Click here to learn more about anamorphic widescreen!
Go to the Home Page
Go to The Rumor Mill
Go to Todd Doogan's weekly column
Go to the Reviews Page
Go to the Trivia Contest Page
Go to the Upcoming DVD Artwork Page
Go to the DVD FAQ & Article Archives
Go to our DVD Links Section
Go to the Home Theater Forum for great DVD discussion
Find out how to advertise on The Digital Bits

Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 2/14/00



American Pie

review by Brad Pilcher of The Digital Bits


American Pie: Collector's Edition (unrated)

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

American Pie (Unrated)
Collectors Edition - 1999 (1999) - Universal

Film Rating: A-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B-/B+

Specs and Features:

96 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1.17.10 in chapter 16), Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary (with director Paul Weitz, producer Chris Weitz, writer Adam Herz and stars Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott), outtakes, Spotlight on Location featurette, soundtrack commercial with Tonic's You Wanted More music video, music highlights, classic quotes, production notes, cast and filmmakers bios, 3 theatrical trailers (for American Pie, Man on the Moon and Snow Falling on Cedars), DVD-ROM materials, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish



American Pie: Collector's Edition (R-rated)

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

American Pie (R-rated)
Collectors Edition - 1999 (1999) - Universal

Film Rating: A-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B-/B+

Specs and Features:

95 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:17:00, in chapter 16), Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary (with director Paul Weitz, producer Chris Weitz, writer Adam Herz and stars Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott), outtakes, Spotlight on Location featurette, soundtrack commercial with Tonic's You Wanted More music video, music highlights, classic quotes, production notes, cast and filmmakers bios, 3 theatrical trailers (for American Pie, Man on the Moon and Snow Falling on Cedars), DVD-ROM materials, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish

"You realize we're all going to go to college as virgins. They probably have special dorms for people like us."

Here's the scenario: four guys, all seniors in high school, have each fallen short of the glory of sex, or something to that effect. So after seeing the geekiest kid in school apparently get his first action, the guys make a pact to each lose their virginity by prom night. It's simple, classic and not-so-elegant, but it makes for one of the funniest movies in recent years.

Coming along for the ride is a stellar cast of young stars, who represent a sort of next generation "Brat Pack." Mena Suvari, of American Beauty fame, joins up with Alyson Hannigan (the flighty side-kick to Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Tara Reid, from Urban Legend. The male side of the equation is lesser known, but their performances are absolutely top-notch. With this movie, which is so driven by its character interactions, the performances really deliver where they're needed. I mean, how many actors would be willing to do a sex scene with a pastry?

The movie itself moves along with point-by-point character development, but its simplicity is the key here. The humor is easy to digest and widely accepted because of two things. First, it isn't too complicated, and it doesn't try to be especially witty - it just aims for the lowest common denominator and drives the lane. Second, it's entirely honest. Unlike films like 10 Things I Hate About You (C'mon - who's high school looked like that?!), this movie pretty much reflects the universal high school experience. The audience almost immediately feels at home, and can very easily get into the laughs.

As far as the look and sound of the disc, it's all pretty much top-notch. It isn't The Fifth Element, so most shots are on the same lighting and action plane. The anamorphic transfer is solid, with little grain and virtually no artifacts. The sound effects are dead on, with the zippers and the "Oohs" fitting in perfectly. It certainly isn't going to flex your speakers' muscle, but it gets the job done very well. The only place where the sound seems to go crazy is on the supplements. For example, the Spotlight on Location has wildly varying sound qualities. For a few seconds, the sound is rich and encompassing. A moment later, it seems like somebody is talking through one of your speakers, muting the rest. It isn't major, but it gets distracting.

Supplement-wise, American Pie lives up to its Collector's Edition status. The aforementioned Spotlight on Location is amusing, if not too insightful. The Universal Records Soundtrack Presentation actually ends up as one of the better extras, as it boasts a good music video for Tonic's You Wanted More. A stellar commentary features just about everybody on the film. The Weitz brothers join in with writer Adam Herz and a few cast members to reminisce. You can see just how much fun they had making the movie, as they often laugh at each other and crack jokes as good as any in the film. I found myself laughing as much at the commentary as at the on-screen action.

The music highlights and quotes are total disappointments, as they are little more than glorified chapter selections. The outtakes are also completely toss-able, as they illuminate just about nothing. Most of the time, they are just virtually identical, but slightly imperfect cuts of shots used in the actual movie. Perhaps the silliest stuff is on the DVD-ROM portion. It's a glorified website, with little more than promotional material. There are clips of all the songs on the soundtrack, but they last no more than a few seconds. The majority of the DVD-ROM is promotional material for Universal and Panasonic. Universal did a good job, but they seemed to get so caught up in the quantity of extras, that they forgot about the quality of them.

Comparing the Unrated and R-rated versions of the film is pretty easy. The special edition extras on both discs are exactly the same. The Unrated version of the film features between 30 seconds and a minute or so of combined footage edited back into the film, which ends up being being alternate takes of the original theatrical footage (with a bit more nudity or explicit tone). For example, when Jason Biggs makes it with the pie, we get to see his bare ass do a couple more thrusts -- for what that's worth. All in all, there's not much difference between the two versions. This is a bit disappointing because the marketing made it seem like we'd see more (but a quick check of the film's IMDB listing shows how little we do see).

As the tag line says, there really is nothing like your first piece. American Pie depicts the harshness and humor of that quest wonderfully. If you like well-written comedy, if you're into the whole teen flick revival or if you just like pie, this is a must-buy. If anything, you can learn what really happens at band camp.

Brad Pilcher
bradpilcher@thedigitalbits.com


American Pie (Unrated)


American Pie (R-rated)


E-mail the Bits!


Don't #!@$ with the Monkey! Site designed for 800 x 600 resolution, using 16M colors and .gif 89a animation.
© 1997-2002 The Digital Bits, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com