We did the unthinkable and binge-watched Pauly Shore.
“Why would you do such a thing?” – Because we had some spare time on our hands. Plus, this year was 20 years since his film Bio-Dome came out. Sure, it was in January, but it’s the year that counts.
For the Millennials out there, who is this Pauly Shore dude?
Shore is a stand-up comedian from California, USA who developed a cult-following with the Gen-X and Gen-Yers in the late 80s – early 90s after his alter ego The Weasel brought him to the spotlight on MTV. His Weasel persona was a chilled and laid-back young adult who would use surfer-speak in general conversation, which was a way of breaking down PC-ness and connect with a younger generation. Due to the popularity on MTV, Shore took his Weasel character to the big-screen in the 1992 film Encino Man, which he then had decent success in other films for five years. In 1996, it came to an abrupt halt – and The Weasel was no more. Shore’s career continued, but the Gen-Xers grew up and moved on.
While Shore has had an on-off success with films since 1988 up until today, we look at the height of his career from 1992 – 1996 with five films that stood out for him, and still have a cult following to this day. Also these films are where he is the main lead. Doc/Mockumentaries are not included.
David (Sean Astin) and “Stoney” (Shore) find a frozen caveman underground in a backyard while trying to dig a pool. When unthawed, they name him “Link” (Brendan Fraser) and help him adapt to the modern day world, such as going to school, how to eat right, and try to pick up chicks.
The film made $40m out of a $7m budget.
Thoughts: This movie put Shore into the international spotlight. Aimed directly at teens and the grunge era. Nostalgic flashback for anyone who is now in their forties.
Innocent Country girl Rebecca (Carla Gugino) moves to California to attend college. She befriends Fred “Crawl”(Shore) the resident advisor who likes to live on the edge and helps freshmen live while also study. Rebecca brings Crawl back to the home farm for Thanksgiving to meet the family and boyfriend, who don’t like his risque attitude. Eventually, Crawl chisels away at their up-tight living ways and eventually accept him for who he is, as well as some important life lessons.
The film made $36m from a $20m budget.
Thoughts: Cashing in on his popularity, the ‘stand out like a sore thumb’ story is relatable to many college students. With a few cute laughs, this still holds strong as one of the funniest Shore films he’s made.
Two best mates Jack (Andy Dick) and Bones (Shore) work in the same dead-end retail job, and are eventually fired after a work accident. To make ends meet, they enroll in the army, though under the impression it would be a walk in the park, discover they have to grow up and make strong choices after they’re sent into the heart of war-torn Chad and take down some weapons of mass destruction.
The film made $28m from an unreported budget.
Thoughts: Treat this like a rebooted 90s version of Stripes (Bill Murray) but watered down, using the Gen-X poster boy of Shore for pulling power. His persona is more mature with not that many laugh-out-loud moments, but with some visual slapstick. Still entertaining, but a bit too mature for a stoner film.
Thomas (Shore) is a failed stripper in his late 20s who lives with his mother in a caravan park with his pet chihuahua, Peanut. One day he’s summoned for Jury Duty but ignores the letter. When his mother’s boyfriend takes his mother and caravan home on holidays, he learns that he can live free and get paid while on Jury Duty, so he finds the longest running case to sit upon – a murder trial. When the trial is nearly wrapped up and his privileges are nearly gone, he discovers there might be more to the murder-accused than a simple ‘guilty’ verdict, and turns the entire jury (Tia Carrere, Brian Doyle-Murray) against himself to prove a point.
The film made $17m out of the $21m budget.
Thoughts: As Shore is the stand-alone character in this film without a sidekick, he’s more of a grown-up and less of a lay-about stoner. This film is more entertaining for the older audience, but is further away from the younger audience that Encino Man enveloped.
Two best friends Doyle (Stephen Baldwin) and Bud (Shore) live together and pull stunts on each other, while trying to make excuses to get out of events with their girlfriends. They manage to get out of an environmental party, but their girlfriends call them and pretend they’re getting hit on by other guys, which prompt Doyle and Bud to go on a road trip and win them back over. Along the way, they make a toilet break in a biosphere building, which they mistake for a shopping mall. As they intrude, they walk directly into the science experiment which traps them inside the building with other scientists for a whole year, with no escape. Once inside, they have to live by the strict rules set and work along with the scientists on board (Kylie Minogue, William Atherton, Henry Gibson), or they’ll perish.
The film made $13m out of a $15m budget.
Thoughts: After watching the first four films in a row, this one was the worst. Shore is in his late 20s and really had to channel his dim-wit persona, but Baldwin’s idiocratic character took the energy and destroyed it. The complete stupid antics of this film, along with wacky sound effects and cartoonish pranks made us cringe so much, we had to stop the film half-way and admit defeat.
In ranking terms from worst to best film in terms of humour:
- In The Army Now
- Jury Duty
- Encino Man
- Son In Law
Shore was a fantastic bankable talent of the early to mid 90s, and still has a fan base to this day. He still tours with his stand-up and continues to make films of comedic and documentary value, so his star hasn’t faded yet. However, he is a definite bookmark on what the attitude was like of the grunge stoner era without being totally offensive. In fact, if you watch the 2003 mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead, it highlights the fact that his career came to a halt, and needed a reboot – at the same time bringing out the “who’s who” from his black book of friends.
Feel free to reminisce with some Milk Duds Bu-ddy!