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July 06, 1999 - Image 16

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-07-06

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r7rs f
r If
5, 5

Amen Pie
Universal Pictures
At Briarwood and Showcase


________In my unscientific estimati4
(hours spent in the wilds of subir-
bia with my teenage brother and
his hooligan buddies), the average
middle class male aged 14-24
thinks about sex four times a
WHEN AMERICAN PIE C TO IS FR , MANY minute. Naturally, the average male
also discusses sex - six times a
AAmerican Pie" takes my
TO SEE HOW THE MOVI WHASE hypothesis and turns it into t
basis of a great teen sex comer
UNIVERSITY GRAD ADtFLOA TS S MMEINotorious East Great Falls High
virgins Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin
(Thomas Ian Nicholas), Oz (Chris
Klein) and Finch (Eddie Kaye
Thomas) make a pactIto graduate
high school deflowered. The catch?
It can't be by hook or by crook, so
to speak.
ly WatrenputintItWhether our heroes get some or
pre-pal theletboardbut get none by the end of the movie is
LOS ANGELES The latest member capacity. h'vet b'better left unspoiled. But there's mor
of Hollywood's million dollar club -not "they would send mrssces to for- than just ribald ribbing to recoS
to be confused with the mile high club - favorites, 'What do you ti urIt mend "American Pie." University
is none other than University graduate asked for and I gave them all my higJ alum Adam Herz's screenplay
and native Michigander Adam Herz. school yearbooks. They wanted to see mo , rixversty) film'devotes plenty of time to a faction
Herz, 26, is jumping into the limelight what kids looked like, how they dressed, To describe "American Pie" as being teach students to recognize filmmaking often neglected by this genre: the
with his first produced screenplay, who were your friends, you know, frank about teens and sex would be an as a business and as a way of life, as a chicks. Mena Suvari, Tara Reid,
"American Pie." Made by Universal, it's things like that." understatement. Rated R, the film was way to make a living and that they pre- Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson
about to hit the big screen in a big way, The comfort level around the set made submitted to the MPAA ratings board pare students for that" Hannigan and Natasha Lyonne give
and rumor has it that the sound it makes Herz okay with not spending every wak- four times before it shed the dreaded After "American Pie," Herz has sever- the film a rare smart perspective and
will be a big splash, not a big thud. ing moment there. "It was very cool that NC-17 label. "They had objections to al projects lined up, including, he hopes, nicely balance the heartfelt cama-
Herz and I recently enjoyed some it was, in a way, my movie and it was fun the opening scene' Herz said. "They a shot at directing. He's doing a rework- raderie that underlies the bo*
nebulously low-grade falafel and had a to be around, but at the same time it's an said what you hear on the scrambled ing of "Smokey and the Bandit" called crotchfelt agreement.
chat about a day in the life of a working - hour of setup and then five minutes of cable is pornographic. Originally it was "Eastbound and Down.""I'm doing a TV "American Pie" moves from one
Hollywood scribe. "I'll get up about 9 filming. I could beat home writing rather 'Play with my hairy balls,' and now it's show, too," he said. set piece to another, each time
a.m., write until 1 p.m., take lunch, and than sitting on the set," he said. "Luckily okay because it's 'Spank my hairy ass.' "I'll probably write a spec script and marking new territory in just how
the afternoon is usually spent on the (the directors) got it, so I was very com- Herz smiles wryly. "They didn't like attach myself as a director. Also, and this funny a teen's quest for sex can be.
phone schmoozing with my agents and fortable staying half-involved" 'blow your wad on my tits,' and that was is heavily knocking on wood, but if Most of its players are up to the
managers," Herz said. "That's a typical There were, of course, the times when just left. I don't know why." American Pie' does well, I'll write and task, and standout Biggs more than
day when I'm in 'writer mode."' He Herz single-handedly saved the produc- The MPAA, which approves not only direct the sequel." makes up for any inequities brought
laughed. "When I'm blocked or I sort of tion from imminent disaster. "One day I films, but their theatrical trailers, TV and Judging from audience response at in by Nicholas and Reid. Likewise,
have time off, I completely fuck showed ... and all the cars had their radio ads as well, is a thorn in the side of preview screenings of "American Pie" Herz's strong - and at times hilari-
around." Michigan license plates. Half the cars had any filmmaker, and Herz is no exception. writing and directing the sequel is pretty ous - script more than makes up
During production, Herz spent some these purple plates, and I was just like, "Hollywood is terrified of the MPAA and much a sure shot for Herz. for Paul Weitz's (with an uncredjal
time around the "American Pie" set. 'What the hell is that?"' the ratings board. It's like the Mafia," he "When I was at Michigan, assist from brother Chris) pedes
"(Directors) the Weitz brothers and I The prop guys, Herz said, told him that said Hollywood was some 'other,' an impen- an, after school special-esque direc-
became pretty good friends pretty fast; they were the "other kinds of plates in "Our TV ads can't do things that you etrable fortress and anything commer- tion, elevating this to raunchy, if not
just sort of spoke the same language. Michigan," at which point he had to step see on the shows in between the ads. I cial wasn't good. That's a bunch of high, art.
Every step of the way they kept me in an correct their grievous error. "Turns think it's a system that needs to be drasti- malarkey." Erin Podolsky
Writer's hometown awaits release, controversy of'Pie'

