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Great '90s Movies That Still Hold Up Today

With the advent of the internet, cell phones, and personal computing, the '90s left the world forever changed. As a result, movies of the era have become accidental time capsules of pre-PC life. Back then, stories had to rely on communication through landlines and clunky phone books. If you had to do research, there were no laptops, smart phones, or blazing-fast home WiFi — you had to get to the library within working hours and sift through a card catalog to find the information you needed. Movies themselves had to be physically owned or borrowed: You needed to be able to hold it in your hands if you wanted to watch it. "Stream" was just another word for creek.

And yet, the movies of the '90s still hold up. This decade of cinema pushed narratives to their furthest limits, using new technology in innovative ways that, amazingly, still impress today — even in the harsh light of high definition. Movies tackled social issues with new fervor, in ways that remain groundbreaking. Bold new directors, actors, and designers of all stripes broke through, who have gone on to reshape the medium as a whole. These are the movies of the '90s that still manage to dazzle, provoke, and entertain us to this day. 

The Matrix

In so many ways, the Wachowskis' cyberpunk action-thriller The Matrix continues to be ahead of its time. Its tale of identity, authoritarian constraint, and mass surveillance has, if anything, only become more relevant — no wonder we're getting a Matrix 4. But most impressively of all, the movie's mind-bending special effects have withstood the difficult test of time. 

Take a moment to recall, if you were around, just how jaw-dropping The Matrix's visuals were, back in 1999. Remember the gravity-defying moment when Trinity suspends herself in mid-air, and the camera revolves around her? Remember what it was like to encounter "bullet time" before it became a phrase unto itself? Upon rewatch, these effects don't just hold up: They still look absolutely, unabashedly incredible. Even beyond visuals, The Matrix's impact can't be denied. More than 20 years later, we're still calling weird moments of daily life "glitches in the matrix." Despite the many aspects of this movie that have been homaged to the point of cliche, watching The Matrix today is just as thrilling as it was in 1999.

10 Things I Hate About You

The '90s perfected the art of the romantic comedy, and 10 Things I Hate About You remains its quintessential representative. A modern retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You is a saucy love story featuring a number of key plot points that have aged beautifully. Yes, it's a comedy of errors about a misfit girl and the boy who accidentally wins her heart. But it's also a story about the special bonds that exist between sisters, the unique trials of being an outspoken teenage girl, and the worthiness of honesty. All of these elements, brought to life by a stellar cast, make 10 Things I Hate About You an evergreen story. 

And seriously — what a cast. Daryl Mitchell as English teacher Mr. Morgan brings a hilarious, spirited bite to the Bard that remains right at home in the cultural zeitgeist decades later. Allison Janney's turn as the school counselor Ms. Perky adds the bawdiness every Shakespeare adaptation requires with her tumescent, in-progress romance novel. The fact that the movie also stars Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the icing on this delightfully '90s cake.

12 Monkeys

Flipping back and forth between 2035, 1990, and 1996, 12 Monkeys explores the possible origins of a viral pandemic that decimates all but one percent of human life on Earth. The film follows Bruce Willis as time traveler James Cole as he attempts to uncover who is responsible for releasing the virus so that scientists in the future can stop it and restore the planet to health. As you might imagine, Watching 12 Monkeys in a post-coronavirus world in an exercise in surreality — but one worth undertaking. If anything, current events have only made the film more important.

Featuring a gritty, neo-noir sci-fi aesthetic that has aged phenomenally well, Terry Gilliam's movie did more than just predict a global contagion — it also predicted future movies. As Jeffrey Goines, an anti-capitalist psychiatric patient, Brad Pitt foreshadows his later performance as the enigmatic Tyler Durden of Fight Club fame, down to the manifesto monologues. Bruce Willis' Cole offers a glimpse into his role in The Sixth Sense, encapsulated by his line, "All I see are dead people." These aren't just fun tidbits for the trivia-happy cinephile, though — they're part of why classics like Fight Club and The Sixth Sense even got made. Those movies knew they could take a chance on these actors because they'd already seem them pull similar performances off. 12 Monkeys predicted a lot, but it also laid the groundwork for further cinematic brilliance.

