Ten Reasons Why Twilight is a Remake of Cool as Ice

August 5th, 2013 by |

On August 15, the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 are bringing back Rifftrax Live to do a live poking-fun-at of Starship Troopers. In other words, you can go to the movie theater to go see a an old futuristic war movie about killing bugs as an allegory for being Nazis and hear Mike Nelson and friends riff on it at the same time.

Originally, the event was supposed to be for Twilight. The Rifftrax guys put together a very successful Kickstarter to raise funds to hopefully get the studio that owns Twilight to let them use it for Rifftrax Live. Makes sense, considering it’s been one of the site’s bestselling movies in forever. Unfortunately, the studio didn’t like the idea of selling out to have their bread and butter made fun of on a national level and said no. Rifftrax shopped around for a replacement and settled on Starship Troopers.

Other than that roadblock, Rifftrax has been doing pretty well lately. In the last two years, they’ve been killing it by going in a new direction. It used to be that they’d focus on blockbuster releases (made legal by only having you download their comedic commentary), ten minute short films you can download with the commentary imbedded and full-length public domain movies you can download with the full commentary. The latter choice is great for convenience in that you don’t have to sync it up with a DVD, but a lot of those movies are public domain for a reason and really aren’t even all that interesting to sit through, even when being railed on.

Luckily, they’ve started going further by doing video-on-demand releases of movies that aren’t public domain, but the rights are pretty inexpensive. That leads to some obscure gems that are entertainingly bad in their own right, sometimes having an extra oomph by including random famous people. We’ve had such hits as Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe, which stars Jesse Ventura as a Terminator ripoff in a story that blatantly steals from Jack Kirby’s DC Comics work. There’s McBain, an early 90’s action movie starring Christopher Walken as the world’s most casual action hero. Viva Kneivel! has Evil Knievel playing himself and taking on a crime boss played by Leslie Nielson. And while there’s no famous people in it, Guy From Harlem is the world’s most inexplicable blaxploitation film and is a must-see for everyone.

Recently, I got to watch the wondrous Cool as Ice, a vanity project released in the early 90’s starring rapper extraordinaire, Vanilla Ice. He was the flavor of the month (pun not intended) and got this movie out of his popularity high. The movie is a complete wreck and at times barely holds together as something you can even call a movie. Regardless, when watching this rapping drifter’s exploits, I couldn’t help but feel some familiarity. The Rifftrax guys made a quick joke about it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Cool as Ice is the premake of Twilight!

I’ve never read any of the Twilight books and I’ve only seen the first movie thanks to Rifftrax. That said, it took me three sittings to get through it. I don’t have too much against the series. I worked at a Barnes and Noble for over seven years and those books helped get me and my coworkers hours. Enjoying Twilight isn’t really all that different from me dedicating endless hours of watching a zombie biker fake-fight his demonic, pyromaniac brother in the middle of a wrestling ring. Just because it’s not high art doesn’t mean you can’t be a fan. Acceptance aside, it’s still a half hour of story told in a two hour movie and there was only ten minutes towards the end where I felt it was genuinely entertaining.

Despite raking in billions of dollars, I now think that Stephanie Meyer’s #1 success came from her being a true VIP back in the day. Let’s look at how these two movies compare.

1) Our Heroes Break the Boundaries

By this point in 2013, being a white rapper isn’t as much a novelty. White rappers in the late 80’s/early 90’s were few and far between. Vanilla Ice was in the forefront and took the brunt of attention at times, which was unfortunate. He was the Amos and Andy of white rappers. Yeah, it’s nice that we had someone in there, but… we’d rather not have him be the representative.

Edward Cullen, the vampire hero of Twilight, gets ragged on just as much because of the way his world’s vampires work. When exposed to sunlight, Edward’s pale body begins to sparkle, which is far less manly and exciting than the established lore of exploding into dust. Vampires are fictional, so changing the rules isn’t the worst idea, but it might have worked a bit better if it was somewhat less cheeseball. If Ron Perlman in Blade II sparkled, maybe the world would be able to take the concept a little more seriously.

The same goes for if Ron Perlman started rapping. I think the world would be more accepting of the Beastie Hellboy.

2) The Bland Leading Lady

Bella from Twilight is basically a cipher for the reader to insert herself into the role of. Her character is completely bland and lacking of a personality, multiplied by the performance of Kristen Stewart, who herself is bland and lacking of a personality. She attracts Edward due to his inability to read her mind, making her some kind of forbidden fruit that has no actual flavor. She’s more like a forbidden rice cake.

In Cool as Ice, Johnny is into Kathy. Kathy is also extremely bland and only shows the stages of being in love with a rebel. She goes from disgusted to kind of intrigued to accepting to, “No, dad! He’s not like that!” Much like Bella, Kathy is accompanied by a bunch of forgettable friends and one really annoying guy that’s into her. The difference is that Kathy’s guy is her current boyfriend who acts like your average 80’s rich teenage jock jerk.

