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The Bottom Shelf #140


It's the end of the year and time to toss out those things that we're not going to need in the Oh-Eight. Movies, these in particular, are exempt from expiration. In fact, I think I want to be buried with a copy of each.

CAVEMAN (1981)
Directed by: Carl Gottlieb
Starring: Ringo Starr, Shelley Long

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Zara alounda CAVEMAN. There's really no other way to put it. I was 6 years old when it was released and while I don't remember watching it in the theater, I do remember catching it every time that it was on basic cable. And owning a copy of it when it came out on VHS. I also have a sister with Asperger's whose obsession growing up was dinosaurs, so I would watch it to antagonize her into declaring that cavemen were not around during the Jurassic period and blah blah blah. I didn't care. I still don't care. The biggest wonder of this movie, aside from its simplistically perfect sense of humour, is that while it's almost 27 years old, it never ages. The dinosaurs (or, as I prefer, "Machas") are the dated clay animation that I personally feel are no worse than crappy CGI, sure. But being that the movie was about a long past time, it's not as if we're watching neon pink leg warmers and listening to Wall of Voodoo theme songs. (No offense to WoV, since they did rock.)

Second paragraph usually pertains to the basic outline of the plot. Well, the movie is about cavemen. None of the actors ever speak full sentences and there is a beauty to the few English words used being introduced by the Korean actor (Evan C. Kim). Ringo Starr plays Atouk, the misfit of his little cavemen tribe, in love with the hottest looking cavewoman (Barbara Bach, who later went on to marry Starr) and property of the biggest brute (John Matuszak, also known as Sloth from THE GOONIES) in their lot. Kicked out of his cave and along with his trusted fellow misfit buddy (a young and strapping Dennis Quaid) he runs into another cavewoman (Shelley Long) and her blind buddy along with other misfits who complete his motley crew. They stumble upon early invention greatness, from fire to simple tools and weapons, wander into a nearby ice age resplendent with abominable snowman and conquer those machas that they shouldn't have been cohabitating in the same period with.

The movie is rated PG back during a time when PG got away with a little bit of wink and nod (the scene where Starr is trying to spread Bach's legs suddenly dawned on me as his attempt to make zug zug with her and not pick her up like I thought when I was a kid) while at the same time not being a forced PG like the films that are produced in today's market. The humour is stupid and light hearted but completely timeless, enjoyed by myself as much today as it did when I was a small child and appreciated by my own 7 year old daughter. And the music, a rhythmic chant that I can't manage to get out of my head for days after I watch the film, is a piece of cinematic history for me. Celine might have people gagging at the mere mention of her name and the associations with it, but the non-lyricized songs always stick with people longer. And with a more positive reaction. After being subjected to the crap that gets spewed out for families with small children, I have this incessant need to subject my kid to some crap that I actually like. Well, that I actually alounda.

Favorite Scene:

The explanation of how one of the hostile caveman died at the hand (or was it mouth?) of the first Macha.

Favorite Line:


Trivia Tidbit:

The film opens up with "One Zillion BC - October 9th." October 9th was John Lennon's birthday. Lennon was murdered not one year (12-08-1980) prior to this movie's release (04-17-1981).

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Directed by: Thom Eberhardt
Starring: Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney

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This was a movie that I watched with my young daughter with confidence. She's been exposed to violent and bloody movies with my parental disclaimer of movies being "fake" and from someone's imagination. Yet I have to admit that as much as I remind her that movies aren't on the reality up-and-up, I still like to show her certain movies that I feel best represent ideals that I would like to see her possess. What ideals could you get from a B-grade movie about the fallout effects from Haley's comet? You'd be surprised. As I've grown up over the years, I've come to recognize that much of how I view the importance of women has come from movies in which the most unlikely of heroes is the ditzy blonde cheerleader. Seriously, all hail Kelli Maroney (also showcased in the fantastically campy '80's horror flick, CHOPPING MALL).

When Haley's comet came around in the early eighties, I was a little girl learning what I could about astrology from my dad and movies like this one. While I can't locate most of the constellations that he showed me with the family telescope if you were to ask me, I can rattle off lines from this movie quicker than the think tank researchers started to deteriorate. Most of the people who were out viewing the comet (according to this movie's state of events) end up turning into red dust. Those with minor exposure become blood thirsty zombie type creatures looking to feast on whatever living beings they come into contact with. Regina (Stewart), the eldest of two sisters, survives the chaos by sleeping with that douche from VALLEY GIRL up in the projection booth of the theater she works at. Her sister Samantha (Maroney), the ditzy blonde cheerleader, in the midst of running away from an evil stepmother, changes her mind and camps out in the backyard shed. Add a Mexican trucker named Hector and you've got yourself a righteous threesome.

The Hector angle is just one of my favorite aspects of this movie. Supposedly taking place in Los Angeles, it's more appropriate that one of the survivors be of the correct statistical race. I also can't get enough of the theoretical balls on Regina and Samantha. Daughters of a military father, they don't shriek and run away from the zombies, waiting for a man to come along and save them. Instead, they step up to the plate and kick ass, not shying away from a fight. Maroney is particularly fun, rolling her eyes with every punch thrown or bullet shot, maintaining the goofy persona that goes along with being a cheerleader but refusing to be a one dimensional representation of such. Back in the '80's, there weren't many examples like these girls and I relished finding the movie, watching it many a time and subjecting all my loved ones to it. I like being able to pass this along to my daughter, a 7 year old girl growing up in a time when you have to wear 4 inch heels and a full palate of make-up to get the job done and that's only if they're the last person left. If a guy comes around, suddenly their strength dissipates. Not the case here. Of course, you've got to struggle through the teeth-grindingly dated music and fashions (those ankle boots on Stewart are a riot to me now, even though I owned a pair then). But with your tongue planted in your cheek, you can handle a little grinding.

Favorite Scene:

Watching Maroney nonchalantly blast a car with an automatic gun and then reply about how her dad would've gotten an Uzi.

Favorite Line:

"You were born with an asshole, Doris, you don't need Chuck."

Trivia Tidbit:

The original working title for the film was "Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies". When Maroney is acting the DJ in the radio station, she announces that the next song is dedicated to "all you teenage mutant comet zombies" as a reference to the working title.

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Oh, wait. I'm getting cremated. Heh. See you in the Oh-Eight, anyhow.



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