The ‘American Pie’ Independent Study Program

By  · Published on May 12th, 2012

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema…tequila is my lady! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but head honcho Brian Salisbury has been changing up the recipe round these parts. It all started with Kindergarten Cop and continued with 5 Courses Not Offered at Rock ’n’ Roll High School. I’ve stepped into the master’s kitchen this week to continue the new cooking style. We’ll look at a film of dubious quality, point out flaws, missed opportunities and shining moments alike and, as per usual, offer up a delicious snake to go along with the film. This week’s target? American Pie.

American Pie is a pure slice of 90s that I’m sure you’ll recall with either warm nostalgia or cold indifference. Regardless, the plot, as it were, is simply four best friends making a pact to lose their virginity. As you might expect it’s a bit of a rocky road on the way to sexy town, but they all manage to stumble and fall across the finish line in ways they never expected. And while they certainly learned a few things, hardly any of it was in a classroom. I like to think they went to a progressive high school where upperclassmen were encouraged to create their own independent study programs. Here are a few of the areas where the guys were trying to learn:

Public Speaking – Words are important. For example, if your girlfriend says “I love you” you should probably say it back or risk incurring her wrath. If you’re really uncomfortable with saying it back, talk to her about it. Sure she’s going to be a little hurt at first, but it’s better to be honest about where you’re at. Just responding “OK” like Kevin does or “I love spending time with you” is going to hurt her too. Girls know what the second one means, they’re not fooled by the fact that the first three words are the same. Kevin learns this lesson eventually, but not before screwing it up twice.

Oral Presentation – Oh Kevin, you may screw up more than other guy in this film. If your girl is Tara Reid, still late 90s hot Tara Reid to be specific, and she’s good enough to give you head on a regular basis, even at parties, it is your sworn duty to return the favor. Luckily, Kevin fares better in this course than he did in Public Speaking. He calls up Casey Affleck, who looks unsurprisingly more like Daredevil’s brother than the brother of the kid from Rookie of the Year, who bestows upon him a giant hand drawn sex manual, ostensibly passed down to high school students. From other high school students. Meaning that it’s the accumulated knowledge that a bunch of 18 year olds have about sex, which is not much. Nonetheless, Kevin steps up to the plate and reciprocates, finally giving his girlfriend an orgasm. Well done, Kevin. B+

Sociology 101 – Oz and Jim apparently took this one together. Oz initially joins glee club because it’s a target rich enviornment but quickly learns that he likes singing. This will serve him well during the karaoke resurgence of the 2010s. He also learns that if a girl is cute you should go for it, whether she’s in choir and you play football or not. OK fine, lacrosse. Apparently the American Pie guys go to rich kid high school. Or maybe lacrosse is really big in Michigan, I have no idea. I grew up in a cornfield in Indiana where we started playing basketball at age 6 so I have little room to talk. At least it wasn’t polo. Jim on the other hand is kinda forced into crossing clique lines, an almost suicidal thought in high school, by his dismal performance with Nadia. Though he soon learns that some girls like taking charge, whether they’re band geeks or not. Fortunately cliques only seem to matter in high school anyway, so Jim and Oz are basically getting college credit here by learning this early.

Sociology 202 – It should come as no surprise that Finch is in a way advanced Sociology class. He utilizes the magic of the high school rumor mill, bending it to his will. By paying a girl to start rumors about the size of his package, he soon becomes the talk of the entire school. And, in true high school form, one half truth leads to another and by the end of it all, Finch is a tattoo-emblazoned badass with a elephant’s trunk between his spindly, powder white legs. While his plan ultimately fails, the runner up prize of Stifler’s mom is not too shabby.

Call me crazy, and I’m sure you will, but I really do enjoy American Pie. Maybe it’s because I was in high school when it came out, maybe it’s the late 90s soundtrack that takes me back to that time and place, or maybe it’s just that I can see bits of myself in the guys, making the same mistakes, learning the same lessons. There’s even something oddly sweet about Oz and Heather’s relationship amidst all the sex and beer. While it’s certainly not a great film, and no Junkfood Cinema title should be, it’s a film I love despite it’s shortcomings. And what’s the best way to enjoy American Pie?

Junkfood Pairing: McDonald’s Apple Pie

With your own warm apple pie of course! Come on, did you really think I was going to go there. Jim chose homemade but it’s cheaper, easier, and most likely far less healthy to go with the processed and packaged version from McDonalds. Bite into that warm “pie crust” and taste delicious apple product, which is almost certainly not made from rat intestine. Or maybe that’s the McRib. In any case, feel free to add vanilla ice cream for that extra touch.

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