I’ve been in serious indie overhaul mode recently, and after a lot of consideration, I decided it was high time for something a little more frivolous. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the 90s teen flicks, even though I know most of them are no good. Can’t Hardly Wait is no exception. I have no idea why but it makes me feel nostalgia for a time and a place that I never even knew. I didn’t get into high school until 2002 and I certainly didn’t graduate until 2006, but there’s a mix of teen movie cliches and universality to it.
This could probably be attributed to the use of stock characters, which doesn’t work for many movies, is kind of what makes this movie enjoyable. Sure, there’s not a whole lot of thinking involved, in fact it’s probably better if you don’t think about it too much, but these blanket characters i.e. the jock, the pretty girl, the sarcastic girl, all have some relatability. Just about anyone from our generation knows people like most of these.
Even the premise of the final end of senior year is pretty true to most high school life. Granted, not that much happened at those parties to warrant a movie, except the occasional drunken rap session by yours truly. However, like I said before, the true feat of Can’t Hardly Wait was making me nostalgic for a place that I spent every day of my high school career wishing I could leave behind. When you hail from Wyoming, Ohio it’s not easy to make you miss a place, or even some of the people.
Still, Can’t Hardly Wait is far from a perfect movie. In fact, the whole “Preston’s in love with Amanda because they both eat strawberry Pop-Tarts” thing is pretty disturbing. That whole storyline is definitely the most important of all of them but the directors made a wise decision to highlight other people at the party as well, perhaps to distract from the “To Catch a Predator” feel of the main love interest.
Another part of the movie that I never really understood is the demographic. Sure, it’s a teen movie, but it doesn’t really feel like one. I mean, it does in the sense that it’s got the trite love story and the stereotypes, but it’s also making fun of it all. It drew in a teen audience just to have them sit there for an hour and a half making fun of them. I don’t know, maybe we realized at the time just how petty we really were, or arguably still are. Regardless of why it was, Can’t Hardly Wait remains a staple for me in late-90s teen cinema.