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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: