Can't Hardly Wait: 20 Year Reunion Edition
"Yesterday's history. Tomorrow's the future. Tonight's the party."
The late nineties was a second golden age for teen movies. Over a decade after John Hughes first gave a voice to the realities and tribulations of teens, a new generation of young people were treated to a brief-but-memorable wave of youth-driven films. Though it only spanned from 1998 to 1999, studios made one teen film after another during this cycle: She's All That, American Pie, Never Been Kissed, Drive Me Crazy, Cruel Intentions, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Faculty, Varsity Blues, Disturbing Behavior, Detroit Rock City, and of course, Can't Hardly Wait. Not since the halcyon days of the 1980s had there been so many teen-driven films that carried such box office might.
Can't Hardly Wait predates many of these films, coming early in the movement, and it's a movie that has held a special place in my heart for twenty years now. I was 18 years old when it was released, just one year out of high school. The characters were archetypes, no doubt, but high school is full of archetypes. Just like in real life, I've always felt that the characters within the film weren't just defined as "jock" or "nerd" and seemed to have layers beneath their exterior. Even now, I still recognize so many of these people and their insecurities, and I'm able to identify with more than one. The writers and directors of this film, Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, would bring that same three-dimensional approach to their underrated 2001 musical comedy Josie and the Pussycats.
For several years, Can't Hardly Wait was out of print on DVD and Blu-ray, but our friends at Mill Creek Entertainment have just released a wonderful "20 Year Reunion Edition" of the film complete with two commentary tracks (one of which features Seth Green speaking with an English accent for so long that I was momentarily convinced he was really British), as well as the following special features: Huntington Hills Class of '98 Reunion Special, The Making of a Teen Classic Featurette, The Life of the Party Featurette, Deleted Scenes, and "I Can't Get Enough of You Baby" Music Video by Smash Mouth. The video is 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1:85.1, the audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and there are optional English subtitles. My review copy includes a slipcase that replicated the cover art, which itself is taken from one of the original posters from the film's 1998 release.