Fight Club

Since 1999, everyone everywhere has been breaking those first two rules of Fight Club – and for good reason. David Fincher's social satire, starring Edward Norton as the morose narrator and Brad Pitt as his alter-ego, the charismatic Tyler Durden, continues to impress. Add in Helena Bonham Carter as lost girl Marla Singer and you've got an all-star cast pulling off an unforgettable story. 

Fight Club manages to be one of the most quotable films of its era and one of the most contentious — two qualities rarely found in one film. But that's just how Fight Club rolls: It's nihilistic, it's brutal, it's surprisingly tender, and it continues to be relevant. This is a movie about violence, but for all its macho swagger, it's also an intense indictment of its main characters' destructive urges. No wonder it still spurs discussion and debate. Its ultimate message of self-integration remains vital, a status we don't think will change any time soon.

Seven

If David Fincher's horror noir Seven included cell phones, you would immediately assume it was made today — that's how relevant it remains. Featuring Morgan Freeman as Detective Somerset, a lawman about to retire, and Brad Pitt as his temporary partner David Mills, the two men find themselves embroiled in a gruesome serial killer case. The killer has been choosing his victims based on their indulgence in the seven deadly sins, for which he forces them to "atone." Calling his methods grisly would be an understatement.

In 1995, the implied and on-screen violence in Seven went above and beyond anything anyone had seen. Then, the movie's horrific surprise ending knocked everyone for a further loop. Today,  Fincher's pristine noir aesthetic — John Doe's notebooks are works of disturbed art — is even more striking, thanks to high definition. But improved technology and intervening years have only made it more clear how thoughtful Fincher's use of violence is. Imitators capture the gore, but not the message, making Seven's themes all the most obvious (and impressive) to modern viewers. Seven is one of the best and darkest movies around ... just don't watch it with someone who doesn't know what's coming.

The Crow

Against a raging soundtrack of peak-'90s industrial grunge music, Alex Proyas' adaptation of The Crow is an aesthetic unto itself. Dark tones are contrasted with red bursts of color, the camera veers crazily across the unnamed city, and Eric Draven haunts it all, a ghoul in greasepaint. One by one, undead Eric goes after the men who hurt his beloved fiance, Shelly, making them pay in their own blood. It's a shadowy ode to vengeance that manages to embody '90s goth in every aspect — yet somehow, doesn't feel dated. If anything, the intervening decades have only made The Crow cooler.

Starring Brandon Lee in his final lead role, this tour-de-force performance seems likely to have catapulted the young actor into proper mainstream stardom, had he lived. One might think The Crow's status as a cult classic comes from the fact that Lee died while filming, but that's entirely untrue – The Crow is a beautiful, grotesque, and haunting film all on its own. Moreover, the soundtrack also holds up fantastically — a rare feat for any '90s movie, even the best ones. This is one movie that can be enjoyed on multiple levels, just as it was back in 1994.

Romeo + Juliet

Baz Luhrmann's hallucinogenic adaptation of Shakespeare's classic romance, Romeo + Julietfeels as fresh today as the day it premiered. Utilizing digital camera work and editing techniques along with traditional film stock, Luhrmann's rip-roaring update of the story of star-crossed lovers is an absolute feast for the eyes. Seriously: This is a movie that combines neon, loud floral print, mesh button-downs, and SoCal style into a cohesive whole. It takes insane levels of vision to pull that off — to say nothing of doing it so well that it still looks good years later.

