Revisiting Cool As Ice

In 1991, I had a huge poster of Vanilla Ice in my bedroom, and I had BOTH his cassettes (one was a remix album, remember?). Although I don't remember actually liking him that much. My best friend at the time was like, so in love with him, so I guess I was too in solidarity. I actually found him much too aggressive, thuggish, and mean-looking. I much preferred the soft-spoken, polite androgynous Nelson brothers (that's a whole other story).

These days, Vanilla (we're on a first name basis) seems to have more of a sense of humor about himself. He appeared on The Surreal Life, a reality show for has-been celebrities, and has even emerged making fun of indie rock. Good for him! If we can't laugh at ourselves, everyone else wins! His website glaringly informed me that he is now taking a foray into home makeover shows. And that he has not changed his website since 1997. Geocities much?

One thing he was DEAD serious about was parlaying his rapping fame into a movie career with the epic love story Cool As Ice. Vanilla plays, well, himself, a nomadic rapper/dancer who falls for a rich Daddy's Girl in a Romeo and Juliet scenario. Oh, and he sings the title song, which features NAOMI CAMPBELL. This is when people still loved her and she wasn't attacking her assistants.

You know what? It's pretty catchy. So catchy in fact, that on one of my many visits to the Smithaven Mall (shout out to Long Island!) I picked up the cassingle from Sam Goody.

The movie is unbelievably bizarre. Vanilla Ice and his posse roam the land putting on elaborate rap concerts in abandoned warehouses and they get stuck in a small rich suburban town when one of his posse's neon motorcycle breaks down. There's a subplot involving the mob, kidnapping, and being "true to yourself," which for rich girl Kathy, means giving up your dream of going to Yale and riding around with your thug boyfriend. More importantly, it's a chance to showcase some of the most amazing '90s clothing ever to exist. Never again will it be socially acceptable for grown men to shave shapes in their hair and wear bright orange leather jackets with striped shorts.

I may be one of only five people that saw the movie that year. It was a total flop and shortly after Vanilla's career ended. Luckily, Paul Scheer, my comedic idol, has fulfilled my deepest desires and discussed Cool As Ice on his hilarious podcast How Did This Get Made? It's a standout episode of an already great podcast, and even better, Vanilla Ice made an appearance to talk about the movie. Some highlights of the podcast:
  • The director of Cool As Ice had previously only directed Playboy Playmate videos
  • There was a loose script, much of it was improvised by Ice
  • Vanilla Ice wrote the line "drop that zero and get with this hero" all by himself
  • This movie, although a box office bomb, led to him getting the part in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret Of The Ooze, so... congratulations?
If you like watching bad movies as much as I do, this is a must see. Lucky for everyone, it's streaming on Netflix.

Also, Vanilla Ice still scares me a little bit.

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