||In the summer of 1999, when the gates of their high school opened, four young men set forth to find their very own ‘American Dream’. One of them found it on the sun-washed avenues of Great Falls…lesbians, grannies and ‘golden showers’ beyond his wildest dreams. He was Steven Stifler. The world will remember him by another name….STIFMEISTER.
Towards the end of Fight Club (1999's superlative comedy/drama starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton) occurs one of the finest speeches in recent mainstream cinema. Pitt turns to Norton and tells him: 'Every way you wanna be – that’s me. I look how you wanna look. I fuck how you wanna fuck. I am smart, capable and most importantly I am free in all the ways you are not'. It's a classic piece of writing, encapsulating in one brief monologue how most of us have felt towards our fellow man at one time or other. Voted 'Coolest Movie Character of All Time' in a recent magazine poll, Pitt's Tyler Durden defined new alpha-male ideals in what is a turbulent and confused time for the hairier of the species. Yes he looked good, and yes he fucked Helena Bonham Carter 'better than she had been since Grade-school', and yes he was brave, intelligent, bold and decisive just like every other heroic character before him, but there was more to the Durden appeal than that. We live in an age of constant and universal homogenisation: that is, everything and everyone is trying to conform to certain ideals, and the end product near reeks of blandness. Ever rising levels of hypocrisy and 'safety-first', 'no-comment' norms in the media have rubbed off on us. People tiptoe around each other, as the difference between actual opinion and expressed behaviour becomes more acute – just watch the back-stabbing that goes on in Big Brother. Scenes in Fight Club between The Narrator (Norton) and Durden crackled because the former was a representation of you and me: ever self-aware, and ever in the clutches of social convention - a stultifying, claustrophobic phenomenon created out of fear non-conformity. Blasting into this rotten, turgid atmosphere like a purifying wind-cannon was the crux of Durden's appeal: he had the balls to say what he wanted, the articulacy to say it how he wanted to, and embraced the consequences without fear (remember his savage pummelling at the hand of the club owner?).
Around this time another, perhaps more unlikely hero, brashly burst into the cinema goer’s consciousness. On the whole the American Pie trilogy was, rather like Keanu Reeves in Point Break, ‘young, dumb and full of cum’. It had all the serenity of one of Jordan’s nightclub-exits. Not that any of that mattered, of course, but unlike other seminal teen/coming-of-age films like The Breakfast Club, Heathers or Reality Bites, there was never much going on behind the crudity. It was just a bunch of salivating men desperately trying to get their ends away. The characterisations weren’t even as acute as they were in the other films of its ilk. There weren’t really jocks and geeks, sluts and virgins; everyone was just chasing that one elusive goal. One man though, chased it with a vengeance, and his name was Stifler.
In case you missed him, Steve Stifler was the social car-crash who, after fractionally more than a cameo appearance in the first American Pie film, came to bestride the trilogy like a colossus. Proud possessor of a leviathan ego, able to conceive and stage-manage appalling scenarios, incapable of understanding why he is not universally loved: Stifler was obnoxious, crass, incurably optimistic and completely riveting viewing. Even wizened critics, for whom reviewing the films presented an opportunity to give their favourite barbed criticisms a run out, were complimentary about the character. It’s really no coincidence that as the American Pie saga continued, the role of Stifler mushroomed out of sight. Consider this: in the first film Seann William Scott (the wild-eyed actor who portrays ‘The Stifmeister’) was given no better than eighth billing, and was merely listed as ‘Sean W. Scott’ in the film’s credits. By part three, American Wedding, Scott had leaped to second billing, behind only Jason Biggs, and occupied a very prominent place on the film’s promotional poster.
‘He works with profanity like Picasso worked with oils’ remarked fellow cast-member Fred Willard, and even the blindest of critics would struggle to deny that Stifler, basically, steals every scene he’s in. His trilogy entrance isn’t by some distance his finest hour, but it’s priceless stuff nonetheless, and a standard-bearer of what’s to come. Whilst the other characters (hapless Jim, dopey Oz, bland Kevin and effete Finch) are bemoaning their lack of success with women, Stifler comes charging down the school corridor before punching Oz in the stomach. After some cheery banter, Stifler turns to the others and delivers a withering verbal one-two: ‘‘how about you guys actually locate your dicks, remove the shrink-wrap, and fucking use them’ / ‘hey I’ll see you guys tonight – I’ll look for you in the ‘NO FUCKING’ section’’. With his reluctant audience unable to muster up the required level of self-deprecation to laugh at the joke, Stifler just cackles away to himself regardless.
Audiences loved The Stifmeister because, unlike most of us who possess even the semblance of a conscience, he genuinely couldn’t care less. Generally, people who’ve grown up around their fellow humans have a healthy balance of self-conscious neuroticism and genuine self-belief. Stifler had neither, he just was. Beer, chicks, food - and how to get them with the least effort, the most haste, and the maximum amusement, were the names of Stifler’s primal game.
