COOL AS ICE: RIFFTRAX VERSION
MOVIE: 1/2 (out of 5)
RIFFTRAX EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
May 6, 2014
Vanilla Ice as JOHNNY VAN OWEN
Kristin Minter as KATHY WINSLOW
Michael Gross as GORDON WINSLOW
Deezer D as JAZZ
John Haymes Newton as NICK
Candy Clark as GRACE WINSLOW
Victor DiMattia as TOMMY WINSLOW
Michael J. Nelson as HIMSELF
Kevin Murphy as HIMSELF
Bill Corbett as HIMSELF
Directed by: David Kellogg
BY KEVIN CARR
Unlike many in the Internet generation, I remember when Vanilla Ice was a thing. Ironically, Vanilla Ice was a thing around the same time that “Mystery-Science Theater 3000” was just starting to become a thing. By the time MST-3K had become a cult phenomenon, Vanilla Ice had melted and became not-a-thing.
Seriously, his fame lasted like nine months.
In fact, Vanilla Ice’s rise and fall from the national spotlight was so fast that Universal couldn’t rush his debut film “Cool As Ice” into theaters fast enough. I remember in college, visiting the local movie theater and seeing a standee advertising the release of the film, knowing that his fifteen minutes of fame were already up.
So, I didn’t even see “Cool As Ice” in the theaters on its initial release, not even for the pop culture phenomenon that it was. And that’s a good thing, because the movie is freaking terrible.
The rough story follows a rapper named Johnny Van Owen (Vanilla Ice) and his crew that roam the countryside, bringing their music to the nation. When their bikes break down in a small town, Johnny takes a shine to a local honor’s student named Kathy Winslow (Kristin Minter). As he tries to woo her in outfits that look like the 90s puked all over him, Kathy’s father Gordon (Michael Gross) realizes his standing in the witness protection program has been compromised by a television interview he inexplicably had participated in. It’s up to the white rapper and his wily ways to save the day.
The film itself is downright awful. Featuring ham-fisted musical montages and dialogue that is nonsensical at best, it’s a chore to watch. “Cool As Ice” isn’t even entertaining in an ironic way, mining the depths of cliches and corniness and featuring a flash-in-the-pan pop culture phenomenon who is so devoid of acting skill that he can’t even deliver his “Yep! Yep!” catchphrase convincingly.
The only way to watch “Cool As Ice” and enjoy it is with the RiffTrax gang, and thanks to RiffTrax and Cinedigm, the film is available with the necessarily commentary via video on demand in a variety of formats (including iTunes, Amazon, Google/YouTube, PlayStation and Xbox).
As with all of the RiffTrax films, the essence of the film being a bad movie often helps things along. What also helps “Cool As Ice” work in this sense is that it was such a unfortunately-timed pop culture dud. Mike, Kevin and Bill let loose with the zingers throughout, offering both terrifying insight (e.g., cinematographer Janusz Kamiński went on to the Oscar for both “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”) and the hilarious (e.g., Kevin remunerating the possible meaning behind the name Deezer D).
Having grown up at a time when I forsook Vanilla Ice for the burgeoning pop culture phenomena of MST-3K, which eventually gave birth to RiffTrax, I am proud to be of that generation, and the group’s continued riffing of terrible films from our own past is a glorious thing to see.
“Cool As Ice” joins the gaggle of films that are only worth watching if the RiffTrax gang is along for the ride.