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American Flashback

See the American Pie Cast Then and Now

Catch the American Pie movies this month on IFC.

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Universal Pictures

Starring a cast of mostly unknowns, and reviving the raunchy teen comedy genre that had been dead and buried for more than a decade, no one knew what to expect of American Pie when it debuted back in the summer of 1999. But after earning $235 million dollars, spawning eight sequels, and creating one of the most famous pie-based sex scenes in movie history, it’s legendary status is secure. At the time, the film launched a slew of unknown actors into the stratosphere. Some have come back down to Earth hard, while others are just getting started. Much like band camp, let’s look back at the fun we had, and then see where the cast is now.

Jason Biggs (Jim Levenstein)

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Then: Like much of the cast, Jason Biggs was a fresh face when he landed the lead role in American Pie. His previous credits were scant, with a stint on the daytime soap As The World Turns and a Broadway turn opposite Judd Hirsch in Conversations with My Father being the highlights.

Lionsgate Television

Lionsgate Television

Now: While still largely known for his work in the American Pie series, Biggs has had success on the small screen of late. His turn as convict Piper Chapman’s estranged husband Larry on Orange is the New Black got some attention, and kids may recognize his voice as Leonardo on the animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But he’s sadly gotten the most attention for being a Twitter troll, making fun of everything from racial issues, to dead celebrities, to the Malaysian plane crash. It has not gone over well.


Chris Klein (Chris “Oz” Ostreicher)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Another unknown at the time, Chris Klein broke out big in 1999, staring in blockbuster American Pie and indie darling Election. It was actually the latter that he shot first, after director Alexander Payne discovered him in the halls of his high school while location scouting for the movie.

Comedy Central

Comedy Central

Now: Klein has had an admittedly tough go of it since the American Pie films ran their course. Beyond losing girlfriend Katie Holmes to Tom Cruise, he also battled alcohol issues and checked himself into rehab back in 2010. He’s since been working on a comeback, popping up on FX’s Wilfred and Comedy Central’s Idiotsitter.


Alyson Hannigan (Michelle Flaherty)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Hannigan, a former child actor, was making a name for herself as nerdy best friend Willow on Buffy The Vampire Slayer when American Pie came knocking. The filmmakers originally wanted her to play the part of Heather, which would go to Mena Suvari, but Hannigan thought band camp loving Michelle seemed like more fun.

20th Century Fox Television

20th Century Fox Television

Now: With seven seasons of Buffy, four American Pie movies, and nine seasons on How I Met Your Mother, Hannigan has had one of the best runs of any Pie alum. Now raising a family, she’s slowed down a bit, with her most recent part being a cameo on the CBS sitcom The McCarthys.


Shannon Elizabeth (Nadia)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Elizabeth began her career as a model, before booking small parts on TV shows like Arli$$ and USA High. She was perhaps best known for getting offed by a snowman in the direct-to-video horror cheesefest Jack Frost before her big break in American Pie came about.

ABC Family Original Productions

ABC Family Original Productions

Now: Elizabeth had a bit of a hot streak after American Pie, booking big parts in movies like Scary Movie, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Thir13en Ghosts. While she’s continued to work steadily, more recent projects like In The Dark and A Green Story haven’t gotten as much traction. But the good news is, with a bit more time on her hands, she began a second career as a professional poker player, and has kicked butt, landing in the money at the World Series of Poker.


Tara Reid (Vicky Lathum)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: A child actor best known for a litany of commercials, Reid had costarred in movies as diverse as Urban Legend and The Big Lebowski when she signed on to play Vicky in American Pie.

SyFy Films

SyFy Films

Now: Reid seemed to be on her way to becoming a big star when a wardrobe malfunction on the red carpet turned her into a walking punchline. In the years since, she’s worked to rebuild her career, starring in camp classics like the Sharknado films and The Hungover Games.


Eddie Kaye Thomas (Paul Finch)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: A child actor who’d appeared on Broadway opposite Natalie Portman in The Diary of Anne Frank, Kaye Thomas only had a few small parts to his name when he landed the role of cougar hunter Paul Finch in American Pie. 

Eddie Kaye Thomas Scorpion

CBS

Now: After the breakout hit of American Pie, Kaye started acting in a slew of movies, even landing the title role in Freddy Got Fingered. In more recent years, he’s probably best known for voicing Barry Robinson on the Seth MacFarlane animated series American Dad!, and popping up in shows like ‘Til Death and How to Make It in America. These days, he can be found starring on the CBS drama Scorpion.


Seann William Scott (Steve Stifler)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Stifler, the party bro who loves beer and babes in equal measure, was Scott’s big screen debut. Conceived more as a bit part than a costar at the time, Scott was paid only $8,000 for his time. Thankfully, the role would turn Scott into a breakout star.