The brain-child of American Pie writer/producer Adam Herz, Stifler is what we all might be stripped bare of the social ‘skills’ that encase us from day one. This isn’t some Travis Bickle-style ticking time bomb we’re talking about, but instead an individual just supremely confident and unwittingly self-assured. He’s all around us too, argues Herz, claiming that ‘everyone knows someone like that’. Despite the obvious physical attributes that Scott brought to the role (all fiendishly scheming glares and witch-like laughter), it’s the one-liners that people remember. According to Herz, to ‘speak Stifler’, you merely follow some very simple rules. ‘Whatever’s on your mind, you just say it’ explains the writer, ‘’there is no internal censor. There is no filter. Then, you add some ‘Stifler Words’. You take two unrelated terms, one of which is really nasty, another of which is entirely innocuous. For example, you might take ‘cock’ and ‘lunch’ and say it like it’s the best thing you’ve ever thought of. Then you’ve got Stifler-Speak’’. Like Coppola and his infamous ‘Godfather’ complex, Herz is Stfiler’s No. 1 acolyte. ‘Originally Stifler was a very small part of me’ he reflects, ‘something I had observed in other people. It was certainly something I’d admired in others too. Just think of the sheer balls of it – a character who just honestly doesn’t fucking care. By the end of American Pie 2 though, I’d started to piss people off by just believing in the character so much I was becoming Stifler. It felt very freeing though I must say’.
Seann William Scott, meanwhile, has a problem on his hands. His electrifying American Pie creation struck enough socio-cultural nerve endings to expose the young actor to one of the most feared curses in show business: typecasting. Discussing this piece with an impartial female friend, I received a revealing response: ‘I just don’t think I’d be able to see him as anything else after playing Stifler’, she said. ‘It becomes more surreal for me as time goes on’, Scott told an interviewee in 2001, ‘to me, originally, just as a fan of movies, it was exciting to be in a movie and get a part. While we were filming it, I really felt like this movie had a chance to be genuinely funny and memorable. To be a part of that is unbelievable because I have kids that come up to me everyday and yell out ‘Stifler!’ It’s a huge honour to play a character like that’’.
Herz, predictably, is keen to play down the Stifler/Scott connection. ‘Seann isn’t that guy’ he asserts, ‘but he completely gets it. When he initially showed up during the casting of American Pie he was working at Home Depot (US equivalent of Homebase), and as soon as we saw him we knew that he was the guy.’ Whilst the expletive-strewn verbal diarrhoea the young actor contributes to the American Wedding commentary would seem to contradict Herz somewhat, Scott’s inspiration for the character comes from undeniably elevated cinematic plains. ‘I always figured the Tom Cruise character (a foul-mouthed sexual tyrannosaur who preaches to emasculated men) in Magnolia would be Stifler’s biggest idol’, Scott remarks. Whilst Cruise’s character uses lewd misogyny as a red-herring to his emotional turmoil, Stifler is the real deal – one can imagine his reaction to the word ‘emotion’ wouldn’t be too different from: ‘Emotion? That’s for pussy’s man!’ In a memorable scene in Wedding, Jim confronts Stifler on the coaching pitch (predictably, Stifler is portrayed as a perennial student whilst the others have ‘proper’ jobs) ostensibly to tell him that he’s not going to be invited to the wedding. Gathering his players around him and thereby encircling Jim, Stifler starts a mantra. ‘Who sucks donkey-dick?’ he barks. ‘Jim sucks donkey-dick!’ his loyal minions chant with an almost religious fervour. ‘I always saw Stifler as being like Robert Duvall in The Apostle when his players surround Jim’, Scott observes about the scene. Donkey-dick and Robert Duvall - you’d never know the character was born from such heady art.
Two moments encapsulate ‘the grand fucking facilitator’s’ appeal. One is just laugh-out-loud funny. The other is a priceless slice of dialogue that’s rarely quoted by Stiflerites, but encapsulates the character’s outlook, and seems to have flown under the radar by and large. The build-up to the former is critical to its appeal. In American Pie 2 Jim and the other guys are putting the finishing touches to their summer holiday in Grand Harbour. Predictably, finances are tight for this group of students: ‘we’re never going to be able to afford the summer rent’, one comments. ‘Yeah, I already thought of that’ pipes up Kevin, ‘so I had to invite somebody else’. This scene is extravagantly cut to an aerial shot of the boys’ pickup speeding along the freeway, and guess who is on the back, groin furiously pumping thin air. ‘Oh yeah!’ the figure roars, ‘Stifmeister’s coming back to Grand Harbour! Deck the halls, bye-bye Great Falls, wipe my ass and lick my balls! It’s Stiflertime baby!’
