Friday FabOoolousness – Reuniting with our Pals from American Pie

Thirteen years ago we all met and fell in love with the quirky teenagers of American Pie.  In my early twenties at the time, I joined millions of other moviegoers and watched the group of young adults as they frantically fluttered about, preparing for their senior prom.  Would they all find a date?  Would any of them lose their virginity?  Would this night be a night to remember, forever?

American Pie was a huge box-office hit, and the success continued once the movie was available on DVD despite critics claims that the film was lewd and shallow.  Regardless, the American Pie film franchise has now grown to include four films starring our favorite characters and another four films following other groups of teenagers.

But for the sake of today’s post, we’re only focusing on the “real” American Pie favorites:

The original, American Pie;

The sequel, American Pie 2;

The official consummation, known as American Wedding;

And the most recent theatrical release, American Reunion.

One thing that I truly appreciate about the American Pie films is that the story follows a group of teenage boys; it’s not the usual girl drama of most YA films.  While there are female characters crucial to the storyline (Michelle, played by Alyson Hannigan; Heather, played by Mena Suvari; Vicky, played by Tara Reid; and Nadia, played by Shannon Elizabeth), the movie tells the tales of five male friends as they move throughout life: Jim Levenstein, played by Jason Biggs; Kevin Myers, played by Thomas Ian Nicholas; Chris “Oz” Ostreicher, played by Chris Klein; Paul Finch, played by Eddie Kaye Thomas; and Steve Stifler, played by Seann William Scott.

The boys/men of American Pie... in order from left to right: Kevin, Jim, Stifler, Oz, and Finch.

Another thing that I applaud is the fact that the franchise kept the original actors throughout; even when a particular star couldn’t return or wasn’t written into the sequel scripts, the casting remained the same.  We recently splurged and treated ourselves to a Sunday afternoon date at the AMC Cinema Suites where we sat back and enjoyed juicy hamburgers and parmesan fries while we witnessed the crew (the ENTIRE crew) come back together for their twelve year high school reunion.

The American Pie franchise keeps true to the comedic moments, with each movie featuring at least one outlandish and hilarious scene (usually featuring Jason Biggs).  In the original, Jim “makes love” to a warm apple pie after he’s told that’s what “third base” feels like.  In American Pie 2, Jim superglues a pornographic VHS tape to one hand, and his other hand to his you know what after he mistakes a bottle of lube with the super sticky adhesive.  Jim’s up to his old tricks in American Wedding when he decides to “manscape” before his nuptials to Michelle, and he disposes of the remnants a bit too close to a vent which of course blows the hair all over the wedding cake.  American Reunion doesn’t disappoint, but for those who haven’t made it to the movie theater these past two weeks to see it, we don’t want to give anything away.

How it all began...

Another great aspect of the American Pie films has to be the pranks.  For what seems to be true of most young boys, the American Pie movies are filled with boys playing pranks on one another.  For example, we have the famous scene of Finch blasting a massive bowel movement in the high school bathroom in the original, courtesy of Stifler (or the “Stifmeister” as he likes to be called); and we have the forever famous and ultimate payback when Finch has sex with Stifler’s mom (Jennifer Coolidge).

Stifler's Mom & Finch

Heck, our generation owes the American Pie franchise for introducing us to the word MILF — meaning Mom I’d Like to…Fondle (so that’s not the actual word, but you have to fill in the rest; sorry, we like to keep The Ooo Factor as clean as possible).

And speaking of parents, let’s not forget to mention Jim’s awkwardly awesome dad, Noah Levenstein, played by the great Eugene Levy.  Mr. Levenstein is actually the only character in all eight films credited to the American Pie franchise.

Jim and his beloved and quirky father, Mr. Levenstein

But back to what prompted us to write this post in the first place — American Reunion.  It’s too early to give a summation of the movie, but know this:  it does not disappoint.  My guy and I never go to the theater, but I was dying to see this film.  Instead of ignoring my constant pleading, my guy agreed to go with me (usually he asks that I attend “my movies” with my girlfriends).  And let me just say — he laughed, and laughed, and laughed.  While the credits were rolling, he actually said how fun it was.

Did American Reunion exceed our expectations?  No — but seriously, it did NOT disappoint either.  The story was very well done, and the fact that every single one of the major characters (and a few of the minor) shared the screen at one point or another deserves a standing ovation.

