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Encino Men... 30 Years Later

Encino Man (aka California Man) saw three young stars unite for an outlandish '90s comedy about being ice cool and then waking up to become a high school drop out in the MTV generation '90s. Starring Brendan Fraser, Pauly Shore and Sean Astin, these actors found the fun in this nutty star-making movie before going their separate ways...

encino men 30 years later

What Ever Happened to Pauly Shore?

Love or hate him, Pauly Shore peaked in the mid-90s. This is a widely accepted truth pertaining to the actor who came to be known as The Weasel. While Saturday Night Live has launched many comedy star's movie careers, Pauly Shore's actually started on MTV show Totally Pauly in 1990. Having had a few film roles prior to his superstardom in the '90s, Shore's first credited TV appearance was in 1987 on 21 Jump Street. He followed these up with a few minor supporting roles before landing a career-defining performance in Encino Man or California Man as Stoney Brown alongside Brendan Fraser as Link and Sean Astin as Dave Morgan.

Shore's career exploded at this point, landing the lead role in Son in Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty and Bio-Dome. Coasting on his newfound star power, Shore became a hot comedy headliner, drawing audiences to get more of his unconventional goofy charm and offbeat screen presence. In the age of Beavis & Butthead, his whatever attitude, throwaway nuttiness and comic charm had a foothold. While divisive like other high profile acts such as Jim Carrey, "the talent police" as Mike Myers would put it eventually caught up with him.

Suddenly Shore was a veritable Hollywood outcast. Launching his own self-referential Tinseltown adventure film, Pauly Shore is Dead, he effectively tried to reinvent himself from the inside out. While famous for his definitive roles in the '90s, Shore became a punchline with many cameos and music video appearances over the years. His Rotten Tomatoes score shows a string of rotten Tomatometer ratings bar The Heckler, making him a favourite punch bag for critics over the years. However, that didn't stop the self-confessed weasel from appearing out of nowhere every now and then with productions like the misguided spoof, The Bogus Witch Project and celebrity adoption satire, Adopted.

What Ever Happened to Sean Astin?

Has anyone led a more fascinating acting career than Sean Astin? Starting out as a child star in 1981 with two TV movies, Astin first made a name for himself in 1985 as Mikey in Steven Spielberg's enduring '80s classic, The Goonies. Over his 40 year movie career, Astin has developed a knack for playing roles in films that come to characterise the era, picking up parts through the '90s in films like Memphis Belle, Toy Soldiers, Encino Man and stirring and career-defining coming-of-age American football drama, Rudy.

His lead role in Rudy as the quintessential underdog left the actor typecast and on a quest to effectively break the mold. Having been a part of indelible films through the '80s and '90s, it seemed only fitting that Astin should be cast in Peter Jackson's 2000s-defining trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Playing Sam, the dependable sidekick to Frodo, Astin's almost unrecognisable performance was a bit lost in the scope and gravity of its burgeoning ensemble sharing cast wins and garnering several nominations.

Since his superseding career-defining and best known role as Sam in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, Astin has led an eclectic and versatile career with occasional supporting film roles, TV characters and regular work as a voice artist.

Astin followed up his years-long role as Sam with less serious roles, playing in Adam Sandler comedy movies 50 First Dates and Click with varying degrees of efficacy. Getting the odd role to push off his performance as Rudy, Astin's found himself taking on key roles in sporting glory films like Forever Strong and Woodlawn. Having achieved worldwide fame from a young age, the boyish-looking actor's best known roles and instant facial recognition puts him at a disadvantage. While not quite a household name, Astin's used his team player reputation and relative anonymity to good effect as Hollywood's Mr. Dependable.

Regularly making TV appearances with recurring roles in 24, The Strain, The Big Bang Theory and more recently Stranger Things, he's become an easily recognisable face for many generations. He's also become renowned for his voice work, playing Raphael in the long-running Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, being the narrator for Captain Underpants and lending his voice to many video game characters.

What Ever Happened to Brendan Fraser?

At the time of Encino Man, Fraser was also a shooting star only beginning to get his dues and recognition. Playing the titular character, essentially a cave man brought back to life from the Stone Age in a very different world, his naive exuberance went on to define his career until health issues forced him to take a hiatus. Fraser reprised his role as Link with a few cameos in Paul Shore movies racking up star-making roles in School Ties, Airheads, George of the Jungle, Blast from the Past and The Mummy.

Taking on cartoonish comedic performances, not unlike Jim Carrey, Fraser was sure to counterbalance his appetite for the zany with some serious performances to demonstrate his range with fine films like Gods and Monsters opposite Ian McKellen as late director Sir James Whale and The Quiet American as a counterpoint to Michael Caine.

While his hit-and-miss rate found him veering from ambitious duds to working with more accomplished directors and stars, one thing was always clear - Fraser had oodles of charm and talent. Now on the verge of a comeback, somewhat stunted after the Batgirl film was cancelled, it will be fascinating to see him starring in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale.