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MOVIE REVIEW: American Reunion

Mike Finkelstein is heading back home for his high school reunion. Luckily, he has been brushing up on the AMERICAN PIE films for all the things NOT to do when he gets back. Here is his review of “American Reunion.”



Mike Finkelstein is heading back home for his high school reunion.  Luckily, he has been brushing up on the AMERICAN PIE films for all the things NOT to do when he gets back.  Here is his review of “American Reunion.”

PLOT: Jim (Jason Biggs), Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), and the whole gang head back to their hometown of East Great Falls, Michigan for their 13-year High School reunion.  Hilarity, penis accidents, and poop jokes ensue.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  We live in the age of recycled film ideas.  Over the past few years, it seems like Hollywood has developed a passion for packing on an extra entry to an old, juicy trilogy to make some money.  Some work (SCREAM 4), and some don’t (INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, obviously).

When AMERICAN PIE first came out, it revitalized the teen sex comedy.  It was the first of its kind since PORKY’S, and led to an entire litter of copy cats and imitators.  When you look at a movie like AMERICAN REUNION, which holds that coveted PART IV asterisk, it almost seems dated.  You’re dropping in on these old friends from back around Y2K to see how their doing and realize that nobody has grown in the slightest.  Jim is still having awkward accidents concerning sex and his penis.  Jim’s dad is still giving the same old awkward advice.  Stifler is still acting idiotic and trying to party, Finch is still making cracks about banging Stifler’s mom, and Oz and Kevin are still stuck on the girls they could never let go of.  And you feel like maybe the time has passed.  You’re older now.  They’re older now.  It’s time to move on and grow up.

But here’s the thing…Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg pile on this nostalgia factor.  And for any kid who grew up in the 90s as PIE’s target audience, that nostalgia factor is king.  There are references galore to the first three, and there’s almost a weird comfort in seeing this gang on screen again, as well as a reassurance that despite whatever problems they’re having finding themselves as “adults”, they’re still the same screwy people they’ve always been.

In turn, we get a few very amusing scenarios that will make you smile and laugh.  Jim has to deal with a neighbor whom he used to babysit turning 18, and wanting him, out of all people, to be her first (enter some physical comedy, and an ill-timed stuffed cow).  All the while, he and Michelle are trying to find their sex lives after having a baby.  (Yeah…when both scenarios meet, it leads to one of the most ridiculous group fight scenes I’ve seen on film.)  Oz, Kevin and Finch also have their issues, but besides a hell of an entrance by Finch, it’s mostly forgettable.

More than anybody else, I have to praise Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy.  While I started to grow tired of Stifler’s shtick by WEDDING, I have to give Scott credit for committing so hard to the character and bringing the ridiculousness to another level.  And Jim’s Dad may have the perfect advice for every situation, but when the time comes for him to lose control, it brings us by far the best moments of the movie.

But then there’s another problem… AMERICAN PIE has been out of public view for almost a decade, now, replaced by the Judd Apatow and Will Ferrell troupes.  How do you draw in a new audience on a movie built so strongly on its predecessors?  You really can’t.  Yes, I had fun and you’ll get a few newcomers, but any audience besides my 90s group that the film was made for is automatically alienated by its subject matter.  It’s sad to say, but this probably won’t be the younger generation’s first priority to watch.  But if they haven’t seen the original trilogy yet, maybe that’s a good thing…

Despite eight years passing, our AMERICAN PIE characters have not changed in any way.  So much more could have been done with our group in this stage of our lives, but instead, AMERICAN REUNION gave us the same old jokes and the same exact structure beat for beat.  But how you enjoy the movie will really depend on where you are in your life right now.  If you’re a fan from the 90s, you’ll look past the mediocrity and be right in your comfort zone with a group of old friends.  If you’re used to loving lamp, slappin da bass, and voices that are combinations of Fergie and Jesus, then it’s more of a tossup.  For me, I have to respect Hurwitz and Schlossberg for making a film that tried to go for the heart more than the sex jokes.  Granted, that doesn’t mean I need another three or four entries (as the script so boldly hints at near the end…), but I’ll take this one as a worthy addition to the franchise, and hopefully, a nice little epilogue that lets us close the back cover of this story with an extra smile.


Mike’s LIKES:

1) JIM’S DAD: Oh, Eugene Levy.  You are absolutely the man.  No matter how lost Jim’s dad is, the love for his son can still fill a football stadium.  And when the man who gives so much advice finally has his time to shine and get a little loving, you’ll be on the floor.  “The Fuzz!!!!”

2) MOTHERS: Stifler’s mom isn’t the only lucky lady to show up…all I can say is that it’s been a long time coming…

3) MUSIC TIME CAPSULE: Quick!  Think of every 90s rock hit you can think of in the next three seconds!  Everything that just came to your mind shows up, most specifically within the last half hour of the film.  Kind of cool, kind of sappy, kind of makes you want to dig out your old Semisonic cassette.

4) MILF! MILF! MILF!: John Cho and Justin Isfeld.  I could have sworn these two were gay.  Apparently not.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t still love the MILF chant, and how dramatic their reunion turns out to be.

5) STIFLER: Like I said, I got tired of the Stifmeister’s shtick a long time ago.  But 80% of the crazy moments you will remember from REUNION has to do with him, and without Stifler, this movie would have been nothing (makes sense now why every straight-to-DVD Presents entry has Stifler’s brother or cousin or long lost nephew once removed…)


1) SAME STRUCTURE: It’s the same story, down to the emotional “Full House”-ish talking-it-out moment.  If you’re coming back after eight years, give us something new and different.  Reinvent yourself.  Don’t just rip off the same skeleton from before.

2) OZ/KEVIN: There’s a reason why Oz wasn’t in WEDDING.  He’s really kind of boring.  To be honest, both Kevin and Oz are.  Yes, their stories are sweet, but if they were gone, I don’t think anybody would really miss them.

3) JET SKIS: A little too crazy.  I was expecting cops to show up at someone’s door the rest of the movie, but nothing.  A huge stunt that just disappeared when it could have had some ridiculously awkward/fun repercussions.


1) The excuse for a 13-year high school reunion (odd number, no?) is that the school could not get the gang’s act together for a 10-year reunion.

2) First AMERICAN PIE movie not written by Adam Herz.

Editor's Pick

VIDEO:Rolled Ice Cream, Cheetos Bagels And Grasshoppers Are Just Some Of The Unusual Things Brian Balthazar Has Eaten On ‘The Wendy Williams Show’



You’ve seen pop culture expert, Brian Balthazar, appear on The Wendy Williams Show quite a bit over the last few years. He even co-hosted the show on three separate occasions. It wasn’t until his last visit where he and Jason Biggs chowed down on a KFC Cheetos Chicken Sandwich that it hit me: Being on the daytime talk show makes Brian Balthazar hungry!

The proof is in the pudding…pun definitely intended. Carla Hall made sure to bring some snacks for Brian when they cohosted together.

Sure, Wendy is known for telling us to “grab a snack and come on back”…

But you’d have to be absolutely famished to want to eat fish sliders at 10am.

He’s gotten so hungry he resorted to eating GRASSHOPPER TACOS on the show!

Could it be that Brian isn’t actually hungry though? Could he just be a brave soul willing to be the taste tester so we don’t have to? Could my theory be flawed?!

I suddenly feel like maybe we owe Brian a big thanks…

Either way, it’s fun to watch! Click below to take a look at a compilation of all the fun stuff Brian Balthazar has eaten on The Wendy Williams Show!

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Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign



As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!


Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!



Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!


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A post shared by Brian Balthazar (@brianbalthazar)



Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!


So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst



Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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