Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Cool As Ice.”
The Movie: “Cool As Ice”
Starring: Vanilla Ice, Kristin Minter, Naomi Campbell
Director: Devid Kellogg
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) A rapper gets stuck in a small down and falls for a local girl whose family is in witness protection.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 3 percent
Brown: With winter’s return, it was time the JOE-DOWN got a little icy.
… That probably won’t be our only ice reference in this JOE-DOWN. But we’ll try our best to not go full “Batman & Robin.”
Even worse. We’re going to the early ‘90s to an old pop culture icon: Vanilla Ice!
Frankly, it’s surprising it took this long for Froemming and I to review this. I dunno, I guess I felt sadistic for this installment.
I’ve never seen “Cool As Ice.” Then again, it only made $1.2 million on a $6 million budget, so not many other people did. I knew… it existed? And “How Did This Get Made” and “Rifftrax” both made fun of it.
And… the JOE-DOWN is about to do the same. Because we’re as original as the backing track to “Ice Ice Baby.” I’ll make sure to put a cymbal crash in the middle of this review so we know it’s not the same!
Froemming, give us your initial thoughts while I get ready for my date at the *checks notes* housing construction site?
Froemming: Well, for one: Welcome to Bill Clinton’s America, Bubba.
Brown: This movie was made in George H.W. Bush’s America.
And secondly, I was very upset there was not a single Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in this whole thing.
I have never seen this, either. And it was uncomfortable for me just how ‘90s this film was. It operates more as a music video than a movie, with cutscenes having bizarre music video tropes of the time, such as people randomly dancing, dutch angles and oddball comedic sight gags.
I am also confused as to where this movie takes place. There is a factory where parties take place in the basement. There is farmland. There is “Blue Velvet”-esque suburbia and, I shit you not, a desert with a house being built in the middle of.
It does not help that Rob Van Winkle is also a pretty bad rapper, making the beats and scratches I normally enjoy unlistenable.
Brown, as I frolic at a construction site in the middle of a desert (I am guessing this movie takes place in Springfield) why don’t you start this off.
Brown: So this movie begins with *checks notes*…
*check notes again, questioning the authenticity* … a six-minute music video while the credits roll?
Literally. Six. Minutes. Of rapping and dancing in the factory where I think the “Good Vibrations” music video took place.
This is a 91-minute movie. And six of that is credits and advances NOTHING.
Froemming: Don’t forget about the five minute music video ending to this as well. This movie had more padding than “SLC Punk 2,” which I never thought I would ever say.
Brown: I haven’t seen something this padded to fit some arbitrary marker (in this case, a 90-minute movie) since I changed the kerning and line space on a college paper to stretch it out to 10 pages. I almost respect this level of buffoonery.
Near the end of this credit sequence, there’s so many goddamn strobe lights going off that I was having “Jacob’s Ladder” flashbacks. This movie is enough of a nightmare that I could see someone transforming into a lizard.
Once this ends, Vanilla Ice – look, his character’s name is Johnny Van Owen. He’s (REDACTED) Vanilla Ice – gets a phone number from the woman in the “Cherry Pie” music video.
Seriously, it’s Bobbie Brown from Warrant’s “Cherry Pie.”
Froemming: Well, he and his good-time buddies hop on their motorcycles and ride through…farmland. Again, I have zero idea where this is supposed to take place. And suddenly they come across some girl riding a horse. And what does our hero(?) do? He jumps his bike over a fence, causing the horse to freak out and kick the woman off of it.
Now, that is all sorts of stupid, but I have to remind everyone that the movie “Hot Shots!” lampooned this scene. Why did they lampoon a scene from a movie nobody saw? I have no idea.
Brown: Look, Ice, I get that you think this girl is cute. But you know what really kills the mood and any chance of ending up with her? When you decide to hop a fence with your motorcycle (and no ramp, mind you) and she nearly ends up like Christopher Reeve.
That… that should be the end of the romantic intention.
Froemming: I am starting to understand why Suge Knight dangled him off a hotel balcony in the 1990s.
