Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yup, Yup: A Taste of the Early 1990s, As Cinefamily Screens Vanilla Ice's "Cool As Ice"

Cool As Ice

For my final night as a thirtysomething, I was home mulling my elderly status when my pal Jeff Goldsmith gave a call. He was going to catch a Cinefamily screening of "Cool As Ice," Vanilla Ice's 1991 cinematic masterpiece. Would I come with?

Word to your mother.

The showing of "Cool As Ice" (which astoundingly doesn't include a performance of "Ice, Ice Baby") was part of the Cinefamily's "Heavy Midnites" series of late-night movies, described as "A carefully curated collection of pizza party classics, fist explosions, international adrenaline-pumpers, ‘80s funbombs, white-hot laugh factories, total freakazoids and more. But this is no MST3K chucklethon; this is a dedicated study of all that is, and can be, AWESOME."

Future screenings include Kid n' Play's "Class Act." But on Friday night, "Cool as Ice" attracted a packed house -- as well as Vanilla Ice's co-star, Kristin Minter (who was honest about the whole experience).

Does "Cool As Ice" hold up? Of course not. It didn't even hold up the moment it came out, and Minter says Vanilla Ice didn't help things by bringing a gun into Gelson's around the same time the movie came out. Ice got in trouble, and the studio wanted to downplay it. This was also the era when Vanilla Ice was dating Madonna -- and Minter says she used a lot of mouthwash before kissing the rapper, in case some STD was transmitted.

"Cool As Ice" has plenty of unintentionally funny moments, mostly when Ice is given another ridiculous line. But it's also fascinating in that "Cool As Ice" contains so many cira-1991 cliches that it looks like a parody of the era that might be filmed now.

From Cinefamily, here's a trailer:

And here's how Cinefamily expertly describes the film: "Drop that zero and get with the hero. In the annals of star-fueled vanity projects, few have more hypercolor intensity, badass B-Boy attitude or straight-up white-boy funk than Vanilla Ice’s feature film debut. A rap-centric cinematic progeny of Marlon Brando’s The Wild One, Cool As Ice features our man as Johnny Van Owen: a freewheeling, motorcycle-riding rebel-with-a-heart-of-gold who stops in a small town, falls in love and has to battle both jealous boyfriends and brutal kidnappers, all on his way to the next gig. But first he’s gonna have to deal with one mighty pissed-off dad (Family Ties’ Michael Gross), and a crew that just don’t understand. It’s a full-on neon ‘90s invasion into backwoods Americana, disowned by the director, nearly abandoned by its studio and lensed by future cinematography Hall of Famer Janusz KamiƄski (who would go on to win an Oscar for Schindler’s List just two years later.) But it’s also a raging good time, and a reminder of what it is to be young. Did we also mention the killer soundtrack, featuring “4 new songs” by the man himself?"

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