In the not too distant past
There lived a guy named Joel
Not too different from you or me.
When Joel Hodgson created Mystery Science Theater 3000, I doubt he imagined the phenomenon he was giving the world. If you’re unfamiliar, MST3K was about an ordinary guy who was shot into space and forced to watch terrible movies with his two robot friends. The only way they could get through the mind numbing “experiments” was to loudly and proudly make fun of the movie in real time; a simple concept, with hilarious repercussions. After a few years, Joel left the show and was replaced by Mike Nelson, and after the series ended, Mike along with fellow cast members Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett started Rifftrax.com, where fans new and old could download riffs in MP3 form to play alongside movies like Transformers, Harry Potter, and Star Wars without any pesky copyright infringement.
Rifftrax’s newest video on demand release is the 1991 Vanilla Ice vehicle Cool as Ice, which I’m both proud and ashamed to say that I have previously seen. The movie is hilariously bad, with its artificially heightened 1990s camp at work in every single aspect of the film. Adding the Rifftrax treatment allows people to enjoy it unironically. The movie follows amateur hip-hop artist Johnny (Vanilla Ice; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) while he’s stuck in a small town after one of his crew’s motorcycles breaks down. He quickly meets Kathy (Kristin Minter; Home Alone), a straight-A overachiever who’s never done anything wild or unpredictable in her life. Opposites attract as the two grow closer for no good reason, and also there’s a witness protection sub-plot with gangsters and kidnapping that’s thrown in to give the film some conflict.
It’s terribly acted, bizarrely shot, horribly written, and it looks like the 90s threw up on every frame. All of which is like gold to the Rifftrax crew, who delight in picking apart film’s 90s-ness, Vanilla Ice’s atrocious acting, as well as his very stalkery pursuit of Kathy. Every character in this movie is a flat, lifeless caricature. As over-the-top as Vanilla Ice is throughout, that’s how insanely boring the rest of the cast is. The script doesn’t give any of the characters any development, so they’re all clichés; especially Kathy’s jerk of a boyfriend, who’s not important enough to remember his name.
Most anything I watch with Rifftrax is worth the money spent. This is one of my favorites, but if you want other suggestions, I’d go with the riffs for Avatar, Titanic, 300, and Jurassic Park to name a few. Also, make sure you check out the Rifftrax Live events if you live near a participating movie theater. Their live riff of Starship Troopers about gave me an embolism, and I cannot wait for them to live riff the Syfy original sensation Sharknado in July. Tickets on sale now.
Cool as Ice VOD is available now from Rifftrax.com and Cinedigm.