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Film / Encino Man

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Encino Man is a 1992 comedy movie in which a caveman named Link (played by Brendan Fraser) goes from being frozen in a block of ice to being the most popular guy at Encino High, with help from Dave (Sean Astin) and his friend Stoney (Pauly Shore).

This movie provides examples of:

  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Averted. Though Dave calls him "the missing link" at one point, which inspired him to name him Link.
  • An Aesop: The message of this film seem to be "popularity is not as important as being true to yourself."
  • Alpha Bitch: Robyn's friend Ella.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Dave's younger sister Teena. In the beginning, she gives him a hard time about his party plan to make himself popular. She's aware Dave is lying about the "foreign exchange student", and tried and failed to bust him.
  • Asian and Nerdy: The lone Asian student to play a (minor) role is portrayed as an overenthusiastic geek, always trying to get more students to join the Computer Club.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Dave hits Stoney in the arm when he believes they found a caveman.
    Dave: Would you please?!
  • Big Eater: He's often seen eating, even things that aren't food.
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  • Brain Freeze: Link experiences one after Stoney's lesson on "wheezing the juice". His mouth is still full of slush drink as he silently clutches at his head.
  • Brick Joke: Link learns some Spanish in school. He later speaks two sentences from the class while confronting the man at the bar for dancing with his lady.
    "The cheese is old and moldy. Where is the bathroom?"
  • Buffy Speak: Robyn still doesn't get that "parallel parking thing".
    Driving instructor: Parallel parking is not a 'thing', alright? It's not a feeling, it's not a state-of-mind, it's not one of your personal disco records.
  • Car Skiing: What happens when Link is told to get in the car with Robyn.
    Driving instructor: Get inside the car. And shoot your barber.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Link learning martial arts and wrestling moves from movies and tapes.
  • Death Glare: Link, when Matt punched the glass he was drawing on with mustard. Accompanied by Kung Fu music.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Stoney is, well, a stoner. At least a heavily implied one.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Link will eat anything. Anything.
  • Flat "What": Dave says this when Robyn says she wants to go to the dance with Link instead.
    • Big "WHAT?!": When Robyn tells Dave to ask Link if he likes to go to the prom with her.
    Dave: You want me to what?!
  • Happily Married: Despite the Ice Age, Link and his wife loved each other very much.
  • Hate at First Sight: Matt immediately takes an extreme dislike of Link. Demonstrated by cracking his knuckles, and later when Matt punched the glass Link was drawing on with mustard.
    "Who is this dipshit anyway?"
  • Has a Type: Ella (Robyn's friend) seems to have a thing for men who are dominant and aggressive. During the science teacher's lecture on prehistoric man, Ella seems to like hearing that a caveman "takes what he wants." Later, when she meets Link for the first time and he grabs her possessively, Ella acts excited rather than frightened.
  • Here We Go Again!: After everything is settled Link's mate from the past is discovered in their pool and the whole mess is starting over again.
  • Heroic BSoD: Link freaks out at the museum. See Mood Whiplash below.
  • Human Popsicle: Link, and his wife, having been frozen in the Ice Age and thawed out in modern times.
  • Ironic Echo: Matt says "SHUUUSH!" several times. Near the end, Stoney says this to him after Matt gets his just desserts (literally).
  • Kick the Dog: When Dave calls Robyn from jail to ask her to the prom and she rejects him... which in and of itself is not a cruel thing, but then she asks him to find out if Link will go to the prom with her. Way to rub salt in the wound, Robyn.
  • Little "No": Link's first word.
    (Link was about to use a lit match to make a fire)
    Dave: Hey! (takes the match away) No!
    Link: No.
    Dave: What? Did you just... ?
    Stoney: We'll teach him how to wheeze.
    [Link throws a blunt object at them]
    Dave: NO!
    Link: NO! NO!
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: Well, not a lawyer, but otherwise Link fits both the trope and the name to a T.
  • Makeover Montage: Dave and Stoney transform Link from a muddy, clay-caked naked wild man into a goofy-looking 90s teenager through the magic of a completely unnecessary and ineffectual haircut, a toothbrush, and lots and lots of soap. Link even wears a towel turban for part of the scene.
  • Missed Him by That Much: While car-skiing, the four teens drove pass a shocked Mrs. Morgan and an amused Teena.
  • Mood Whiplash: The museum field trip, where Link realizes what exactly has happened to him (and the presumed fate of his wife).
  • No, You:
    Stoney: Maybe Matt Wilson was right about you all along.
    Dave: You take that back!
    Stoney: No, you take it back.
    Dave: TAKE IT BACK!
    [The two fight each other until Link stops them.]
  • Noodle Incident: While speculating the identity of the body in the pool, Stoney mentions "Jimmy Mahooney", a fellow cub scout who went missing.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When they found the frozen caveman ("There's a guy buried in my pool."), they both scream and ran to Dave's mom's office banging at her window while she's on the phone. They try to tell her there's a body and to call 911, but she tells them she's working and closes the drapes at them.
  • Nubile Savage: Initially averted with both Link and his wife, who are dirty, have rotten teeth, and are clothed in lots of furs (they are living through an ice age). However, Link cleans up nice, and at the end, so does his wife.
  • Ow, My Body Part!
    Stoney: Ow! My pancreas!
  • Poor Communication Kills: Dave tells Robyn he found a caveman in the pool in his backyard and wants to show it to her. She just laughs, but when he's insisting, she then makes herself clear to him.
    Robyn: Look, I really don't think I can handle a caveman right now.
    Dave: (confused) You don't? (beat) Oh... yeah, I understand.
  • Product Placement: Big time. Products they mention by name include Doritos, Ho-Hos, Milkduds, ICEEs, Taco Bell, SweeTarts, Corn Nuts, and Rad Mobile.
  • Rake Take: Shortly after being thawed out, Link steps on a rake and gets hit in the face.
  • Secret Chaser: Matt becomes this after he finds out Link's school file contains a dog license.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skyward Scream: Link screams at a passing helicopter above him.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: After getting thawed out, Link immediately finds out he's in an unfamiliar place.
  • Surfer Dude: Stoney, buuuuuuddy!
  • Thanks for the Mammary: "Gonzongas!"
    (Link stares at Robyn and Ella's chest and tries to grab them, but Dave pulls him away]
    Stoney: (to Ella) I think he was saying he likes your cones.
    Ella: I'm thrilled. (pushes Stoney) Get out of my face!
  • Those Two Guys: The two skaters.
  • The Voiceless: Link, for most of the movie. Though he does pick up some words, he only understands about half of what he says, so he communicates primarily through body language.
  • Walk This Way: As the class heads to the museum, Stoney (exaggerately) mimics the way Matt Wilson's cohorts walk, while walking behind them.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Robyn goes out with Matt at the start of the movie, which Dave just found out. He even says this. Soon she broke up with him due to his jerkass-ness.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stoney gives Dave one of these when Dave tries to abandon Link. Stoney points out that Dave never viewed Link as a friend, but just a tool to help him become popular. Dave gives a little back by saying that Stoney never cared about anything before except "nugs, chillin' and grindage", and "made [him] do the dirty work". Stoney calls him out on the accusation.
    Stoney: Those are desperate words of a loser! Maybe Matt Wilson was right about you all along.
  • Wild Hair: Link, obviously. Even though the boys give him a haircut.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Link, when he realizes his world, his old life, and his wife is gone. However, his wife has also been frozen in ice and is reunited with Link.
  • Your Mom:
    Matt: Going somewhere?
    Dave: Yeah, got a date with your mom.
    Matt: Now that's not nice.
    Dave: It's just a joke, I'm sorry.


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