Time of Your Life
Can’t Hardly Wait

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Keckler: D+ | Grade It Now!
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...but maybe I could have shown a modicum of self-control
The opening credits are full of Gossip-like whispers of exposition. We learn that there's going to be a boffo graduation party at some ambiguous and more-than-likely unpopular chick's house, where surely the house will be destroyed à la Sixteen Candles and Weird Science, and that some guy's naked under his graduation gown -- the cheeky rebel! We also learn that Mike Dexter dumped Amanda Beckett, and since everyone's talking about it, we can probably divine that they are the "popular" couple. As we meet them throughout the movie, each member of the main cast of characters is presented to us with yearbook snapshots. You remember filling those forms out, right? "Activities," "Future Plans," "Personal Quote," and so forth. The first character we meet at the high-school graduation ceremony is our sensitive hero, Preston. His yearbook entry tells us that his activities included the literary magazine, honor society, and swimming; his college of choice is Dartmouth, and his defining quote by Thoreau is, "Beware all enterprises that require new clothes." So we've got our sensitive hero with a literary bent and a sense of humor, who participated in just enough carefully-chosen activities to avoid being anti-social but not so many that make him a jerk-weed jock or an over-achieving geek (see: Eric Stoltz in Some Kind of Wonderful). Though I'm fairly secure in the fact that we'll meet those two necessary-to-any-movie-about-high-school stereotypes later. As the gossip reaches him by way of the naked guy, we note that Preston takes particular interest in the fact that Mike and Amanda broke up. Let's regroup: we've got graduation, a party, a breakup, an unrequited love interest, and a naked guy; all the elements are there. After the hat toss, Preston whinges to his best friend, Denise (the requisite PAW [pissed at world] type whose yearbook snap tells us she had no activities, whose future plans involve NYU, whose quote from Oscar Wilde is, "A true friend stabs you in the front," and who wears army green when she's not wearing black) about Fate and Amanda at the graduation party. Evidently, Preston and Fate have been buddies for a long time where Amanda is concerned. To wit, he was the first person to witness her arrival at their school as the new girl; she was seated next to him in class and she ate the exact same Pop Tart he was eating. Unfortunately for Preston, Mike Dexter was quicker on the snatch when the teacher asked who would like to show Amanda around the school, and they had been a couple until now. This stroll down memory lane conveniently blocked out Amanda's face, so it will be a big surprise when we find out she's actually Jennifer Love Hewitt. Denise tells Preston it's time to forget everyone and move on, but he manages to convince her to come to the party with him.

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Time of Your Life

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