Thursday, November 26, 2015

Teenage Caveman (Larry Clark, 2002)

According to my browser history, in preparation for writing this review for Teenage Caveman, I searched for material related to the cast, the crew and industrial rock band Gravity Kills. Now, I can understand wanting to bone up on the cast and crew, but why Gravity Kills?!? It makes no sense. Oh, wait. I know why. When I saw Richard Hillman's flamboyant, drug-addled character saunter on-screen with a foppish dandy fop approved aplomb for the very first time, I thought to myself: The members of Gravity Kills called, they want their pants back. Yeah, I know, that's pretty hilarious. At any rate, I think the reason I was looking up Gravity Kills was to check to see if the members of the band did in fact wear the kind of pants Richard Hillman wears in this movie. Then it dawned on me. Who cares if Mr. Hillman's pants and the pants favoured by the members of Gravity Kills aren't similar, people will be laughing their heads off at what is a pretty arcane/awesome reference. I mean, who references Gravity Kills, especially in 2015? Exactly, no-one. Unfortunately, as the film progressed, I began to realize that this was turning out to be yet another Larry Clark wank-fest. In other words, I hope you like watching boyish teenage boys and boyish teenage girls solving problems while wearing bland underwear, 'cause that's what you're going to be getting for the next ninety or so minutes.

When I saw the close-up shots of the youthful cast's youthful body parts as they slept, I started to panic. I was like, if Larry Clark continues to make these kind of ill-advised and off-putting choices as a director, I'm going to have to write a review that alludes to the fact that I find Larry Clark's taste in just about everything to be repellent. And since I don't want to write a review like that, I had no choice but to abstain from writing one.

As I was putting the movie out of my mind, I... What's that? No, the movie didn't slowly start to grow me. What happened was, I remembered the bit about Richard Hillman's pants reminding me of Gravity Kills. What I think I'm trying to say is, I'm not going to let Larry Clark's nauseating aesthetic ruin what I think most people will agree is a pretty top-notch Gravity Kills reference.

I know, you're probably thinking to yourself: Why Gravity Kills? Why not, let's say, Stabbing Westward? Or Filter? Or 16 Volt? Or Hell, why not Engelbert Humperdinck? Trust me, Gravity Kills is the funnier reference. Well, Engelbert Humperdinck is the funnier reference. But as everyone knows, Engelbert Humperdinck doesn't go anywhere without a tuxedo. And I can pretty much guarantee that the members of Gravity Kills wouldn't be caught dead in tuxedos.

Anyway, since I've already made my much ballyhooed reference to Gravity Kills, where do we go from here?

I guess I'll do some customary plot recapping until I think of something that's close to being as a clever as my reference to Gravity Kills.

What's the plot of this movie entail again? Oh, yeah, I remember. Set some time in the not-so distant future, a group of teenage cave people, lead by David (Andrew Keegan), runaway from their anti-sex, patriarchal cave community and end up in what looks like the Big Brother Bulgaria house. Except, instead of being greeted by the Bulgarian equivalent of the Chenbot, they come face-to-face with Neil (Richard Hillman), a hedonistic drug addict/orgy enthusiast.

After racking my brain trying to figure out who Neil who reminded me, I ultimately decided that he was a cross between James Van Der Beek circa The Rules Attraction and Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yeah, I like that.

When you think of great movie character introductions, names like, Blade in Blade, the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia and Pauly Shore in Son in Law immediately spring to mind. Well, you can add Richard Hillman's name to that list. So what if his character just so happens to appear in what I consider to be one of the most stylistically erroneous films ever made, Richard Hillman's genetically modified Neil knows how to make a grand entrance.

Though, to be fair, Neil's black military-style coat is doing a lot of the heavy lifting, grand entrance-wise. The way he manipulates his coattails during his intro (swooshing them to and fro with a dandified brand of indignation) was one of the key ingredients that went into making it the great entrance that it is. In fact, I was so enamored with his jacket, that I looked to see if it was for sale after the movie was over (add it to my wardrobe, perhaps?). Sadly, I couldn't find it. I did, however, come across the military-style jacket that Maggie Grace wears in The Fog remake.

That's weird, I thought I reviewed The Fog remake. I distinctly remember lavishing a shitload of praise on Maggie Grace's military-style jacket (the film is nowhere to be found in the HOSI archives). Nevertheless, while Teenage Caveman and The Fog remake might be giant turds as far as movies go, they both get high marks for their military-style jackets.

Anyway, when Neil is finished introducing himself, he introduces the cave people to Judith (Tiffany Limos), his genetically modified partner. After that, they bathe together, they have sex together, they play shirtless basketball together, they... Wait a minute. To call someone "shirtless," they have to be seen wearing a shirt for a period of time longer than five seconds, and, according to my watch, that doesn't happen in this film.

As I was saying... They do cocaine together, they explode together, they do everything together. Actually, that's not entirely true. They explode at different times. And thanks to the miracle that is bad CGI, these explosions are rendered mildly amusing.

Should I mention the rest of the cast, i.e. the other explodees/underage underwear models? Yeah, why bother. I've said way too much already. This movie is, um... kind of... Oh, I will mention Tara Subkoff, she plays one of the cave people. You might remember her, she played the chick in the leg brace in Freeway and was in that riot grrrl coming of age movie All Over Me.


  1. Clark does something amazing with this film which is manage to have both his supporters and detractors scratching their heads asking "What the fuck was he thinking". What's funny is that the majority of his work is dismissed by a lot of people as mere exploitation, the one film of his, this one, that actually fits the exploitation tag to a T is his most atypical from an aesthetic standpoint.

    Whether it be the dialogue, the acting, the weird color filtering or what have you, the whole film is nuttier than a Payday bar. Certainty the oddest career move he's made yet. I don't think I've actually seen this movie brought up in any interview with him. I'd love to hear what he thinks of it and just why he chose the project in the first place.

    1. The prolonged scene where the non-charismatic teenage cave people are shown sleeping in their store-bought underwear is why he chose this project. It practically oozes Larry Clark.

  2. wait did I miss the part where it was mentioned that somehow The Misfits "Where Eagles Dare" was used in that entrance clip?