Whether your birth certificate is stamped with a year in the 90’s or you were lucky enough to live through them, this list is for you. No matter your genre of choice, the films of this decade were all about education. Teenage explorations, intergalactic explorations or just everyday adventures. The 90’s made the mundane cool again, a Doc Marten boot, a wardrobe composed of various plaid. Those one liners we still use today, although it’s not all that vintage yet a little reminiscing never hurts. Binge itinerary for the rest of the year sorted.
Teenager Cher takes on high school with style we could only dream of. Living the lavish lifestyle that LA has to offer, Cher and her gang take on teenage angst with new poise. Full of zingers, as if, total peach and monet but we really love this film because it brought Paul Rudd to centre stage.
Dinosaurs roaming a theme park for our entertainment, what could possibly go wrong? A darker classic that kickstarted the movement of blockbusters that has yet to end even today. Spielberg made the effects particularly scary for the time but upon rewatch you’ll notice it wasn’t all that frightening. Has to be a pretty great franchise if Chris Pratt is at the helm of the remake.
Fiery red haired Julia Roberts meets suave Richard Gere, in a questionable professional encounter. One of the first films to take on prostitution in such a way, as to treat the worker with some humanity. For a mainstream hit the undercurrent of themes is poignant, and that shopping scene iconic. A little problematic that people wanted to be here and find a rich man to sustain their lifestyles, the birth of the sugar daddy perhaps?
Robin Williams cross dressing take made us all want to upgrade our babysitters. The homely, portly woman taking care of the kids was as fun as nannies came. Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, the kid from Matilda and two sides to Robin Williams make this comedy a hit for years to come. Oh the novelty of a man melting his fat suit on the stove by accident. Brilliant all round.
The Truman Show
A voyeuristic TV show centred around Truman comes undone in this Jim Carrey classic. Big Brother on a massive scale, a film that holds a lot of insight into our current celebrity obsessed predicament. Truman falls in love with a girl and she tries to rescue him, help him experience life in a real way. Stepford Wives esque setting makes it all the weirder. Jim Carrey’s greatest for sure.
Demi Moore pre Ashton Kutcher and Patrick Swayze post Dirty Dancing, prime extraterrestrial love story. Whoopi took a break from Sister Act to be a part of this pottery spinning masterpiece. Where Demi and Swayze continue their love beyond the bounds of earthly bodies.
The Mighty Ducks
Where ice hockey came to life, the comradely and team spirit of this movie made us all want to drop puck and hit the ice. Spirited, a spice of teenage angst and voila! You have a film that still inspires chants of quack, quack, quack, quack.
Stupid is as stupid does, and if you haven’t seen this movie then well, you’re the former. Tom Hanks turn as the simple man with the big heart has brough us Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co, and a lot of movie quotes to work with. From meeting three presidents, to getting shot in the buttocks, Gump really did it all. Weaving so many storylines into one, a rewatch will catch you picking up on something new guaranteed.
Jack and Rose’s tessellating bodies on their life raft has cause many an argument, but the love story itself iconic. Flying a the front of the ship before it’s demise, a little poor boy loves rich girl, an disapproving family and a whole lotta love. It’s romance at it’s prime but just try not to sob at the sound of Celine Dion’s voice.
Red pill or blue pill? Neo’s adventure into the system brought computer generated fears to life. Filmed in Sydney you’ll spot the Reserve Bank among other buildings of note as Mr Smith seeks to delete the undesirables. Sci-fi that captivates like no other, it’s weird but oddly wonderful. All leather outfits timestamp this one firmly in the 90’s, undeniably.
The Lion King
An animated film that made lions loveable and warthogs comedic, The Lion King is a childhood gem. The innocent rumblings of Simba, the horrific scene of Scar pushing Mufasa to his death, and the loveable nuzzling of Nala later on. The songs are epic, feel it in your soul kind of music. So Hakuna Matata friends!
A childhood love story that broke our hearts early on. My Girl maps the childhood infatuation of the two lovebirds and the adventures they have over summer. There’s even a ring involved and an untimely death that no one saw coming. The song alone made our parents watch it over and over.
Winona Ryder is the 90’s to a tee. Pixie hair, waif physique and a nonchalance so French it was killer. Reality Bites takes on that matter of fact style of film so popular at this time, and turns up the intrigue. A little love story, a little drama and a whole lot of quotes. Plus the outfits are prime, General Pants eat your heart out.
The Sixth Sense
The biggest twist in movie history? Quite possibly. It even spawned a term for a twist so big you never see is coming after the director. M Night Shamalyan twist. So that’s what the Cards Against Humanity card means. Bruce Willis is endearing and the little kid tormented, hard to talk about this one without giving it away. I see dead people became common phrase thanks to this thriller.
Thelma and Louise
Baby Brad Pitt and two suburban hick women taking to the open road, what could go wrong? Well if that iconic cadillac cruising over the canyon is anything to go by – a lot. It dealt with women in such an empowering fashion and elevated Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon to iconic status.
Tarantino’s finest work? I’m not going to have that argument here but certainly the most well known. Bloodshed, drug use and a storyline so dense it was hard to follow. Travolta’s haircut, Mia’s outfit and oh that dance. Plus a little vintage Samuel Jackson with a perm. Zed’s dead baby but Pulp Fiction will live on forever.
Good Will Hunting
When Matt Damon and Ben Affleck funded their own film, no one suspected it would be an Oscar success. The story of boy genius Will in Boston, you don’t need to be told it’s Boston though, you can hear it in every drawl. Robin Williams helps sort through his demons and set the wunderkid onto better things, rather than just being too smart for his own good. How do you like them apples? We like them very much.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Johnny Depp, Leo Dicraprio and a whole lot of emotion, this one will take you back. Gilbert is left as the carer of his overweight mother and intellectually impaired brother, stuck in small town monotony with a load of responsibility. Enter carefree wild thing Juliette Lewis to make him feel a little. A movie before it’s time.
Adam Sandler’s one of those actors you either love or hate, with a cache of films making the same jokes even if you’ve grown weary of him – this is a classic. Spoiled rotten rich brat Billy is taken to school on his childish and improper ways. The original man child movie and as a reluctant Adam Sandler viewer this one’s not bad at all.
Dazed and Confused
The coming of age film where Texan high schoolers battle the perils of growing up. Mathew McConaughey stars as the teenage protagonist, before his performances were Oscar worthy. Ben Affleck played his original douche character as the high school bully. Football, scholarships, freshmen and seniors this film traverses the high school landscape with gusto.
Black comedy at it’s finest, this British cult classic takes on a heroin addict’s attempt to escape his old live. A move from Edinburgh to London is one fine attempt but alas his destructive accomplices manage to find him. It’s darkly funny, and inappropriately loveable – not to say you’ll be trying heroin anytime soon but you may find yourself partying in London a la Mark and Sick Boy. Criminally good.
Image source: Miramax Films