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FEATURE: The Most Awesomely Terrible Caveman Movies of All Time

February 23rd, 2013 by Zack Mandell 2 Comments

So I was perusing the web when I came across this ridiculous-but-true story  about a Harvard scientist who wants to clone a Neanderthal child but needs an “Adventurous Woman” to do so. Couple that with the fact that my nephew is ridiculously attached to this new caveman book that we ordered him (it’s actually called Caveman: a B.C. Story and is damn cute) and voila! I started thinking about all of the movies that have involved cavemen and realized two things: the first is that caveman movies generally aren’t very good, and the second is that there really aren’t very many of them. Here are the most awesomely terrible caveman movies of all time.

Encino Man (1992)

The first movie that came to mind when I read the Neanderthal article was Encino Man, the most awesomely terrible caveman movie I think that I’ve ever seen, starring Brendan Fraser, Sean Astin, and Pauly Shore.

The movie was directed by Les Mayfield, who went on to direct Miracle on 34th Street and Flubber.

Fraser plays a caveman from the first ice age named Link who is excavated and thawed out of a block of ice in 1990s California by Dave and Stoney (played by Astin and Shore respectively).

Though the movie was not really received well by critics, Fraser and Astin would eventually go on to have successful careers, the latter landing the role of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings movies. Shore wasn’t so lucky, receiving a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst New Star.

10,000 B.C. (2008)

Directed by Roland Emmerich and starring relative unknowns Steven Strait and Camilla Belle, 10,000 B.C. has a fantasy plot that centers around love, adventure, and woolly mammoths.

The plot is basic and archetypical in nature, centering around the unoriginal my-girlfriend-got-captured-now-I-have-to-rescue-her gimmick—but just like rescuing the princess in Super Mario Brothers never gets old, neither does the gimmick.

At least not to me.

Everybody else seems to think that it does, as 10,000 B.C. garnered mostly negative reviews from critics.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something visually stunning and want to watch one of the only modern caveman movies out there, 10,000 B.C. is your flick.

Year One (2009)

I know, I know, Year One was a ridiculously terrible movie and most people absolutely hate it—I get that—but I have a soft spot for Michael Cera and the movie wasn’t that bad… well, it certainly wasn’t as bad as any of the Starship Troopers sequels at least.

In case you have not seen Year One, it is a comedy film directed and produced by Harold Ramis and Judd Apatow about two cavemen, played by Cera and Jack Black, who get kicked out of their tribe and are forced to go on a prehistoric exodus.

Just like virtually every other movie on this list, the film received negative reviews.

Unlike every other movie on this list, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and the supremely sexy Olivia Wilde make cameo appearances.

Essentially the only caveman comedy I’ve ever come across, Year One remains one of my favorites, even if it is nobody else’s.

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Marcus Nispel, Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols—what do all of these names have in common? That you’ve never heard of them, and that they are the big names associated with the Conan the Barbarian remake.

The movie does tote Stephen Lang, famous for his villainous role in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), as well as Rose McGowen and Ron Perlman in supporting roles, and Morgan Freeman at the helm as the narrator.

I will admit that this doesn’t qualify as a “traditional” caveman movie, simply because there are swords and metal involved, but it is definitely terrible and definitely awesome.

The original Conan the Barbarian (1982) is decidedly a better movie, but the 2011 reboot does have some pretty awesome special effects.

You might have to throw back a few beers to get through this one, but it’s well worth it once you do.


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Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast and owner of and writer of movie reviews. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites such as Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.

  • Paul Levinson

    for more speculation on Neanderthal – modern human connections, see The Silk Code

  • kaos

    Encino Man? What an awful title, i know better as California Caveman and it isn’t really that bad, it’s a goofy & fun stoner flick in a simular vein to Dude where’s my Car.

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