American Pie (film)

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This article is about the original 1999 film. For the film series, see American Pie (series).
American Pie
Group picture of the cast. Alyson Hannigan has a flute in hand.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul Weitz
Chris Weitz
Produced by Chris Weitz
Paul Weitz
Chris Moore
Warren Zide
Craig Perry
Written by Adam Herz
Starring Jason Biggs
Chris Klein
Thomas Ian Nicholas
Alyson Hannigan
Shannon Elizabeth
Natasha Lyonne
Seann William Scott
Mena Suvari
Eddie Kaye Thomas
Tara Reid
Eugene Levy
Music by David Lawrence
Cinematography Richard Crudo
Edited by Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Production
  company
Zide/Perry Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • July 9, 1999 (1999-07-09)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Box office $235,483,004[1]

American Pie is a 1999 teen sex comedy film written by Adam Herz and directed by brothers Paul and Chris Weitz, in their directorial film debut. It is the first film in the American Pie theatrical series. The film was a box-office hit and spawned three direct sequels: American Pie 2 (2001), American Wedding (2003), and American Reunion (2012).[2] The film concentrates on five best friends (Jim, Kevin, Oz, Finch, and Stifler) who attend East Great Falls High. With the exception of Stifler (who has already lost his virginity), the guys make a pact to lose their virginity before their high school graduation. The title is borrowed from the pop song of the same name and refers to a scene in the film, in which the lead character is caught masturbating with a pie after being told that third base feels like "warm apple pie". It's also been stated by writer Adam Herz that the title also refers to the quest of losing your virginity in high school, which is as "American as apple pie."

The film's theme song is Laid by James, which is also the theme for the entire franchise.

In addition to the primary American Pie saga, there are currently four direct-to-DVD spin-off films bearing the title American Pie Presents: Band Camp (2005), The Naked Mile (2006), Beta House (2007), and The Book of Love (2009).

In response to the success of American Reunion, a fifth theatrical film, under the working title "American Pie 5" was announced on August 4, 2012.[3]

Plot[edit]

"American Pie" centers around four high school seniors from western Michigan who are good friends: Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas), a confident student with a girlfriend named Vicky (Tara Reid); Chris "Oz" Ostreicher (Chris Klein), a member of the high school lacrosse team; Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs), an awkward and sexually naïve character whose dad Noah (Eugene Levy) attempts to offer sexual advice including purchasing and giving him pornography; and Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), a mochaccino-drinking sophisticate and a nerd. These four boys make a pact, at Kevin's prompting, to lose their virginity before their high school graduation after a dorky classmate, Chuck Sherman (Chris Owen), claims to have done so at a party hosted by Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott), an ignorant and obnoxious lacrosse player who happens to be a close friend of the four.

Vicky later accuses Kevin of being with her only for sex, so he must try to repair his relationship with her before the upcoming prom night, when the four plan to lose their virginity. He eventually succeeds. Oz, meanwhile, joins the jazz choir in an effort to lose his reputation as an insensitive jock and find a girlfriend there. He soon wins the attention of Heather (Mena Suvari), a girl in the choir. However, he runs into problems when Heather learns about Oz's reputation and breaks up with him, although he manages to regain most of her trust when he leaves the lacrosse championship to perform a duet with her in a choir competition.

Jim, meanwhile, attempts to pursue Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), an exchange student from Slovakia who asks Jim for help to study for an upcoming History test. After being told by Oz that third base feels like "warm apple pie", he practices having sex with a pie, only to be caught by Noah (who lets him keep it a secret from his mother). Stifler persuades him to set up a webcam in his room so that they can all watch his encounter with Nadia. The plan suffers a hiccup, though, when Nadia discovers Jim's pornography collection and sits half-naked on his bed to read and masturbates to it. Jim is persuaded to return to his room, where he joins Nadia, unaware that he accidentally sent the webcam link to everyone on the school list. Nadia's exchange family sees the video and sends her back home, now leaving Jim dateless for the upcoming prom and without hope of losing his virginity before high school is over.

