It is not every day that I am offered a sit-down interview with Vanilla Ice.
And, to be honest, I would not have expected it to go quite the way it did. After all, I remember the release of “Cool As Ice.” I remember his pop culture moment and how absurd it was, and I can’t claim to have been a fan.
In “That’s My Boy,” Rob Van Winkle shows up, once again transformed into Vanilla Ice, playing an exaggerated and ridiculous version of the persona that people know. It’s one of those jokes that could easily fall flat, except he’s actually very good at tweaking the public perception of him.
As we were waiting to do the interviews, my sons asked me who I was going to be talking to over the course of the day, and I listed the various people who were participating. When I mentioned “Vanilla Ice,” they were immediately entertained by the name, and they started asking me questions about him.
I realized there was one piece of trivia about him that would impress them tremendously, so I told them that he was a close personal friend of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe five minutes later, he came walking down the hall, right past where we were standing. I nudged the boys and told them that he was Vanilla Ice, the one I mentioned.
Allen, at the age of four, is positively fearless when he’s curious about something, so as soon as he was even with us, Allen spoke up. “Hey, Vanilla Ice!”
Ice stopped, smiling down at the boys. “Yeah, that’s right. How are you?”
“Is it true that you know the Mutant Ninja Teenage Turtles?”
At that, a huge smile broke on Vanilla Ice’s face. “Yeah. Totally. You want to see something cool?”
He turned so he could show them the calf of one of his legs, where he has a giant tattoo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “I got that as a reminder that we’re good friends. Pretty cool, right?”
No tourist has ever looked upon the Sistine Chapel with the same awe and wonder that the boys had on their faces as they stared at the tattoo.
As a father, Van Winkle understands how much little things like that mean to kids, and from one father to another, I thanked him for playing along. He was a pleasant surprise at the press day and in the movie, and I suspect many people will be shocked by how much they enjoy him in the film.
“That’s My Boy” opens everywhere this Friday.