This movie turns the Montagues and the Capulets into rival California gangs, marked by their guns, tattoos, and distinct wardrobes. Luhrmann masterfully integrates modern issues of class, race, and gender expression into the classic tale — to call it ahead of its time is an understatement. Watching Romeo + Juliet in high definition, you actually feel like the movie was waiting for the 2000s to arrive: Modern technology allows its design elements and special effects to shine in newly crisp detail. Modern takes on Shakespeare start with solid foundations, but few ascend to the heights Romeo + Juliet achieves. That's because it dares to be strange, salacious, and of its particular moment — which, ironically enough, has made it timeless.

Blade

Long before the MCU became the biggest name in superheroic cinema, 1998's Blade was blowing minds. Wesley Snipes plays the title character, a half-human, half-vampire "daywalker" who dispatches bloodsuckers with cool precision. This glossy film combines the electronic dance music of the late '90s with ground-level hip-hop to create an unparalleled vibe. It's equal parts comic book, all-night rave, and turn-of-the-century reality, making Blade a uniquely cool installment in the Marvel canon. 

Blade's killer cast is a major part of its success. Featuring N'bushe Wright as a hematologist who might be able to cure Blade's vampirism and Kris Kristofferson as Blade's trusty sidekick, they work together to beat Stephen Dorff's villain, Deacon Frost, as he attempts to slaughter his way into vampiric authority. Blade's sense of cool hasn't aged a day: An introductory scene featuring an underground blood rave could have been filmed yesterday. Moreover, as one of the first films to star a Black superhero, Blade was way ahead of its time. It's got style, smarts, and a social consciousness — plus a seriously great soundtrack.

Practical Magic

Based on the novel by Alice Hoffman, 1998's Practical Magic follows the mystical women of the Owens family: Sally, Gillian, Jet, and Frances, played by Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, and Dianne Wiest respectively. The Owens are descended from a long line of witches, afflicted by a curse cast by the first of their line. It wasn't meant to be a curse — the first witch was only trying to keep herself from falling in love again. But centuries later, the spell has curdled, taking the life of any man an Owens woman truly loves. 

The lush aesthetic and eccentric charm of Practical Magic have only grown more enchanting over the years: Midnight margaritas are now a staple for many, thanks to this movie. But beyond the story's visuals and humor lies the strength of its narrative. Practical Magic is about trauma, family, and love, explored with a depth of feeling that remains resonant. The magic is, of course, entertaining, but it's not just set dressing — it's there to explore sisterhood, domestic violence, and cycles of abuse. It's powerful, it's brave, and it's entertaining as all get-out.

The Shawshank Redemption

There are very few movies that almost everyone can agree on. Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption has been a contender in this rarefied category for years. Based off the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, this movie isn't just special — it's iconic. 

Set in the fictional Shawshank State Penitentiary, the movie is an unflinching window into life behind bars. But beyond that, it's a twisting mystery, a tale of friendship, and a well-earned story of triumph. Seriously, who doesn't get goosebumps while watching Andy free himself in the pouring rain? Stunning performances from Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Red are a big part of why the film succeeds: Both men are earnest, tough, and tender, despite their many years of incarceration. The Shawshank Redemption is about the strength of the human spirit against evil forces — one message that never goes out of style.

Dazed and Confused

Though it was released in 1993, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused takes place in 1976, making this an interesting '90s movie indeed. Following a group of Texas high-schoolers on their first day of summer shenanigans, Dazed and Confused's technicolor '70s aesthetic has a distinctly '90s vibe that, somehow, works like gangbusters  today. It's nostalgia in a blender, filtered through the warm lens of a cinematic summer. It feels cozy and familiar, even if you weren't around for either decade. 

Those who first encountered Dazed and Confused in the '90s will find it just as clever and funny as the day they first saw it. For those watching it for the first time nowadays, it functions more like a period piece — yet one with a core of emotional truth. Decades later, Dazed and Confused's honest heart is what stands out most, and what keeps it relevant to today's teens. It's also totally rad (or perhaps groovy?) that the movie's socially conscious themes have only become more impressively ahead of their time.