Brown: Also, this is a good time to mention. The girl thrown from the horse, her name is Kathy. She’s played by Kristin Minter. According to this movie’s Wikipedia article, Gwyneth Paltrow was offered the role of Kathy. But Gwyneth’s dad, Bruce Paltrow, said not to take it because “Cool As Ice” would somehow be a worse career choice than selling jade vagina eggs through Goop.
Froemming: After hitting on Kat in the strangest manner I have seen in a long time, the gang gets back on their bikes, only for one of the bikes to break down.
And what do they do about that? Why, they drag it behind their other bikes until they come across what I can only describe as Pee-Wee’s Playhouse in the middle of nowhere. A Playhouse being run by to senile old people who manage to destroy the bike.
This hellish nightmare is only made worse because Johnny just leaves his friends there for most of the movie, where they endure the old woman dancing to hip-hop beats and throwing around hip-hop lingo. This, my friend, is the fabled 8th level of Hell that was so grotesque that it was left out of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Brown: My ongoing theory is that this movie takes place in the same town as “Edward Scissorhands.” Did you see how manicured the trees were in the town? Also, the old people in traffic that almost shit themselves seeing these bikers are mostly black people clearly makes this a midwest town.
Now, while the bike is getting fixed, the old folks “fixing” the bike aren’t the only strange ones.
One of Ice’s friends made a sandwich that has trumped the half-Canadian bacon and pineapple, half-light on cheese artichoke with pesto pizza from “The Room.”
This sandwich was: peanut butter; pickle spears; sardines; yellow mustard; and pineapple.
Also, one of the women in the group keeps staring at a jade-colored egg, which makes my Gwyneth Paltrow rib from earlier even more harrowing. I did wonder if this woman needed an egg in this trying time.
Well, while we’re stuck waiting at the mechanic’s house, Ice needs to go hardcore flirt with the girl he nearly paralyzed earlier.
Froemming: And how does he know where to find her? You know, her address? Well, I have one theory, he is the…
He is a stalker in this movie. We see it again later on.
But before he shows up to harass his way into Kat’s heart, we have her going through the growing pains of having her current boyfriend tell her about how he wants to breakup so he can bang other women at college. Because they are going to different colleges and long-distance relationships had not been invented by 1991 yet.
It was then I realized everyone in this movie is a piece of shit human. And I had not seen this kind of toxic relationship since we last saw a Travolta movie.
Brown: Well, considering that I described the boyfriend in this movie as a Kirkland brand Kyle MacLachlan, he hasn’t been right in the head since he found that severed ear in the middle of a grassy field.
And yet somehow, Ice is the sleaziest of them all. With all the lack of charm and Zoolander Blue Steel looks he can muster, Ice flirts relentlessly with Kathy. In front of Kirkland brand Kyle MacLachlan. All while wearing a jacket that’s somehow more ‘90s than David Puddy’s 8-ball jacket.
Froemming: My response to that? ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES!
Brown: Then, Ice drops the penultimate line from this movie:
Yes, Kathy. Go with the future Juggalo.
Also, you just met her, Ice. Your first line isn’t to give her a nickname like Cat. That’s next-level creepy. Made even worse by a guy who carved wavy lines AND bricks into his hair.
Froemming: Let’s just say it: Johnny dresses like an asshole teenager in this. I went to high school with kids who dressed like this years later. Acted like they were from the mean streets of Compton when in reality they were from the boring suburbia of Central Minnesota, where Miracle Whip is considered too spicy.
Brown: This feels like the right spot to put the Jim Carrey impression of Ice from “In Living Color.”
Froemming: I will counter with the time that trash person Zack Morris dressed like Vanilla Ice:
Brown: Also, didn’t you graduate high school in the late ‘90s? Did it seriously take until 1999 for St. Cloud to get Vanilla Ice?
Froemming: No, he was long gone into his nu-metal by then.
But the kids there still acted and dressed like they were born into the world of hardcore gangsta rap and not the boring farmlands of Central Minnesota, which was almost as embarrassing as Ice in this movie.
