There are a number of Bring a Friend films that we really went out of our way to accommodate. This week is one of those. When it came to the category of Kids films we really wanted to watch something that was a major release, but we would never ever ever ever watch. Not something like Son of Mask, Marmaduke, or the recently watched Baby Geniuses films, where they transcend the “Never Watch Kids Films” BMT rule, but rather a run-of-the-will children’s film that happened to be terrible. So you know what that means. That’s right! We’re watching Clan of the Cave BeAir Bud: Golden Receiver! There is literally a 0% chance that we would have ever watch Air Bud 2. Wouldn’t have happened without Bring a Friend. The same could almost be said about the BMT film that brought it along. Clan of the Cave Bear is a 1986 adaptation of a 1980 historical fiction book set in the Paleolithic era. I has come up before for BMT, but more seriously as an entry for a book-to-film cycle, since the book was a worldwide success and spawned five sequels. I’ve always been curious to read it and now’s my chance. The film ended up being a gigantic box office flop, so hopefully it can live down to that hype. Let’s go!
The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) – BMeTric: 34.1
(Those are some wild swings in rating for a movie this old. And both films this week have an astonishingly low number of votes. But a 5 IMDb rating is solidly low, so I am expecting a lot.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – World’s first feminist caveman movie, minus the anthropological detail of Jean Auel’s popular book. Hannah is perfectly cast as outsider who joins band of nomadic Neanderthals, but the story (such as it is) is alternatively boring and unintentionally funny. Subtitles translate cave people’s primitive tongue. Screenplay by John Sayles.
(Unintentionally funny good. Boring bad. But I have a feeling this is going to be mostly boring.)
(IT’S A BOOK! REMEMBER THAT BOOK? That is basically what this trailer says. No, I don’t remember it, and this movie looks boring and weird … a combination that weirdly is getting me a bit excited to be honest.)
Directors – Michael Chapman – (Known For: All the Right Moves; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: A well known cinematographer, for which he was nominated for two Oscars, for The Fugitive and Raging Bull.)
Writers – Jean M. Auel (novel) – (BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: A children’s book novelist who at one point worked as a circuit board designer for Tektronix, a company that has been making things like oscilloscopes since the 1940s! They tried to make a TV series out of Clan of the Cave Bear recently, but it never got off the ground)
John Sayles (screenplay) – (Known For: The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Howling; Battle Beyond the Stars; Piranha; Lone Star; Alligator; Eight Men Out; Matewan; The Secret of Roan Inish; The Brother from Another Planet; Sunshine State; The Challenge; Go for Sisters; Piranha; Passion Fish; Baby It’s You; Honeydripper; Limbo; Amigo; Return of the Secaucus Seven; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for Lone Star and Passion Fish. His filmography speaks for itself. He was a factory worker who submitted short stories to magazines on the side which were eventually turned into a novel, Pride of the Bimbos. He got a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and used that to transition to a well respected screenwriter. An amazing story.)
Actors – Daryl Hannah – (Known For: Blade Runner; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Splash; Wall Street; Steel Magnolias; Grumpy Old Men; I Am Michael; Roxanne; The Fury; Crimes and Misdemeanours; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Gingerbread Man; The Big Empty; Legal Eagles; At Play in the Fields of the Lord; Northfork; Casa de los babys; Silver City; Wildflowers; Future BMT: My Favorite Martian; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Two Much; High Spirits; Keeping Up with the Steins; The Little Rascals; The Final Terror; Summer Lovers; The Hot Flashes; Dancing at the Blue Iguana; Crazy People; The Real Blonde; The Tie That Binds; Grumpier Old Men; Vice; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Supporting Actress for Wall Street in 1988; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 1989 for High Spirits; and in 1997 for Two Much; Notes: An ardent environmentalist, she has been very politically active in the last ten years. She was also at one point in a relationship with John F. Kennedy Jr.)
Pamela Reed – (Known For: Kindergarten Cop; The Right Stuff; Bean; Proof of Life; The Long Riders; Outside In; Eyewitness; Cadillac Man; Bob Roberts; Melvin and Howard; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Future BMT: Junior; Young Doctors in Love; The Best of Times; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: She played Leslie Knope’s mother on Parks and Recreation. She has done a lot of television work recently, on Jericho, United States of Tara, and NCIS: Los Angeles, among others.)
James Remar – (Known For: Django Unchained; X: First Class; The Girl Next Door; Ratatouille; The Warriors; RED; What Lies Beneath; Pineapple Express; Horns; February; 48 Hrs.; Cruising; The Phantom; The Cotton Club; Drugstore Cowboy; Miracle on 34th Street; The Long Riders; White Fang; The Dream Team; Future BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Psycho; The Unborn; The Quest; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; Blade: Trinity; Duplex; Fatal Instinct; Persecuted; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Rent-a-Cop; Renaissance Man; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; BMT: Wild Bill; Judge Dredd; 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: He can still be seen in Aliens as he was originally cast as Hicks, but had to drop out after they had filmed a scene that was too expensive to reshoot. Attended Newton North High School in Massachusetts (what what).)
Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $1,953,732
(Oh God no, that is awful. I feel like 1986 was just a terrible year for films as a few studios were struggling to make money and throwing anything and everything at the wall hoping it would stick. This might not be much different. Although at least one of the production companies survived this disaster.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (1/10): No consensus yet.
(I’ll make one: Boooooooooring, and worse than the book …. So read the book. Ebert’s original review from the time has a few nice zingers. My favorite being: “If modern men came from beginnings like this, why did they even bother to develop civilization, since they already possessed its most wretched excesses?”)
Poster – The Clan of the Sklog Bear (A-)
(Artistic poster with some unique font. Like the stark red on white. It’s solid. Funny thing is that this is also the cover of the DVD and I was told that it looked like a horror film… which I guess is kind of true. Could be an image of a monster.)
Tagline(s) – At The Dawn Of Mankind, A Woman Led The Way. (A)
(This is an all around solid tagline. Clever juxtaposition of Mankind and Woman (and the implications of that), hints at the plot, and just short enough. Near perfect.)
Keyword(s) – neanderthal; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.6 The Flintstones (1994); 34.1 The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986); 24.0 Eliminators (1986); 21.2 Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite (2001); 16.6 Terror! Il castello delle donne maledette (1974); 16.4 Iceman (1984); 13.9 Dinosaurus! (1960); 12.2 Ironmaster (1983); 10.6 Monster on the Campus (1958); 5.8 Ao: The Last Hunter (2010);
(Ridiculous list. Only the top two are real. Like … Encino Man doesn’t count? Because that def has a higher BMeTric. I’m getting more and more concerned with the quality of these keywords as time goes on.)
Notes – Based on the first novel in the bookseries Earth’s Children by author Jean M. Auel.
A planned back-to-back sequel never made it into production.
Awards – Nominated for the Oscar for Best Makeup (Michael Westmore, Michèle Burke)