Scream

In 1996, Wes Craven single-handedly revitalized the slasher horror sub-genre with his metatextual masterpiece, Scream. This movie proved to be start of a powerful franchise that has only deepened its philosophical leanings with each subsequent film. Scream took horror movie tropes and completely upended them: Final girl Sydney Prescott actually has sex ... and lives to tell the tale. It's funny without being goofy, scary without being schlocky, and still manages to surprise viewers to this day.

Played brilliantly by Neve Campbell, Sydney is a heroine for the ages with an origin story holds up as well now as it did back then. Sure, some of the film's details have become dated, like dial-up internet and flip phones — but that only adds to its charm, especially since each follow-up movie takes place in real time. The series is a time capsule of an entire era, an effect that is as interesting as it is nostalgic. The film is also all the more impressive in high definition: Ghostface's kills are grislier than you probably remember. Today's horror cinema might be blowing minds left and right with works of art like Midsommar and Get Out, but the genre never would have gotten to these heights without Scream.

Jurassic Park

In many ways, Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park has held up significantly better than its CGI-heavy follow-ups. Even to modern eyes, the film's practical effects continue to dazzle: There's just something about seeing those dinosaurs roar, stomp, and roam that takes your breath away. It is an entertaining as ever to watch the titular theme park fall to pieces — vicious predators, industrial espionage, and precocious kids just don't go out of cinematic style.

Beyond the spectacle of the film's visuals lie the sterling performances. Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm has a bizarre charm all his own, while Laura Dern's Dr. Ellie Sattler has become a modern-day girl power icon. An exchange between the two has become a cornerstone of '90s cinema for good reason: When Dr. Malcolm muses, "God creates dinosaurs. God kills dinosaurs. God creates man. Man kills god. Man creates dinosaurs," Dr. Sattler replies, "Dinosaurs kill man. Woman inherits the Earth." The line is as cheer-worthy now as it was then.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the rare sequel that surpasses its predecessor. One of the biggest reasons it manages this feat is because it took full advantage of then-modern technological advancements in digital filmmaking and editing. Cameron's brilliant use of both practical and digital effects elevates Terminator 2 into greatness, and makes it an absolute treat to revisit in high definition, all these decades later. 

But aside from its stellar effects, Terminator 2 is a strong, well-cast, cleverly-written film. Linda Hamilton's performance as Sarah Connor is simultaneously fierce and vulnerable, while Edward Furlong's breakout performance as Sarah's tormented son also holds up beautifully. Moreover, Terminator 2's plot, which revolves around artificial intelligence and authoritarianism, only becomes more relevant with every passing year. And don't forget — this is an early '90s movie, having debuted in 1991. The fact that Terminator 2 is one of the decade's earliest efforts makes it all the more impressive on every front. It thrills, it dazzles, and it makes you think twice about your smartphone. Not bad for a movie made in the shadows of the Cold War.

GoldenEye

For action-spy movie fans, 1995 was a big year; it saw the return of Agent 007 to the big screen after a six-year absence, with actor Pierce Brosnan's first turn as James Bond in "GoldenEye." Bond hadn't been seen since 1989's "License to Kill," actor Timothy Dalton's final turn in the role of the heroic MI6 super spy. Of course, that wasn't the only bit of cast changeover seen in Bond's 17th feature-length outing; "GoldenEye" marked the first appearance of Judi Dench as M and Samantha Bond (no relation) as Miss Moneypenny. 

The film's prologue picks up right where Dalton's timeline as Bond ended, in 1986, on a mission inside a Soviet chemical weapons site. While Bond has worked with partners before, he's typically a solo act. In "GoldenEye," however, he starts off working alongside Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), Agent 006. The mission is blown, however, as is the facility shortly thereafter, with Bond escaping and Trevelyan presumed dead. Nine years later, Bond is tasked with looking into an electromagnetic pulse attack that wiped out a Soviet research facility at Severnaya, Siberia. It turns out, the attack was triggered by a satellite-borne nuclear EMP weapon called GoldenEye and the party responsible is a familiar face.

