It seems we’ve only blinked and suddenly, it has been 10 years since we first met Ron Burgundy, and 20 years since we learnt the meaning of Hakuna Matata. As we get further and further into the 21st Century, Planet Earth has survived a number of apocalyptic prophecies, as well as films like Sharknado, Pirahna 3DD and Catwoman...
Reminiscing over the past few decades of film has led me to this small collection of 90’s films that I feel are in danger of being lost in the archives, buried under the likes of Snakes On A Plane and The Last Airbender.
So, behold a few films that you should make yourselves acquainted with if you so wish, or re-acquainted with, if that is the case:
10. Swimming With Sharks (1994) – directed by George Huang
Buddy Ackerman, played by Spacey, is a slick, dictatorial film producer, who locks horns with his new assistant, Guy, played by Whaley. Tired of tending to Ackerman’s every beck and call, Guy decides to try and turn the tables on his boss and give him some well deserved payback.
I really really do wonder what people would have thought if this were released after American Beauty. Really.
9. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998) – directed by Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan
A successor to the legendary and life-altering John Hughes films, Can’t Hardly Wait is a sweet gem of a film that a lot of people haven’t even heard of, due to the fact that it was released not long before the smash hit, American Pie.
8. The Game (1997) – directed by David Fincher
A mysterious thriller with elements of film noir and sci-fi, The Game, tells the story of wealthy businessman, Nicolas Van Orten, as he takes part in a live-action ‘game’ that consumes his life and alters his perception of what is real and what is not.
Personally, I finished watching this film and found myself hating it. Michael Douglas was annoying, the twists were annoying and the ending was annoying. HOWEVER, regardless of what I thought of The Game, the film is undoubtedly one of Fincher’s cinematic gems, sadly hidden away in the shadows of Se7en and Fight Club.
7. The Cable Guy (1996) – directed by Ben Stiller
For some reason, The Cable Guy was dissed by the critics, dissed by the cinemagoers and even dissed by Homer Simpson; “Stupid script! Nearly wrecked Jim Carrey’s career!”
Carrey plays Chip Douglas, a misunderstood loner who seeks friendship in “average-joe” Steven, played by Matthew Broderick. To begin with Steven humours the unusual friendship, but it isn’t long before he reconsiders, offending and upsetting the mentally unstable Chip.
Frankly, I disagree immensely with everyone and anyone who says that The Cable Guy was not a good film. This is dark tragi-comedy at it’s finest! And not to mention, one of Carrey’s most impressive and understated roles.
6. Small Soldiers (1998) – directed by Joe Dante
When specialist missile technology used to enhance action figures brings them to life, it’s The Commando Elite vs. The Gorgonites in a war that has spanned through the ages, and soon, across 15-year-old Alan Abernathy’s bedroom floor.
Small Soldiers is Toy Story for older kids, and a 90’s classic that can be enjoyed by those of all ages and generations.
5. Single White Female (1992) – directed by Barbet Schroeder
A racy psychological thriller, where the bunny boiler makes a friend she wants for life. Okay, so this is a bit of a guilty pleasure – sue me. For the early 90’s this film is something of a treat.
Sure, it’s formulaic and full of Hollywood cliches, but the performances by Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh are captivating and entirely entertaining. It’s a harmless thriller with the very basic moral of the story being, don’t talk to strangers – or invite them to live with you.
4. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) – directed by Lasse Hallström
Delightfully innocent film and an indie classic. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a deeply tragic and touching tale of complicated family life in a town of simpletons. The performances of the entire cast are both unmatched and enchanting.
As well as an example of beautiful cinematography and great directing, it is also a coming of age story for the quirkiest of hearts, serving Leonardo DiCaprio with a very well deserved Oscar nomination.
3. Dark City (1998) – directed by Alex Proyas
Okay, so this film isn’t forgotten amongst Sci-Fi fans, in fact it’s something of a classic. However, the amount of people I meet on a daily basis who haven’t seen or heard of Dark City deeply saddens me.
A film noir of sorts that was overshadowed by The Matrix, Dark City is a spectacular film that relies on intellect and creative philosophy, rather than a blockbuster budget or expensive CGI.
2. Drop Dead Fred (1991) – directed by Ate De Jong
Elizabeth is a woman in her twenties, who after a day that equates to her having a quarter-life crises, manages to summon her imaginary friend back from the realms of her childhood. Following this, she seems to be stuck with him indefinitely as he causes havoc and attempts to communicate with her and everyone around her, acting as though she’s still the young child she used to be.
This is a story about the importance of friendship, being happy and letting go and remains one of my favourite films of all time.
1. Night on Earth (1991) – directed by Jim Jarmusch
Five anthology stories that travel from North America to Europe. Night On Earth gives us a look-in to the lives of some of the most interesting taxi-drivers and their customers.
The film is actually 5 short films less than half an hour each, and shown to us as if taking place at the exact same moment in five different cities across the world; Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome and Helsinki.
Original, bold and with moments of true poignancy, this is a film simply about people, that you can choose to watch in several sittings, or all at once- either way doesn’t matter, as long as you just watch it.