Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bile

I didn't like "American Pie" when I was of the exact age it was supposed to be relevent to me - but then, high-school movies aren't actually for High Schoolers but for grade-schoolers who fantasize about being High Schoolers so... whatever. I'm 31, I'm sure there are 20-and-under folks with really fond, life-changing memories of these movies. At least, that's what this "American Reunion" trailer is banking on...



Y'know, my problem with this isn't that the original was only 13 years ago. My problem is that the THIRD movie - which was also about them all being adults wistful about their high-school days - was barely NINE years ago.

Also, I've got to ask... these movies are largely being made by people much older than the characters themselves; but am I the only one who notices how incongruous the whole "mid-30s adulthood grind" thing mus feel compared to what seems to be the REAL situations of the generation that graduated when these kids are supposed to have? I mean, did no one writing this look at the current economy, demographic studies, the THOUSANDS of books written about "Boomerang Kids" etc and pick up that Generation Y is by-and-large NOT at the "world wear rat-race" point that they (the writers/producers) may have been? I mean, Jim is married, has kids and a house of his own in his mid-30s!? Dear lord, what's he got to be weary about - compared to the rest of his generation his fucking SUPERMAN!!!"

16 comments:

Angry Man said...

oh god, I didn't know the "American" movies were still a thing... buggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

GeekStanton said...

As someone the same age/demographic as you, Bob, I'm very much inclined to agree. These guys are supposed to be a year younger than us? I was class of '98. Most of my old high school friends are lost in their own miasma or trying to parley a Master's of Fine Arts into managing a taco truck (true story.)

While I can't say I'm going to boycott this movie on principle that it's an entirely unrealistic view of my generation (the whole series is hyperbole, anyway) I will likely end up seeing it when it's on Netflix streaming 6 months after release.

InnerPartisan said...

To be perfectly honest: I *like* American Pie, at least the first two films. I'm pretty much the exact same age as you are (I turned 31 a week ago), and when the first movie hit cinemas back in '99 I hated it out of principle, because I was all alternative and goth and edgy. Sigh. Whoever said the 90s sucked? :D

Anyway. After repeated viewings and some maturing I've come to a realization: American Pie might not be a John Hughes movie, but it pulls all the right strings at all the right places. I feel about it the same way I feel about, for example, Judd Apatow's output (chiefly among them: Superbad) or the first Harold&Kumar: Yes, it's sophomoric and crude, but it has fucking heart. It is sincere. The characters might be exagerated, but they are real.

And that's, essentially, what makes those movies efficent and, yes, good comedies.
They might not be great, but they are way, way better films than abominable imintations like the Hangover movies.

J.C. Hedges said...

I think it's interesting that while I'm super nostalgic about 90's cartoons like Mighty Max, I'm not at all nostalgic about the movie that introduced me to BREASTS when I was ten. You'd think I'd be more greatful. Either way I'm not watching this.

Popcorn Dave said...

Ahh, too true. I'm 26 and very few of my classmates have anything close to the suburban 9-to-5 wife-and-kids ideal. Seems like a wasted opportunity really, it would have been nice to at least pay lip service to the fact that this generation has bigger problems than being tempted by super-hot 18 year olds.

Gavin McQue said...

As someone 20 who lives with a bunch of 20 year olds, these movies do have a lot of nostalgic value to them and they're looking forward to it (I wasn't allowed to watch them so not so much for me). So yeah, not so much a reflection of real life as it is wish-fulfillment, even this plot seems to be wish fulfillment about the future our generation will be avoiding for as long as possible.

Phil said...

Does anyone think that this movie is going to be a box office hit?

Anyone?

I'm afraid I can't get to excited about it either. At least many of those in the cast that were lacking in a theatrical released gig got another much needed job though.

Uncle Tim said...

Are you seriously and without irony saying you're disappointed that a comedy film series whose defining moment is a guy fucking a pie doesn't accurately reflect the social and economic conditions of the generation it depicts?

Mads said...

I'm 26, and all my mates are 25-28.

I was the target age group of the original, so I'm probably supposed to be the person who's excited about this...

Except this film is obviously for dudebro's. What kind of dudebro?, The kind that went to business school of course. Accountants and controllers, financial analysts and salesmen.

Obviously, the problems are first world problems, every one of them...but this demographic is marrying when they're a couple of years out of university and they have a steady job. My 28 years old cousin just got married 6 months ago, and while he doesn't have a kid, he could easily have a one-years-old right now.