Brosnan would later speak about the importance of "GoldenEye" being successful. "The stakes were so high on this movie, because as I said, they'd been dormant for six years," he said during an Esquire UK "GoldenEye" watch-along. "A beloved character, a franchise, a family business, a homegrown British product, and we needed to get it right."

From Dusk Till Dawn

Fairly early in his career, director Robert Rodriguez gave us 1996's vampiric action-horror thrill ride, "From Dusk Till Dawn," making use of a screenplay written by a still-rising Quentin Tarantino. The film starred George Clooney and Tarantino as the criminal brothers Seth and Richie Gecko, respectively, the latter of whom broke the former out of custody in a daring and bloody escape. They're on the run, trying to make it through Texas to the Mexico border in order to link up with Seth's contact, Carlos (Cheech Marin), in El Rey.

As luck would have it, they meet up with a family traveling in an RV — and by meet up, we mean they take them hostage. Disillusioned pastor Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) is on the road with daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) and son Scott (Ernest Liu), each of them trying to deal with or escape their grief following the death of Jacob's wife and the children's mother. The Geckos use the Fullers as cover to get across the border and head to meet Carlos at a bar, the name of which we can't really say. Unfortunately, this particular establishment, which caters to truckers and bikers only, has another distinction: it's infested with vampires, hence the preferred solitary clientele. The Geckos and Fullers must team up with fellow patrons Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Frost (Fred Williamson) to fight off lead vampire Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) and her horde of the blood-sucking undead in order to survive the night.

The Sixth Sense

In 1999, director M. Night Shyamalan broke through big time with a four-word phrase that's echoed through the zeitgeist ever since: "I see dead people." "The Sixth Sense," a gripping supernatural thriller starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, made Shyamalan a household name and introduced viewers to his trademark penchant for surprise endings. While the director's love of twists has since gone memetic in the most mocking of fashions, this breakthrough film has withstood the test of time and still stands up with repeat watches.

In the unlikely event you haven't seen "The Sixth Sense," we won't give up the ghost; for those who have, you know that certain scenes take on a whole new meaning and will likely make a lot more sense on successive viewings. The film follows a troubled boy named Cole Sear (Osment), whose mother, Lynn (Toni Colette), is worried about him. Cole is working with a child psychologist named Malcolm Crowe (Willis), who's got his own issues to deal with. Malcolm's having trouble communicating with his wife, Anna (Olivia Williams), and their relationship hasn't been the same for about a year. The iconic line, "I see dead people," belongs to Cole, and it's the source of a lot of his issues. He believes he can see and communicate with the dead, for which Malcolm thinks he's delusional — at least, he does at first. When he comes to believe Cole's abilities are real, he encourages him to use them for good, to help the wayward spirits find closure. That he does.

Boyz N The Hood

The 1991 coming-of-age drama "Boyz N The Hood" tells of life in South Central Los Angeles, following Jason "Tre" Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) as he comes into adulthood alongside friends Doughboy (Ice Cube), Ricky (Morris Chestnut), and Chris (Redge Green). In addition to serving as a coming-of-age tale, the film from writer-director John Singleton — who would later go on to write and direct "Shaft," in addition to helming "2 Fast 2 Furious" — is a seminal hood film, exploring motifs and subject matter linked to the Black urban experience.

After a fight at school, Tre's mother Reva (Angela Bassett) send her gifted but hot-headed son to Crenshaw to live with his father, Jason "Furious" Styles (Laurence Fishburne) in the early '80s. The elder Styles hopes to instill in his son the importance of hard work, but his friends' youthful hijinks are a distraction — one that lands Doughboy and Chris in jail for theft. Flash forward several years and Doughboy has made his life of crime official as a member of the Crips street gang. It could be worse, though; Chris is now paralyzed as a result of a gunshot and has to make use of a wheelchair to get around. Things are looking up for Ricky and Tre, though; the former is a star athlete, hoping to land a college scholarship on the strength of his football abilities, while the latter has turned into a responsible young man with a good job and good prospects, though his main preoccupation is getting his girlfriend Brandi (Nia Long) to consummate their relationship. 

The Truman Show

The Jim Carrey-starring 1998 dramedy "The Truman Show" is one of the actor-comedian's all-time greatest performances. He leaned into the emotive side of comedy he latched onto with 1997's "Liar Liar" to showcase his dramatic abilities for his turn as Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman who's living a lie. Truman's not engaging in self-deception or the victim of the Dunning–Kruger effect, mind you; his entire life is actually a scripted production, his friends and loved ones are actually actors, and he is the unwitting main star of the titular show-within-the-show, having been legally adopted by a corporation as an infant.

"The Truman Show" is a smash hit within the film universe, with millions tuning in to see Truman drink beers with his best pal, Marlon (Noah Emmerich), who's actually a performer named Louis Coltrane; to watched his relationship develop with now-wife Meryl (Laura Linney), actually an actor named Hannah Gill; and to experience his grief, having lost his father at a young age when Kirk Burbank (Brian Delate), as played by Walter Moore, was killed off in order to keep Truman in fear of venturing into the outside world. 

While the work of director and show mastermind Christof (Ed Harris) is practically flawless, Truman begins to see through the cracks. In the outside world, there's a growing contingent of people who oppose the show — including former college classmate Sylvia (Natascha McElhone), aka actor Lauren Garland — calling for an end to its fabricated reality and Truman's release from a virtual slavery.

Bad Boys

In 1995, director Michael Bay made his feature film debut with "Bad Boys," and edgy buddy cop action dramedy following two Miami police detectives who can't seem to stay out of trouble. Before Bumblebee and Sam Witwicky in the "Transformers" franchise, there were family man Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and rich kid and action junkie Mike Lowrey (Will Smith). Lowrey and Burnett, the seeming bane of captain Conrad Howard's (Joe Pantoliano) existence, are investigating the theft of millions of dollars of heroin from their career-making bust, though Lowrey is a bit distracted by the murder of his friend Max (Karen Alexander). It seems obvious that the theft had to be an inside job of sorts, given that the drugs were stolen from a secure police evidence vault.

According to Max's friend Julie (Tea Leoni), who witnessed her death, there may be a link between the two, but there's one small problem: Julie will only talk to Lowrey and he wasn't available when she called, to the captain forced Burnett to pose as him, a charade the two must keep up as long as possible while they work the case together. "Bad Boys" spawned two canonical sequels — 2003's "Bad Boys II" and 2020's "Bad Boys for Life." Additionally, the franchise was spun off into a TV series in "L.A.'s Finest," featuring Burnett's former DEA agent sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) — introduced in "Bad Boys II" — after a transfer to the LAPD, working alongside Jessica Alba's Detective Nancy McKenna.

"Bad Boys 4" is reportedly in the works.

Clerks

Don't let the black-and-white footage fool you, "Clerks" was totally made in the '90s; it's an aesthetic choice made to simulate security camera footage, we promise. In 1994, writer-director Kevin Smith captured a crude form of indie lightning in a bottle, the result fo which was "Clerks," a crass-but-hilarious comedy set in the Quick Stop convenience store and RST Video location in New Jersey, places where he worked in real life. The film follows the ins-and-outs of a day in the lives of Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves, who work in the aforementioned retail locales. Well, technically Dante wasn't even supposed to be there that day; he was suckered into picking up an extra shift by his boss after having closed the Quick Stop down the night before. He's greeted by a wad of gum jammed in the padlock that keeps the steel shutters covering the windows in place when the store is closed and the day doesn't get any easier from there. For instance, he finds out his ex-girlfriend is engaged to be married by reading about it in the local newspaper.

