Some people are touched by great movie epics like The Titanic or Chariot's of Fire.
I have a much lower taste. The movie that affected me a lot lately and touched my heart was American Pie Reunion. It attempted to answer one of the key questions I've been asking myself for the past decade.
Looking at my University classmates, I witnessed so much youthful exuberance and promise, I started to wonder years ago what would they be like as working adults. Would they be the hotshots in our generation, or would they fade into the background like the working folks I saw 10 years ago.
American pie is a work of fiction, but is as a mirror of the real world, it worked because it reflected the inner world of generation X that is fast approaching an explosive mid-life crisis of its own.
Here's some insight I picked up from the movie :
a) There is an inherent dissatisfaction with married life after kids.
As a father of a 1 year old, I'm beginning to see that making a choice for a stable family life has it pitfalls. While it gives security, it takes away variety. The key to making it is contentment. The movie is almost a tragedy for Jason's family because the couple was not content with their family life.
b) It does not pay to be a romantic or a Chinese poet.
The most tragic character in the movie is Evan. He parallels the Chinese poets in NUS ten years ago, you know the stable, boring unimaginative types that come from Chinese medium schools who aim to start a family at a young age. Evan is stupid enough to wish that he would be with Vicki when when he was at high school. In the end, he had to let Vicki go.
It was heartbreaking even for someone like me to see a nice guy fail like this.
c) Overextension has its pitfalls.
Ostreicher would have been the fly-boy of my generation because he turned out to be a celebrity. Closest thing to Ostreicher would be someone like Adam Khoo. But unlike Adam Khoo, Ostreicher made an ass out of himself in a reality show and had to be humiliated during his class reunion.
I have the most respect for Ostericher because at least he's somebody. But it's so ironic that he wished for a stable family life when he was in high school.
d) The most interesting guy turned out to be a liar.
The most pathetic character was also my favourite in previous American Pie movies. Finch was someone with a stable job who disrespected his secure and predictable life. After being denied a raise, he stole his boss's bike and made tall tales about his adventures around the world with his closest friends.
These days I see so many of my peers from NUS giving themselves fancy titles like Social Media expert ( like it's possible to even be an expert in social media ) who claims to do some charity work on the fly.
e) The asshole wins !
The funny thing is that Stiffler won the game of life in the movie. He's the only dude with the simple dream of rocking with his friends ten years down the road. Because he was authentic and never had a second thought about being a lovable jerk, he was the only guy rewarded with self-actualization at the end of the movie.
American Pie is a great movie for Generation X. Gags aside, it chronicles how lives can go so wrong from where it begins in campus. The jury is still out on how my life turned out, my unnatural fascination with my financial independence is slowly bearing fruit but it comes at a huge expense of my blood sugar control.
But one things for sure, growing up and having a well-adjusted midlife has a lot to do with understanding your limitations, loving your family and accepting your mediocre status in society today.
It takes a movie like American Pie Reunion to remind us of these things.