90’s Teen Movie Review – Loser (2000)

My History With the Film:
In 1999, American Pie was one of my most anticipated films and it did not disappoint. I was immediately interested in any films that the cast of American Pie was part of and Loser was Jason Biggs first lead vehicle following American Pie. It also starred his American Pie co-star Mena Suvari which was just an added bonus. Then when I saw the trailer and it said from the director of Clueless, I was all in.

I rented Loser from Blockbuster shortly after it was released and immediately fell in love with the film. I’m sure it helped that I related quite a bit with Jason Biggs’ character, especially being in high school at the time.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A small town boy goes to college in New York City, where he falls in love with quirky girl who is in a relationship with their professor.

What I Liked About It:
-Teen movies (especially from the 90’s) aren’t exactly known for their great acting performances but this film has one great performance and two very solid performances. Greg Kinnear, who plays Mr. Alcott, is brilliant. He’s such a versatile actor and you can see how serious he takes this role. He’s conniving, slimy, and it works well. Mena Suvari and Jason Biggs are both very solid in their roles, although Mena Suvari is definitely the standout between the two. It’s nice seeing her as the opposite of her character in American Pie and she does well as the quirky love interest. Jason Biggs is believable as the bumbling and naïve, but his character isn’t that different from his American Pie character.

-Loser has heart. Many of the teen movies of the 90’s were very superficial and quite outlandish. Loser, on the other hand, is more reality based and actually attempts to tell a good love story. By the end of the film you believe the relationship and love is real and that’s commendable, especially within this genre.

-The music is great! When people think of the Loser soundtrack I’m sure most people associate it with Wheatus’ one big hit, “Teenage Dirtbag.” But the entire movie is filled with wonderful music. Everclear (I Will Buy You A New Life) makes an appearance in the film as well as on the soundtrack, along with The Offspring (Pretty Fly for a White Guy), Fastball (Out of My Head), Eiffel 65 (Blue Da Ba Dee), Blink 182 (What’s My Age Again), The Bloodhound Gang (Bad Touch), SR-71 (Right Now), The Foo Fighters (Aurora), The Cure (Mint Car), Tal Bachman (She’s So High), Michael Penn (No Myth), and Simon & Garfunkle (Scarborough Fair). Some of those bands and songs might not mean something to everyone, but anyone born in the early-to-mid 80’s will no doubt have some of these songs still on their playlists. They were essential parts of the soundtrack of our high school days.

-There is a scene in a Video Store with David Spade as the clerk.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The opening is weak. It feels forced and despite including Dan Aykroyd really didn’t do much to help set up the fish out of water story.

-The roommates play an essential part of the plot but man are they annoying. I almost dread whenever they are about to come on screen. Recently, Jimmi Simpson (Noah) portrayed a character in Black Mirror who was physical abused and I couldn’t realize why it felt so satisfactory to see that. Then I watched Loser and I remembered.

Additional Notes:
-Jason Biggs shot this film concurrently with Boys and Girls. He’d fly from Toronto to LA and back again.

-Amy Heckerling states the main reason the film failed is the studio insisted on the film being PG-13, despite greenlighting the film as an R rated comedy. The plot was watered down substantially

-The music video for Teenage Dirtbag included characters from the movie.

-The scene where Paul sits at the fountain and Scarborough Fair plays is actually an homage to The Graduate.

-Chris (Thomas Sadoski) and Noah (Jimmi Simpson) would go on to star in The Newsroom together.

Rating:
When compared to other teen movies of the 90’s, Loser stands as one of the better films. I’d give it an 8 out of ten and say it’s a must watch.

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