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.


sme said...

Yes! I love Can't Hardly Wait!

I am a sex machine.

Anonymous said...

That's hilarious. I fucking love that movie too man! I never realized how quotable it was until you laid it all out there. So right, so right...

winged unicorn said...


i quote it, my three kids quote it. my 14 yo had the BIGGEST crush on seth green because of that movie.

Doesn't play well with others said...

Did anyone order a love burger?... Well done...

Chez said...


With the frilly shirt and the half-assed fake Brit accent.

"Can I wear the hat?"

Paul said...

I wish I had read this yesterday. We are going to have so much fun at work tomorrow with CHW lines.

Mika aka Xeyli said...

Never seen it. I'm always up for recommendations as far as adding to my Netflix list.

Kylie said...

Thanks to that movie, Nearly 10 years later and I'm still waiting for my sorta geeky guy to write a love letter to me and sweep me off my feet. A Dire Straits song will play and we will spend hours in the airport talking and I catch a later plane (no trains in Hawaii, so no train station).

I love that movie. Great Post!!

aauais said...

Here you go Chez...Just dig up that Shannon record I know you have or a Taylor Dane greatest hits collection you have hidden from the world

Nadie tome la cerveza - la cerveza se jodio

Callate ya con lo del pero - okey

Hay un espejo ahi mismo - mira - eres blanco

Alguien ahi me llamo un maricon

Quieres tocarme la pinga - soy una maquina de sexo

Porque todos me tienen que joder mi sabor...cono

No me siento las piernas....NO TENGO PIERNAS

Chez said...

Ah... home shit home.