In American Pie: The Wedding, pussy-whipped Jim is determined to find his (frankly depraved) bride-to-be the dress of her dreams. The boys set off to Chicago on this particular mission, and when they arrive outside the appropriate shop, The Stifmeister tells it like it is. ‘Hey’, he barks as the rest of the group disembark his 4 X 4, ‘let’s get this dress shit over with quickly – strip bar’s got free hot wings before seven’. Scott virtually spits the word ‘dress’, venomous scorn pouring off his tongue at the site of his emasculated peers. Chicks, food, booze, and how to get them with the most haste, the least hassle, and the most amusement. All in a day’s work for Steve Stifler: Hero to Men Everywhere.
Steve Stifler Finest Quotes
- (When, unwittingly, being urinated on): ‘Oooo yeah! That’s it! Bathe the Stifmeister!’
- Stifler: (Holding his ass out invitingly to Finch): Hey Finch you want this for here or to go?
Finch: ‘A witty phrase proves nothing’ – Voltaire.
Stifler: ‘Suck my dick’ – Ron Jeremy.
- (about having sex with Cadence) I'm gonna be like, "You like this shit Momma?" And then she'll be like, "Fuckin' right doggie. Suck on my nipples like, like you're milkin' a cow. (chanting) Gonna hava sex witha Caadence’’.
- (To Jim): You hooked up with one other girl for what, ten seconds, and you passed up sex with Nadia. Fucking stupid. You're like a blind man picking out his favourite porno.
- (To two girls at a party): Ladies, I am Steve Stifler and I have an eleven inch penis…..(makes circular gesture) arrroouund! (Taps head) Think about it!
- (To his little brother): ‘You’re not the Stifmeister. It takes years to develop true Stifmeister style’.
- (furiously pumping thin air on the back of a pickup truck): ‘Oh yeah! Stifmeister’s coming back to Grand Harbour! Deck the halls, bye-bye Great Falls, wipe my ass and lick my balls! It’s Stifler-time baby!’
- ‘Hey Finch, I don’t wanna hear about you and your boyfriends – go jerk off’.
- ‘Eat shit, Shitbreak’
- ‘How about you guys actually locate your dicks, remove the shrink-wrap, and fucking USE them!’
- ‘Hey I’ll see you guys tonight – I’ll look for you in the ‘NO FUCKING’ section’.
- ‘Everyone wants a piece of the Stifmeister!’
- (on having sex with Jim’s grandmother): ‘Pussy’s pussy man’.
- (When Stifler drops Jim and the others off in down-town Chicago to look for a wedding dress): ‘Hey let’s get this ‘dress’ shit over with quickly: the strip bar’s got free hot wings before 7’.
- (On the gay ‘bear’ he has a dance-off with in Chicago): ‘I knew he wanted to fuck me’.
- (To Oz): ‘I’m telling you man, right now there is a dick in your girlfriend’s mouth!’
- ‘Stay the fuck away from that vicus – that’s a jizz-free vicus.’
- (Answering the phone): ‘Stifmeister’s palace of love…uh…straight love’.
- (On female promiscuity): ‘When a girl tells you how many guys she's slept with, multiply it by three and that's the real number. Didn't you fuckers learn anything in college?’
- (To Jim): Jim, you're the only guy I know whose dick needs an instruction manual.
- ‘Well polish my nuts and serve me a milkshake.’
- ‘I’m gonna hang out with my wang out, and I'm gonna rock out with my cock out!’
- ‘My dick looks like a corn dog and I have cake on my balls’.
- ‘Happy "Fuck Day", ass Mouth.’
- ‘It's on like Donkey Kong, biiiaaatch!’
- ‘It’s time to boom-boom with the bridesmaids’.
- ‘I eat the shit here!’
Stifler & Others:
- Stifler: Hey, Finch, what's the capital of Thailand?
(Hits Finch in the groin)
- (At the wedding)
Finch: (smiling) Yes, I am.
- Jim: (holding huge dildo, to Stifler): Where did you get this?
Stifler: Finch’s ass.
- Oz: All you gotta do is ask ‘em (women) questions then listen to what they gotta say.
Stifler: I dunno man, that sounds like a lotta work!
- Stifler: You’re a disgrace to men everywhere. I mean, look at the Stifmeister. I got laid 23 times this year, and I'm not counting the hummer I got in the library stacks, baby!
Oz: Here's a new idea for you Stifler. You find a girl, you two become best friends and you don't bother counting how many times you have sex with each other you just laugh at the people who do count.
Stifler: Here's a new idea for you: I'll get you a spoon so you can eat my ass.
- (The two "lesbians" are making the guys give each other hand jobs)
Stifler: It’s okay. It’s okay. I know what I have to do.
(starts undoing his shorts)
Stifler: I have to keep this party going. I'm taking one for the team.
(Finch and Jim run away)
Finch: I AM NOT TOUCHING THAT.
Jim: PUT THAT THING AWAY STIFLER.
Stifler: What's wrong with you guys? We almost had them. Why can't you guys be team players, huh? I was the one doing all the sacrificing.