Brown: Moving on from Froemming’s tragedy of a hometown, apparently Ice also steals Kathy’s black book for reasons.
After a fish-lens montage of Kathy’s nuclear family home, we see that Kathy was interviewed by the local news because she’s valedictorian of her high-school class.
Froemming: Slow news day, huh? Ooof.
And when that’s over, Kathy’s little brother starts playing “Super Mario Bros. 3” on the family TV. We never saw any game footage, but I DAMN SURE know those sound effects. And yes, I wanted to play “SMB3” instead of watching “Cool As Ice.”
But because of this news segment, some shady characters from the family’s past recognize Kathy’s dad. As it turns out, he’s in witness protection.
Froemming: When I saw the main shady character, I asked myself “is this about money?”
This is a ’90s movie, I just knew someone in it was going to also be in “Seinfeld.” It did not disappoint.
Brown: So yeah, this movie is basically Henry Hill’s life post-”Goodfellas.”
Froemming: Except it is a little darker considering the dad in this is also the dad from “Family Ties.”
Brown: It only gets more disturbing when Ice dry-humps Kathy in public at the Sugar Shack.
Kathy is there with her boyfriend and they’re listening to a band that’s somehow more sad than the one that played Billy Madison’s third-grade graduation. Though I will say the singer impregnated the air with the amount of pelvic thrusts he put into his routine.
Seeing how lame this party is, Ice and Friends decide to blow everyone’s minds with sub-par rap about being the peoples’ choice.
Froemming: This movie makes it seem like nobody in whatever-the-hell part of the country this takes place in has never heard of rap. If my brother, years before this, had tapes by Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, N.W.A., ect. in our tragedy of a hometown, this place had heard of it as well.
Brown: Also, Ice brutally cucks Kirkland brand Kyle MacLachlan.
Froemming: Well, the guy is drunk and being an asshole. So I did not feel bad for him. Everyone in this movie is a selfish jackass, so in my view, they all deserved to be hung by their ankles off a hotel balcony by Suge Knight.
It gets worse when Nick drags Kat outside and berates her for making a fool of herself. Dude, you told her you wanted to breakup before going to college. As far as I am concerned, that relationship died the moment you said that. She can dance with any jackass looking chucklehead like Vanilla Ice she wants to.
So, she storms off into the night.
Meanwhile, back at the house, the dad from “Family Ties” gets a visit from our goons. They want money for what he did, which was being an honest cop among crooked cops. He is basically the lame version of Mike Ehrmantraut’s son.
They then stalk Kat as she is walking home. Only, they did not count on Vanilla Ice also stalking her in the shadows, because as I have stated, he is the…
And he swoops in to save her before she is run over.
Brown: Before she’s run over? Dude. They were going as slow as Andy Bernard when he hit Dwight with his hybrid.
Seriously, Kathy shows no reaction to these two guys stalking her in a car at slow speeds. Frankly, Ice is more of a threat to her safety.
It’s the most high-action sequence since “HOT MERGING ACTION” in “Mitchell.”
After getting Kathy home safely, Ice goes back to the Sugar Shack, where Kirkland brand Kyle MacLachlan is busting up Ice’s friends’ motorcycles. This… results in the most realistic fight scene since Steven Seagal demonstrated aikido to a bunch of disinterested Russian kids.
Froemming: I will not let you tarnish the good name of the greatest host “SNL” ever had.
I just remember thinking these guys sure can take a baseball bat to the face, head and torso like champs. Lesser men would be in the emergency room with internal bleeding, brain damage and possible broken spines.
Brown: The next morning… may be the most unnerving scene I’ve watched in any JOE-DOWN.
Kathy’s dead asleep, only to be woken up by Ice shoving his fingers and an ice cube down her throat?
Froemming: You know, I have been pretty good at not gas-lighting or making fun of you in this review, but man, you sure know how to pick ‘em for these reviews.
Brown: OH! Before I forget, I gotta put in a quick cymbal crash.
Now our reviews aren’t the same as all the others!
