Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Vanilla Ice” with a minor in “Stalking = Romance”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult takes a chill pill, cools off, listens to some vanilla beats and looks up other super chill puns while watching Cool as Ice!
Johnny Van Owen is a carefree rapper who drifts from city to city performing with his biker crew, but his swagger finds new purpose when he falls for small-town honor student Kathy Winslow. Little do they both know, Kathy and Johnny’s romance has more to overcome than just a jealous boyfriend and an over-protective father… It’s a teen rebel saga updated for a modern audience! This sleepy little town is about to become Cool As Ice!
Released in 1991, just months after Vanilla Ice’s cameo performance in TMNT2: Secret of the Ooze, Cool as Ice is an American musical romance film starring rapper Robert Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice, in his feature film debut, and directed by David Kellogg, who’s previous experience included nine Playboy video documentaries and who would go on to direct the god-awful Inspector Gadget film in 1999. How’s that for setting your expectations? Lifeless musical numbers and dance sequences, painfully bad dialogue, and a teen romance plot ripped straight from the bargain bin of your local bookstore makes for a film that isn’t just bad…it’s downright mesmerizing.
Other stars include Kristen Minter, who previously played Macoulay Culkin’s sister in Home Alone, as Kathy, Michael Gross of Tremor’s fame as Kathy’s father Gordon, John Newton from the 1988 Superboy TV series as Kathy’s boyfriend Nick, and supermodel Naomi Campbell as a singer at a club. Supposedly the role of Kathy was offered to Gwyneth Paltrow and Lisa Marie but Lisa turned the role down and Gwyneth’s father Bruce Paltrow forbade her from accepting it due to the script’s sexual content. In any case we doubt either of those skilled actresses could’ve saved this film from its protagonist. As Richard Harrington of the Washington Post put it, “Having established that he can’t rap or dance, Vanilla Ice now adds acting to his resume — call it the tri-imperfecta of pop.”
With classic one liners like, “Drop that zero and get with the hero!” and a jacket embroidered with, among other things, the words DANGER, DEEP, Down by law, FREEZE, HYPE, ICE, Lust, ah yeah!, ROLLIN, yep yep, and sex me up, it may be hard to believe for some, that Vanilla Ice was anything but a 90’s teen heart throb. Let’s examine Johnny’s seduction tactics for a bit shall we?
Step 1: Upon meeting Kathy, who is having a pleasant horse riding session, Johnny jumps a fence with his motorcycle and lands directly in front of the horse. Much to the surprise of absolutely no one this scares the poor animal who bucks and throws Kathy to the ground, nearly paralyzing her. Now that’s what I call an opening line! “Hey, as soon as you recover the feeling in your lower extremities, wanna go out with me?
Step 2: Stalking seems to get a bad rap these days, (Bad Rap! Vanilla Ice! Get it!?) but it’s really a staple of film romances. Can’t get a girl to talk to you? Steal her stuff, find out where she lives, follow her around town, and break into her house on a regular basis. That’s sure to get her to notice you! Some of these scenes are Burger King Commercial weird. Johnny seems to have taken his wooing playbook straight from the lyrics of “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. Look it up, kids. Music was creepy in the 80’s.
Step 3: It is clear that Kathy has a boyfriend, albeit a jerky jock of a boyfriend, but does that stop Johnny? Of course not! Instead he purposely insults Nick to his face, swaps his name for derogatory nicknames, and even goes so far as to send him to the hospital with a broken nose. Love is war people! You gotta eliminate the competition!
Step 4: Having trouble turning up the heat in a movie called Cool as Ice? Not a problem. After following Kathy to a lame party Johnny steals the mike, replaces the house band, and proceeds to perform a hip hop version of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You”. Seeing that Kathy in the crowd, Johnny drags her onto the dance floor against her will, pushes her to the floor, and grinds up on her in front of all her friends. I’ve heard of public displays of affection, but public sexual assault? That’s a new one to me.
Step 5: Montages. All movie problems can be solved with montages.
Step 6: Simply BE Vanilla Ice. If all else fails you’ve still got your funky fresh dance moves, your slick 90’s lingo, and your vibrant baggy pants to fall back on. Somehow through all the abuse, the mockery, and the disrespect for loved ones, property, and personal space, in the end Johnny gets the girl and convinces her to leave her family, her friends, and her bright honor student future to become a wandering vagabond with Johnny. Let’s remember that this is the guy who dated Madonna for a while back in ’92.
Cool as Ice grossed just over $1 million from an estimated budget of around $6 million. According to an episode of Behind the Music, Vanila Ice was paid $1 million, a sixth of the budget, for his role as Johnny Van Owen in the film. Needless to say, return on investment was lacking on that one.
Blender ranked Van Winkle’s performance in the film as the seventh worst performance by a musician turned actor and the film has been nominated for over a dozen Golden Raspberry Awards and Stinkers Bad Movie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Actor, Worst Original Song. It even won the Golden Raspberry in the category of Worst New Star. The movie was so awful that director David Kellogg later disowned the film…whatever the heck that means.
Cool as Ice has a 2.8 on IMDB and an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. Mike McGranaghan of Aisle Seat calls it, “So bad that it’s borderline fascinating,” and Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic.com said, “This one is absolutely priceless in its awfulness.” What more could you possibly ask for??
When a girl has a heart of stone, there’s only one way to melt it. Just add Ice.
The Supercult show is proud to present Cool as Ice!
P.S. Here’s a good dating tip: Play the rhythm of Ice Ice Baby to your significant other. If they say, “Oh! Under Pressure by Queen!” then you’ve got yourself a keeper.