johnlink ranks CAN’T HARDLY WAIT (1998)

My wife and I decided to play a game while watching a movie in the background. Instead, we watched a movie and reminded each other to take a turn every so often while we got sucked into the TV. This was supposed to be an afterthought, but turned into a reminder of how enjoyable CAN’T HARDLY WAIT is as a movie.


I watched CAN’T HARDLY WAIT (1998) on 1.31.16. It was in the tens or twenties for my number of viewings and first since January of 2010. So even though I haven’t seen this in over six years, it is a re-ranking.

It would be easy to talk about this movie in terms of its filmic qualities. Indeed, this is a very well written teen comedy with solid acting (including an absurd number of small roles given to people who would later become stars) and a really funny script.

But this movie is much more personal to me. I watched this movie in theaters in 1998 in  a packed theater. All by myself. My sister was managing a theater at the time, and I figured I would check out this new release. I didn’t know it would be so packed, and I enjoyed the experience despite being the only dateless guy in the room.

This movie, as it turns out, managed to have a pretty big influence on my life, even if it isn’t the most spectacular of films.

To wit: two different things I wrote subconsciously borrowed from this movie. My novel, Sun Tzu’s The Art of Dork (available on with most all proceeds going somewhere else) concerns an outsider pining for the girl he likes. Secondarily, a play I wrote called Tonight We Begin Again has a major story line in which a dorky kid has written a letter to a girl which he hopes will work (and it does).

It also effected my real life. I similarly, a year after this movie came out, made the choice to write a letter to a girl. It didn’t work out so well (I’m not complaining, I ended up much better off with a wonderful family and no regrets). But the genesis of my own choice came from the success that Preston (Ethan Embry) has in writing a letter to Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt). It certainly didn’t hurt that I was absolutely in love with Jennifer Love Hewitt after this movie came out.


Wait. Are we talking about a movie, or me? Let’s talk about the movie.

Everything about this film works. The comedy is highest level. There are at least a dozen lines I could text to any number of friends to which they would immediately respond with the appropriate enthusiasm. The script is smart, despite a couple of moments which rely heavily on coincidence or time convenience. The filmmaking is smarter than it might initially seem, bright colors lead to a nice transition into the morning in one shot.

This is a movie, really, which is nearly impossible for me to separate from what it means to me. Even nearly two decades later, it brings up unexpected memories and associations. I suspect I will always love this movie, even years and years later than it is appropriate for an old man to enjoy a movie about young kids pining for one another. This is just something which will always live in my conscience.



The bonus point is for the soundtrack. Even if it is a little heavy in Smashmouth, the music is really, really fun.


FINAL SCORE: 8.25 out of 10


~ by johnlink00 on January 31, 2016.

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