COOL AS ICE: A CINEMETAL CLASSIC?
There are a lot of metal and metal-related movies out there. There are classics like This is Spinal Tap, which I’ve introduced to countless people, all of whom eventually admitted to loving it. And of course, every metalhead worth his or her Woolite Dark knows the answer to the question “Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?” Detroit Rock City is one of my favorite movies, which is a little odd, because I don’t particularly like KISS, although I do enjoy fire and explosions. And no account of metal movies would be complete without the celluoid genocide that was Rockstar. No matter how god-awful that movie was (though it’s still one of my top “bad” movies to watch), every single person in the civilized world knows the words to “Stand Up and Shout” — and I don’t mean the Dio song. They play it at my alma mater’s hockey games.
And on top of those films, there are the documentary explorations of the genre, which gave us such memorable moments like Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P. chugging vodka in a pool while is mom watches miserably in Decline of Western Civilization Part II.
I am here to add another illustrious title to this collection of cinemetal classics. I will show you exactly how Cool As Ice is a metal movie, and not a rap one, as everyone assumes. And I have various degrees in film, so you know my word is truth.
Cool As Ice is the ‘90s remake of Rebel Without a Cause starring Vanilla Ice. After his friend’s bike breaks down, Ice and his three cohorts are stuck in suburbia until the wacky neighborhood mechanics fix it. He takes a liking to the girl next door, but various obstacles prevent them from being together, including her dickhead boyfriend, and her parents, who are in the witness protection program (!) don’t trust Ice. The girl, Kathy (Kristin Minter), can’t help but be intrigued by this unique individual, but when her parents’ cover is blown, they can’t help but blame the weird guy sniffing around their daughter. It’s up to Ice to swoop in and save the day so Kathy can ditch the zero and get with the hero.
So here’s why this movie is metal…
- Vanilla Ice is a non-conformist. He doesn’t abide by the rules of society or common decency. He does what he wants, says what he wants, and wears what he wants. That’s pretty metal.
- He has a bitchin’ leather jacket emblazoned with rebel-like phrases such as “Oh yeah” and “Sex me up.” Ladies, try to control yourselves.
- He rides a fucking motorcycle. Everyone knows that planes, trains, automobiles are for suckers; a real man rides a motorcycle. Especially a metal dude. How many metal songs mention motorcycles? Or start with that familiar revving sound? Everything from Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” to Kyuss’ “Big Bikes” takes advantage of the sound of a hog.
- He also startles a horse and almost gets the girl he likes killed in the first few seconds he meets her. There are metal movies and then there are non-metal metal movies, and in the “non “category, there are always horses involved, because they’re the old-fashioned equivalent of motorcycles — they’re big, they’re loud, and they fall over at the drop of a hat. In Conan the Barbarian, the title character punches one, and he’s pretty metal, and, thus, also a great example of a non-metal metal movie. Or was it Conan the Destroyer? He punches a horse in one and a camel in the other. Either way, big, lolloping four-legged mammals are metal and when violence is inflicted on them, well that just makes it more metal. (Note: I am not supporting animal violence in any way. I’m simply making an observation.)
But let’s put aside all this macho bullshit for awhile. As we all learned quite recently, metalheads tend to err on the beta side. Vanilla Ice may talk the talk of a rapper ,but his actions are all beta male metalhead in this film. He likes a girl. Instead of asking her out, he steals her damn day-planner just so she’ll have to talk to him again. He tries to show off by jumping his motorcycle across her path, but instead of impressing her, he gets punched in the ‘nads. Finally, when the girl actually expresses interest and goes along for a ride, rather than “sealing the deal” or doing all manner of crass things, he takes her on a date to a construction site where they play hide and seek all day, and every time she touches him, he blushes and runs away! The music is a slow number and very R&B and smooth, but I swear to God, a power ballad would’ve fit right in. It’s ridiculous.
I’d argue that the main girl is pretty hot, and you clearly see her nipples in one scene. For a movie that was rated PG, that’s pretty metal. But I have a gentleman friend who insists that her wedge haircut is a deal-breaker, so I guess we’ll have to go with his claims.
Vanilla Ice and his friends think they’re the coolest of the cool with their loud outfits and matching bikes, but in reality, they’re all dorky boys (and one token girl) who may have a certain attitude, but know enough to keep it somewhat in check around the grown-ups.
And the genres of rap and metal have a fair bit of overlap, maybe not in terms of the music, but definitely in their roots and inspiration, and there’s a definite similarity when performed live, too. Vanilla Ice’s flailing hippity-hop arms and legs would decapitate a fellow mosher quicker than a windmill gone awry.
As if that that’s not enough, we got a bona fide metal groupie in the movie! Monique, one of his back-up dancers who totally hits on him after the show, is none other than Bobbie Brown. “She’s my cherry pie, cool drink of water such a sweet surprise!” BOBBIE BROWN. I felt equal parts proud and pathetic when I recognized her.
We also can’t forget Vanilla Ice’s brief entanglement with hardcore. The guy’s just begging to be metal, going as far as to employ a certain revisionist history to his past. Not unlike several metal lords have done.
And last of all, I just recently saw this movie for the first time (if you live in the States, it’s free On Demand!), and really just had to write about it. If Decibel can justify their shitty taste, well, I can metal-ify something that isn’t.
Except that Cool As Ice is very much so. God, the tagline… “When a girl has a heart of stone, only one thing can melt it. Just add ice.” That makes about as much sense as the lyrics to your average non-English-speaking metal song.