In sheer desperation, Jim asks band camp geek Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan) to the senior prom as she is apparently the only girl at his school who did not see what happened. Finch, meanwhile, pays Vicky's friend, Jessica (Natasha Lyonne), $200 to spread rumors around the school of his sexual prowess, hoping that it will increase his chances of success. Unfortunately, he runs into trouble when Stifler, angry that a girl turned him down for the prom because she was waiting for Finch to ask her, puts a laxative into Finch's mochaccino. Finch, being paranoid about the lack of cleanliness in the school restrooms, and unable to go home to use the toilet as he usually does, is tricked by Stifler into using the girls' restroom. Afterward, he emerges humiliated before a crowd of fellow students and is also left dateless.

At the prom, things seems bleak for the four boys until Vicky asks the girl that Chuck Sherman claimed to have bedded about her "first time." She proclaims to everyone at the prom that she and Sherman did not have sex at Stifler's party, leaving Sherman embarrassed and making him wet himself. The revelation takes the pressure off of Jim, Kevin, Oz and Finch, and they head to the post-prom party at Stifler's house with new hope.

At the after-party, all four boys fulfill their pledges. Kevin and Vicky have sex in an upstairs bedroom. Vicky breaks up with Kevin afterwards on the grounds that they will drift apart when they go to college, with him attending the University of Michigan and her at Cornell University; he tries to persuade her otherwise but quickly realizes that the distance between the two schools will be too much of a burden. Oz confesses the pact to Heather, and renounces it, saying that just by them being together makes him a winner. They reconcile and wind up having sex. Oz, honoring his newfound sensitivity, never confesses to what they did.

Jim and Michelle have sex after he finds out that she is actually not as naïve as she let on and that she saw the "Nadia Incident" after all. She accepted his offer to be his date because of it, knowing he was a "sure thing," but she makes him wear two condoms to combat his earlier "problem" with Nadia. Jim is surprised at Michelle's aggressiveness in bed. In the morning he wakes up to find her gone and realizes that she had used him for a one-night stand, which Jim thinks is "cool."

Dateless, Finch strays downstairs to the basement recreation room where he meets Stifler's Mom (Jennifer Coolidge). She is aroused by his precociousness, and they have sex on the pool table, and Finch has his revenge on Stifler with his mom. The next morning, while Stifler searches for his mom, he finds her on the pool table with Finch, and is so shocked that he faints. The morning after the prom, Jim, Kevin, Oz, and Finch eat breakfast at their favorite restaurant – with the fittingly nostalgic name "Dog Years" – where they toast to "the next step."

The film ends with Nadia watching Jim stripping on his webcam. Noah walks in (which Jim is completely oblivious to) but happily walks out and also starts dancing.

Cast[edit]

Cameos
  • Blink-182 make a cameo appearance as the band watching Jim and Nadia during their webcast though drummer Travis is incorrectly credited as former Blink-182 drummer "Scott Raynor". Also, when their song "Mutt" is credited, Barker's name is misspelled as "Travis Barkor". The parts were given when Tom DeLonge's acting agent reported the film needed a band.
  • Christina Milian appears as one of the band geeks.
  • Casey Affleck as Tom Myers, Kevin's older brother.
  • Stacy Fuson, Playmate of the Month for February 1999, appears in the crowd laughing at Finch when he exits the girls' restroom.

Location[edit]

Northwest view of the Los Cerritos house.

Much of the film is based on the writer's days at East Grand Rapids High School in Michigan.[4][5] In the film, the town is called "East Great Falls", and the high school sports the same school colors — blue and yellow — along with a similar mascot — the Trailblazers instead of the Pioneers. The restaurant hangout, "Dog Years", is based on Yesterdog, a popular hot dog restaurant in the nearby Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids.[6] The "Central Chicks" and "Central" Lacrosse team that East Great Falls plays against is an amalgam of nearby Forest Hills Central High School and Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School.[7]

The film was actually shot in Southern California, most notably in Long Beach using Long Beach Unified School District area high schools. Millikan High School, whose school colors are blue and gold, was used for exterior shots, and Long Beach Polytechnic High School was used for interior shots. Located in Los Cerritos, Long Beach, California, both schools are within five miles of the Virginia Country Club and Los Cerritos Neighborhood (where Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Donnie Darko were filmed).[8]

Release[edit]

Reception[edit]

Despite insiders claiming it to be a potential sleeper hit, Universal Pictures sold off the foreign rights in an attempt to recoup its budget. American Pie was sold successfully to foreign distributors at the Cannes International Film Festival.[9] The film took in a gross worldwide revenue of $235,483,004,[10][11] $132,922,000 of which was from international tickets.

