Ice Cream Man – Grade: D
Opie Taylor. Richie Cunningham. When one thinks of America and everything that’s great about it, it’s the image of these two characters, both played by Ron Howard, that comes to mind. They showed us everything that’s good and hopeful about the U.S. of A. No doubt Ron Howard considers himself quite fortunate to have been able to play both of those parts.
Well, I hate to break it to you. America isn’t all smiles, candy, and fifties rock. America has a dark side. And that dark side could have been played by none other than Ron Howard’s brother in Ice Cream Man.
The film begins with a situation that the average American, the kind who isn’t hidden away in some ivory tower of wealth and privilege, knows all too well. That’s right, we’re talking about the murder of an ice cream man. How many of us can remember running out to greet the Ice Cream Man, only to witness him being murdered in cold blood? And the tragedy doesn’t just end there. It affects the lives of the children who witness such an atrocity. They go on to become ice cream men themselves, only they serve up a chilling helping of death along with all those delicious frozen desserts.
When Ron Howard’s brother scoops some ice cream that contains the eyeballs of the children he has murdered, it’s like his victims are looking back at him. Just as Shakespeare forces the audience to live in Macbeth’s skin while he washes the blood from his hands after killing King Duncan Donuts, we are shown that Ron Howard’s brother must look into the eyes of his victims. The brutal sacrifice may be over, but the souls of the victims live on as he scoops away. Not only that, but he offers these eyeball-filled treats to the neighborhood. It’s as though Ron Howard’s brother is saying to the entire neighborhood, nay, the entire WORLD: “Look what you have created! See what your society has wrought, and WOE, WOE UNTO US ALL!”
Overall, the production values were pretty shitty, and the effects were lousy. This movie was a heaping slice of ass.