you look at it right”-Scarlet Begonias
While this section of “The Secrets of Life” will not be dealing with that song by the Grateful Dead, it does serve as a perfect introduction to this week’s entry to the series. When I tell you this one, you will think I have gone mad. This is one of those entries I warned you about. Please just go with it and reserve judgment until the end of it.
The reason for such a long disclaimer is that this week’s entry is that 1998 non-classic “Can’t Hardly Wait”. Are you finished laughing at me yet? There really is a secret in this movie and no one was more shocked at seeing it than me. I think I need to explain why I have even seen this movie to restore my credibility.
I was home sick from work about five or six years ago. I thought it was longer than that, but this movie was in the theaters in 1998 so it could not be on cable before 1999. I was bored and very not sober. Back then I would get so intoxicated that I would forget I was sick and it would actually work. Anyway, it was either the delirium of the illness or the impaired judgment of the intoxicants, but I found myself staring at the television as HBO began this horrible nasty train-wreck of a movie.
“Can’t Hardly Wait” is a lame attempt by a late 90’s director to capture the fun of the 80’s brat pack movie explosion. It featured Lauren Ambrose of “Six Feet Under”, “Austin Powers” series’ Seth Green, and internet darling Jennifer Love Hewitt so it had the future star power. What it lacked was the talent of a John Hughes. Instead it is just another lame cliché teen movie filled with horrible and divisive stereotypes and bad jokes.
The plot, well the central theme of the movie since there really is no plot involves an unpopular student’s attempt to talk to his dream girl whom he has been in love with from afar. Now that he finds himself at the last party of high school, he believes this to be his one chance, but chickens out or fails in horribly emotionally scaring ways.
There was no reason to believe this movie had any value at all until one scene. One scene took this movie from a forgettable piece of wasted trash to “Secret of Life” status. The scene involves an uncredited Jenna Elfman as a stripper in an angel costume. She appears to our hero at that moment of the film where he has given up and is contemplating suicide or some PG equivalent.
This angel walks out of the mist and rain (of course it was raining on our hero) and sits next to the poor kid on a bench. They chat a bit. Some of it is funny, most is wasted seconds of my life they stole, then she tells him a story about her past and it all became clear and worthy to me.
She was a child in love with Tony Danza. She was obsessed with meeting him, but figured she would never have the chance. One day she was walking down the street and Tony Danza popped out of a cab right in front of her. This was her moment. It was fate; it was destiny. She turned and ran away and never forgot that moment. She could have met Tony Danza and she blew it.
Then she reveals both the moral of her story and the point of my watching that cursed movie:
“There is fate, but it only takes you so far, because once you're there its up to you to make it happen.”
Wholly crap. Dharma hit on something. That little alien in her belly is making some sense after all. Our hero takes these words to heart, returns to the party and wins the girl.
I honestly was not expecting something so obvious yet so deep in such a stupid movie. I really cannot stress just how stupid this movie is. I would need some massive brain trauma just to endure a second viewing, but that one moment made my one suffering worth it and I hope this tale will give you the lesson without the pain of a Jennifer Love Hewitt movie.