So, this past weekend saw the release of the hotly anticipated (by me, and apparently 21 million dollars worth of other late 20s/early 30s former 90s teens) American Reunion. While the movie wasn’t absolutely perfect, it more than made up for its flaws with the nostalgic factor of spending two hours with some of your favorite, old High School friends. I don’t know about you, but I had a group of friends in high school that we called the American Pie crew. Each one of us were able to relate to one of the four main guys in the movie. That’s right, while you women were off discussing if you were a “Samantha” or a “Carrie”, we were figuring out if we were a “Jim” or a “Finch”. I was a “Kevin”, the self-aware, logical and realistic thinking one of the group. In Reunion, Kevin has become domesticated as he works primarily from home, watches trashy Bravo reality TV shows, and DVRs episodes of Gossip Girl. HELLO, story of my friggin life, RIGHT?!?!?! Seeing what became of these characters and hearing them reminisce about the glory days of their youth truly hit home with me, especially since it was released a week after I received a Facebook invite to join the page set-up for planning my own High School reunion this summer.
These characters, in one way or another, defined my generation, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t nearly tear up a couple times throughout the movie as I related to things they were going through and the life changes they were dealing with. Not to mention some of the subtle references to the original movie, like the same song that played when Oz smashed out Heather on the dock at the lake playing during their dance at the reunion. Perfect touch. The American Pie series was always known for its balance of gross out humor and heart and Reunion was no exception on this front. If you’re part of my generation, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. With a soundtrack filled with awesome late 90s songs and references to days where it was unheard of for average teenagers to have cell phones, it’ll make you feel old as effing dust. But, at the same time, remind you of how awesome being a teenager really was.
And now that I went and got all sentimental on y’all, let’s get down to the subject at hand. Revisiting the original American Pie. Clearly, it’s no secret that I’m thoroughly obsessed with teen movies with a special affection for every one released during my formative years of yester. But, let’s get real serious with ourselves, for every phenomenal 10 Things I Hate About You and Election, there was a less than phenomenal Eurotrip and Here on Earth. I know, right? You’re totally asking yourself, “what the hell is Here on Earth?”, to which I reply, “Exactly”. They couldn’t all be gems, now.
In 1999, the teen genre peaked with some of the best of the genre. But, aside from the occasional R rated fare like Varsity Blues, Jawbreaker, and Cruel Intentions, they were mostly fun, PG-13 flicks. That was until one little movie snuck its way into the summer blockbuster season and brought back the Porky’s-esque teen sex comedy with a vengeance. High School was R rated. We swore every chance we got and spent every available minute being obsessed with sex and American Pie knew it. It was what everyone was talking about on AIM and in the AOL chatrooms (I know, right? How ancient did I just make you feel?) and I NEEDED to see it. Having been released a week before my 15th birthday, I was obviously WAY too young to buy my own ticket to see the movie, but luckily I had a dad who said “get in the car, we’re going to the movies” without me even having to ask. Man, my poor father. Totally subjected to every and any R rated film, for better or for worse, that came out before my 17th birthday. Luckily for him, American Pie was indeed for the better.
I feel like there’s some movies you watch for the first time and right off the bat know that this is something special. Something that will age gracefully and stand the test of time. Kind of like watching Clueless or Scream for the first time. These were seminal films that started pop culture trends, yet, in the end, always out shined their many imitators. As I mentioned earlier, we used to assign characters to ourselves, which I think shows why the movie was so popular. There was a character that every person was able to relate to. I mean, come on, in the days before hours upon hours of free, streaming porn was just a mouse click away, who of us didn’t try watching the scrambled Spice channel? (Channel 71 on my local cable provider, if memory serves.) The script was funny, the direction was on the ball with comedic timing, and the actors really clicked on screen (not to mention how HOT Shannon Elizabeth and Tara Reid were…and still are). A perfect storm in making what can be considered a “classic” film.
Dear American Pie,
Beneath the pie fucking, pale ale, flutes in orifices, and MILF, there was an honesty that really captured the bonds of High School, and for that, you and your characters will forever have a place in my heart. I’m so glad we were able to get together again this past week for a well needed reunion. And if we never see each other again, just remember that I totally man-love you, bro!
P.S. If I didn’t make you all feel decrepitly ancient enough already, behold the original American Pie theatrical trailer!