Can't Hardly Wait

I like this dumb movie so much it's embarrassing.
"Yesterday's history. Tomorrow's the future. Tonight's the party."

Hey everyone! It's Thursday, you've almost survived the whole week! I was going to wait until late in the Spring to post about this movie, but my friend sent me some choice video clips, and that got me to thinking about it. So today I will be talking about my favorite party teen movie of the 90s: Can't Hardly Wait. Starring (primarily) Ethan Embry as awkward high school grad Preston Meyers, on the night of a big post-graduation party. His long-distance, all high school crush Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) has just been dumped by her high school boyfriend Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli). Preston sees this as his big chance to finally confess his feelings, before he misses it, and so heads off to the part, dragging along his reluctant friend Denise (Lauren Ambrose) along with him. At the same party, bullied super nerd William Lichter (Charlie Korsmo) plans to exact his ultimate revenge on Mike, for a lifetime worth of abuse, and awful gangsta' wannabe Kenny (Seth Green) is planning... perhaps somewhat fancifully, to score before the night is out. What follows is a post high school cluster fuck of a party, that leaves everything forever changed... or not changed.

What do you mean my career's already peaked!?
Now this is the sort of movie that they made to death, and which had very nearly burned itself out by the early 2000s. Most of them are predictably not very good, but there are certainly exceptions to the rule (I need to review Take me Home Tonight at some point, that movie was pretty funny). This movie is the biggest exception. For starters, it softens the sentimentality of a teenage love story with a variety of teenage not love drunk people doing stupid stuff stories. Those are generally a lot more entertaining, and there's plenty of that to go around. For seconds, this movie has what, in my very poor opinion, is a really fantastic soundtrack. It is a perfect summation of all my feelings about the tail end of the decade. It features, among others: Eve 6, Smashmouth, Blink 182, Busta Rhymes, Matthew Sweet, Sublime, White Zombie, 311 and Third Eye Blind. That's a pretty good sampling I'd say.

Most of these people went on to careers.
This movie is also notable for the baffling number of successful actors, both then and those who would later become successful, who are featured in the movie. Much as the movie is supposed to be a moment in time in the lives of a bunch of high schoolers on their way out into the world, it is also a snapshot of the actors lives. of the main cast, the only one who would disappear forever from film was Charlie Korsmo. Ethan Embry went on to a prolific career mostly in television, but with occasional big screen roles. Jennifer Love-Hewitt, who at the time was still on Party of Five, went on to star in a bunch of movies I didn't give a crap about, and finally settled into her comfort zone as the star of the fucking abominable tv show The Ghost Whisperer (gross). Lauren Ambrose (who actually would also appear in the last season of Party of Five in 1999) went on to a career spotted with movie and tv roles, including her central role as Claire Fisher on the HBO series Six Feet Under (where she dated a character played by the stoner that licks her face in Can't Hardly Wait actually). Seth Green would go on to never have to do real work ever again by making Robot Chicken episodes forever, and voicing Chris on Family Guy (Also he's the voice of Joker, the Normandy's pilot in the Mass Effect games). Peter Facinelli has recently jumped back to the forefront, and no doubt is now very very insanely rich, thanks to his role as Carlisle Cullen in the Twilight movies. I can't really blame him, and in his defense he plays one of the least hate-worthy characters in the series.

Less embarrassing than Twilight.
Am I done? Certainly not. Breckin Meyer, Seth Green's partner in crime, appears as a member of the band "Love Burger" as does Donald Faison, who you probably know as Turk from the TV series Scrubs. Another actor who appeared on Scrubs, and was also a starring cast member on Six Feet under (as Rico Diaz), Freddy Rodriguez is one of Mike's very dumb friends. The list goes on forever, and includes Jason Segel, Clea Duvall, Selma Blair, and Eric Palladino. For whatever strange reasons, a relatively large list of known actors and acrtresses went uncredited in this movie, including Jenna Elfman (of Dhama and Greg... infamy?) Jerry O'Connel (from Sliders) Breckin Meyer, who I already mentioned, Amber Benson (probably best known for playing Tara on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Melissa Joan Hart aka Clarissa the Teenage Witch (Yeah I did that). Suffice it to say, this movie was packed to the gills.

People I don't miss from the 90s. Exhibit A.
Sadly, the rest of planet Earth doesn't really share my enthusiasm. The movie floats a 44% on RT, because critics couldn't stop loving the Breakfast Club or something equally stupid, or because they don't like movies where teens drink beer. I'm not sure. It didn't gross too strongly either, 25 million against a 10 million dollar budget. Not bad, certainly in light of its modest budget (how did they pay all these people?), but not great. More's the loss for everyone, because I think this is a pretty funny/entertaining film. If you pick it up, grab the 2007 DVD re-release, it features a pretty hefty number of deleted scenes, that they removed to retain their PG-13 rating (a lot of references to illicit substances I guess).

That's all for today! Join me over the weekend when I recap my thoughts on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in preparation for the release of The Hobbit!

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