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"THE CAVEMAN'S VALENTINE"
(2001) (Samuel L. Jackson, Colm Feore) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Heavy Extreme *Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Mild Moderate Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: Despite no one believing him and having to deal with the voices, visions and fears he repeatedly experiences, a paranoid schizophrenic tries to prove that a conspiracy is involved after discovering a frozen body outside his city park cave.
PLOT:
Romulus Ledbetter (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) is a former Julliard-trained musician who snapped some time ago and is now a paranoid schizophrenic living in a park cave outside Manhattan. Everyone knows of Romulus, a.k.a. the Caveman, and his delusional ranting, including his daughter Lulu (AUNJANUE ELLIS), a city cop, and Sheila (TAMARA TUNIE), his estranged wife.

Thus, when Romulus truly finds the frozen body of Scott Gates, a homeless twenty-year-old, perched in a tree outside his cave, no one will buy into his theory that the person responsible is his omnipresent adversary, Cornelius Gould Stuyvesant, whom he believes watches his every move from atop the Chrysler building.

Although Lulu and the rest of the police believe that Gates simply froze to death, Romulus believes the man was murdered, a theory confirmed by one of Gates' friends, Matthew (RODNEY EASTMAN), a homeless junkie. It seems that Gates formerly worked as a model for acclaimed art photographer David Leppenraub (COLM FEORE), and after they had a falling out, planned to blackmail him with a tape allegedly showing the photographer torturing Gates. Accordingly, Matthew believes Leppenraub had Gates murdered, all of which feeds into Romulus' conspiracy-laden mind.

After briefly investigating the photographer and discovering they have a common acquaintance, Arnold (DAMIR ANDREI), Romulus borrows an old suit from a compassionate lawyer, Bob (ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL), and his wife Betty (KATE McNEIL), and then heads with Arnold to a fundraiser where Leppenraub will be appearing. There, Romulus not only gets to meet the photographer and play detective, but he also meets Leppenraub's sister, Moira (ANN MAGNUSON), and Joey (JAY RODAN), the young man who allegedly shot the torture videotape.

From that point on, and while dealing with various delusional visions - including those of odd emanations of light from the Chrysler building and a much younger Sheila who talks to him and acts as his muse - Romulus must overcome his own mental instability, and everyone's else's doubts about him and his theories, as he tries to solve the murder.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or of the original novel, it's probably not very likely that many kids will want to see this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, some violence and sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • In order to prevent giving away the identity of any guilty parties, such attributes are not listed below in the character descriptions.
  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON plays a paranoid schizophrenic and one-time former brilliant pianist who now lives in a park cave and believes a man in the Chrysler Building is watching and trying to control his life. He uses strong profanity and sleeps with Moira while trying to solve a murder case.
  • COLM FEORE plays an acclaimed art photographer who takes bizarre angel photos, uses strong profanity and acts suspicious regarding the death of one of his former models.
  • ANN MAGNUSON plays David's artsy sister who sleeps with Romulus and uses some strong profanity.
  • AUNJANUE ELLIS plays Romulus' police officer daughter who's embarrassed that he's her father. She uses some profanity while trying to help him and figure out whether there's any validity to his allegations of murder.
  • TAMARA TUNIE plays Romulus' estranged wife in real life who shows up in his imagination as his muse. She uses some profanity.
  • JAY RODAN plays Leppenraub's videographer and latest model who acts nervous about what his boss might do to him.
  • RODNEY EASTMAN plays a young and homeless drug addict who uses strong profanity and is gay.
  • ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL plays a lawyer who takes an interest in Romulus and helps him to some degree.
  • DAMIR ANDREI plays an old associate/friend of Romulus' who gives him a ride to Leppenraub's place. He uses some strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama/suspense film. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 43 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Some explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, as is an artfully shot sex scene that includes nudity, movement and a great deal of sensuality. Other nonsexual nudity is present, including brief sideways views of man's penis as he gets into a shower.

    Violence consists of one onscreen murder via a shooting (with bloody results), an off-screen murder (we see the frozen body), and other moments of non-lethal violence (hitting, etc. with some bloody results) and threatening behavior. Those scenes and others, including the protagonist's various delusional visions and some macabre art photography, may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, some smoke and/or drink (with talk of drug use and addicts, but no substances or use are seen), one stunt (a lit match in the mouth) might be enticing to imitate, and some tense family scenes are present (involving a wife and daughter's reaction to their husband/father being a paranoid schizophrenic).

