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Blast from the Past Movie Review – “American Pie” (1999)

March 25, 2012

In honor of recently seeing “American Reunion” I thought I’d revisit the original movie. It was the summer of ’99, I was visiting my Uncle Lou in New Jersey, I was 10 years old when he took me to see “American Pie”. Ahh the memories, crude humor, gross-out gags, and all the female nudity a young boy needs. It was the perfect storm. But, does the movie still hold today, in a world full of Judd Apatow’s & Todd Phillips’?

It’s the age old tale, four high school teens are horny and they wanna lose their virginity. Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris Klein), and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) make a pack, that on the night of their high school prom, the four boys will finally become men. During that time, they each need to figure how and who they’re going to make their move with. Which leads into a multi-layered story about high school romance, crushes, and one time flings. Jim vies for the desirable foreign exchange student, Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth). Kevin is conflicted with the status of his relationship with his then girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid), Oz finds true love in the form of his choir partner, Heather (Mena Suvari), and Finch…he’s just too complicated.

The movie follows these young men through a journey of young self-discovery, it’s a coming of age story with a few little 80’s niche crudeness, a-la-“Animal House”, but still finds a way to sneak in the heart and drama of a John Hughes story. Everyone’s favorite side character Stiffler (Sean William Scott) is certainly the Bluto of the 90’s generation, and is the quint-essential embodiment of teenage tomfoolery, even if he is embellished a little too far. “American Pie” is considered by many to be a time capsule of 90’s life, while I might not agree 100%, it does bring back some forms of nostalgia; the music & the language are key factors, which sort of swing back to “American Reunion”, when a character in that film considered the Spice Girls to be ‘classic rock’.

I think the movie still holds hope today, although there were movies that followed it’s formula, and handled it in a more realistic sense, one that I think should come to everyones mind is Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg’s high school opus “Superbad”. Like “American Pie”“Superbad” redefined the high school genre much as how “American Pie” did to the John Hughes area and I’m sure that pattern will continue every decade to come. But, for now “American Pie” remains a teen comedy classic that still holds a special place in my generations little hearts, and if you’re thinking about seeing “American Reunion” come April 6th, I say, revisit the original before you see the fourth incarnation of an American tradition.


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