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American Beauty (1999)
American Beauty (1999)
1999 | Comedy, Drama
Story: American Beauty starts narration from our lead Lester Burnham (Spacey) explaining his life and that he will be dead in a year. Lester lives through the same old routine and is overall tired of his life. Lester is married to Carolyn (Bening) a real estate agent and has a teenage daughter Jane (Birch) who is struggling with the typical teenage problems. Lester is being pressured by his new boss who he thinks has no experience in the field.

Lester & Carolyn decide to take more interest in their daughter’s life which includes going to watch her cheer leading performance where Lester starts getting an instant fascination with fellow cheerleader Angela Hayes (Suvari). The Burnham’s have just got new neighbours in the Fitts, Colonel (Cooper) and his son Ricky (Bentley) who has an obsession with filming his everyday life. What follows is a look into suburban life.

American Beauty manages to balance every character to end up telling a story of everyday life and how it can change because the people closest to you really don’t know what you are up too. We get to look closer are how the perception of a person can hide the reality that is going on in the life and we get to see the different things that could happen. It is hard to really discuss too much about this film because I have looked into the characters closer next and this film is very much character driven which helps the story shine through. (10/10)


Actor Review


Kevin Spacey: Lester Burnham is an average man who is tired of the same old routine and decides to break out, he gets himself fired, starts taking drugs all while obsessing over his daughters friend. Kevin gives a brilliant performance but as you would expect from him. (10/10)


Annette Bening: Carolyn Burnham is a real estate agent who puts on a brave face all while struggling with her own problems leading to her having an affair as her relationship with Lester starts to get stretched. Annette shines here with mixed emotions about Lester through the film. (10/10)


Thora Birch: Jane Burnham is the moodiest cheerleader ever who doesn’t seem to get the attention a cheerleader gets from the guys, she is best friends most beautiful girl in school who gets all the attention, but Jane does attract the new neighbour who helps her come out of her shell. Thora gives a great performance showing that she was ready to break through in the role. (9/10)


Wes Bentley: Ricky Fitts is the new neighbour that could be considered weird because of his obsession with filming everything in life, he also ends up being a drug dealer and the one that Lester uses, all while dealing with an over aggressive father. Wes shows all his talent here but it is a shame this is the highlight of his career to date. (9/10)


Mena Suvari: Angela Hayes is the beautiful girl from school that thinks all the guys want her but when Lester takes a shine to her we learn the truth about her nature. Mena comes away from her American Pie role with this much more adult role showing she didn’t need to just be a teen comedy star. (9/10)


Chris Cooper: Colonel Fitts is the strict father of Ricky who hates everything that is different to his way of thinking, he is a generation behind but he really just wants to protect his son. Chris does a great job as the strict father because we just don’t know what his character will do next. (9/10)


Support Cast: American Beauty doesn’t have the biggest supporting cast with most just turning up in the odd scene while we focus on the main cast through the film.


Director Review: Sam Mendes – Sam burst onto the scene with this stunning piece of directing that will always be known as a classic. (10/10)


Drama: American Beauty shows the lives of these six people and manages to make us care about them all. (10/10)

Romance: American Beauty shows different levels of romance, we get a blossoming starting one, we have a long term one falling apart and we get to see the unavailable ones. (9/10)

Settings: American Beauty gives everything a realistic setting for the story being told through the film. (9/10)

Suggestion: American Beauty is absolute must watch for anyone, it will always go down as a classic in the history of film. (Must Watch)


Best Part: Lester getting fired.

Worst Part: While it is a brilliant drama, the casual fans will find this harder to find interesting.

Funniest Scene: Lester reacting to Angela spending the night.

Favourite Quote: Lester ‘Remember those posters that said, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”? Well, that’s true of every day but one – the day you die.’


Believability: I do think this has plenty of realistic ideas of relationships but I do think the end wouldn’t happen. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Won 5 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Dest Directing, Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay. It was also nominated for another 3.

Box Office: $356 Million

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

Tagline: … look closer

Trivia: Both Oscar winners Kevin Spacey and Chris Cooper got their film career starts playing New York subway criminals. Spacey played an untitled mugger in Heartburn. Cooper played a pyromaniac in Money Train.


Overall: American Beauty is a classic that will always be remembered once you have seen it.
American Reunion (2012)
American Reunion (2012)
2012 | Comedy, Romance
It has often been said that you cannot turn back the hands of time, but thankfully Hollywood is a place where magical things happen. In the case of the gang from American Pie and the creative talents of writer directors Jon Hurwitz Hayden Schlossberg, the gang is back, better than ever, for another slice if pie. Hurwitz and Schlossberg are the creative team behind the ” Harold and Kumar” series and have been entrusted by Universal to carry on the American Pie series which had recently been relegated to four direct-to-DVD releases.

The new film reunites the entire cast from the original three films and centers around the gang’s 13 year high school reunion. Life has definitely taken them all in some unexpected directions. Jim (Jason Biggs) is married to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), and are now parents to a little boy and enjoying a comfortable, if a tad uneventful, suburban lifestyle.

Oz (Chris Klein), is a successful Los Angeles sportscaster as well as a recent contestant on a popular national dance show. He spends his time mixing with celebrities and indulging a girlfriend who loves to party just a bit too much. Meanwhile, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), is happily married but needs an escape from a domestic routine that includes watching reality shows with his wife.

Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) fancies himself a nomadic spirit who wanders the globe from one esoteric adventure to another, still looking for his true love while Stiffler (Seann William Scott), works at a prestigious firm and remains the guy who never misses an opportunity to wisecrack or sexually harass any female who crosses his path.

As reunion-type movies go, there are the expected moments of awkwardness and hilarity. And of course, it wouldn’t be an American Pie movie without moments of ridiculously crude antics, mainly from Stifler. What separates the film from the bevy of raunchy comedies that flooded the market after the success of the initial film, is that there is some maturity amongst the mayhem.

In between the outrageous antics, the various characters are forced to take deep examinations of their lives since graduation and in some cases grow up for the first time in their lives. Oz must comes to grips with his feelings for his former girlfriend Heather (Mena Suvari), as does Kevin when his former flame Vicky (Tara Reid), returns to town for the reunion. Jim and Michelle have to find a way to bring some sexual spark back into their lives while Finch needs to accept the mundane reality of his. And Stifler. Well, let’s just say he needs to find his true calling.

What really sold the film for me was not just the great chemistry between the cast but the way the script deftly moved the raunchy comedy along while combining character development and depth that is not normally found in films of this type. As I watched, I found that I had really missed this crew of unlikely friends, and really enjoyed catching up with them even when they were not extricating themselves from one over-the-top situation after another.

While the film did drag a bit slightly there was always an outrageous moment right around the corner that had the theater errupting in laughter or shrieking in disbelief. This film is rated R for good reason. The cast worked really great together and it was especially nice to see Klein back in the mix, as he had been noticeably absent from the last film in no small part due to his offscreen issues.

Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler’s mom) have some absolutely hysterical moments in film especially when Mr. Levenstein, widowed now for three years, decides to cut loose at a party and we get to see has wild side. I would also encourage viewers to make sure to stay through the credits as there is more comedy from this pair that must not be missed.

The supporting characters from the previous films were all given their moments to shine even if it is just in a small cameo. Shannon Elizabeth, Natasha Lyonne, John Cho, and of course, the Sherminator were all given a chance to bring back some memories, making this film is welcome and enjoyably nostalgic trip. It proves that there’s still some life and good times left in the series, and if the creative talents can keep quality to this level I, for one, would certainly welcome another slice of pie in the future.