Ringo Starr the Caveman

This past weekend, outdoors at the La Brea Tar Pits, the Natural History Museum wrapped up its summer-long series of B-movies with “bad science.” Each film is paired with a lecture by scientific experts to right the film’s misinformation and heighten the laughs. The screening was of Caveman, a 1981 “comedy” starring Ringo I-Am-Desperate-For-A-Career-After-The-Beatles Starr. I found it to be terrifically awful.

Here’s how I imagine this movie coming to be:
“Ringo wants to star in a movie.”
“But he can’t act!”
“No shit. But I think we’ve come up with a character that requires absolutely no talent.”

Indeed, the entire film is little more than slapstick action and random noises. The dialogue is just a series of grunts; I can’t imagine what it’d be like to write that script. There is one character who knows English words - inexplicably he is Asian. Why the token Asian knows English doesn’t make sense, but not as little sense as how some random Asian guy came to live amongst white cavemen in “one zillion BC.”

Throughout the film, Ringo lusts for the voluptuous Lana, who is married to the tribe’s alpha male. What she lacks in character, she makes up for in boobs and perfectly crimped 80s hair. Numerous gratuitous shots showcase her from behind as she writhes her ass for no particular reason. Although she is both vile and spoken for, Ringo still wants her enough to drug her and attempt to have sex with her in her sleep. Yes, just fifteen minutes into the film, there is a rape scene. Ringo sedates Lana with some plant he discovered then crawls between her legs. The whole thing is played up for laughs, as you might expect from a rape scene. Besides, it’s okay, because the two actors ended up getting married in real life, and are still married to this day. So take THAT anti-rape activists!

The film also features a pre-Cheers Shelley Long who, as the nice cavewoman, serves as a foil to Lana. She selflessly “cares” for her blind father, yet manages to lead him right into a tar pit and later in the path of huge dinosaurs that have the finesse and artistry of early Godzilla special effects. I’m pretty sure Mr. Cave-Magoo is a commentary on survival of the fittest and how some people are meant to just die. Ah, but at least he still has the small pleasures in life – he may not be able to see breasts, but he is not shy about grabbing them! Always the modest one, Shelley is the only cavewoman not to put her bosoms on display. She may have ultimately won over Cave-Ringo’s heart, but no wonder she missed out on the real-life romance.

Other characters include a young, handsome, and unrecognizable Dennis Quaid – I didn’t realize it was him until the credits rolled. For comedic effect, there is a gay cave-couple, because seeing two men in love is funny. Also, nothing says “funny!” more than a midget sorry, little caveperson. In one of my favorite scenes, the little caveperson accidentally discovers music by blowing into a jug – and a bunch of other cavepeople simultaneously invent their own instruments to play a song that I hope to make my cell phone ringtone.

As one of the paleontologists pointed out, the characters make an impressive number of anthropological discoveries in a short period of time: weapons, rotisserie, an ice age, and did you know that cavepeople could stand upright once they cracked their backs? Oddly, Ringo was the ringleader for all of these advancements except for music. He may be responsible for reinventing music, but he sure didn’t invent it.

Caveman is so embarrassing that had Lennon lived to see this film, he probably would have shot himself. If you want to check out the hour and a half of meaningless moans for yourself, it is available in its entirety here on Youtube.

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