While flipping through titles on Netflix today, trying to find a comedy that neither of us had seen, my girlfriend and I both paused on National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (2002). I had never seen it before and my girlfriend was absolutely shocked about this. I guess it makes sense, I mean movies like Van Wilder, most of the American Pie (1999) trilogy (I say most because by American Wedding (2003) Jason Bigg’s ass was already saggy, old, and part of another generation) were all staple films. Growing up, I remember seeing the raunchy movies that seemed to encapsulate the 90’s sensibilities, like Cruel Intentions (1999) and Road Trip (2000) in snippets on late night T.V. , back in the day when City T.V. actually allowed for nudity. Definitely too young to watch these films, their depiction of what life was to be like 10 years later for me was fascinating.
I remember these films that made college seem like a never ending party of boose and boobies, drunken frat boys and girls, and a place where homework simply didn’t exist except for this huge test you had to do at the end and in between all of your partying. When I look back at the these films, I can laugh at how laid back and Utopian this post-adolescent life looks, but also how weird it is that Tara Reid was in nearly everyone of these decade defining pieces. I know the demise of her career isn’t anything new, but really, look at her rap sheet:
The Big Lebowski (as Bunny Lebowski) 1998. Urban Legend (as Sasha Thomas) 1998. Cruel Intentions (as Marci Greenbaum) 1999. American Pie (as Vicky Lathum) 1999. American Pie 2 (as Vicky) 2001. Van Wilder (as Gwen Pearson) 2002
Reid’s career only really climaxed over a period of two or three years, but its fascinating that after these two or three years, Tara Reid’s ‘it girl’ status dissipated so rapidly. I know this fall from fame has been happening for so long in this industry that Reid’s decline may not confuse some as much as it does me. I mean just look at a more contemporary example like Mrs. Megan Fox, who’s celebrity dramatically plummeted after her falling out with Transformers (2007) director Michael Bay. But Reid’s fall from grace strikes me as so strange because she served her purpose as the leading lady in so many defining films of her era, and now its like she’s been long forgotten by Hollywood and the entertainment industry abroad. Sure her acting isn’t all that great, and after a handful of botched plastic surgeries she may not be completely desirable from a rigid casting agent’s point of view, but can we give a little credit to the girl who comes to mind (along with Volkswagen Beetles, Aqua marine cargo pants, and the accepted use of pleather) when we think of the 90’s? I guess its just the nature of the fame machine, but it will be interesting to see her return as Vicky in American Reunion (2012).Who know’s, maybe this time she’ll stay afloat.