Chapter Two

American Pie 2

By Brett Ballard-Beach

April 12, 2012

Has anyone seen our careers? They were right here a minute ago. In 2004.

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Some quotes to start with:

“And this one time, at band camp, I stuck a flute in my…”

--Willow Rosenberg (er, Alyson Hannigan) says the word “pussy” and my pop culture universe shatters significantly on July 9, 1999

“Do you realize, Brett, you’re so smart you could do anything you want with your life?”

--Statement of (relative) fact/unintentional curse from a seventh grade female classmate, uttered without any particular malice, but which still stung for a 12-year-old who wanted to be known for more than academic prowess. Looking back I think it has been my own personal “may you live in interesting times” fortune.

“Why don’t you do the world a favor and take yourself out of the fucking gene pool?”

--Probably the harshest thing ever hurled at me anonymously, in reply to one of a myriad number of personals ads I placed on Craigslist, post-divorce. To this day, I remain a little uncertain if it was being suggested I should off myself, or simply refrain from procreation. I failed miserably per either interpretation.

“Looking back on it is like watching a black and white foreign film without subtitles in a language I no longer understand.”

--Possibly apocryphal. I swear this is courtesy of Uma Thurman in the mid-to-late-‘90s discussing her 18-month marriage to Gary Oldman (between 1990 and 1992) but I have never been able to find it again for verification. Still, it’s a hell of a simile.


I am as excited to see American Reunion as I was for Scream 4 last year, which is to say, tremendously bouncy. I have a lot of affection for the characters and the actors, if not all of the films themselves, and, like the original Scream trilogy, American Pie, American Pie 2, and American Wedding - above all else - serve to remind me how long ago 10-15 years feels. Anyone who has followed Chapter Two consistently since May 2009 can consider this the final part of my origin story: the rebooting/reimagining/continuation of a long-dormant franchise.

Looked at in one way, the American Pie films have kind of a funny habit of running closely alongside major events in my life the last decade-plus, with one of them inextricably bound in up in an annus horribilis condensed down into a manic 24-hour lump sum. Looked at in another way, what follows is navel-gazing and nostalgic reverie of the highest order. But where some may only glimpse a fresh-baked apple pie humped before its time, I see a connection with my personal history.

American Pie came out only six weeks before I became engaged to my girlfriend at the time. (The film we went to see the evening of my proposal: The Thirteenth Warrior. Of which I remember nothing, except that we missed the first 15 minutes because I remembered the time wrong from the paper - which never happens, so it must have been a sign, right?) We had been dating for over two years and betrothal seemed the most sensical act in the “logical progression” of things. And if that perhaps strikes the reader as a less than compelling reason for nuptials, well… you have solid powers of observation. We watched American Pie in the crappiest of cut-rate flattop mini-plexes (the long-defunct Act III Southgate, off McLoughlin Blvd between Portland and Milwaukie) and had a fairly splendid time. I bought it when it was released on DVD and played it - or certain sequences therein - on frequent occasions for several years afterward.

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