Throwback Thursday Review: “Can’t Hardly Wait” (1998)





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Posted July 19, 2016 by

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There are very few movies that perfectly depict the decade they were made in, but if you want to watch one that will transport you back to how things were in the 90’s for anyone in Junior High or High school then “Can’t Hardly Wait” is the movie for you. Set during the night after graduation, “Can’t Hardly Wait” is a multi-character comedy about everyone trying to have one last hurrah before becoming an adult; before having to focus on what really matters. For Preston Meyers (Embry), it’s the perfect opportunity to tell the girl he’s always been in love with, Amanda Beckett (Hewitt), how he truly feels. For others, like hip-hop culture obsessed Kenny Fisher (Green), it’s the last chance to finally have sex before going off to college. Then there are those like school nerd William Lichter (Korsmo) who see this last party as their final chance to get back at the people who made their life a living hell: Mike Dexter (Facinelli) and his cronies.

While looking back at the movie and thinking it’s purely a 90’s film is easy to do, Elfont and Kaplan take time to flesh out all of their characters and even though everyone is a stereotype of someone we all knew in school, each has their moment of coming full circle; keeping them from being one dimensional. This film could have easily become a jumbled mess that may have a had a few funny lines, but instead it’s a perfect depiction of the time we all wrote letters and thought we were poets, when having a crush on someone was common yet felt like the only thing that mattered, and that moment in everyone’s life when we were finally shaping into the adult we were going to become: for some that’s good news, for others in this movie, their future is bleak. Throughout the movie, writers Elfont and Kaplan even poke fun at their own creation as if to say, “Yeah, we were all ridiculous at one point, but wasn’t it the best?” and the answer is yes. It was.



So many small moments in this film that made me laugh: William describing to his friends their plan to get back at Mike Dexter and their reasons for doing it (he once threw a raisin that hit William in the eye. That weekend, William’s parents took him to a 3D film festival…he saw no third dimension). The Breckin Meyer-led band with Donald Faison on the drums ‘Love Burger’ that are so excited to play their first show, and ultimately break up, only to agree to a reunion where they play mostly old stuff with a few new songs thrown in for good measure. The moment where two stoners (Brian Klugman and Jason Segel) try to explain to Amanda what Preston looks like: he’s a guy, with hair, who sometimes wears shirts. Or William’s X-Files-obsessed friends (Joel Michaely and Jay Paulson) fighting over who gets to be Boba Fett and who has to be Grand Moff Tarkin in the reenactment of their plan; ultimately both being represented by KISS dolls. While these short glimpses allow us to see what makes each character unique, the larger story at play is that things will never be the same after this last night of High School and how desperately a lot of people try to hold onto that; sometimes far too long. Stoners

So throw on your Jnco jeans, find those old love letters you used to write, and turn up Eve 6 to volume 11. Things are about to get real 90’s up in here and it’s only a click away on Netflix. Fun fact: there are three people in this movie who would later go on to star in Six Feet Under. See if you can find them. By the way, is Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” about a dog or not?




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