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12 Pop Culture Cavemen (and Cavewomen)

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The caveman movie National Lampoon's Homo Erectus will hit theaters in September. The sitcom based on the GEICO Caveman ads will premiere in October. But cavemen are nothing new to pop culture. A man (or woman) who resembles us but does not understand or fit in with the confusing modern world is a wonderful device for both comedy and adventure. These 12 cavemen and cavewomen are not ranked; who am I to rank cavemen? They are in chronological order.

1932 Alley Oop

The comic strip Alley Oop has been in news papers for 75 years, outliving two of his three illustrators. Oop is your everyday dinosaur-riding caveman who lives in the kingdom of Moo when he isn't time-traveling to different eras of history. He was also the subject of a #1 pop hit by The Argyles.

1958 B.C.
B.C. is a comic strip by Johnny Hart, who died this past April. The strip will continue under the production of Hart's daughter and grandson. B.C. was also the caveman character, playing straight man to all the silliness going on around him. The strip took on a religious theme in 1977, which led to some criticism and editorial rejection from some newspapers.

1960 Fred Flintstone
The Flintstones was the first prime-time animated TV series for adults. Original episodes aired from 1960-1966, and for many years after in reruns. Fred and his wife Wilma, and their neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble were loosely based on the earlier sitcom The Honeymooners. Although the setting was a prehistoric age, the Flintstones had modern conveniences such as record players and telephones, which were powered by animals, or in the case of the automobile, "Fred's two feet."

1966 Loana

Loana is undoubtably the only character you remember from the 1966 movie One Million Years B.C. All it took was Raquel Welch in a leather bikini to make it a hit.

1977 Captain Caveman
Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, originally a segment of Scooby's All-Star Laugh-A-Lympics, and its own series briefly in 1980. Afterwards, he appeared in The Flintstones Comedy Show. Captain Caveman was thawed from the ice by a group of teenagers and became a crime-fighting superhero with his caveman strength, ability to fly, and a magic club.

1980 Ayla
Ayla is the protagonist of the Earth Children series of books by Jean Aul, beginning with Clan of the Cave Bear. Ayla is a Cro Magnon who is orphaned at age five and taken in by a clan of Neanderthals. Ayla uses her inborn intelligence and psychic powers to domesticate animals, perform surgery, and invent fire, sewing, and the bra. The 1986 movie Clan of the Cave Bear starring Daryl Hannah was critically panned and a box office flop.

1981 Atouk
Ringo Starr played Atouk in the 1981 film Caveman. Not as big or fierce as the other cavemen, Atouk becomes an outcast from his tribe, and joins with other exiled cavemen to form a new tribe of misfits. However, the misfits use their brains to create fire and defeat dinosaurs, proving that brains trump brawn in the grand scheme of history. The plot foreshadows the later movie Revenge of the Nerds.

1982 Thag Simmons

Although Thag himself doesn't appear in this 1982 Far Side panel by Gary Larsen, his legend lives on. Scientists have used the word "thagomizer" since at least 1993 to describe a dinosaur's tail spikes. It's now used in reference books and museum exhibits.

1991 Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

The late great Phil Hartman played Cirroc, the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer as a recurring character on Saturday Night Live. He spoke quite eloquently, but always fell back on his caveman background to relate to the jury as a common man.

1992 Link
Brendan Frasier played Link (the "missing link") in the 1992 comedy Encino Man. Two California teenagers (Sean Astin and Pauly Shore) find a frozen caveman in their backyard and decide to take him to school, where he becomes quite popular. The reviews were awful, but it was nice to see Brendan Frasier in a loincloth.

2004 The GEICO Cavemen
GEICO Auto Insurance began running an advertising series with the line "so easy, a caveman could do it." Cavemen who heard that line were offended and complained. Several other ads featuring the cavemen were produced, plus the internet sites Caveman's Crib and Up With Cavemen. The TV series (entitled Cavemen) is scheduled to run on Tuesday nights beginning in October.

2007 Ishbo

Ishbo is the hero of National Lampoon's Homo Erectus, which comes out in September. Played by Adam Rifkin, who also wrote and directed the film, Ishbo is smarter than the other cavemen, and carries a torch for a girl who prefers her men big, dumb, and strong.

Which caveman do you fancy the most?

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Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET
10 Badass Facts About Jason Statham
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Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

Jason Statham is one of the preeminent action heroes of a generation—some would say he’s our last action hero. On the screen, he's been a hitman, a transporter, a con man, a veteran, and a whole host of other unsavory, but oddly endearing, tough guys. Before he stepped foot on his first movie set, though, Statham had a past life that would rival any of the colorful characters he’s brought to the screen. To celebrate his 50th birthday, we’re digging into what makes this English bruiser tick with these 10 fascinating facts about Jason Statham.


Before becoming a big-screen tough guy, Jason Statham exuded grace and fluidity as one of the world’s top competitive divers in the early 1990s. He spent 12 years as part of the British National Diving Squad, highlighted by competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Though he was an elite diver, Statham never qualified for the Olympics, which he admits is still a “sore point” for him. "I started too late," he has said of his diving career. "It probably wasn't my thing. I should have done a different sport."


With his diving career over, Statham entered the world of modeling for the fashion company French Connection. If his rugged image doesn’t seem to naturally lend itself to the world of male modeling, that was exactly what the company was going for.

“We chose Jason because we wanted our model to look like a normal guy," Lilly Anderson, a spokesperson for French Connection, said in a 1995 interview with the Independent. "His look is just right for now—very masculine and not too male-modelly."


A word of warning: The internet never forgets. Back in 2015, two ‘90s music videos went viral—“Comin’ On” by The Shamen and “Run to the Sun” by Erasure—and it’s not because the songs were just that good. It’s because both videos featured a half-naked, and quite oily, Jason Statham curiously dancing away in the background.

