July 15, 2024

ICBYHST: Can’t Hardly Wait

Okay, I was told I had to watch “Can’t Hardly Wait” by a few fellow TGS members as the movie celebrates its 20th anniversary this week. My first comment was, “uh, what is that movie?” So we were off to a great start.

So I decided to download myself a copy of the movie and sit down to give you my raw reaction as I saw it.

Let’s begin.

First of all, Ethan Embry is one of the few actors that can actually kind of pull off looking like a high schooler (I guess he was only 20 at the time). William Lichter (whoever played him) is also extremely convincing. Almost everyone else? Nope lol.

But maybe that’s a product of being a high school/teen movie from the ‘90s. First of all, the fashion is almost a parody of 1990s fashion… except this *is* the 1990s, so you know it’s not. Seth Green with the beads in the hair, the excessive male necklaces everywhere, the baggy pants, the layers of clothes. If you’re a female, you’re relegated to an ugly dress or a crop-top. If you’re a guy, you’re either wearing a wife beater or 5 layers.

Okay, now we’re at the party. Even the band features an all-star cast (Donald Faison??). It’s kind of crazy how star-studded this movie is. Well, hindsight is 20/20. Whoever put this cast together got their money’s worth looking back.

This was somewhat obvious from the beginning, but these teenage ‘90s movies are so stereotypical and unrealistic that it’s kind of painful. Nobody had parties like this, no school’s jocks were that outwardly douchey (even if that’s how we imagined them), and the cliques of people were never this well-defined. Also, no school had this many attractive people. Not believable to begin with.

Oh, Seth Green… wearing the ski goggles as fashion. I know he’s kind of cast as the loser who thinks he’s cooler than he is, but the fact that’s an actual ‘90s fashion statement hurts my heart.

Ted Flint | The Tailgate Society

I’m going to get killed for this, but Jennifer Love Hewitt is actually too young or 1990s for me. Maybe it’s the hair. Maybe it’s because she legit looks like a high schooler (she was 19 at the time). But for whatever reason, she’s more attractive to me today than in this movie.

WHO SPRAYS SILLY STRING AT AN INDOOR PARTY? Also, who gets a live high school band for the end-of-year party? And nobody vandalizes high school friends’ houses while they are having a party—easy way to get kicked out and/or get caught when you’re underage. This is totally unrealistic… I love it.

Gotta respect the soundtrack here. Some Smashmouth, Eve 6, and Run-DMC already and we’re only half an hour into this movie.

“…but right now I’ve got to sell tickets to Pearl Jam.” — If aliens asked what life was like in the 1990s, I’m showing them this movie.

Preston: “Any words of encouragement?”

Foreign kid: “WOOD U LIKE TO TOUCH MY PENIS.” lmao

Okay, this Fabio-looking dude that Amanda is talking to sucks. The middle part, the black silk shirt, the… sexual assault?


Another face I recognize. The internet tells me it’s Selma Blair, and the reason is Legally Blonde. It seriously seems like there are more recognizable actors in this movie than ones i’ve never seen and I don’t even watch movies, so that’s saying something.

“You’re white!” — girl that got locked in the bathroom with Kenny is tackling cultural appropriation issues, too. This movie is deep(?) for as deep as a movie with Seth Green tackling these issues can be.

Yo, if some random stranger hung up my call at a public payphone, I would not be a pleasant person.

Okay, it’s been a few minutes and this angel dancer chick is fine, as should have been expected (you knew she wasn’t dressed up as an angel for nothing).

This “Paradise City” karaoke/air guitar session is the most realistic representation of high school parties in my experience. AND he gets flashed. And now girls are making out with him. Okay, maybe this wasn’t my high school experience but I am very much enjoying this.

Ted Flint | The Tailgate Society

How are Seth Green and this other girl STILL stuck in the bathroom? Breaking the handle off the door does not make it unopenable. They stopped trying after like 10 seconds. But this is one of the first scenes that would be impossible in a movie today. One or both of them would have cell phones today, that’s the only thing making their struggle believable.