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Matthew, a drug user himself, states that Leppenraub got his friend, Scott, strung out on dope. We later see Matthew begging a dealer for some drugs while that man tries to sell some (unseen) to others.
  • Bob, Betty and Romulus drink a toast.
  • Romulus sees a vision of Sheila carrying a glass of champagne.
  • Various people have drinks at a fundraiser, wine with dinner, and then after dinner drinks.
  • Moira mentions that the dead man was a dope fiend/junkie.
  • Romulus and Matthew drink.
  • While describing a flashback, Joey says that no amount of dope was going to get the soon-to-be dead man up in a tree due to his fear of heights.
  • Various people drink at Bob and Betty's place, including Romulus who downs several glasses of some sort of presumably alcoholic punch.
  • Romulus and Leppenraub have drinks.
  • Someone mentions something about getting someone "drunk as a skunk."
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We hear Romulus urinating outside and see the resultant yellow snow.
  • We see a dead and frozen body perched up on a tree branch.
  • We see a black and white, presumably staged photo of Leppenraub's that shows a man with a knife and a fair amount of blood down his back and then later see a mannequin with an opened chest/belly incision that shows the "guts" inside it (not realistic looking).
  • We some slightly bloody scrapes/cuts on Romulus' face (along with a little bit on his shirt collar). After he mentions that a spot on some photography props looks like real blood, Moira points out that it's his.
  • We see some blood on Matthew's face.
  • We see a little bit of blood on a man's lip on videotape.
  • We see a little bit of blood on Romulus' head.
  • We see a pool of blood flowing into the snow from a man who's just been shot.
  • We briefly see a little bit of a bloody branding mark on a man's bare butt (after the branding iron is removed).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Those responsible for the frozen man's death and some blackmail/extortion obviously have extreme cases of both types of attitudes.
  • A minor character is a drug dealer who threatens both Matthew and Romulus, and later threatens Romulus again.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be tense or unsettling to some viewers.
  • The many moments (that occur throughout the film) where Romulus has visions (of light emanating from the Chrysler Building, of bizarre, dancing angels, etc.), hears whispering voices, and generally acts mentally unstable (along with shots of bizarre imagery) may be a bit unsettling to some viewers.
  • We see a dead and frozen body perched up on a tree branch.
  • Romulus encounters a car on the other side of a bridge that turns on its lights and suddenly makes a run at him, causing him to jump from the bridge. The masked driver then gets out and fires several shots at Romulus who runs through the woods at night and hides from this man.
  • A person hits Romulus out in the snow at night, and then seems to hit him with his gun. We then see that two men are there, and one hits Romulus in the gut. After one of them says that they're going to torture Lulu, Romulus grabs one and begins choking him until the other repeatedly hits him on the head and back until he falls off. One of them then holds a gun to Romulus' head as he makes a phone call.
  • A brief gun standoff occurs between Lulu and a man holding a gun to Romulus' head with the latter telling Lulu to shoot the other man.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Knife: Used by a drug dealer to threaten Matthew, while another is seen in one of Leppenraub's photos.
  • Arrows: Seen lodged in a person in one of Leppenraub's photos.
  • Handguns: Used by various people to pistol-whip, threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cker," "F*ck you up," "You f*cking coward," "What the f*ck are you doing here?" "What the f*ck is this?" "You f*ckhead," "No sh*t," "If your sh*t was a rocket ship, you could go to the moon," "Bullsh*t," "You're going to get yourself into deep sh*t," "You scared the sh*t out of me," "Crazy sh*t," "You p*ssy," "How the hell did you wind up here?" "Bastard," "Nigger" (said by Romulus who's black), "That sucked," "What the hell?" "Go to hell," "Nutcase," "Pisses me off," "Knocked up," "How the hell should I know?" "What the hell happened to you?" "Get the hell out," "Move your ass," "Bitch," "Hell no," "Nuts" (crazy), "You stupid faggot," and "How the hell would you know?"
  • After earlier mentioning that he could do this, Romulus puts a lit match into his mouth (holding the unlit end between his teeth) so that he looks like a Jack-o'-lantern.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 43 "f" words (5 used sexually, 2 used with "mother"), 12 "s" words, 1 slang term using female genitals ("p*ssy"), 13 hells, 7 asses (3 used with "hole"), 1 damn, 2 uses each of "G-damn," "Oh God" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Christ," "For Christ's sakes," "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a washed out, black and white image of a heart-shaped branding iron being pressed against a man's bare butt cheek.
