Our Top 10 90s-Woman 90s Movies

In honor of the Oscars, we at 90swoman present our top 10 90swomanest of 90s movies. We are not saying these are the best movies ever, just that we feel they are the most 90swomanish. Feel free to correct us. As we learned from the 90s, everything is subjective. And no one yet has determined just what that era was all about. We’re writing history here, you guys!

1. Say Anything (1989, but c’mon!)

K: An emo kickboxer who cant figure out his future woos and wins the smart girl. It is like this movie predicted every 90swoman relationship in the entire borough of Brooklyn. (PS. Personal 90s points: A college boyfriend now has Lloyd Dobler circa the crucial boom box scene tattooed on his upper thigh. This tattooing took place after we broke up, fyi.)

A: Teenagers today have not seen this movie — can you believe it? I have personally shown it to, like, three and they all liked it so much. I am evangelical about this film. Give the DVD to an 00s teenager today and teach them about history!

2. Slacker (1991)

K: There is a woman who produces Madonna’s pap smear. Also, it takes place in Austin.

A: I moved to Austin a few years after this movie came out and people were complaining that Austin was no longer like it was in the movie. There was a “Keep Austin Weird” bumper sticker campaign and everything. But that town always has been and always will be super 90s, and the perfect place on earth to be twenty-two years old and a little trampy.

3. Singles (1992)

K: This movie made me think I would spend a large portion of my twenties hanging out in a coffee shop. This movie was right.

A: I was about to say something about how I found this movie sort of annoying, but I think I meant to say that about Reality Bites. They blend together in my memory. Time for another screening party.

4. Reality Bites (1994)

K: Should you date a video exec or an artist? These are the real issues that 90swomen grapple with. This (mainstream) movie captures the sell-out dilemma of the 90s; it’s also appropriately casual about the gay character and Janeane Garofolo’s “do you ever wish you were a lesbian” scene is super 90s.

5. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

K: It’s the movie version of Tori Amos’s “Precious Things” and Phoebe Gloeckner’s “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.” This movie still feels so close to my pre-teen experience of sex that you wanted and that was very, very bad for you that I wonder if I can ever watch it again.

A: This movie was SO right on about that feeling of being a tween girl who is bullied. It was kind of hard for me to watch, but also high art.

6. Stealing Beauty (1996)

K: I saw this movie in a very small theater in a very small town near my college with the writer sitting a few rows behind me. I was already a fan of Susan Minot, who writes devastating short stories about girls and sex, and who in this movie had a ripening Liv Tyler dance around to Hole while obsessing about a boy in Italy—which means there is lots of fucking and no one feels guilty. My only problem with it is that Liv ends up with the nice guy in the end and it’s not very sexy.

7. Chasing Amy (1997)

K: There is a scene in this movie in which Ben Affleck—BEN AFFLECK—declares his love to a lesbian who hangs out at a lesbian bar and who finally loves him back. This seemed borderline offensive in the 90s and borderline radical now.

A: Yeah, I remember being angered by the implication that lesbians can be hetrosexified, let alone by Ben Affleck.

8. High Art (1998)

K: Sid is straight. She lives in Brooklyn. She works for a photography magazine. She is more ambitious than her (hot, very hot) boyfriend. She falls in love with a woman. An older woman. AN OLDER WOMAN THAT IS ALLY SHEEDY. This movie wins my award for hottest 90s movie.

9. Freeway (1996)

A: This movie is AMAZING. Basically the set up is that Reese Witherspoon is little red riding hood and Kiefer Sutherland is the big bad wolf. It’s genuinely scary, but also genuinely surprising. Reese does all the stuff you want would-be girl victims in horror movies to do, like fight back.

10. Trust (1990)

A: We’ve talked before a bit about Hal Hartley, ultimate 90s New Sincerity film director. I feel like this is his best and most 90s movie. On one hand, all the characters are super self-important and overly serious and affected and . . . you get the idea. And on the other, they are Real and Pure and True. And how 90s Woman is that? Either you’re humorless, p.c. and narcissistic, or you’ve got it all figured out. You be the judge:



Filed under Ada, Kara

23 responses to “Our Top 10 90s-Woman 90s Movies

  1. Amy

    I am so happy that “Freeway” is on this list.

  2. Great list, except for Chasing Amy, which I think is the most offensive movie ever. Ugh. I don’t see how anything about it is radical. It’s not offensive because a lesbian starts loving a man, it’s offensive because of the way queer sexuality is portrayed, I think. That movie set my coming out back so many years; my brother is still convinced if I met Ben Affleck, I would suddenly be hetero.

    Speaking of switching, I think High Art is interesting, because, though Sid has a boyfriend, I don’t think it’s made explicit that she’s hetero. Her boyfriend seems so unsurprised when he asks her if she’s sleeping with Ally that it seems like she might be bisexual, even though, when they have sex, it’s clear she’s never done it with a woman before.

    Reality Bites, High Art and Stealing Beauty are my big 90s movies, so I really love this list.

  3. Party Girl should be on every 90s woman list ever.

  4. wait, we forgot true romance! and i love party girl so much! so many 90swomen became librarians. were they inspired by parker posey?!
    and its true: chasing amy might actually be super-offensive. i remember it making me really angry when i saw it in the 90s. but i saw a clip the other day and was like, wait, a major movie with a lesbian character who hangs out at lesbian bars?! i cant even imagine that happening now. but it definitely might be time for me to re-watch it and remember why it is so offensive all over again.–kara

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  6. you know what else isnt on this list? clueless. which is clearly a super 90swoman movie (see past posts). also, unlike most other 90swoman movies i can think of, a black girl is a major character.–kara

  7. Love that Trust made the list. I don’t think it’s even been released on DVD, yet — has it?

  8. Gah, we left off Clueless?! Also you’re right about Party Girl. And you’re right Kathy, looks like Trust is just an import DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Trust-NON-USA-FORMAT-PAL-Reg-4/dp/B000BCCB0E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1268061960&sr=8-1 – ada

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  10. Nikki

    What about Foxfire?? It’s probably the most 90swoman movie I have ever seen.

  11. I have to second Party Girl…and Clueless. Definitely both Party Girl and Clueless.

  12. Dude, Foxfire!!!! I’d forgotten all about that movie, but it IS 1996. -Ada

  13. Nikki Lind

    What about the movie Fear? I thought it was scary as hell and very 90’s. What do you guys think?

  14. fiorella

    I second Party Girl, Clueless, True Romance and Foxfire, and add The Craft, Thelma and Louise, and Jawbreaker

  15. I remember watching “Chasing Amy” on video with a male friend in college. He knew I danced around that party line (I wasn’t necessarily a LUG, but I wasn’t an arrow either–still not) and was interested in my take on the whole thing.

    I remember screaming while BAffleck was pouring his heart out to her: “Get out of the car! Run! Get away from him! Go!!!” and cheered when she did. And then when she ran back to him, he started cheering while I screamed, “Noooooo!!!!” It was an interesting juxtaposition and I noted it even then. He was the heteromantic, while I was rather offended at the whole premise.

    I also have to second (third?) The Craft because Fairuza Balk makes me tingle in places I didn’t know could tingle.

  16. Yes to The Craft! I never saw Fear, but it looks super 90s and super creepy!! http://www.trailerfan.com/movie/fear-1996/trailer

  17. Suzie

    Just a technical point, but Sid (high art) is obviously not straight if she falls in love with woman. It’s called being in the closet.

    You left off Benny and June!!!

  18. Suzie

    oh yah and “Basic Instinct.” a little cheesy and over the top, but come on, Catherine Trammell (Sharon Stone) was arguably thee most empowered lady of the 90s (if in a psychotic way).

  19. totally. not to mention that basic instinct might tie high art for hottest 90s movie.–kara

  20. Both of Sarah Jacobson’s movies:

    I Was a Teenage Serial Killer (25 min, 1993)
    Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore (89 min?, 1997)

    They are underground feminist movies that I LOVE.

    If you want to see them, although Sarah died in 2004, her mother, Ruth, sells them via mail order. Information is at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117001/board/thread/48850771?d=71602280&p=1#71602280

    I bought both last June.

  21. Dude…Doom Generation. Nuff said. And Nowhere.

    Also, the most 90s girl movie for me was All Over Me. EPIC!

    Glad someone else said Foxfire. Jawbreaker is also great.

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