Johnny sees Kathy as another forbidden rice cake. For their history, Johnny seeks out Kathy due to how she’s in no way impressed with his physics-defying motorcycle skills. So not impressed that she punches him right in the gut and rides off on a horse. Right there she’s a cipher for all of us.

3) They Have Superpowers

Edward and Johnny are more than your average creep. They both have powers beyond that of mortal men. Edward’s are pretty blatant. He’s a vampire. He’s got superhuman strength, speed and immortality, while he has the added powers of mind-reading and being really shiny under the right circumstances.

Johnny, while inheriting Vanilla Ice’s rap skills and admittedly amazing dance abilities, also has the ability to forego physics when using his motorcycle. This happens regularly throughout the movie. When he first meets Kathy, he hops over a wooden fence with his motorcycle. There was no ramp. He does this again at the end of the movie, jumping over Kathy’s ex-boyfriend’s fancy car. That’s not all, though. There are a couple moments in the movie where Johnny is able to SNEAK UP ON PEOPLE with his motorcycle. Yes, he is somehow able to silence the loud motor in order to pop in unexpected.

The only reason he was never inducted into the X-Men was due to being worthless against Magneto.

4) Cop Dads

Both Bella and Kathy have fathers who are police officers. Ask any dude who got suckered into seeing Twilight who their favorite character is and they’ll likely tell you Charlie because he’s a cop with a mustache and he has no time for any of this bullshit. He’s like Axe Cop, basically.

Kathy’s father Gordon is also overly likeable… but only because he’s played by the dad from Family Ties, unfortunately without his trademark facial hair. At first he appears to be an insurance salesman or something equally boring and suburban, but we later discover that he too is a cop. Or at least, was a cop. Unknown to Kathy, they’re in witness protection and have been since she was born. He narc’d on some crooked cops years ago and has been in hiding since. Now some bad people are out to get him after seeing him on the news.

The news report was on Kathy being a really good student. Slooooow day.

Both fathers are very apprehensive about their daughters’ suitors. For good reason, naturally, but Gordon’s reasons are a bit more needlessly complicated. He saw Johnny asking those aforementioned bad people for directions, therefore he must be a criminal!

Of course, both come around to Johnny/Edward by the end of the movie.

5) The Dudes are Rewarded for Being Creepy as Hell

Both of these movies naturally lead to the well-meaning-but-dangerous guy getting together with the damsel, but it’s pretty hard for the viewer to get past the really disturbing, early stuff. Both of these drifters have their moments where they literally break into the girl’s room and watch them sleep!

For Edward, he would break into Bella’s bedroom and watch her sleep. From what I understand, in the book it’s said that he did that for months before they were even an item. That’s… pretty disturbing, but is seen by some as being completely romantic because Robert Pattinson is a total babe. I don’t know. It gives me the jibblies.

At least you can blame that on Edward being a vampire. Vampires are supposed to be doing bizarre shit like that. Johnny has no excuse. Early in the movie, he sees Kathy at a club and as he grabs the mic and starts rapping it up, he grabs her over and basically forces himself onto her. Like, he literally puts her on the floor and dry humps her while busting rhymes. In front of her boyfriend! Now, granted, Johnny did earlier explain to her that she needs to dump that zero and get with a hero, which legally breaks up any relationship you say that about, but that’s still a rotten thing to do.

To drive the comparison deeper, Johnny also breaks into Kathy’s room while she’s sleeping. One morning, she wakes up wearing just a shirt and there Johnny is, lying next to her like nothing’s wrong. Not only that, but he wakes her up by dripping melting ice into her mouth. I… what?! This would normally be reason enough for a knee to the balls and a restraining order, but instead we’re a minute away from seeing Kathy almost remove her shirt in front of Johnny until her cockblock of a little brother barges into the room.

I know nice guys finish last, but apparently so do guys with a semblance of tact.

6) Car Rescue

There are some legit reasons for Bella and Kathy to fall for Edward and Johnny. When Bella is in the school parking lot, a van inexplicably speeding out of control barges through and nearly runs her over. Edward shows his Justice League potential by zipping over and saving her with his super speed and strength. Kind of blows his cover, but for all the right reasons.

After breaking up with her boyfriend following the whole dry humping episode, Kathy angrily walks home alone. That’s when she’s spotted by those bad guys from her father’s past. I’m not sure if they’re simple mob goons or crooked cops out for revenge, but they’ve given Kathy’s dad an ultimatum. Either pay up some money he owes or his family will pay for it. Not even giving him the allotted time to pay up, they decide to tail Kathy.

Kathy is literally walking down the middle of the street with the car slowly behind her, so on paper, she’s the one with the problem. Either way, Johnny rides over on his motorcycle, cuts them off and tells her to hop on. He gives her a ride home while the two mobster idiots bumble about.

7) Adorable Bonding in the Middle of Nowhere

Edward and Bella go off to the middle of the woods to hang out. That’s where he shows off his nifty sparkling skin. The only other thing I recall about this moment is that it’s where Edward carries Bella on his back and kind of crawls through the forest at super speed. I can’t really fault this moment, as it’s reminiscent of the scene of flying with Lois in Superman. At the same time, Rifftrax adding in the Benny Hill theme makes it amazing.

Johnny and Kathy also go off to spend quality time together. They escape to the desert, where there’s some buildings being constructed. Under normal circumstances, this montage of them playing around in the wood framing of a house-to-be would be charming, but it also comes off as extremely embarrassing for Vanilla Ice. He’s having a bit too much of a good time here and I can only imagine the awkwardness of any Vanilla Ice fan watching this in theaters as he sheds his tough guy persona and happily frolics around.

8) Sudden Kidnapping Plot

After a while, both movies begin to realize that nothing’s really been happening and they need something exciting to wake everyone up. What better than a kidnapping plot? In this battle, Twilight seems to win out. An evil vampire guy has a thirst for Bella’s blood because he’s an evil vampire guy and it becomes a whole thing about Edward and his family hiding her around to keep her safe. The evil vampire guy draws Bella out of hiding by saying he has her mother in custody, which ultimately leads to a big vampire showdown where the loser ends up being burned to death (that being the evil vampire, who kind of looks like WWE’s Christian circa 2000). Remember when I said like ten minutes of the movie is watchable? There you go.

In Cool as Ice, those mob guys get their hands on Kathy’s brother, who I sympathize with due to his love for playing Super Mario Brothers 3 and Tecmo Bowl. Even though Kathy’s family feels that Johnny is involved with the kidnapping due to circumstancial evidence, Kathy goes to him for help. He proceeds to find their hideout through “written on a deadline” detective work and fights off the mob goons.

Thinking about it, maybe Cool as Ice has this part won because it does involve a couple instances of Ice getting punched in the face.

Yeah, that’s the stuff.

9) Dance Finale

Much like nearly every animated movie in the past ten years, both of our subjects end with our happy couples enjoying each other’s company via dancing. Edward and Bella go to the prom, which acts as sequel bait due to one of the evil vampire characters looking on and wishing for revenge.

Johnny has another rap show, which is less plot-driven, but definitely better in the dance department. Kathy is there to cheer him on, while taking care to ignore his lyrics about how promiscuous he is in the sex department. Although it isn’t shown, I imagine they’re in just a bit more danger here. A handful of evil vampires is something to be afraid of, but it’s still a finite threat. Johnny’s made an enemy of the mafia. Yeah, he helped put two of their more idiotic members in prison, but there’s going to be an endless supply of pissed off goombas out to take vengeance on Johnny and Kathy’s family.

Ah, if only Cooler Than Ice could have told that story.

10) The Dudes are Plenty Embarrassed

At the end of the day, the two Robs are both pretty bemused from being attached to these projects. For Vanilla Ice, it’s more that he’s shaking his head from his goofball personality when he existed as the epitome of “cool” in the late 80’s/early 90’s. He embraces his music and name to this day, but even he reflects and wonders what the hell he was thinking when it comes to everything else.

Robert Pattinson saw Twilight as a paycheck and an excuse to hang out with Kristen Stewart. The entire gig became a timebomb for him. He needed to get work and fast. Not just any work, but memorable work. Something that would let him be remembered for something more than a character in a fad franchise that he really didn’t care for. He didn’t want to be another Mark Hamill. His battle is an uphill one because the Twilight series is over and his best shot was Remember Me, known for having one of the more inadvertently hilarious endings. Enjoy your Comic Con autograph line in ten years and the thirty years after that, my man.

And there you have it. Counterparts separated by nearly two decades. If you take Cool as Ice, remove the early 90’s stigma and terrible music video direction while replacing “good guy hip-hop gang” with “good vampires” and “evil mob goons” with “evil vampires”, then you have Twilight. If anything, this makes me disappointed that we never got three sequels. By that I mean, four sequels, since the final chapter Coolest as Ice would have been split into two movies.

You can pick up the Rifftrax for Cool as Ice here.

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One comment to “Ten Reasons Why Twilight is a Remake of Cool as Ice”

  1. I was all set to frame this as a YA novel pitch — “It’s like Twilight, but the vampire is Vanilla Ice, and the girl’s dad is Axe Cop!” — and only at the last second did my brain remind me that, shit, there’s already a vampire Vanilla Ice“. BEATEN TO THE JOKE BY TWENTY YEARS, AUGH