I remember having to review the family-friendly fantasy Jack Frost (1998) for my uni’s student magazine, back when it first came out… but I couldn’t remember anything about the film itself, beyond the ridiculous premise. For those who don’t know, this movie stars Michael Keaton as an aspiring blues singer, literally named “Jack Frost”, who dies in a car crash while speeding through the wintry night to spend some belated quality time with his family. One year later, he returns in the form of an animated/puppety snowman (!), to bond with his neglected son, while teaching him some bitchin’ hockey-stick skills and making several mildly inappropriate dick jokes. Meh… also, feh.
The only reason I watched it again this time around, is that rather inexplicably the supporting cast features THREE members of the Zappa dynasty: Dweezil plays ‘John Kaplan’, a record company A&R guy who is seen watching Frost’s band playing a gig in the opening scene of the movie, then watches them rehearse in the studio a bit later… Ahmet plays a wacky ‘Snowplow Driver’ who is seen intermittently throughout the movie, drivin’ his plow around town… and Moon Unit plays an (uncredited) ‘School Teacher’, who is seen in a couple of brief “school’s out” scenes, reminding the kids that feet are for walking, not for running! I think you’ll find they do both, ma’am. The bizarrest thing about it is that Dweezil appears in the first scene, then Ahmet in the second, then Moon in the third, and all within the space of three minutes! It’s almost as if the film-makers specifically created this movie to torture Zappa-spotters, hoping that if they hooked us in at the start, we’d keep watching it through to the bitter end in the hopes of seeing our fave rockers again… and, sad to say, it worked on me! For the record though, aside from a fun shot of Ahmet playing air-guitar at the wheel of his plow, it really isn’t worth watching past those first three minutes, if you’re only in it for the Zappappeal.
As for the real cast of the movie: Kelly Preston does her best with the thankless role of Frost’s wife/widow ‘Gabby’, who is kept completely in the dark about the whole “snowman reincarnation” deal until its too late to do anything about it (probably for the best, because a rekindled romance between the two of them would have just been too creepy). While watching her through the kitchen window, Snowman Frost bemoans the fact he never got around to fixing a leaking pipe under the sink, which is still troubling her almost a year later… because of course, there’s no way a woman could ever have learned how to do a little basic DIY in all that time!? Oy. Mika Boorem plays ‘Natalie’, a classmate of Frosts’s son, who seems to have a crush on the kid… but that potential sub-plot is largely forgotten, because apparently Snowman Frost thinks it’s more important to teach his son how to score on the ice, than how to score with the chicks. Oh, and the foxy violinist in Frost’s (otherwise rather boring) blues band is Lili Haydn, a highly respected and eclectic musician, once dubbed “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin” by George Clinton. As an actress she also had the dubious honour of playing ‘Jenny Columbo’, the legendary detective’s alleged daughter, in the apocryphal spin-off series Mrs. Columbo.