It has been a while since the last High School Movie Showdown, a Friday FabOoolousness series here at The Ooo Factor where we take two popular movies in the teenage genre and pit them against one another. We’ll feature the classics (like Grease), some popular Generation Xers (like Clueless), and some that are a bit more recent to the scene (like Project X).
Today, we’re taking a look at some party animals…
Late one night, as I flipped through the channels, I happened upon Can’t Hardly Wait. Like I do with a handful of the ‘90s classics I have seen numerous times, I sat down and watched the film again from start to finish. I say again because it had to be at least the fifth or sixth time… And while the movie might seem a tad dated, looking at the outfits and the hairstyles, it reminded me why it will forever be one of my favorite movies about high school.
Not long after watching Can’t Hardly Wait, as I was waiting for a new flick to begin, the channel I happened to be watching aired a preview for another movie—American Reunion. I’ve already seen American Reunion a few times and truly enjoyed it; but if it weren’t for the first film in the franchise, American Pie, the highly successful sequels wouldn’t have been made in the first place.
Can’t Hardly Wait and American Pie… two ’90s greats about high schoolers, crushes, love, sex, and partying.
This got me to thinking… when paired up side-by-side, which of these films would win?
Both films do share a few similarities: both are loaded with popular young actors from that particular generation (Can’t Hardly Wait stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Peter Facinelli, and Seth Green… and American Pie stars Alyson Hannigan, Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, Sean William Scott, and Chris Klein); both introduced new actors and actresses and are partially responsible for kick-starting their current popularity (Lauren Ambrose, Jason Segal, Clea Duvall, Jamie Pressly, Donald Faison, Selma Blair, Jason Biggs, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Shannon Elizabeth, and John Cho); and both relied on a few familiar faces in cameo roles—some of which were uncredited—to help get people interested in the films (Jenna Elfman, Jerry O’Connell, Melissa Joan Hart, Breckin Meyer, Blink 182, and Casey Affleck).
The overall messages of the two movies are not all that different—in high school, everyone wants to fit in, to belong to a group; everyone is searching for that one true connection, emotionally and physically; everyone is awkward and insecure in one way or another, regardless of their current popularity status; and more times than not, high schoolers look to blow off steam (and celebrate) the same way—to party.
However, the two films are also different. For one, Can’t Hardly Wait is filmed almost entirely at a post-graduation party (the opening and closing scenes take place elsewhere). This was because the filmmakers believed the majority of the best scenes of the ‘80s teen movies took place at parties (such as Jake’s party during Sixteen Candles). American Pie follows a group of guys (and their respective girlfriends) through their high school days, extracurriculars, and even their “private” time.
Also, despite the fact both flicks are categorized as teen comedies, Can’t Hardly Wait, for the most part, keeps it semi-clean; while American Pie falls into a sub-category I have grown to love over the years—raunchy comedy. After all, the boys are obsessed with losing their virginity before graduation. Heck, Jim even practices sex on a pie!
But probably the biggest difference? Only one launched into a multi-million dollar franchise—American Pie.
Bottom line, both films were popular in their day. And both will probably achieve cult classic success and live on through their fans year after year. But which one would win in a head to head battle? The love story of Amanda Beckett (JLH) and Preston Meyers (Ethan Embry), or the coming-of-age stories of Jim, Oz, Stifler, Kevin, and Finch?
The fact that I had to clarify who Amanda Beckett and Preston Meyers are probably gives my winner away…
How about you? Can’t Hardly Wait or American Pie? I’d love to hear from you!
Oh, and the music in both movies will definitely take you back to the ’90s…
Can’t Hardly Wait includes artists Third Eye Blind, Blink 182, Smash Mouth, Guns N’ Roses, Boys II Men, Creed, Tone Loc, and even Barry Manilow.
American Pie also features Third Eye Blind and Blink 182, as well as Sugar Ray, The Barenaked Ladies, Tonic, and Everclear.