Making the Grades
American Pie's story is criminally simple: Four high school senior boys are convinced that going to college as virgins is akin to a death sentence. "They'll have special dorms for guys like us!" one exclaims. So they all agree to fix the problem, and the best opportunity is the annual high school party and drunk-fest known as prom. Of course, they need some girls to make this work, and the film contributes specimens that would keep any guy's fantasies up all night.
The boys rove the high school like heat-seeking missiles looking for any likely target that will help them in their quest, resulting in many descriptive sexual conversations. Observing their exploits, we are party to scenes involving male and female masturbation (the latter with nudity), oral sex, and sexual intercourse.
The girls' parts are coyly written attributing them with the ultimate power that will enable the guys to meet their goal. So coy, in fact, female audiences may miss the point that although the female characters get to pick the perfect time, they still all submit in the end.
Originally given an NC-17 rating that wouldn't allow any teens to see the film (even with parents), American Pie required four sets of cuts to achieved an R-rating from the MPAA in the U.S. Even this prohibits U.S. teens from seeing the film without an adult… so why is this film about teens aimed at teens?
Perhaps a comment from 29-year-old producer Chris Weitz in an interview for the July 16, 1999 Entertainment Weekly can answer that question. He giddily speculates that, "[The teens] will definitely find a way to get in." He even goes as far as suggesting that they could buy tickets to a G-rated movie and then sneak into American Pie playing in the same multiplex.
American Pie may only illustrate the fantasies of Adam Herz, the 26-year-old screenwriter, and 29 and 33-year old co-producers Chris and Paul Weitz. But, they have been given license to portray these obsessive sexual habits and perversions in front of the audience most likely to sex-ceed, our teenagers.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about American Pie.
If any of your children have seen this movie, be aware that sexual behaviors (at times with nudity) and values portrayed may not meet your family’s standards and expectations. Topics of discussion you may want to consider would include your feelings about sex outside of marriage, the idea of using sex as a recreational diversion, and the effects of alcohol on our abilities to make important decisions. You may also want to talk about masturbation, oral sex, and the use of other objects to create sexual pleasure. All these topics (and more) are explored in this film.