In home video rentals, the film has grossed $109,577,352 worldwide, with $56,408,552 of that coming from sales in the US.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Based on 122 reviews Rotten Tomatoes gives American Pie a score of 61 percent considered "Fresh".[13] and a score of 58 ("mixed or average reviews") from Metacritic based on reviews from 30 critics.[14] The more negative reviews include Stephen Holden of The New York Times felt American Pie was "one of the shallowest and the most prurient teen films."[15] Robert Horton of Film.com wrote that American Pie "had a few amusing bits, however the audience should strongly note that the movie is really awful, and that it was not worthy of guilty pleasure status."[14] Jim Sullivan of The Boston Globe wrote that American Pie is a "gross and tasteless high school romp with sentimental mush."[14] Roger Ebert was more supportive, awarding it three out of four stars. He noted that "[i]t is not inspired, but it's cheerful and hard-working and sometimes funny, and—here's the important thing—it's not mean. Its characters are sort of sweet and lovable."[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
2000 American Comedy Award Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Eugene Levy Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Comedy Actor Eugene Levy Won [17]
Favorite Actress Mena Suvari Nominated [17]
Favorite Actor Alyson Hannigan Nominated [17]
Bogey Awards Bogey Awards in Platinum Universal Pictures Won
Casting Society of America Artios Award for Best Casting for Feature Film Universal Pictures Won
CFCA Award Best Promising Actor Chris Klein Nominated
Csapnivalo Award Golden Slate Award for Best Teen Movie Universal Pictures Won
Golden Screen Universal Pictures Won
Golden Screen with 1 Star Universal Pictures Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance Jason Biggs Nominated [18]
Breakthrough Female Performance Shannon Elizabeth Nominated [19]
Breakthrough Male Performance Jason Biggs Nominated [20]
Best Movie Universal Pictures Nominated [21]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Actor Jason Biggs Nominated
Choice Breakout Performance Chris Klein Nominated
Choice Comedy Universal Pictures Nominated
Choice Liar Chris Klein Nominated
Choice Sleazebag Seann William Scott Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards Best Ensemble Cast Jason Biggs Won
Breakthrough Female Performance Mena Suvari Won
Best Soundtrack Uptown Records & Universal Records Won

Box office[edit]

American Pie earned $102.6 million in North America and $132.9 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $235.5 million. In North America, it was the twentieth highest-grossing film of 1999 of the year.

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's soundtrack peaked at number 50 on the Billboard 200 chart.[22]

American Pie: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released June 29, 1999 (1999-06-29)
Length 46:02
Label Uptown, Universal
Various artists chronology
American Pie: Music from the Motion Picture
(1999)
American Pie 2: Music from the Motion Picture
(2001)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars [23]
No. Title Writer(s) Performed by Length
1. "New Girl"     Third Eye Blind 2:16
2. "You Wanted More"     Tonic 3:52
3. "Mutt"     Blink-182 3:23
4. "Glory"     Sugar Ray 3:29
5. "Super Down"     Super TransAtlantic 4:07
6. "Find Your Way Back Home"     Dishwalla 4:04
7. "Good Morning Baby"     Dan Wilson of Semisonic & Bic Runga 3:34
8. "Stranger by the Day"     Shades Apart 4:02
9. "Summertime"     Bachelor No. 1 3:46
10. "Vintage Queen"     Goldfinger 3:04
11. "Sway"     Bic Runga 4:23
12. "Wishen"     The Loose Nuts 3:04
13. "Man with the Hex"     The Atomic Fireballs 3:01

The following songs were included in the film but were not featured on the soundtrack:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]