Sometimes we filmmakers will make a movie just for a quick buck. But every once in a while something comes along that sets fire to your soul, something that will kill your heart if you don’t put it to film. For me, Encino Man was one of those movies.

See, it’s all about the haves and the have-nots. I figured, what better way to illustrate that than with California swimming pools? You know what I’m talking about. While Billy Madison is bobbing around in an inflatable recliner, the poor kid next door is drowning in a sea of sprinklers and water balloons. When you’re rich, you’re swimming in it. When you’re poor, you’re all dried up. So who do you call? Motherfucking Encino Man!

We got Rudy from Goonies to play the poor non-pool-having sap because the Star Wars Kid wasn’t born yet. Now in movies, when a kid is a nerd it’s usually because he’s some kind of anti or sub-social genius. There needs to be some kind of brains vs. popularity trade-off. But we broke ground by going a completely different route. See, there’s no cool angle to this kid. He is literally a waste of every resource that gets shoved into his ugly maw. When he walks by a fruit stand, it all tastes like wax. If he walks by a candle store, they all turn to votive. If he walks past a pregnant woman, the kid will come out thinking Eddie Murphy is a lot funnier than he used to be. He’s the kid who comes over and copies everything you say and follows you like a puppy. When you finally convince him to go home, he calls as soon as he gets there and asks, “We’re still friends, right? You like me, right?”

But he does have some of that solid, young upstart determination. After years of being the only kid on his block without a pool, he finally says “Fuck this” and starts digging one for himself. After about five years he’s dug himself a pretty impressive hole. But instead of finding a pool there, he finds an Encino Man. Looking at the Neanderthal chunk of ice, he says “Cool” and automatically ruins an already pretty ruined piece of English.

After thawing Encino Man he tells him, “I’m gonna dress you up all hip-like, and you’re gonna make me popular because you’re so coooooool.”

Encino Man’s like, “You’re gonna dress me up?”

Dumbass is like, “Yeah.”

“And you think you can make me look hip? By today’s standards, you mean?”

“Heck yeah, new buddy! I’ve been practicing it for years with my Barbies.”

Luckily, before this piece of shit travesty can occur, The Weasel comes over and teaches the world what it really means to be hip. As it turns out, all it takes is a slightly askew syllable pattern and atypical hair.

The deal with The Weasel is that Rudy from Goonies is a charisma vacuum and nobody knew who The Mummy was yet. We had to put someone likable in the film, even if there was logically no reason for these two characters to be hanging out together. I mean, it’s kind of like making Andrew Dice Clay the “best friend” character in a Tina Fey movie. But we had to do it. Not only did The Weasel keep people looking at the screen, but he also warned Midwestern parents what would happen if they ever let their kids move to California.

So they bring this guy to school and his barbarian urges break all kinds of social barriers, which is good for the nerd because “not talking to nerds” is a big one. He makes like he’s going to rape the women and they thank him for it by inviting him to parties and other things the nerd was missing out on before he had an Encino Man. There’s one quiet part where they go to a museum and Encino Man gets all sad because he heard the dinosaurs were going to be robotic and they fucking weren’t. Steve Martin roller-skates by and pats him on the back. “Disappointed?” Encino Man nods. “Well,” Martin says. “Welcome to L.A.”

Encino Man may be prehistoric but he ain’t no dummy. Pretty soon he and The Weasel ditch the nerd at an En Vogue concert and enjoy popularity while he enjoys “Never Gonna Get It.” Once he figures out he’s been duped, his eyes glow red with fire and he finally buys that property he’s been eying down in South Vengeance Valley (population: one big-ass nerd).

Encino Man and The Weasel are at a pool party a couple houses from where the nerd lives. There’s like, two hundred popular kids in the pool and they’re all laughing about how nerdy the nerd is. But then a hush rips through the party because he’s standing right there at the edge of the pool. And he’s holding a toaster that he got in the mail through a Cinnamon Toast Crunch special offer. His eyes are still on fire, but it’s a white fire, so no one can tell how serious he really is. Encino Man and The Weasel kind of have an idea though, so they jump out of the pool right before he drops the toaster and kills everyone.

The Weasel runs all the way to Son in Law. But Encino Man realizes that he used to hunt T-Rex and there’s no good reason why he should be running away from a nerd. It begins to dawn on him: had he grown so accustomed to this new world that he lost his old self completely? He looks at his clothes and hair with disgust. He lifts his arms to the sky and screams, “WHO AM I? Am I even Encino Man anymore?” It begins to rain.

As all this happens, the nerd sneaks up and bams his head in with a customized bowling ball. He then drags the 95% complete Neanderthal specimen to the Anthropology department at UCLA. They pay him thirty million bucks, which he uses primarily on mid-priced prostitutes. Because he is frugal and has no other vices, it takes him almost fifty years to burn through the money. He lives those years in a hotel, one with a pretty decent little pool. Fade to black. The end. It takes a master to make a masterpiece.

(three stars)