FX Productions

FX Productions

Now: Scott went on to star in a succession of hits, including Final Destination, Dude, Where’s My Car? and The Rundown. But his new lifestyle would catch up with him, and he entered rehab in 2011 for “health and personal issues.” Since completing his treatment, he’s slowly made his way back into the fold, starring in the hockey comedy Goon and a classic episode of the FX hit It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.


Mena Suvari (Heather)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: 1999 was a big year for Suvari. After working sporadically for years as a child actor, she broke into the big time with the one/two punch of American Pie and American Beauty. This all-American year helped turn her into a star and sex symbol galore.

Blumhouse Television

Blumhouse Television

Now: While Suvari has worked steadily since her breakout year, popping up in everything from Six Feet Under to American Horror Story, she’s never again been the center of attention. In recent years she’s starred on the WE tv horror drama South of Hell, and focused on her charity work, with such organizations as Starlight Children’s Foundation and the “End Violence Against Women” campaign.


Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin Myers)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Thomas Ian Nicholas was arguably the biggest star amongst the teens cast in American Pie. You probably remember him as the titular kid(s) in A Kid in King Arthur’s Court and Rookie of the Year.

ABC Studios

ABC Studios

Now: Ian Nicholas has worked steadily over the last 20 years, playing Abbie Hoffman in The Chicago 8 and guest starring on hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Party of Five. Still, his real focus seems to be music. He released his first album, Without Warning, in 2008, and even got a song on the American Reunion soundtrack. He has since recorded with Blues Traveler and sung the national anthem at a Cubs game.


Natasha Lyonne (Jessica)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: The other legit star of the American Pie teens, Lyonne had already fronted Slums of Beverly Hills and had a role in Woody Allen’s Everybody Says I Love You. She was also popular for playing Opal on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

IFC Originals

IFC Originals

Now: A serious drug addiction almost sidelined her career, but thankfully Natasha got clean, and returned to acting full-time. Since sobering up, she’s had an impressive resurgence, starring alongside Pie vet Jason Biggs on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, and recurring on IFC’s Portlandia.


John Cho (John)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Cho had just a few small, bit parts to his name when he was cast in American Pie. While this was another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role, the movie was such a massive hit, even the small parts led to stardom. In a Reddit AMA, Cho said “I was out of the country, shooting another movie, and had missed the release of American Pie, and was unaware it was a really big hit. So I came back to America, and kids were chanting ‘MILF! MILF!’ at me on the street. And I was really confused, and it took me a while to understand what was happening actually.”

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Now: Cho has since become a big star, fronting the Harold and Kumar franchise, and playing Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek films. He’s also been named one of the sexiest men alive by People magazine not once, but twice, boldly going where no American Pie cast member had gone before.


Chris Owen (The Sherminator)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Owen had booked a few small parts in the years preceding American Pie. Most notably, he had a bit part opposite longtime friend and collaborator Charlie Talbert in the family film Angus. Still, it was “The Sherminator” that would come to define his career, for better or worse.

Universal

Universal

Now: While Owen hasn’t struggled for work, his association with the American Pie franchise has defined his career. He popped up in a number of similarly raunchy National Lampoon movies, including National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers and National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze 1 and 2.


Eugene Levy (Jim’s Dad)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Levy was already hugely popular in comedy circles, having starring on SCTV, and popped up in classic movies like Splash, Armed and Dangerous and Waiting for Guffman. But it was the part of Jim’s Dad that would prove to be a mainstream breakthrough for the comic with the caterpillar eyebrows.

Not a Real Company Productions

Not a Real Company Productions

Now: Levy has continued his hall-of-fame career over the last two decades, continuing to star in Christopher Guest directed classics like A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration. He’s also proved to be a loyal American Pie costar, appearing alongside Tara Reid in Josie and the Pussycats and Sean William Scott in Goon. And god love him, he’s appeared as Jim’s dad (aka Noah Levenstein) in every American Pie sequel, including four straight-to-video releases.


Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s Mom)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Then: Coolidge was an alum of the legendary comedy school The Groundlings, but she had struggled to book a breakout part when American Pie came around. She was perhaps best known as the masseuse Jerry dated on an episode of Seinfeld, when she landed the part of Stifler’s randy mother.

Warner Brothers Television

Warner Brothers Television

Now: Playing the hottest mom in film since The Graduate launched Coolidge to another level. She went on to costar in everything from Legally Blonde to Sex in the City, and starred in a run of Christopher Guest’s improv mockumentaries, like Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration, alongside Pie vet Eugene Levy. Lately, she has been a regular on the long running CBS hit 2 Broke Girls.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

JaniceAndJeffrey_106_MPX-1920x1080

IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

geowash_flat

Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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