The Five Worst Music Movies Ever*
The Internet Movie Database describes Cool As Ice as "a rap-oriented Rebel Without a Cause," and we have to imagine those exact words uttered in some 1990 Hollywood pitch meeting shortly before everyone in the room muttered "Sure, whatever," and got back to the more important issue of whose turn it was to buy the next eight ball.
Rob "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle had a very narrow window where he could have transcended his role as a novelty white-boy rapper; instead, he gave us Cool As Ice. With his only previous acting experience being portraying himself spontaneously rapping along to four human-sized turtles beating the shit out of dozens of ninjas, Ice had a lot to live up to when challenged to support an entire film on his shoulders, and you'll be happy to learn: he failed spectacularly.
Accompanied by a constant hip-hop beat too cheesy to even serve as a C&C Music Factory B-side, Ice slithers and struts through the film with what he thinks is charm but what actually makes him seem like the world's most obvious date rapist. Ice rides into town on his cartoonish motorcycle - almost certainly intended to be his talking sidekick in earlier drafts of the script - and immediately becomes the talk of the town with his outlandish ways, you know, with the rapping and the slang and the Hammer pants and the Cross Colors jacket that says "Sex Me Up" on the sleeve.
The pretty, virginal honor student is instantly smitten with him because the script requires her to be, and they proceed through a long slong of awkward courtship, an example of which would be Ice seductively sneering "Words of wisdom: drop that zero and get with the hero." He fails to point out which of those two options he represents, so apparently we were just supposed to know.
Keep in mind this happens in front of the girl's current boyfriend, who for some reason does not immediately cave Ice's face in with a single punch. The plot tumbles ass-backwards into a few action sequences involving the girl's father, the witness protection program, and crooked cops that either would have required a lot more exposition to make any sense at all, or else actually did have exposition but Rocks Off dozed off during.
We just can't be certain, and we sure as hell aren't going back to check. Anyway, Ice throws a few punches which are so convincing that they lead the audience to believe that maybe, if they stood really still and made no attempt to defend themselves, then Robert Van Winkle could actually beat up a six-year-old in real life. Ice raps some more, dances some more, and manages to win over not just the girl, but the entire town.
So it's really more like Dirty Dancing than Rebel Without a Cause, if that makes it any better. Which of course it doesn't.
1. Staying Alive
Did you know the John Travolta disco vehicle Saturday Night Fever has a sequel? It certainly does, although everyone involved most likely wishes it had never happened. Travolta's Tony Manero, formerly a streetwise Brooklyn kid who lived for the weekends when he could cut loose at his local disco, is now an up-and-coming professional dancer on Broadway, living in Manhattan.
Nice headband, douche.
He's grown up a little - he swears less and shuns alcohol - but don't you worry, he's still the same misogynist prick as ever. He runs roughshod over the feelings of his long-suffering girlfriend Jackie while maintaining a love-hate relationship with another dancer named Laura... we're sorry, we've got to stop. None of this shit matters. What matters is that instead of watching a bunch of working class fuck-ups do their bumbling best at making their lives interesting, we're now watching a gaggle of well-paid dancers throw hissy fits at one another in between plies.
Tony lands the lead in an outrageously terrible-looking production called "Satan's Alley," which features droves of lithe dancers in fashionably torn clothes writhing and screeching in some kind of barren, hellish wasteland, but keep in mind this was made in 1983, so it's less Die Fledermaus and more Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Tony stars opposite Laura, who if you'll remember hates him. Nonetheless, he defies the script and kisses her onstage, because in keeping with the first movie, the only way Tony knows how to say "I like you" is with attempted rape. She nearly claws his eye out and calls him a bastard, so Tony takes the hint and goes squirming back to good old reliable Jackie.
It's the happiest of endings, assuming you don't mind that nice girl Jackie is now chained to this preening douchebag. How big of a douchebag is he? Just when you expect the Big Kiss at the end of the film, Tony says to Jackie "You know what I wanna do?" to which Jackie replies "What?" no doubt expecting Tony to say something human like "Make love to you" or "Show you the night of your life."
But no. Tony answers "Strut," and he struts right on out the door and down the street by himself, grinning like an idiot while the Bee Gees play on the soundtrack. It's meant to make you recall your fond memories of the iconic street-prowling scene from the first film. Instead it makes you wish that the first film had never happened, simply so that this one would also not exist.
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