Sunday, December 28, 2014

After Randomly Watching 'American Pie' On TV Last Night...

….I've decided it's time to update the career power rankings for the cast.  I last addressed this topic in February 2011 after a long chat with my friends, and while we were all in unanimous agreement on the top two, there was a ton of dispute about everyone else.  After a few more years of evaluation, some of the actors have continued to do jack-all in terms of notable roles, while a couple of others have gotten back into the game thanks to one particular show.  There was also the actual fourth AP movie, "American Reunion," that actually included all 10 of the principles but that doesn't really count in the rankings if that's *all* they've been doing.

(n.b. watching "American Pie" a whopping 15 years after its original release is quite an experience.  The fact that it's 25% dated and 25% unintentionally hilarious thanks to cheesiness and terrible acting actually only adds to the charm, since the other 50% generally holds up pretty well.  Also, for some reason, I can recall every single lyric from the song 'Laid.'  Who knew that James was good for something besides a completely un-Googlable band name?)

To recap the rules, we were counting just the core 10 kids from the original movie.  This discounted the likes of Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge, not to mention actors with minor parts like John Cho, Casey Affleck or Christina Milian.  Including those five would really blow the rankings out of whack, considering that Cho and Affleck could possibly be the top two, and those guys don't exactly leap to mind when you think of 'American Pie.'  Onto the new rating!

10. Shannon Elizabeth (previous ranking: 7)
9. Thomas Ian Nicholas (8): The bottom five are all rather in the same boat as actors who have been pretty consistently working, so I'm forced to just essentially rank how large and notable the parts were.  Elizabeth goes last since she's been in virtually nothing of note, with ol' Rowengartner himself a close second-last. 

8. Chris Klein (4): Klein's first two roles were major parts in AP and "Election," so I guess he couldn't help but go downhill from there.  His hopes of becoming a major lead were probably scotched by the "Rollerball" remake --- Bill Simmons (of all people) put it best when he noted that Klein comes off a poor man's Keanu Reeves, which isn't a very high ceiling.     

7. Eddie Kaye Thomas (5)
6. Mena Suvari (9)
: A couple of grinders, just puttin' in work in show after show in minor guest roles.  They go ahead of Elizabeth, TIN and Klein on sheer volume if nothing else.  Fun fact, I had no idea that Thomas has been a voice on 'American Dad' for years and I've seen literally every episode of that show.  Also, I couldn't help but lump these two together due to the American Pie/American Dad/American Beauty connection.  Hell, Klein was in 'American Dreamz,' maybe I should've lumped I'm in here too.  Suvari gets the edge since she at least has "major part in a Best Picture winner" on her resume.

5. Tara Reid (6): This was a tough one to evaluate.  Remember, the goal is to rank everyone's post-AP career over the 15 years in total, not just where they are right now.  Reid scored some notable parts in the years immediately after AP and then, welllll, there was the whole "became a living joke" thing.  Still, you could argue she should be even higher if you're one of those who thinks that there's no such thing as bad publicity.  Consider that in terms of name value, most people can identify Tara Reid by name.  If you say to someone, "hey, how about that Eddie Kaye Thomas," they won't know who the hell you're talking about.

4. Natasha Lyonne (10): Hindsight being 20-20, she deserved to be higher than tenth last time since she was still working pretty steadily, despite some Reid-esque tabloid issues.  But, let's be honest, she makes the big leap this time due to "Orange Is The New Black."  Major supporting role on a hugely popular and critically-acclaimed show?  That's easily enough to shoot up the ladder.

3. Jason Biggs (3): He retains his ranking also thanks in large part to OITNB, even though his character is easily the least-interesting element of the show.  Biggs had his share of lead roles in the wake of American Pie, though things were just starting to slow down for him before OITNB came along.

2. Seann William Scott (2): I mentioned the name-value thing earlier on, and admittedly that's a bit of a weak argument considering that 85% of the world would identify Scott only as 'Stifler' at all times.  Despite that, this dude's been (borderline inexplicably) pulling down notable movie roles for years now, so he has a firm grasp on the #2 slot.

1. Alyson Hannigan (1): She was already on Buffy when AP was released, so she admittedly had something of a head start on the rest of her castmates.  But following Buffy up with How I Met Your Mother was just piling on…major roles on not one, but two of the notable TV series of the last 20 years?  Game over man, game over.  According to IMDB, Hannigan and Bill Paxton have never worked together, so I'm not really sure why I used that line, but whatever.

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