Friday, November 1, 2013

Encino Man


In the early 90's I was still innocent. I watched Ninja Turtles. I rode my bike around the block. And most importantly, I hadn't yet been exposed to Pauly Shore. Read below to learn of how he stole my innocence.

PREMISE
Two friends living in Encino, California spend their time trying to be considered cool at high school. Sean "Oh, Mr. Frodo" Astin is your average kid trying to be popular. His best friend, played by Pauly Shore, is a wanna-be hippy. All they want is to be popular at school. Unfortunately, they are anything but that. One day while digging a pool in the backyard (like a lot of kids did, I'm sure), they find a frozen Brendan Fraser. He thaws out, wacky 90's era comedy ensues, and the two friends finally become popular.
Uh... not these friends.


MY TAKE
Watching this as a young teenager, I thought it was off the wall hilarious. Pauly Shore was strange in a kind of cool way. Add twenty years to that, and it starts to look a little different. You start thinking of things. From little things to big things, as an adult, they just gnaw at your mind until you have a hard time enjoying the movie. First off....

Why is Sean Astin's dad letting him dig a swimming pool in the backyard. Yeah, Astin thinks having a pool will help make him popular. In California. Where nobody has a professionally made pool. It's probably one of the dumbest ways they could have come up with for the boys to find a caveman.
That's an ambitious little hobbit.

Also, Astin wants more than anything to be popular. He constantly talks to Shore about how great it would be if they were part of the "in" crowd. The thing is, Pauly Shore seems to be completely happy with who he is. I mean, they don't sell clothes like that in most shops. You have to make an active effort to put together a wardrobe like that. So I'm assuming Shore doesn't care what people think about him.
This takes a lot of effort.
Brendan Fraser is a caveman. The only modern ideal he seems to have a grasp of is that family is important. Other than that, he has no concept of any of society's norms. Imagine taking a six and a half foot tall monkey to school. The least of the problems would be finding everything covered in poop.
Literally, everything.
Finally, Astin is the every-kid that we're supposed to relate to. He's not rich, he doesn't have a ton of friends, and he's kind of awkward. This is the image we're supposed to have. I think the reason he's an outcast, though, because he's such a little dick. The biggest indicator of this is how he thinks having or doing things will make him likeable. He thinks having a caveman will make him popular. When Fraser becomes popular, he tries to ride his coattails. When the girl he likes goes for Fraser, Astin literally takes Fraser to the woods and pulls a Harry and the Hendersons on him. He gives a caveman a handful of quarters and tells him to leave. What a dick. And even at the end, Astin does nothing to change. Brandon beats up the bully and starts dancing. What does Astin do? He tells the girl "Watch this", and joins in dancing (terribly).
Please, Mr. Frodo.
Overall, I think you can still kind of enjoy the movie for the nostalgia or 90's retro-factor. But as a story with such an unlikeable main character, it's pretty terrible. Maybe you can find a VHS of it in the bargain bin at K-Mart.

FINAL SCORE- Two and a half slurpees, buuuu-dy.

1 comment:

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