johnlink ranks CAN’T HARDLY WAIT (1998)

Here’s a movie which I remember fondly from my high school days. I probably watched the VHS of this fifteen times. I had a thing for Jennifer Love Hewitt, and this movie left its mark on me. I hesitantly revisited it, knowing I’m obviously in a different place in my life than I was when I first thought this movie was speaking to me (ahhh… high school), and knowing it may not have aged well.

I watched CAN’T HARDLY WAIT (1998) on 1.22.10. It was, I’d guess, my sixteenth or seventeenth viewing of this film, but certainly the first in about ten years. TRAILER HERE

Amazing to say this, but Jennifer Love Hewitt grounds this movie. Well, her along with Ethan Embry and Lauren Ambrose. And, sometimes, Seth Green. Though his character rides the fence. There is a lot of silliness which goes on, a lot of it not funny at all and way overacted. But the core of this movie is a kid trying to get a girl to like him by writing a letter and just saying how he feels. That Embry and Love (as her friends call her I guess) play this straight amid the zaniness around them is the reason the movie is worth watching.

Some of the contemporaneous references no longer hold weight (the Brad Pitt/Gwyneth Paltrow stuff for example is six relationships old), and the over-the-top silliness often goes too far into cartoon land. But there are more memorable lines than I remember. I found myself laughing more than I thought I would, but much less than I did ten years ago. (“Prestooooooone” and “Bullcorn, remember!” and “That was the funniest thing I’ve seen all night” and “I know this song…” all classic stuff, for me anyway).

The cameos are unbelievable (and I’m not going to link them all because I’m lazy). I remember Selma Blair, Breckin Meyer and Jerry O’Connell. I remember Jaime Pressly and Jenna Elfman and Clea Duvall. But this is the first time I’d noticed Jason Segal or Donald Faison. This was years before they hit it big. The cameos certainly keep it fun. That and the soundtrack. Holy shit is the soundtrack good. Some of it is late 90s radio rock. But I completely forgot that half of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ by the Dire Straits is in there. Love that song!

Ultimately, this movie does not hold the rewatchability that it used to for me. But I still like its idealism. I’ve been writing in this world a little bit, with the last novel and my newest one, and I like exploring that place in peoples’ lives. And no, the dorky kid doesn’t always get the girl. But its nice to think of a world where it can happen that way.


FILM: 4; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 4; WRITING: 6; BONUS: 1 (soundtrack)

4+6+4+6+1= 21


~ by johnlink00 on January 21, 2010.

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