Dude talking to Mike: “I thought college would be a 24/7 orgy.”

Mike: “What happened?”

Dude talking to Mike: “College chicks are more complicated.” This, again, reinforces the stereotype that high school is the peak of freedom and happiness. Maybe times have changed, maybe this was a really unhealthy message to send teenagers that definitely were not having as much fun as the people in the movies???

Jason Segel is in this movie??? Who wasn’t in this movie?

Ted Flint | The Tailgate Society

Mike asking Amanda to take him back and somehow the music has stopped and everybody is circling around to watch. And now people are laughing at him and taking pictures and he’s threatening to kick everyone’s ass for getting rejected. Movie logic is weird.

“The first time I saw you, you were eating a strawberry Pop Tart.” Man, Preston is a romantic.

Oh, and he just got mad rejected. Yikes.

Special K is getting called out for the baggy jeans and goggles!


Drama! Amanda realized Preston was the one she just mad rejected! I have a feeling this ends happily for all.

Ohhhhhh white boy dropped the n-word and is understandably being chased and hopefully beaten by people of multiple races.

Party is getting busted to “Dammit” by Blink-182. What an iconic choice. Police man sprayed in the face by silly string (and seemingly blinded), someone stole the cop car, and almost everyone got away clean. Seems legit.

YIIIIKEEESSSS the locked up bathroom couple just did it and she goes, “It gets better…. It can go for longer.” Harsh, but fair. (And they predictably make up).

Okay, it’s now the next day (I’m realizing most of this movie was literally just one night, which is uncommon). And Preston is leaving without the love of Amanda 🙁

Lol I love the end-of-movie synopsis of the remainder of people’s lives. Smart dork becomes successful, jock becomes a low-life alcoholic, dorky and unsuspecting couple end up working out. Creativeness abound.

Amanda catches Preston JUST at the last second! She wants him to stay.

Amanda: “Maybe I should just be single for a while, huh?”

Preston: “Sure.”


The bags have been dropped. He’s sprinting back because he’s seen his mistake. They now make out. Just as God intended. “They are still together” says the synopsis. We have completed the circle of predictability.

Okay final thoughts:

  1. This movie is so ‘90s that it almost seems like a parody of the ‘90s, which is I think the perfect description of the ‘90s.
  2. Again, the cast was stellar and I have to admit that acting was honestly pretty good for a teenage movie. Can definitely see how this was a great jumping off point for a lot of these actors.
  3. The ‘90s was a really weird era of high school movies—less introspective than The Breakfast Clubs of the ‘80s and a lot more sensationalized than today’s high school flicks. The era of PG-13 teen movies doesn’t really exist anymore, they are either really corny and PG or extra raunchy and R. Weird how that has changed.
  4. Overall, the set up was pretty well-done. The movie is literally all within 24 hours and bounces between characters at the final after-school party. Was it predictable? Absolutely. But there were enough storylines throughout and it was all in good fun, so I can’t say I hate it.

Will I watch it again? Maybe, but not for a while. I can see why some people love it—it’s a nostalgia-inducing flick that you look back and think, “wow, that was a great movie.” Watching it for the first time in 2018 doesn’t have the exact same effect.

Ted Flint | The Tailgate Society
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Alex Gookin
Alex Gookin 65 Articles
Staff Writer

Gookin is an Iowa State graduate with a degree in journalism, but decided writing professionally wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Instead, he took an unpaid position to write content for this blog, which seems counter-intuitive, but he enjoys it, nonetheless. Gookin was voted male with the “Most School Spirit,” and 2nd most flirtatious in his senior class. He enjoys statistics no one else has the patience to look up and enjoys Iowa State athletics more than he’s willing to admit. A closet Hawkeye fan (false), you can find Alex being harassed by at least one bad Twitter troll and winning nearly all of his online fights (less false, but false).

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