Quintessential Films of the 90s: Part 1

The 90s were an interesting time in American History. We had things like corporate upheavals, JNCO jeans, Saved By The Bell, and Dolly the cloned sheep. There were the Clintons, Rodney King, and the First Gulf War. Hell, there were commercials with talking frogs! We sat down and came up with the movies that best typified the 90s for us.


17) Tombstone: While this movie is based on a character from the 1800s, it was still one of those movies that gave us memorable quotes. Over twenty years later I am still using many in my everyday life. “I’ll be your huckleberry” was a phrase I heard every day in the 90s. The other thing about this movie is, if I had to pick two actors to exemplify the 90’s, it is hard for me to beat Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. These guys were in so much from that decade and oh yeah, how can you forget Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton as well. -Andy

fear and loating in las vegas

16) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Raul Duke’s drug-fueled rager though Las Vegas has absolutely nothing to do with the 90s. Not the first thing. But it did expose a new audience to the strange story-telling style of Hunter S. Thompson. From Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to The Rum Diaries, Thompson was at the center of the action but never let ego get in the way of the story. A skill that I think many bloggers and YouTubers try to mimic now.  Thompson, through his work, said it was okay to be in the story, as long as you had something to say.  -Mike

american history x

15) American History XAmerican History X did something a lot of movie studios were afraid to do in the 90s, it tackled the issue of race coming out of the Rodney King riots. There were a lot of hurt feelings on both sides of the coin and Tony Kaye did a great job of capturing just what the hate looked like and the amount of damage it can do. It did a great job of showing exactly what the 90s looked like to a different community than most of us grew up in. -Andy


14) SandlotThe Sandlot takes place in the 1950s, but the adventures work for any adolescent boy despite the actual year. Trying to sneak kisses from girls, getting into shenanigans, and swallowing tobacco juice (hint: spit that shit out). Does it epitomize the 90s? No, but who wasn’t saying “You’re killin’ me, Smalls” after watching that? At 33, I still hear it at work. -Mike

10 things I hate about you

13) 10 Things I Hate About You: I think everyone has  that date movie they identify with their youth and I don’t think I am wrong in saying 10 Things I Hate About You was that date movie for the kids of the 90s. It pictures teenage angst when it comes to dating, high school, prom, parties, and parents all in one flick. It also was a launching pad for a few names you may know today: Heath Ledger, Julie Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Gabrielle Union. It awas also part of the trend in the 90s to take Shakespeare films and reimagine them. 10 Things I Hate About You was inspired by The Taming of the Shrew. It joined the likes of Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo + Juliet, and Men of Respect as 90s movies all based on Shakespeare’s plays.  -Andy

the big lebowski

12) The Big Lebowski: If there’s one thing I distinctly remember about the 90s is it was weird. Neon was still a thing, then there was the grunge look, which was replaced by the preppy boy band look. Even weirder were the cartoons from the time: Ren & Stimpy, The Tick, CatDog, Doug, & Rocco’s Modern Life. The most popular TV show was about nothing. The Big Lebowski took the decade’s weird essence and put it on film. -Mike


11) Toy Story: As a child of the 90s, this was my and countless other youths’ movie. I had multiple copies of the movie and carried around the toys as well. It became part of the pop culture of the 90s. Toy Story also helped launch Pixar which has become an increasingly pervasive part of American culture. I can’t imagine a world where Toy Story never happened. -Andy

Check out Part 2 of our countdown.

About the author

Andy G for short, is a digital media designer for a local college, previously for some radio stations. If you’re wondering what a digital media designer is, he helps make the internet look pretty. When not at work, he is either at the gym or involved in generally nerdy activities.