Froemming: Vanilla Ice, the Night Stalker Version 2.0, broke into Kat’s family house, got into bed with her, put ice in her mouth to wake her up. This is very Ted Bundy-like behavior, and because the script demanded it, she is smitten by this insanity. To the point when he leaves, she leaves with him, where they ride his motorcycle to the nearby desert to frolic at a construction site.
Brown: Whoa. You’re just glossing over how Kathy was about to get naked in front of Ice before her little brother barged into the room. And he thinks Ice is SO KEWL. And he wants Ice to take him on a motorcycle ride “As soon as you’re done making sex.”
… That’s your sister, bro.
Also, considering Ice’s spandex shorts, I’m sure he was as hard as a diamond in an ice storm when the little brother walked in without knocking.
… NOW, we can talk about frolicing through one of Jimmy Carter’s Habitat For Humanity sites.
Froemming: Here we find he does not know what having a family is like. And that is all we get of his background. No other detail other than he never had parents or siblings. He also rattles off that nonsense that you see as a motivational quote for tough guys on Facebook that are placed on photos of characters from “Peaky Blinders” about how if you are not living for yourself, you’re not living. People don’t talk like this in real life. They also don’t have a blast running through scaffolding at a house being built. And they certainly do not dance with no music playing. You know who dances with no music playing? Crazy people.
Brown: How is traipsing through a construction site an idea for a first date, exactly? The rest of the date, I can buy. Motorcycle ride? Yeah. Horseback ride? Yep. Apparently (REDACTED) in a field? Sure. Dancing in a desert? Uhh, I guess.
Froemming: Easy answer, my friend:
Brown: Froemming, what’s the more disturbing construction site scene we’ve watched on the JOE-DOWN: This, or the one from “Caddyshack II?”
Froemming: Ooof. They are both pretty bad. I will go with this one since it is fresher in my memory. Imagine walking by it, you see two people dancing with no music. They are posing like a camera is on them, but there is no camera. That is the sort of thing you simply cannot unsee, you cannot forget and will haunt you for the rest of your life, like when Lewis Black overheard a girl talking about her horse.
Brown: Also, Ice and Kathy have the memory of the dozens of fish that Kathy keeps in an all-too-small bowl. Because when the date ends, the car that was stalking her the day before IS OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF HER HOUSE. And the two have no reaction whatsoever to it.
Having seen Ice talk to these hired goons the day before, Kathy’s dad thinks Ice is working with them. And he tells Kathy to stay away from this homeless goober.
Seriously. Doesn’t Ice have a job to get to? Hell, Jeffrey Dahmer worked at a candy factory. What’s Ice’s excuse? He’s not making money doing impromptu shows at small-town ice cream socials. Maybe that’s how he scores food, but not enough money for tacky jackets.
Froemming: I just want to say I enjoy you getting into serial killer lore. I was the outcast in college reading about Ted Bundy and Charles Manson.
Let’s also mention Ice and his friends are trapped in this town for days, without fresh clothes. And, I imagine, he is not showering so he has to smell pretty rank by now, right?
Brown: I mean, they’re staying at a (cooky) house. I have to imagine this sweet, old couple has a laundry room and working shower. However, I do question how Ice and co. are packing their clothes since crotch rockets aren’t exactly known for their storage space.
Froemming: You think they are standing around naked waiting for the clothes to dry? I don’t think so.
Anywho, the dad from “Family Ties” spills the beans to his daughter about his past life. Look, if you are in witness protection, what the (REDACTED) are you doing going on television? That is the dumbest thing he could have done. This is all on the dad from “Family Ties.” Kat decides to listen to her father, and cut ties with Ice. Though it shouldn’t take deep family secrets wrapped in a bow of paranoia to see Vanilla Ice is a loser in this movie.
Brown: After getting dumped by Kathy, we see Ice go into loner mode.
Sure, he seems OK on the outside, laying on his bike in the desert and mean-mugging the camera.
But on the inside, you can see the rage building. Internally, he’s taking a baseball bat to the MTV set in his brain.
The best part of that clip is Jon Stewart saying “No, Vanilla!”
