Cool as Ice

by Martin R. "Vargo" Schneider

EXPECTATIONS: As most of you may know by now, Netflix announced a nearly 60% rate hike this week on all of their plans. Now, while most people were up in arms over this development, I think Netflix is a pretty cool company. If Netflix were a person, he would be that guy with the cool hat that buys you a beer while telling you how cool you are. (Blockbuster is the balding sweaty man trying to pick up the bartender.) I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. With their service expanding into Latin America, I'm sure The 'Flix just needed the extra dough to expand their already robust selection of noteworthy and artistically relevant films. To prove this, I chose three of the classiest films I could find on Netflix Instant Watch, and let the fans on our official Facebook page (You're one of them, right? I'm sure you are) choose which one I covered this week. This is the result.

Extreme! To the max!REALITY: Ladies and gentlemen, this week's Instant Watch gem (chosen by you assholes) is the 1991 film Cool as Ice starring Rob van Winkle, AKA Vanilla Ice. Actually, the whole premise of the film revolves around the fact that it stars Vanilla Ice. This is the film's title, tagline, and basic plot: "Vanilla Ice goes to a place and does a thing." This is illogical in oh so many ways. It's one of those things the existence of which makes me wonder if the '90s ever actually happened, or if it was all just one big fever dream while we were coming down off the coke we snorted in the '80s. My brain just can't fathom the pitch meeting where Hollywood executives decided that A: Vanilla Ice was genuinely, unironically something kids liked, and B: That he was popular enough to justify making an entire movie just for him. The modern-day equivalent would be finding out that someone has bankrolled "Paint it Black: Rebecca Black's film debut." (Because obviously we couldn't call it Friday.)

Ice plays Johnny, a rapper who winds up stranded in a small town when one of his homeboys' bikes breaks down. Before this happens, he meets Kathy (Kristin Minter) as she is riding her horse by herself on private property, and Johnny decides the best way to impress her is to nearly crash his motorcycle into the horse, almost killing her. Somehow this causes the two to meet and fall in love. Why? Because Vanilla Ice controls this movie. Whatever Ice wants, Ice gets. Even though Johnny is completely unlikable, we know he is the hero because he literally tells us. He says the amazingly clever line "Drop the Zero, and get with the hero!" to Kathy, which illustrates both his sick rhyming skills and the level of quality you can expect from this script. By the way, the "Zero" in question is Kathy's boyfriend Nick, who is guilty of the crime of not being Vanilla Ice. (Okay, if someone honestly wanted to call me on this, Nick does get drunk and try to have sex with Kathy at least once before she leaves for college, which is kinda sleazy by this movie's standards. However, considering Vanilla Ice breaks into her house, steals her address book to stalk her, and puts ice in her mouth while she sleeps, Nick is a damn saint.)

If any of this sounds familiar, it's because the movie is literally Rebel Without A Cause. If you think I'm joking, here's the official IMDB plot synopsis:

A rap oriented re-make of Rebel Without a Cause, with heavy emphasis on the fact that rap star Vanilla Ice has assumed the James Dean role.

First, let me say that I love that pitch. I think that formula should be tweaked to make more modern classics:

  • "A rock-oriented remake of Stagecoach, with heavy emphasis on the fact that glam rock icons Kiss have assumed the John Wayne role."
  • "A smooth jazz-oriented remake of Bridge on the River Kwai with heavy emphasis on the fact that Kenny G has assumed the Alec Guiness role."
  • "A country-oriented remake of The Matrix with heavy emphasis on the fact that Toby Keith has assumed the Keanu Reeves role"

It's like a Mad Lib for brilliance. But I digress.

I'm not really sure why I'm reviewing this movie, apart from the fact that you people are sadists. At least with MILF, there was the off chance that one of you might have an idiot friend at Blockbuster who says "Hey, let's check this out!" I doubt I'm going to have to convince any of you NOT to see Cool as Ice, but in case I'm wrong, here goes: Cool as Ice is the most uninteresting film I've ever seen. It was made to show parents that rap doesn't have to be offensive, and as such, it's just bland. Everything is bright happy colors and being true to yourself. Even the actual conflict, an oddly thrown together issue involving dirty cops and Kathy's family being in Witness Protection, is glossed over and solved easily by the power of coolness and karate chops. It's also the most '90s movie ever made, measured in amounts of "kickin' radness." It's superficial, boring and most of all, it's fake and bereft of any artistic integrity. (Like Ice himself.)

Before I sign off, I'd like to posit a theory: We can blame Courtney Love all we want, but I think this movie's existence is why Kurt Cobain killed himself.

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– Joseph "Jay Dub" Wade (@JayDubSA)

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