These people aren't intellectuals, they buy houses or apartments, like to party (and they bartend or have at some point, obviously), and they're doing boring ass work so they feel their life outside of work must be their identity.

And you know, even though I was the target demographic, I was always a nerd and budding intellectual, so I wasn't _really_ ever the target demographic. But this kid in my class who currently attends customers at a bank and arrange loans for them? Who played soccer really well, was a prick and a bully, and took the safest path of least education onto the job market and is now living down a hellishly boring career?

He was the target demographic then and probably is now.

Don't get me wrong, I did watch american pie, and I did have fun - but it's a dumb fuckin' movie for people who made boring ass choices in life, but who _are_ probably financially secure.

Mister Linton said...

@everyone whining about Jim's life situation in his mid thirties: u jelly?

biomechanical923 said...

I agree with Bob on this one.
High School movies are not for high-schoolers. They're for kids, who watch it and say "I can't WAIT until I'm 16-18, it's gonna be AWESOME".

I never liked high school movies because they're all the same: "Somebody's parents went away on vacation, party time!"

I guess it's hard to embrace and support other people's sexual liberation when my appearance pretty much made me untouchable.

MovieBob said...

@UncleTim

I wouldn't say it like that... but yeah, I kinda am.

Part of what was supposed to be noteworthy about the original "American Pie" was that it was pulling the then-moribund "Teen Sex Comedy" genre out of the Hughes/Heckerling retread loop it'd been stuck in for a bit and placing it in a context that more directly reflected of the social/sexual dynamics of actual high-school aged audiences of the moment: AIDs etc not being the ultimate hovering black cloud, helicopter/buddy parents instead of "invasive prude" parents, the web etc. being part of the equation and so forth.

As such, it's kind of off-putting - at least to me - that what is positioning itself as THE "Surprise! You're grownups!" movie for Generation Y looks like EXACTLY the same movie you could make for any other generation's HS Reununion movie. Especially considering that there's MUCH more potential for both comedy and (theoretical) poignancy in a version where these guys get together for their "wow, look how much we've changed!" reunion and realize that they really HAVEN'T progressed hardly at all since High School - which I imagine would be genuinely relevent to GenY now in the same way that the Jim & Jim's Dad stuff or "wait - SHE used ME!?" stuff in the first one was to them back then.

biomechanical923 said...

@MovieBob
what is positioning itself as THE "Surprise! You're grownups!" movie for Generation Y

I think Hollywood has been doing this for a few years already now. Apatow's been pushing that message since "Knocked Up" and there's been a wave of the same sentiment coming this year with movies like "Young Adult"

Mads said...

On that point, Bob, you're right - I mean, I _do_ think it strikes a cord with a number of gen y'ers...but something like "funny people" _does_ really strike such a cord...Or Clerks 2, for that matter.

In my oppinion, anyway.

Uncle Tim said...

@Bob

Perhaps your mileage may vary, but most of my friends from high school, who are at about the generation level of those depicted in the film (I graduated a few years before the release of the first film) seem to be at exactly the "world-weary rat-race" point the film seems to depict: they have families and careers and children and mortgages and the high school years seem far away indeed, so I'd say that does reflect real situations. A lot of people do experience that progression and it's a scary realization, one that I think is much more interesting that a state of arrested development (although Stifler seems to be about there from what we see in the trailer).

Beyond all that, in the end it is a comedy and not a hard-hitting depiction of a generation's woes. As you mention earlier in your initial rant, it is a fantasy more or less, one that's designed to entertain. Along those lines, one might as well complain that Captain America fails to accurately depict the trauma felt by WWII soldiers in the field or the horrors of the Holocaust.

Philbo said...

As a 21 year old Brit, I enjoyed the originals because I was too young to be watching them, because they were funny, and because they described an Ideal of American highschool life that I enjoyed as an outsider the same way I enjoyed American Graffiti, Porkies, and Dazed and Confused.

It doesn't matter to me that these movies are not comparable to my life.

Not everyone gets to be the Quarterback, not everyone goes to Oxford/Cambridge, not everyone etc etc.

I will watch the movie, and if the characters are relateable enough to the previous movies that their progression seems believable, and the way they act in this movie is realistic enough to the situations this movie presents, AND IT IS FUNNY, I'll enjoy it.