  • We see several views of Romulus' bare butt as he undresses and goes into a shower at Bob's place (to get cleaned up). We also very briefly and partially see a sideways view of his penis as he goes into the shower.
  • Romulus tells Arnold that he left Julliard in the past because he got Sheila "knocked up" (pregnant).
  • Throughout the film we see various, disorienting shots of bare-chested male angels who dance/cavort around (as in modern dance) but can't tell if they're completely nude or not.
  • A woman shows some cleavage.
  • Moira passionately kisses Romulus who's shirtless. We then see various brief and artsy images of them fooling around including her bare back, him nuzzling her neck and then caressing her bare breast. We then see his head moving down her body (with his dreadlocks flowing down it), and then a close-up shot of his bare butt between her legs as he's on top of her. We then see her sitting on top of him having sex and see a bare breast. We then see an image of Sheila talking to Romulus after he's had sex with Moira and Sheila says, "Some white girls will f*ck any kind of black man." She then asks if by sleeping with Moira he was "digging for evidence." We then see Romulus in bed with Moira who's asleep under the covers (and see part of her bare breast and back as well as his bare butt as he gets up).
  • We briefly see a little bit of a bloody branding mark on a man's bare butt (after the branding iron is removed).
  • Romulus asks Moira, "Did you f*ck Scotty?" (the dead man). He then asks, "If you f*cked him, then you saw his butt, right?" She then says that she didn't see his butt "because I didn't f*ck him." She then says that he was gay and then adds, "Do you think I f*ck everybody?" She does later indirectly admit to sleeping with another man.
  • Romulus tells someone that he thought maybe Moira had sex with Scotty.
  • SMOKING
  • Leppenraub smokes a few times, while some miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Lulu is embarrassed about her father's condition and that he's a mentally unstable, homeless man. Thus, their relationship is somewhat estranged, as is Romulus' with his wife, Sheila, although we see her interacting with him in various "fantasy" segments where she acts as his muse of sorts.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The mentally ill and the homeless and how family members, the authorities and strangers react to both.
  • What would have caused Romulus to become a paranoid schizophrenic.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Romulus tackles a suspicious man out in the snow, but it turns out to be Matthew.
  • A drug dealer pushes Matthew up against a wall and threatens him with a knife.
  • We see a black and white and presumably staged photo of Leppenraub's that shows a man with a knife and a fair amount of blood down his back, another shows what look like arrows in another person, and yet another shows what looks like a person who's been hanged.
  • Romulus encounters a car on the other side of a bridge that turns on its lights and suddenly makes a run at him, causing him to jump from the bridge. The masked driver then gets out and fires several shots at Romulus who runs through the woods at night and hides from this man.
  • We see a flashback of some men dragging Matthew along through the woods and later see some blood on his face.
  • Romulus watches a videotape of what's presumably the dead man being tortured before he was killed (but beyond a close-up of the man's anguished face, shots of him bound - by tape -- to meat locker hooks and Romulus' reaction to what he sees that we don't, we don't see anything else).
  • A person hits Romulus out in the snow at night, and then seems to hit him with his gun. We then see that two men are there, and one hits Romulus in the gut. After one of them says that they're going to torture Lulu, Romulus grabs one and begins choking him until the other repeatedly hits him on the head and back until he falls off. One of them then holds a gun to Romulus' head as he makes a phone call.
  • A brief gun standoff occurs between Lulu and a man holding a gun to Romulus' head with the latter telling Lulu to shoot the other man. Romulus then stands up and knocks this man aside, causing his gun to fire.
  • Lulu shoots one man in the shoulder and then fires many shots at another man who fired at the injured man, killing him (we see a pool of blood flowing from him into the snow).
  • We briefly see a little bit of a bloody branding mark on a man's bare butt (after the branding iron is removed).
  • A man pulls out a gun but others grab him just as he fires one shot (but apparently no one is harmed).



  • Reviewed February 23, 2001 / Posted March 9, 2001

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