While it might not be the definitive high school comedy (that’s a discussion for another time), 1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait is a damn good one, and a strangely enduring new classic. Sure, the nineties-set production is dipped in era-appropriate fashion, slang, and cultural nods (X-Files, anyone?) and its cast is positively peppered by awesomely nineties talents (Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry, Seth Green, Melissa Joan Hart, the list goes on and on), but Can’t Hardly Wait still feels applicable to teens today. Or, at the very least, it still feels like a very good approximation of the high school experience that we remember.
The film turns a staggering fifteen years old this week (it was released on June 12, 1998), and in appreciation of the film that gave us a stoned Jason Segel as “Watermelon Guy,” reaffirmed the cultural relevance of Barry Manilow, and saw the wonderful Lauren Ambrose get hit in the face with a pot brownie, we give you five scenes we love from Can’t Hardly Wait.
I Can’t Believe She Came a.k.a. Meet Amanda Beckett
There are a few things we know about Amanda Beckett (Hewitt) when we finally meet her – Preston Meyers (Embry) is totally in love with her, she’s totally hot, and she’s just been totally dumped by Big Man on Campus and total asshole Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli). Mike’s dumping means that the former Hottest Girl in School (they might as well have put that in her yearbook dossier) is now persona non grata, but she shocks everyone by showing up to the big grad night party anyway. And what an entrance. She looks gorgeous and scared all at once, and she’s quickly shunned by both Mike and the pack of girls she thought were her friends. It’s funny and iconic (or, about as iconic as CHW can get) and it speaks to the fickleness of high school in a surprisingly resonant way. Also, did they use a wind machine?
Cuz I Don’t, Yo
Good God, Kenny Fisher (Green), what is your damage? Let “Special K” count the ways in his intro scene, conveniently set at, well, a convenience store, as he and his pack of wiggers attempt to detail his sexual plans for the evening.
Take Me Back?
“Aman-duh” may still be the hottest girl in school (let’s be real here), but her final, brutal dumping of Mike Dexter still manages to feel like a tremendous success for anyone who was shoved aside during their four years in the clink. Also, who among us didn’t want to see their high school’s golden couple air their dirty laundry in the most public of places? Gossip gravy.
Bathroom Make Out
Sure, not many of us have been trapped in a bathroom during a raging party, but the idea of being stuck alongside someone you used to know (cue the Gotye?) and having to face up to what they really think of you is one we can all agree on being totally horrifying. Luckily for Denise (Ambrose) and Special K, it ends with some bathmat-set lovemaking. Uh, unluckily enough for them? It’s the worst sex ever.
Who Is Preston Meyers?
“So he’s sort of tall…with hair…and he wears tee shirts, sometimes?” Finally free of the albatross of Mike Dexter, Amanda sets out to find her not-so-secret admirer. Too bad she has no idea what he looks like, and neither do Stoned Out Jason Segel and Guy With the Hair.
Editor’s note: The first version of this post mistakenly named “Kenny Powers” as Green’s character, mainly because Kate is constantly thinking about Danny McBride. We regret the error.