Ah, the ‘90s. I have much love for the decade during which I graduated both high school and college. Which means I also have much love for movies that are set in the ‘90s. Here are 5 that’ll make you say “Dude … sweet.”
Hackers – Back when the Internet and personal computing were new to the masses, technophobia raged. Hackers exploited those fears and revolved around high school friends who are framed for another hacker’s online crimes, which involved a lethal virus, capsizing oil tankers and tens of millions in stolen corporate funds. It became a cult classic, due in no small part to the many cast members who went on to become famous (including Angelina Jolie). You also gotta love its electronica and house-heavy soundtrack, featuring The Prodigy and Stereo MCs.
Reality Bites – Ben Stiller (who also directed) plays the good guy trying to win Winona Ryder away from Ethan Hawke’s messed-up bad boy in what has become one of the most quintessential ‘90s movies depicting the lives and struggles of Gen Xers. It features the performance that most people in their 40s will forever remember Ethan Hawke for. And I dare you to try and find a better ‘90s-music soundtrack! Or to answer your next phone call in a more hilarious way than Hawke’s Troy Dyer does: “Hello, you’ve reached the winter of our discontent.”
Singles – Those who want to take me up on my “best ‘90s soundtrack” challenge would likely point to this Cameron Crowe film that centers on Gen X relationships during the height of the grunge boom in Seattle. It’s got Pearl Jam (who were also in the movie as members of the fictitious band Citizen Dick), Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins and the late Chris Cornell — and who can ever forget Paul Westerburg’s “Waiting for Somebody”? My husband and I still quote lines from this movie.
Mid90s – The directorial debut from Jonah Hill (yes, that Jonah Hill) just hit the Box, so now you have a chance to see why everyone’s so impressed. It’s about a 13-year-old boy (Sunny Suljic) who’s desperate to be cool — and to escape a not-so-great situation at home — so he tries to fit in with a group of rebellious skaters. Or, as I referred to them back in the day, “thrashers.” It’s definitely the darkest and most serious film on this list, and it makes me curious about what Hill might take on next.
Clueless – Did you honestly think I would leave this one off of the list? AS IF! First off, it’s proof that Paul Rudd doesn’t age. Second, it’s so beloved that it spawned a three-season TV show, a novel series, a musical, countless pop-culture nods (like Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” video) and now has a remake in the works. It stars Alicia Silverstone as Claire Horowitz, a fashion-obsessed and superficial high schooler who’s inspired by Jane Austen’s “Emma” character. If you’re in the mood for a laugh, watch it. Or don’t. WHATEVER!
What movie do you think perfectly captures the ‘90s?