To quote a friend of mine, “everyone who saw the original American Pie in the theater, owes it to themselves to take a trip back to the movies to see American Reunion.”  I’m going to take it a step further and add that this rule applies to anyone who has seen any of the American Pie movies in the theater.  Actually, let’s go even further — this rule applies to everyone who has ever seen any of the American Pie movies — anyhow, anyway.

See? Even Mr. Levenstein gives it a "thumbs up!"

Have you seen American Reunion?  What are your thoughts on the entire American Pie franchise?  Which movie and/or character is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

For another review of American Reunion, click over to my friend Jillian Dodd’s blog.  It seems she and I agree that it’s a must see!

Tele-Tuesday: Astute or Psychic?

Which show can be described as a police procedural, detective drama, quirky comedy, and an ‘80s and ’90s throwback?

The USA Network’s Psych!

Shawn Spencer (James Roday, Miss Match) was an ornery young boy raised by his single cop dad (Henry Spencer played by Corbin Bernsen, L.A. Law).  Okay, Shawn is still a bit ornery today.  From a very early age, Shawn’s dad taught him to pay close attention to details; and, it’s this astute ability that has allowed Shawn to trick everyone around him into believing he is psychic.

Everyone, that is, except for his father and his best friend, partner, and pharmaceutical salesman Burton ‘Gus’ Guster (Dule Hill, The West Wing).

Each episode begins with a flashback to the ‘80s when Shawn and Gus were young boys.  Often times, this childhood scene depicts an observational lesson from Henry, or a direct memory from Shawn and Gus’ past (like remembering their old classmate, played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.) that will relate directly to the current week’s episode.

After assisting the Santa Barbara Police Department on a case, Shawn and Gus establish Psych, their psychic consulting firm.  Hired on a case by case basis by Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), Shawn and Gus work alongside detectives Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson, Judging Amy) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson, TV movies Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover).

Most of Psych’s fun spawns from the banter between Shawn and Gus, Lassie’s constant frustration and exasperation with the two Psych consultants, and the familiar (Shawn and Henry) and romantic (Shawn and Jules) relationships shared between characters.

Fan of the ‘80s? ‘90s? Look no further!  Psych not only casts familiar faces from the decades, but also includes puns on particular storylines.

Famous ‘80s and ’90s recurring guest stars include Phylicia Rashad as Gus’ mom (The Cosby Show), Cybill Shepherd as Shawn’s mom (Moonlighting), and Ray Wise as Father Westley (Twin Peaks).

Shawn’s nemeses are all ‘80s greats as well: Yin (Peter Weller, Robocop), Yang (Ally Sheedy, member of the “Brat Pack”), and Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes, The Princess Bride).

One of the best episodes to date was the Twin Peaks tribute in season five, “Dual Spires”.  James Roday outdid himself writing the episode: he perfected the oddities of the characters from Lynch’s bizarre murder mystery; he mimicked the eerie music and peculiar dancing to a “T”; and, he incorporated a few of the Twin Peaks iconic elements such as the dead girl’s body wrapped in plastic found by the water, the diner, the log lady, the caged bird, and the pie.

Psych even changed the opening credits to honor Twin Peaks.  This wasn’t the first time the program made subtle changes to the music to reflect the current episode’s theme (just a little fun-Psych-“I Know You Know”-fact).

Back to the blasts from the past, let’s not forget these additional ‘80s and ‘90s guest stars: Jaleel White (Family Matters), Rachael Leigh Cook from She’s All That, “Brat Pack” member Judd Nelson, C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid), Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show), Mena Suvari (American Pie), Carl Weathers (Rocky), and Twin Peaks alumni Dana Ashbrook, Sherilyn Fenn, and Sheryl Lee.

Need more? The new season promises to bring a few new faces from the ‘80s and ‘90s: Molly Ringwald (another “Brat-Pack” member), Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie), Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys), Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block), Jason Priestley (the original 90210), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon movies), William Shatner (Star Trek movies), and Madchen Amick (another Twin Peaks alumnus).

Rumor has it that this season will also include an Indiana Jones themed episode.  No doubt this will be fabulous!

Psych returns this Wednesday, October 12th.

Do you watch Psych?  Shawn or Gus?  Lassie or Henry?  Who is your favorite guest star to date?  Do you look for the pineapple in each episode?  I’d love to hear from you! 

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