeah … washed-up country music singer “Rompin’” Ronnie Hawkins and a bunch of his friends show up and put on a concert that lasts roughly half an hour. Copper Mountain is 60 minutes long.

Let’s just get this out of the way. Copper Mountain, according to the Internet Movie Database, is one of Jim Carrey’s first movies; but Copper Mountain is not a movie, even if it’s advertised as such (“Jim Carrey in one of his first and funniest films, running riot on the Colorado ski slopes.”)

The fact that Copper Mountain is billed as a “film” is why I chose to review it, because if I had known what Copper Mountain was — it’s many things in fact — I probably would have stuck with my original choice for Colorado. That would be American Flyers with Kevin Costner.

One. Copper Mountain is a “Rompin’” Ronnie Hawkins concert video, at a time when ol’ Ronnie was getting to be a little too old to “romp” and had to get some of his buddies to lend a hand, including — fresh off her divorce from Kris Kristofferson — Rita Coolidge. If you don’t know who Rita Coolidge is, go to any local Goodwill and browse their LPs where you’ll likely find several of her albums sandwiched between Neil Sedaka records and Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights.”

Two. It’s a ski-centric episode of Wide World of Sports hosted by Alan Thicke.

Three. It’s an audition reel for a young comedian named Jim Carrey. As we know, Carrey’s career wouldn’t really take off until the `90s, and while I’m not insinuating that Copper Mountain delayed Carrey’s rise to stardom, you never know. Copper Mountain is that bad.

It’s not because Copper Mountain has no plot that I refuse to call it a movie. It’s not because of its lack of character development or the fact that it’s constantly reminding you that Copper Mountain takes place at the beautiful and scenic Copper Mountain resort with shot after shot of snow, skiers, the interior of the ski lodge, a fireplace, Copper Mountain’s friendly, helpful, attractive staff and patrons.

Okay, maybe it has something to do with that last reason.

Copper Mountain is not a movie. IT’S A FUCKING INFOMERCIAL. It is, unquestionably, a 60-minute commercial for Colorado’s Copper Mountain ski resort and the most blatantly obvious proof of this is its complete title: Copper Mountain: A Club Med Experience. I was not aware, prior to choosing Copper Mountain to review, that “A Club Med Experience” was part of the title or maybe I would’ve thought twice about making it this week’s pick.

There’s no question in my mind that Copper Mountain is nothing more than a promotional video for Club Med’s Copper Mountain, which just happened to star a then unknown Jim Carrey, which was – at some point after Carrey became successful — picked up by some devious (savvy?) DVD distributor and marketed as a lost Jim Carrey film.

Jim Carrey has never played a duller character in his career than the one he plays in Copper Mountain, and that’s even including all the melodramatic mush he’s made since taking on the role of Andy Kaufman in 1999’s Man on the Moon. Carrey’s character Bobby is a pathetic excuse of a wet blanket, whose every thought revolves around his inability to talk to women. We get to see Carrey do several impressions, all of which could be described as Jim Carrey doing an impression of Jim Carrey doing the impression of someone else, including Sammy Davis Jr. and Jack Nicholson – I think … it’s really not clear. He does do a picture perfect Steve Martin impression which ends with him doing “Jacques Costeau happy feet” into a jacuzzi causing the two girls he’s trying to impression to flee and leaving him with the most pathetic “What’d I do?!?” look ever.

I laughed at Carrey’s jacuzzi dive, I shamefully admit. It was a moment of relief in a film that literally made my skin crawl. Do not fool yourself into thinking that, at 60 minutes, Copper Mountain is an easy watch. For me, it was the longest 60 minutes ever.

Alan Thicke’s character, a waterbed salesman (a reoccurring ’80s occupational trope), is a complete doofus – could this have been marketed as an unofficial Dumb or Dumber prequel? Maybe redub the whole thing? In one of the “movie”’s only story developments, Thicke’s character Jacks challenges the resort’s resident bartender to a ski match. The winner gets a slot in the ski tourney. He spends a considerable amount of time razzing the portly bar hand to everyone he meets and shows a considerable talent for fat guy insults. Of course, he loses the race. Then, for some reason, the bartender lets him have his place in the tournament. And he loses. But he almost wins. All this stuff happens in like … 5 to 10 minutes of screen time.

It had to happen that fast to leave room for the “Rompin’” Ronnie Hawkins show.

The counterpoint, of course, is if you’re a “Rompin’” Ronnie Hawkins fan, you might like this. Then again, maybe not. Rompin’ Ronnie isn’t looking his best here, lazily running through a handful of his greatest hits before turning the reins over to Coolidge and crew. Did I mention that these musical numbers go on forever? Because they do. One of the songs, “Stuck in Lodi” (below) is actually played twice. I never want to hear that song again.

Maybe this isn’t an infomercial for Club Med. Maybe it’s an infomercial for “Rompin'” Ronnie Hawkins. I don’t know what this mess is and I’m all out of words. I’m not even going to try and figure out the Canadian connection. (Hawkins, Carrey and Thicke are all canucks.)

Just don’t watch this. Ever. Watch the trailer, which is pretty much the entire movie minus the musical numbers. Then go find something better to do.

From the soundtrack — “Stuck in Lodi” by Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins

Next week: Connecticut

50 Movies for 50 States Contest Scoreboard

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3 responses to “50 Movies for 50 States Part Two – The `80s: #6 – Colorado, Film – Copper Mountain

  1. I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t have a remote nearby. Maybe I kept assuming that each song would be his last — but every time I thought they were done, they started in on another song.


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