The Quest To Purify My Pop Culture Soul
Starring Sean Astin, Pauly Shore, Brendan Fraser
Despite his spindly, annoying and seemingly unavoidable presence in pop culture throughout the early to mid 90s, I managed to do a decent job of escaping the unique comedy stylings of the Weasel.
Pauly Shore should have appealed to the younger, junior high version of me, but by the time I would have started to care, Jim Carrey was already flailing around the big screen as Ace Ventura. The ADD stupid wild physical comedy appealed more to me as a kid then Shore's laid back stoner style of humor.
Even though I never had the "pleasure" of seeing a Pauly Shore film before now, we do share one thing in common. We have both weezed the juice in a convenience store. True story.
Encino Man is the story of Dave (Sean Astin), better known from Lord of the Rings as Samwise, and the burden he carries being a 12th grade nothing who dreams of having a full page in the year book, similar to the burden he helped Frodo carry up Mt. Doom. Could he defy all odds like Rudy and achieve his dream of winning high school popularity and win the heart of the girl that he crushes on?
And with that I've exhausted all of my Sean Astin movie references.
While digging a pool in his backyard, Dave and his friend, the self-proclaimed "Unique Weasel" Stony (Pauly Shore) uncover a frozen caveman.
After the caveman thaws, he does not savagely attack Dave and Stony, brutally ripping out their throats with his teeth as one might expect. Instead, they bond over the magic of a cigarette lighter. Dave decides to keep his new pet caveman and name him "Link".
Link is accepted into Dave's family as a foreign exchange student and the weird new kid soon becomes the most popular kid in school because, of course, why not?
Really, I think an opportunity was missed in the early '90s not to have a crossover film. Link and Stony drive to San Dimas High and meet Bill and Ted and they all have an excellent adventure. Dream motion picture event, right? The plot could revolve around Link wanting to go back to his own time and using Bill and Ted's time traveling phone booth to get there. Along the way, something could go wrong and all four guys have some wacky misadventures in the timestream.
Pauly Shore's character name, Stony, is either named as a haha clever nod to The Stone Age or, more likely, for the way Pauly Shore felt after smoking a large bowl of peyote throughout the entire filming of the movie.
Some sort of mind-altering substance is the only explanation for the inexplicable, slurry way that Shore delivers most of his lines in Encino Man. Most of the time, the use of Pauly's invented slang and the slow, hesitant way that he talks throughout the film, it sounds like he's speaking his own language. An odd, annoying language deserving of a cock punch.
Pauly Shore is both the best part and the worst part of Encino Man. At times hilarious, at times grating.
Encino Man is an early '90s film that feels similar to a mid '80s teen comedy. It's got the lonely nerd pining for the hot girl that's really nice to him, but only views the nerd as a "special friend."
The lonely nerd hangs out with the odd outcast. They stumble across something out of the ordinary, which sends them rocketing through a rollicking adventure that usually ends with the bully that tormented them getting his comeuppance, a synchronized dance number, and the lonely nerd winning the hot girl, typically ending with the nerd kissing the hot girl.
FYI, if you're hungry for more Brendan Fraser as Link, he makes cameos as that character in two other Pauly Shore films, Son in Law and In the Army Now.
Has Some Part of My Pop Culture Soul Been Saved? No. It was a decent waste of time, but not essential viewing. It's a shame I didn't see this movie when I was 12 because I would have laughed my ass off the whole time, particularly during the parts that my old, bitter self finds ridiculous (I'm thinking specifically of the Link driving the Student Driver's car on two wheels throughout the city).
Although I did learn some pretty boss slang to objectify women with by watching Encino Man. I can now point out the gonzagas or cones on some fine young betty with best of the them.
Saved or Failed? FAILED
FILM COUNT 1,193 after last Friday
+ Encino Man, + Pirate Radio, + Cop Out, + Jonah Hex, + Red = 1,198 movies seen in my lifetime.
The next attempt to redeem my pop culture soul happens next Friday. See the movie and be redeemed along with me. When's the last time you saw Top Gun? When you were a kid? Me too. All this ridiculous talk about a Top Gun 2 makes me want to take a refresher course on pre-crazy Tom Cruise.
If you have seen Encino Man, your achievement badge is below. Create a folder on your facebook page titled "Film Geek" and save the image to that folder. You'll be able to track your progress and show the world how geeky you really are.
Next Friday: Top Gun