If you grew up through the 80s and 90s, you'll remember the music scene quite fondly. This when you could tune into a channel on your TV and just sit back, relax and binge-watch music videos. Sure, we have YouTube now, but there was something about turning on the TV and waiting to see what would pop up next. It used to be how I distinguished what I liked and disliked as far as music went, and was full of unexpected surprises a lot of the time. YouTube is more specific and has less of an adventurous flow to it.
Anyway, getting on track, along came Rob Van Winkle, aka "Vanilla Ice" to try to spread the concept of rap music to a... shall we say "wider audience". He eventually made some kind of weird underground comeback, but back in the day, as a 7-8-year old kid, I have to admit that I got suckered into the whole deal. I was listening to his album "To The Extreme" (which was pretty suggestive for a kid my age at the time) while playing 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' on my NES. Very soon, the two would also come together for what remains to this day as one of my all-time favourite guilty pleasures, 'TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze'.
Looking back on the whole era, it's not entirely surprising to see why things changed really quick once generalized musical taste did. Everything definitely went in a better direction after all of this. But I will say that one of the best ways one can possibly see what overall style looked like in the early 90s that no one would want to admit to... check out 'Cool as Ice'! Even though it's a terrible movie, it does make for a fascinating time capsule that one can watch and ponder "what the hell were we thinking?"... or if you just wanna have fun with it, the Vanilla Ice scene in 'TMNT II' is at least fun.
Having said that, I have to admit that there was one thing I kind of loved about this movie, and that's the opening credit sequence. It will take someone from my generation back to that short-lived era I just spoke of, and in its own way, it's a fun number that just screams early 90s pop music. You've got Ice rapping with Naomi Campbell doing some chorus lyrics, a lot of dancing and posing for the camera, and it all takes place in a warehouse which, for some reason, was just the go-to place for a lot of things back then. I guess stuff just looks cool in an abandoned warehouse for some reason?
Anyway, this is where we meet Johnny Van Owen (Ice) and his "Posing Posse" as I like to call them. These are Johnny's three friends who the director decided didn't need to be part of the story so much as they were needed to portray that Johnny has friends... I guess. Just to lend these three a nod; Jazz (Deezer D), Princess (Allison Dean) and Sir D (Kevin Hicks). Anyway, shortly after this, the crew is cruising on their motorbikes when Johnny spots Kathy (Kristin Minter) riding her horse. He decides the best thing to do here to get her attention is jump his bike over the fence, startling the horse and knocking Kathy off and onto her ass. This is the first and immediate sign that Johnny is an ASSHOLE!
SO, if jumping in front of her horse and knocking her off isn't enough, he also tells her she hits pretty good for a girl when she punches him in the gut after the incident. Still not enough? I'll get to some more in a sec. Eventually, one of the gang's bikes breaks down, and they roll it to a nearby shop where we meet mechanic couple Roscoe and Mae (Sydney Lassick and Dody Goodman, respectively - both of whom are too good for this movie). As these things go, the crew has to wait a couple of days for these repairs to happen. What do they do with the time? Well, the crew quite literally just waits the whole time (why are they part of this, honestly?) while Johnny continues to show why he's terrible.
Ladies, tell me if you would fall for this guy because we're supposed to consider him charming here. He steals Kathy's little black book, finds out where she lives, and one morning she wakes up with him next to her in bed, putting ice cubes in her mouth, uttering the creepy line of "shh, we don't wanna wake up Mom and Dad". He also learns about her boyfriend, Nick (John Newton) who he insults to his face by telling Kathy to "drop that zero and get with a hero", and calls "Dick". He also decides to start calling her "Kat", and at every turn tries to impress her and steal her away from this guy. While Nick's not terribly likeable, and she can certainly do better... going with Johnny has to be going in some kind of wrong direction.
Generally speaking, this movie is about Johnny trying to hook up with "Kat", and that's pretty much it. There IS a completely crowbarred-in subplot that sets things up for Johnny to become the misunderstood hero of the movie, but it doesn't mean a damn thing when it's all said and done. Some more cast members include the likes of Michael Gross as Kathy's Dad and Candy Clark as her Mom - two more names too good for this movie. And everyone in this takes a back seat to Vanilla Ice, and it is bizarre to watch nowadays. It's an interesting time capsule in its own way, but even my nostalgia isn't enough to send me back for more guilty-pleasure-driven re-watches.
The film has its morals all over the place by the end. The lesson is supposed to be something along the lines of living for yourself instead of living for other people. That's all well and good, but living for yourself doesn't mean it's okay to break into a girl's bedroom and cram ice into her mouth while she's sleeping. It further suggests that women should probably get with a creepy guy like this because, hell, he's "Cool as Ice"! While the film has a fun guilty-pleasure-loaded soundtrack and is a good peek into turn-of-the-decade style, nothing is enough to save it from being a pretty terrible film overall. Again, it's something that makes one look back and ponder... what were we thinking?