Take Five

By George Rose

April 21, 2009

Our money is on Frankenstein.

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Can't Hardly Wait (1998)

Oh, Breckin Meyer, your supporting roles really haven't led you that far, have they? You may have been overshadowed by Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ethan Embry in Can't Hardly Wait, but you were part of a memorable ensemble nonetheless. This comedy was yet another that I idolized growing up, only this time it was because I was a pubescent middle school student who couldn't wait to go to high school. Funny how Hollywood targets the youth with incentives of the future instead of letting them revel in their present. Sounds like an evil marketing scheme, if you ask me.

There are no road trips to be found here, only the graduation party of a lifetime. Who wants to get into cross-country hijinks when you can plot revenge against the pretty-boy jock, try and score with the most popular girl in the grade or be part of an aspiring garage band? Well, I'm always down for a road trip, but when I was 13 my two biggest aspirations were (1) Jennifer Love Hewitt and (2) living the cool life in high school (it never happened). Can't Hardly Wait was my hand guide and kept me preparing for those adventures.

Here Embry plays our leading loser, the guy who never had a chance with Love Hewitt because she was too busy being Peter Facinelli's arm candy (Twilight fans should check this movie out to see what their favorite vampire father was up to at the start of his career). Their recent breakup gives Embry's Preston hope, but the many intertwining sub-plots keep preventing the destined couple from having an easy Happily Ever After. It's easy to guess who ends up together in the end, but some movies are like college; it's not so much about knowing what's coming (graduation, "getting the girl"), as it is about the journey and films that get you there.


Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

You know now some of what I watched in high school and middle school, so let's go back a little further. In elementary school, the films I watched were limited to those my parents played for us. There were the obvious Disney comedies, but one of my favorites was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, because my older brother and his friend liked it, and because my dad was an Abbott and Costello purist. He had grown up with the comedy legends and wanted to pass on some of their beloved and inspirational work.

Coming on the heels of the Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello went on to become visionaries in the slapstick genre that would later be the framework for current icons like Jim Carrey. While their Africa Screams and Meet the Invisible Man movies are part of my collection, Meet Frankenstein is my favorite because it also includes Dracula and the Wolfman. I was as big on horror as a kid as I am now, so cramming three of the greatest villains of all time into a comedy with characters my father raised me on was bound to strike a chord.

The actors play two cargo handlers who stumble on a shipment containing Frankenstein. After the bumbling fools learn Dracula is the one expecting the package and Costello becomes the brain harvest for Frankenstein, Abbott wrongly bands together with a gentleman named Larry to stop Dracula's master plan. Naturally Larry turns out to be the Wolfman (thanks, full moon!) and we end the film with an all-out Battle of the Monsters, with our lovable heroes stuck in the middle. As with all lighthearted comedy there is the happy ending you expect, but Abbott and Costello take you on a journey that can make you laugh harder than any of the carbon copies that have been released in the 60 years since.

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