Watching “Cool as Ice” with the Drat Pack crew was one of the most disappointing movie watching experiences I’ve ever had.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the fault lies with the movie itself, because let’s face it: despite its title, “Cool as Ice” is a hot, meandering, perplexing mess. But I knew that going in, because I was the only one who had seen the movie before – in a different time, in a different place, with a different group of friends – and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I thought it would be as enjoyable, if not more so, to watch with my more “filmy” friends.
I was wrong.
If nothing else, sitting through this movie twice gave me some insight into what makes for a quality bad-movie-watching gathering. The first time I watched this movie, I was with two of my high school friends late on a Saturday night. We had a third friend, recently relocated to California, connected to us via good ol’ fashioned Xbox 360 party chat. The Netflix app on the 360 had, to our vast disappointment, just done away with the “party” mode that allowed friends across consoles to watch a movie simultaneously – complete with an MST3K-style overlay and the ability to make your avatar emote to things happening on screen. In the absence of this convenience, we booted up our Netflix apps individually and synchronized hitting play and pause as needed; such was our desperate need to watch a movie starring Vanilla Ice across a gulf of 3,000 miles.
The movie itself has very little to recommend itself. At times it seems like it’s trying to be a “The Wild One” for the 90s, if you eschewed 50s gang culture for subpar rap. Our hero Johnny and his merry band roll into a white bread suburban town in need of motorcycle repairs. Johnny decides he may as well romance literally the first woman he sees while the rest of the gang to hang out with the two elderly mechanics, who are the only people in the entire town to express an emotion that isn’t pearl-clutching shock or hyperbolic bewilderment at the antics of these youths. Somehow, by the end of this movie, a subplot emerges about the female lead’s father being threatened by some garden-variety goons, building up to a stumbling attempt at an action movie climax. Johnny gets to save the day and get the girl, and all we get is some deeply dated music featuring a background singer who sounds like she’s going through labor pains.
I’m not sure if it was late night deliriousness or the magic of sharing a movie experience with a friend on the opposite coast, but I remember a lot of laughter on my first viewing of this movie. We laughed when Johnny jumped his motorcycle over a fence directly into the path of a woman on horseback for reasons known only to himself. We laughed when Johnny Edward Cullens his way into his beau’s bedroom to lay on her bed and drip ice on her, and I lost my MIND when Vanilla Ice rolled a natural 20 charisma check before he delivered this line:
I mean, did someone actually sit down and write that line to put in a movie, or did an infinite number of monkeys banging on typewriters produce it on accident before they decided to get around to Shakespeare?
A couple of the aforementioned moments in the “Cool as Ice” earned a few chuckles from fellow drat packers during my second viewing, but there was also a lot more groaning and furtive watch-checking. Not even our customized alcoholic milkshake, the Smirnoff Ice Ice Baby (vanilla ice cream, milk, vodka, creme de menthe, whipped cream, topped with thin mint crumbs and peppermint patty garnish) could save the day, delicious as it was. By the end of the movie, I remember feeling deflated and vaguely guilty for having suggested the movie with what turned out to be unwarranted enthusiasm. I guess the moral of the story is that there are some magical experiences you simply can’t recreate.
Or, there is probably not a single reason why you should feel the need to watch “Cool as Ice” more than once.