Wednesday 19 January 2011

What Do You Mean You've Never Seen...American Pie?

I’ll never forget the first time I saw American Pie. It was the day after a schoolfriend’s eighteenth birthday party, and a fair crew of us had crashed back at my mate Kevin’s house. I woke up, on his couch, bleary eyed, and with a mouth that tasted of Carling and cheap cigars (I think that’s what my mouth tasted like all the way from sixteen to twenty-one, to be honest) and saw – on a German TV station at 9:30 in the morning: American Pie.

To this day neither I (nor anyone else who was there) have any explanation for why a recently released “15” certificate gross-out comedy would be shown on a German TV Station in English and without subtitles at that time in the morning. Maybe it was one of those Twilight Zone moments.

American Pie is the story of a group of friends doing what every teenager in the world does: trying to have sex.

Basically, four friends Kevin, Oz, Jim and Finch, make a pact, at Kevin's initiation, to lose their virginity before their high school graduation after a dorky classmate, Sherman, claims to have done so at a party hosted by fellow classmate and lacrosse player Steve Stifler.

Kevin has a series of problems with his girlfriend after she believes that he’s only with her for sex. Oz, meanwhile, joins the jazz choir in an effort to lose his reputation as an insensitive jock and wins the attention of Heather (Mena Suvari – the one who looks like a baby).

Finch pays a friend to spread rumors around the school of his sexual prowess, hoping that it will increase his chances of success. Jim, meanwhile, attempts to pursue Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth – remember her?), an exchange student from Czechoslovakia (remember there?). Stifler persuades him to set up a webcam in his room so that they can all watch it together. The plan backfires in the cringiest way possible when Nadia discovers Jim's porn. Jim returns to his room, where he joins Nadia, unaware that the weblink is being sent across the entire school. As Nadia is preparing to have sex with him, he prematurely ejaculates twice.

Shortly afterwards Nadia leaves school and goes back home now leaving Jim completely dateless for prom. In his desperation, Jim asks geek Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) to the senior prom as she is apparently the only girl at his school who did not see what happened.

American Pie wasn’t the first gross-out movie, or even the first “frat boy” comedy, by a good thirty years or more. The reason it works, though, is that all of the characters are likable – even Stifler. The situations may be bizarre and extreme, but the characters and the motivations behind them are immediately familiar to any man (and probably woman) who has ever gone through puberty. The notion that sex is the answer to all of the problems you’ve ever had, and your burning desire to achieve it - despite being burdened with socially crippling problems like “homework”, “parents” and “school” – is all that consumes you from dawn to dusk. And a little bit after that, to be honest.

Building off of the success of movies such as There’s Something About Mary and Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, American Pie presents a pretty even split between toilet humour and Alan-Partridge-esque cringing. There’s visual and verbal gags about poo, spunk and so on; but there are also several great “cringe” moments – mostly centring on Jim and his Dad (played brilliantly by Eugene Levy). There’s the aforementioned premature ejaculation scene, obviously, but there’s also the unforgettable titular sequence in which Jim discovers that his mother has baked an apple pie and left it to cool on the table.

Since he was told earlier in the film that a vagina feels just like warm apple pie, Jim proceeds to...have sex with the pie.

Of course, as he’s doing so, his father comes home and catches him in the act in what must be one of the most awkward movie moments ever. Then, there’s a second laugh as we cut to Jim and his Dad sitting in front of the ruined pie with a hole in the middle, and Jim’s Dad says, reassuringly: “We’ll just tell your mother that...we ate it all.”.

If you haven’t seen it, then you owe it to yourself to pick it up. Don’t rent it – buy it.

Maybe it was just that I was the right age to build a real emotional attachment to the movie itself, but it was a big thing for a lot of people my age. It left everyone laughing, sure; but it also left you feeling that you weren’t alone, and that you knew you and your friends were the same as teenage kids all over the world. You pranked each other, you failed with girls together, you insulted each other, and you were all in it for each other

And it left you more than a little bit in love with a sexually deviant Alyson Hannigan.

"I'll Willow her Ufgood, if you know what I mean..."
"That doesn't've referenced two totally...never mind."


Based on EA's best-selling Dead Space games! Unlock the secrets behind the action horror series with this two disc movie collection! The secrets of the Dead Space universe are laid bare across two discs of alien terror!

Dead Space: Downfall When a deep space mining operation discovers a mysterious alien Marker, some believe they have finally found evidence of our creators. However, the removal of the Marker instead unleashes a horrific alien species, which had been entombed within a remote planet, and a desperate fight for survival ensues. The story follows a select group of miners and crew members, as they confront a grotesque and lethal invasion unlike anything ever seen before. The Dead Space animation will serve as a prequel to the game, and take adult animated horror to a whole new level.

Dead Space 2: Aftermath: The year is 2509 and not only has Earth lost contact with the Ishimura and Isaac Clarke, but now also the USG O'Bannon, the first responder ship sent to rescue them. Four crew members of the O'Bannon have survived. But what happened to the rest of the crew? What were they doing? What secrets are they keeping? All to be revealed... in the Aftermath!

Dead Space: Aftermath is a fast paced, horrifying thrill ride told through the perspective of the four survivors by several renowned international directors. Each vision unique and bold in its own way. Voiced by an excellent cast led by Christopher Judge (Stargate: SG-1), Peter Woodward (Babylon 5, Charmed), Ricardo Chavira and Gwendoline Yeo.

Thanks to our friends at Anchor Bay, we've got three copies of the Dead Space Movie Double Packon DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Wednesday 26th January, making sure to put "Dead Space" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy each!

Don't forget to put "Dead Space" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

The Dead Space Movie Double Pack is available on DVD from Monday 24th January, priced £24.99.

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