Both make liberal use of Statham’s lack of modesty, which is a far cry from the slick suits and commando gear we’d later see him sporting in The Transporter and Expendables series. So which one is your favorite? Leopard-print Speedo Statham from “Comin’ On” or his Silver Surfer look from “Run to the Sun”? And no, “both” isn’t an option. (Though “neither” is acceptable.)


After years of high dives, modeling, and pelvic gyrations, Statham was still looking to make a real living in the late ‘90s. His next odd job? Selling knockoff perfume and jewelry on London street corners. Luckily, that type of real-world hoodlum was exactly what director Guy Ritchie needed for 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Ritchie was introduced to Statham through his modeling gig at French Connection and saw the potential this real-world con man had for the movie. He wrote the role of Bacon specifically for Statham, which would end up being the movie that propelled him to Hollywood stardom.


Though Statham gained acclaim for his role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, he wasn’t quite a leading man yet. Director John Carpenter wanted to change that by casting him as James “Desolation” Williams, the main character in Ghosts of Mars.

While Carpenter was convinced that Statham was ready for the role, the producers weren’t. They pushed the director to cast someone with more name value, eventually settling on Ice Cube. Statham stayed in the movie in a smaller role as Sgt. Jericho Butler.


Jason Statham in Wild Card (2015).

In addition to being in impeccable shape, Statham also takes pride in doing many of his own stunts in his movies, from hand-to-hand combat to dangling from a helicopter 3000 feet above downtown Los Angeles. In fact, he’s almost dogmatic in his belief that actors should be doing their own stunts.

“I'm inspired by the people who could do their own work,” the actor said. “Bruce Lee never had stunt doubles and fight doubles, or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I've been in action movies where there is a face replacement and I'm fighting with a double, and it's embarrassing.”

The worst offenders? Superhero movies. And Statham isn't shy about sharing his thoughts on those:

"You slip on a cape and you put on the tights and you become a superhero? They're not doing anything! They're just sitting in their trailer. It's absolutely, 100 percent created by stunt doubles and green screen. How can I get excited about that?"


For all the authenticity that Statham likes to bring to the screen by doing his own stunts, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. While filming an action scene for Expendables 3, the brakes failed on a three-ton stunt truck Statham was driving, sending it off a cliff and into the Black Sea.

If you've ever wondered if the real Statham was anything like the movie version, his underwater escape from a mammoth truck should answer that.

"It's the closest I've ever been to drowning,” Statham said on Today. “I've done a lot of scuba diving; I've done a lot of free diving ... No matter how much of that you've done, it doesn't teach you to breathe underwater ... I came very close to drowning. It was a very harrowing experience."


Statham’s fitness routine is about more than just weights and core work. The actor is also involved in a variety of different fighting disciplines like boxing, judo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Out of everything he does to stay in shape, it’s the martial arts that have the been most helpful for Statham’s onscreen presence. “That’s what I have to give most of my time to these days: training for what I have to do in terms of providing action in an authentic manner," he told Men's Health

Statham is not alone in his passion for martial arts; director Guy Ritchie is also a black belt in jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in karate. When Men’s Health asked Statham if the two ever sparred, he responded, “I remember when we started out, we’d go on a press tour for Lock, Stock… and we’d be moving all the furniture out of the way in the hotel room, trying to choke each other out.”

After all, what are collaborators for?


When asked by Esquire if he ever watched one of his movies during the premiere and thought "Oh, no ...," his response was a very self-aware: "Yeah, I think I've said that more often than not. Yeah."

He went on to rattle off his Guy Ritchie movies, The Bank Job, Transporter 1 and 2 (not 3), and Crank as being among his favorite films. As for the others, the actor joked, “And the rest is sh*t."

He clarified that remark as a joke and said, “I mean, you do a lot of films. You're always aiming for something and trying to push yourself to do something good.”

He then compared his work to the inner workings of a watch, saying, “A movie, it's like a very complicated timepiece. There's a lot of wheels in a watch. And some of those wheels, if they don't turn right, then, you know, the watch ain't gonna tell the time."


Statham's films may have a tough time impressing critics, but audiences and studio executives can’t get enough. Taken as a whole, Statham’s filmography has raked in just a touch more than $1.5 billion in the United States, with the worldwide total standing at $5.1 billion.

A lot of this is due to his more recent entry into the Fast and Furious franchise, but he’s also had seven movies cross the $100 million mark worldwide outside of that series. This isn’t an accident; Statham knows exactly what type of movie keeps the lights on, as he explained in an interview with The Guardian.

“So if you've got a story about a depressed doctor whose estranged wife doesn't wanna be with him no more, and you put me in it, people aren't gonna put money on the table. Whereas if you go, 'All he does is get in the car, hit someone on the head, shoot someone in the f*cking feet,' then, yep, they'll give you $20 million. You can't fault these people for wanting to make money.”

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Vince Valitutti/Summit Entertainment
The 5 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
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Nicolas Cage stars in Knowing (2009).
Vince Valitutti/Summit Entertainment

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.


If any film stands as a proper influence on The Twilight Zone and its use of science-fiction and fantasy to mask political and civil issues, it’s The Day the Earth Stood Still, a Cold War-era parable about an alien named Klaatu who arrives on Earth carrying a warning about warfare. Naturally, all humans want to do is shoot him.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. KNOWING (2009)

The histrionics of Nicolas Cage: You either like them or you don’t. Knowing is Cage at half-caf: While he enjoys a few meltdown scenes, he’s largely reserved here as an astrophysics professor who stumbles onto information that could herald the end of the world.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  


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