By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Arts Editor
mounting pressure from Washington on
Hollywood, movie theater owners have
vowed to make R-rated movies inaccessible
to persons under 17. This is particularly
poignant for "American Pie," which opens
Friday. It's amongst the new wave of teen
films aimed at younger audiences but that
carry an R rating.
Nevertheless, in East Grand Rapids, the
home of "American Pie" screenwriter Adam
Herz, a group of recent East Grand- Rapids
High School graduates said that the sexual
content of the film isn't a big deal.
"(Sex) is everywhere, but you can't really
discuss it very well (in East Grand Rapids),"
said East grad Jimmy Sterns, an incoming
first-year student at Western Michigan
University. "But everyone still does it any-
way ... especially the religious ones ... more
than anyone else."
This reaction is largely in response to the
uproar that news of Herz selling the
"American Pie" screenplay caused in conser-

vative West Michigan. The film deals with actually a fictitious version of the ritzy subui
the exploits of four students from the fiction- and its high school. Herz contends that his fi
al East Great Falls High School who make a tional East Great Falls is meant to represe
pact to lose their virginity before they gradu- the typical Midwestern teenage experience.
ate. In "American Pie" students look not on
After the school's student newspaper, The to get laid but to also party and get drun
East Vision, and The Grand The film highlights two parties
Rapids Press reported the one in East Great Falls and #I
$750,000 sale of the screenplay in => other after the prom in a cottage
January 1998, The Press received Lake Michigan -- both of whi
letters of complaint about the ,:contain sex and excessive drinkin
raunchy subject matter of the Sterns and fellow East grad e
film. Traidman, an incoming LSA ri
Even Sheila Pantlind, assistant year student, said they agreed t
principal at East, who proclaims . that is an accurate representation
that she will always support teen life in East.
Herz's work, complained that Stuidents are "always looking
"teenage movies have gone to the a place to get drunk," Sterns said
extreme," trying to be "a little more gross Traidman said that the after-prom parti
than the other.", at cottages on Lake Michigan aren't unus
Still, Pantlind called Herz "a comic for East students. He added that "then
genius," and said that "the school communi- chaperones, but the chaperones don't a
ty is proud of him." about the underage drinking.
But the reason the reaction is so strong in And the protests that Sterns, Traidman a
East Grand Rapids is that rumors spread incoming LSA first-year student Ad
around the community that the movie is See REACTION, Page

Recent East Grand Rapids graduates (from left) Jimmy Sterns,
Lisa Bruwer and incoming LSA first-year students Brent
Traidman and Adam Siegel are among the many in Herz's
hometown who are anxiously anticipating the release of 'Pie.'

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