Sunday, November 25, 2007
In Praise Of...
Can't Hardly Wait
I have a rule which essentially dictates that any movie named after a song generally isn't worth seeing (the exception being movies named after Motown songs, which are not only not worth seeing but are typically outright crap).
1998's Can't Hardly Wait should fall neatly into the former category for reasons far beyond its dubious title, swiped wholesale from one of The Replacements' catchiest singles: It's a teen comedy, it stars an unfortunately fully-clothed Jennifer Love Hewitt, it gives even two minutes of screen time to Eric Palladino, etc.
Yet for some reason, Can't Hardly Wait is just fucking great from start to finish.
It's funny, sweet, surprisingly realistic in its depiction of that singular moment between high school and college, and for the most part it doesn't treat its characters -- or the audience for that matter -- like idiots. (Even the obvious onscreen caricatures seem to be fleshed out to the point of being forgivable diversions.) The movie is a veritable who's who of young actors in the infancy of their fame: Seth Green, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Facinelli, Freddy Rodriguez, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, Jaime Pressly, and Selma Blair all have lead or bit parts; even the fat kid from Stand By Me, Jerry O'Connell, practically redeems his entire career from that point forward by turning in the movie's best cameo.
Can't Hardly Wait manages to hit another homerun by filling the soundtrack with music not just from the era its inevitable teen audience would've expected at the time, but with songs from both the 80s and 90s -- adding a touch of John Hughes-ish nostalgia intended to help it both appeal to an older crowd and make the movie's admittedly simple themes somehow seem universal.
Most of all though, the movie makes me laugh -- and for some reason I'll never quite understand, my wife and I find ourselves throwing out lines from it all the time; it's quotable as all hell.
"So, he's sorta tall... with hair... and he wears t-shirts sometimes?"
"Nobody drink the beer -- the beer has gone bad!"
"Shut up about the dog, okay?"
"There's a mirror right there -- take a look -- you're white."
"Someone in there called me a fag!"
"Would you like to touch my penis? I am a sex machine."
"92% of the women at UCLA walking around going 'Class, or sex -- what shall I do?'"
"Why y'all gotta waste my flava? Damn."
"I can't feel my legs... I HAVE NO LEGS!"
If you translated everything into Spanish and changed the soundtrack to Shannon's Let the Music Play on repeat, it'd be just like my own high school experience.