Keeping Up with the Cavemen
Eric Baker serves up the caveman movie, with a dash of Kardashian.
by Eric J Baker
At least as far as Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are people, which I suppose they are on a biological level. But these two ladies, famous for being famous for being famous, have now been joined by a corporation on the endless feedback loop. That’s right; Geico is not an insurance company anymore. It is the first corporation in history that makes ads for its ads.
A Geico commercial is now airing that advertises a phone app for downloading the commercial you’re watching. My personal experience with Geico is that their 15-minute promise is more like 45 minutes, their call center is staffed with cocky pricks (the guy grilled me like a police detective over an accident I never had), and their quotes are 40 percent higher than everyone else’s. So maybe they decided to ditch the whole boring insurance thing and just sell their own sales pitch. This is either genius or the end of western civilization as we know it. Or perhaps it’s the star baby at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, bearing the gift of total consciousness. Who knows? It’s early days yet.
But I do know it all started with that goddamned caveman ad, which was mildly amusing when none of us had seen it before. Unfortunately, Geico is like a two-year-old child. If you laugh at a child’s joke, you will hear that joke repeated at least 400 times, to the point that you go ahead and schedule that vasectomy you’ve been putting off. And, as entertainment choices go, you really can’t get worse than cavemen.
No matter how reviled by militant art-house elitists like our own James Killough, almost every genre of film can boast at least one great movie: Die Hard is a fantastic action-hero flick. Halloween, a slasher movie, is studied at film schools. Gojira is both a giant monster movie and a powerful allegory for the dangers of nuclear proliferation.
But not the caveman genre. Not only does a good caveman movie not exist, a not-horrible caveman movie doesn’t exist. Let’s consider the seminal moments in caveman entertainment:
Eegah (1962) – Starring Richard Kiel, who is best known for playing “Jaws” in the James Bond films, as a big-ass caveman chasing some teenage tail. Not even Mystery Science Theater 3000 could salvage this monstrosity. On a non cavemen-related note, how is it that MST3K can at once be universally loved yet so unpopular that it was cancelled? Free blog topic if anyone wants to tackle that paradox.
One Million Years B.C. (1966) – Considering those star-making publicity shots of Raquel Welch in the fur bikini, you’d think this movie would be remotely watchable, but it’s not. Even with the cheesecake eye candy and the cool stop-motion dinosaurs, One Millions Years B.C. is a torture test from the title sequence onward. By the way, it’s a remake of a Lon Chaney Jr. movie from 1940, and, yes, I’m really good at Trivial Pursuit.
Caveman (1981) – God, the other three Beatles are so jealous that Ringo got the lead role in this movie opposite John Matuszak and Shelly Long, especially given all the super-funny fart and poo poo jokes that prop up the, um, story. Not to be outdone by Raquel Welch, Ringo’s real-life wife Barbara Bach shows up in her own fur bikini. In a weird connection that seems rather Kevin-Bacon-gamey to me, Bach appeared in the same Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, as the aforementioned Richard Kiel.
She also had a small part in the 1971 Giallo thriller, Black Belly of the Tarantula, which has nothing to do with anything but gives me a chance to ask: Is there a cooler movie title than Black Belly of the Tarantula?
Honorable mentions for appalling caveman movies go to Trog (1970) with Joan Crawford (clearly at the height of her powers), and People that Time Forgot (1977), which airs on basic cable all the time and features dino-puppet effects on par those in the Land of the Lost TV series. To be fair, I’ve never seen Clan of the Cave Bear with Daryl Hannah, which might be decent, but I will only go so far to research a PFC story, and watching a caveman movie is definitely not in my contract.
So if there’s a cautionary tale here for Geico, it’s that things never turn out well for cavemen, on film or in Earth’s history.
And as for that endless feedback loop of being famous because you’re famous or making ads because you make ads, one only has to look at Paris Hilton herself as evidence that this cycle is not the nuclear fusion it once seemed to be. It turns out that Paris Hilton was a closed-energy system that, once the entertainment media stopped feeding it, suffered the inevitable entropy.
That’s right. I just used the Second Law of Thermodynamics to talk about Paris Hilton. Only here, folks.