Froemming: Look, the rules state it should be more than ONE date for someone to go full-blown loner mode. No way he is justified in trying to become a Neil Young song after being dumped after one date at a construction site.
Brown: As Ice mopes, Kathy’s little brother comes by to see him. He wants Ice to take him on a motorcycle ride and, I assume, the kid brother also wants to run through a construction site.
The kid brother also cut his hair like Ice… which is just tragic.
After hanging out with Ice, the kid goes home and plays “Tecmo Bowl” on the NES. Again, another NES classic that I’d rather play than watch “Cool As Ice.”
However, the fun doesn’t last as the kid brother is kidnapped by the hired goons.
Meanwhile, while Kathy may be a hot piece, she’s a shitty older sibling. She was supposed to pick her brother up from Little League, only for him to bail to hang out with Ice. And instead of searching around for her brother, she mopes alone in the house. SHE DOESN’T EVEN BOTHER CHECKING HIS ROOM. Only when mom and dad get home does Kathy even fathom the idea that her brother is missing.
Jesus Christ, everyone in this movie is a dumb monster.
Froemming: And, the kicker is Ice shows up to say his farewell to a woman who dumped him. Which, honestly, why invite more arguments into a breakup? Bad idea.
He picks up an envelope that the mom, dad and Kat somehow missed when they entered the home. After the dad tells him to put an egg in his shoe and beat it, he hands the envelope to him saying “this is for you.”
What is in it? A tape recording of the son being held hostage. And Kat says she trusts Ice.
He. Just. Handed. The. Ransom. Tape. To. Your. Dad.
Sure, we the audience knows he is innocent here. But that interaction would tell anyone else the man is guilty as hell.
And I have one question. A big one, Brown. When these crooked cops first showed up to shake down the dad, WHY DID HE NOT CALL THE AUTHORITIES?! He is in Witness (REDACTED) Protection! The feds would have swooped in right away.
Brown: Yeah, I think this witness protection plot line was inserted after they realized all the dance and motorcycle scenes made up only 45 minutes of run time. Again, it’s all down to padding out the run time.
Also, why is Ice and his posse still in this town? Yeah, Ice is moping about Kathy, but the bike is fixed. And this crew is more than Ice. You have no reason to be here. Hell, you can call Bobbie Brown, Ice; she did give you her number.
Brown: Instead, Kathy comes running up the street to ask for Ice’s help finding her brother. Also, Kathy’s dad is calling the cops to have Ice and co. arrested, thinking he kidnapped the kid brother.
In the brother’s hostage recording, Ice hears Chekov’s pile driver in the background. Knowing that sound, we end up back at… you guessed it, the GODDAMN construction site.
This movie is awful.
Froemming: And the goons see them show up, but since they are hidden in a different house being built?? they assume they will not be found.
Until Vanilla Ice smashes through a wall on his motorcycle like his is the (REDACTED) Kool-Aid Man.
And then, as with a lot of movies we watch here at the JOE-DOWN, everyone begins…
Brown: None of the punches thrown in this fight scene are as believable as this.
Froemming: We should get together again just to watch “The Wicker Man.”
Well, they drag the goons back into town on the hood of a car. Ice saved the day. He got the girl he harassed throughout the whole movie. And, to get one more knock on that Rick guy, he jumps his bike using the guy’s sports car as a ramp. At a crime scene. Where there are a lot of cops around.
The internal logic of this movie is truly insane.
And the movie ends with another 5-minute music video of Ice rapping in an abandoned building with Kat watching from the audience.
Brown: Ice also performs in one of Harvey Dent’s Two-Face suits.
Froemming: It does not make one bit of sense.
Brown: Ice is an OK dancer. But a bad rapper. I assume a bad boyfriend. And a bad real estate developer. And he also performed at Mar-A-Lago. Not even for 45, mind you, but for Donald Trump Jr.
Kathy deserves better.
Froemming, let’s drop this zero and get with the hero over at recommendations.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Froemming: Nope. No, this was a terrible movie that made very little sense. It lacks charm as well. It is a dud of a movie.
Here is what’s coming up for the next JOE-DOWN:
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