Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Defense of: Pauly Shore

"Hey buddy," I know I may get some flack for this but I love Pauly Shore. I love his "Weasel" stoner character, the way he pauses between syllables and his horrifying fashion sense. I loved Totally Pauly on MTV (and he was by far the best Spring Break host they ever had.) But what I love most of all is his movies. Yes, the movies that most film critics still use as the base line for determining how crappy other films are.

The list of his films is not long but gosh darnitt if they all aren't excellent! His first foray into a somewhat starring role was Encino Man, which launched the career of Brendan Fraser. Pauly's character "Stoney" was basically him doing his "Weasel" MTV persona, so I loved it. He added the suffix "age" to almost everything he said, i.e. Grind-age, Link-age, etc. with the signature syllabic pause thrown in. Genius. By far the most quotable line from the movie was his "Weazing the juice." He won the Razzie for worst actor for his performance which is total bull. The movie would have been an utter bore without him. He got the last laugh when the flick made over $40mill. domestically.

After Encino Man he went on to do Son In Law, wherein he played "Crawl" who is a bad influence on a cute farm girl at college in SoCal. She ends up turning into a liberal and she brings him home to meet the folks on the farm and culture-shock high jinks ensue. Again, he basically plays his MTV persona but the Weasel on the farm is hilarious!!! The scene where he tries to do farm work - classic. And when he gives the mom a crazy makeover for the square dance - brilliant!!!! Again - panned by critics but it grossed just slightly under $40mill. domestically.

The next film up Pauly's sleeve is a personal fave of mine, In the Army Now. In this movie Pauly plays "Bones" and for the first time he isn't just doing his Weasel character. The cast was actually really good - it has Lori Petty, David Alan Grier and Andy Dick (before the fallout.) Pauly and Andy Dick play best friends who join the National Guard to make some extra cash. They pick what they think is the easiest job - aka Water Purification - and then get sent to Chad because they need water boys in the desert. Of course - military themed high jinks ensue. Pauly took this gig seriously - he actually did the training that water specialists do to better understand the process. He was starting to go method and it really showed in his performance. This film grossed just under $30mill. domestically.

Then there was Jury Duty. It is probably my least favorite Pauly movie, but it still made me laugh. In this flick he plays "Tommy Collins" who is a stripper who gets kicked out of his parent's mobile home. He and his chihuahua need a place to stay so he manages to land on jury duty for a high profile case and gets the jury sequestered. Of course legal themed high jinks ensue! It is probably one of the few movies he starred in that had Oscar and/or Golden Globe winners in it - aka Shelley Winters and Stanley Tucci. It did not do so hot in the box office (I guess I was one of the few who saw it in the theater) as it only grossed about $17mill.

Mr. Shore bounced back in a major way with the creme de la creme of his film library: Bio-Dome. In this movie Pauly is paired with the equally amazing and totally under appreciated Stephen Baldwin. This is the best onscreen duo since Bogie and Bacall people! The two play losers who somehow end up being stuck in a bio-dome for a whole year. Environmentally themed high jinks ensue! Of course they are obnoxious and piss off the scientists in the dome until they finally wear them down and become likable in the end. The best scene by far is when the two find Nitrous Oxide and have a good 'ol time ("Hey look - I'm a duck billed platypus!"). It ended up grossing about $26mill. which ain't too shabby.

Pauly did another couple of movies after Bio-Dome that went straight to video. His career pretty much tanked once the 90s were over.

Roger Ebert once said of Pauly that he was the "cinematic equivalent of long fingernails, drawn very slowly and quite loudly over a gigantic blackboard." It always bothered me that Pauly became synonymous with bad acting and lameness, because I honestly always enjoyed his flicks. The biggest bullshit was when he was given a golden Razzie for "Worst New Actor of the Decade" in 2000 (he lost "Worst actor of the century to Sly Stallone.) Do these people watch the same movies I watch???!!!! Pauly is comedy gold!

I bet he is revered in other countries (you know, the whole Jerry Lewis French thing.) If he isn't then he should be. Maybe I will mail some of his DVDs to Finland to get the ball rolling.


  1. I will side with Roger Ebert (and the rest of humanity that was not high in the 90s) on this subject, I am afraid.

    I had an Encino Man nightmare, and we only watched 20 minutes of it...

  2. I totally contributed to the box-office intake of Bio-Dome when I was about 13, I'm afraid.