Dante soon realizes the boss isn't coming in to relieve him at noon, as promised, but he'll be damned if that's going to keep him from playing hockey — he just has to get creative, like playing on the stores' roof. No need to worry about the customers who need their cigarettes — like Randal is fond of saying, "This job would be great if it wasn't for the f***ing customers."

Mrs. Doubtfire

Fresh off the success of the first two "Home Alone" movies and several years before helping to launch the "Harry Potter" film series, director Chris Columbus helmed a project in 1993 that captured an iconic performance from a screen legend. "Mrs. Doubtfire" captured late actor-comedian Robin Williams in one of his most ridiculous performances. Recently divorced and newly unemployed voice actor Daniel Hillard (Williams) is looking for a way to spend more time with his three children — eldest daughter Lydia (Lisa Jakub), son Chris (Matthew Lawrence), and youngest daughter Natalie (Mara Wilson) — who live with their mother, Miranda (Sally Field). When his ex-wife needs to hire a nanny, he sees his opportunity and poses as an elderly British woman, going by the name Euphegenia Doubtfire and getting help with a convincing look from his brother, Frank (Harvey Fierstein), who just happens to be a makeup artist.

His ruse of posing as a British nanny may be dishonest, but it forces Daniel to become a responsible parent — an important step, given that his role as the fun parent is what led Miranda to resent him and seek divorce in the first place. When Daniel's interview for a new job is double booked with Miranda's birthday party — to which Mrs. Doubtfire is invited — he attempts to pull off both but his split lives instead come to a head, with potentially disastrous results. "Mrs. Doubtfire" boasts a solid 72% critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which is fairly impressive for children's fare with an admittedly silly presmise.

American History X

"American History X" is as timelessly redeeming as it is disturbing. The 1998 drama starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong tells the tale of two brothers mixed up in the Neo-Nazi skinhead and white power movement in Venice Beach, California, with the former nominated for the Academy Award for Best actor for his performance. In present day, young Danny Vinyard (Furlong) is pushing the wrong buttons at school, turning in a book report on Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" and antagonizing African-American students before his older brother, Derek, is released from prison. How Derek landed in prison is complicated but fairly straightforward. After his father was killed by Black gang members, he spouted a racist diatribe on the local news, which put him on the radar of local white supremacist Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach), who began to mold the angry young man, with whom he formed a powerful local gang. After he had several run-ins with the Crips, they try to steal Derek's truck, for which he shoots and kills two gang members and curb stomps a third.

Danny is punished for his school shenanigans with a corrective special class that Principal Dr. Bob Sweeney (Avery Brooks) calls American History X, and his first order of business is to write a report on his older brother. Upon his release, Derek is a changed man and tries to get Danny away from the gang, in addition to steering his girlfriend, Stacey (Fairuza Balk) away from Cameron's destructive influence. Derek encourages his younger brother to listen to Dr. Sweeney, who helped him get through his time in prison, but the Vinyard brothers are unable to escape their past misdeeds.

Independence Day

In the mid-to-late '90s, Will Smith made two very different science fiction movies. For 1996's sci-fi action thriller "Independence Day," he took on the role of Marine Corps fighter pilot Captain Steven Hiller, a no-nonsense prospective astronaut who, along with the rest of the planet, is about to learn that mankind is not alone when it comes to intelligent life. Joining him in that are satellite engineer David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), his ex-wife, political aide Constance Spano (Margaret Colin), her boss, President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman), and Vietnam-era pilot and former alien abductee Russell Casse (Randy Quaid). What brings this motley crew together from far and wide is an existential threat in the form of a full-scale alien invasion, which is first postulated when David notices a piggyback signal in Earth's satellite network is actually a countdown, information he relays to Connie and the president. Captain Hiller is among the first line of attack sent to blast the aliens out fo the sky and one of only a few pilots to make it back hen that mission goes disastrously wrong. 

President Whitmore marshals all of Earth's defense forces for a last-ditch assault after David and Captain Hiller upload a computer virus to the alien mothership, in the hopes of disabling their shields and rendering them vulnerable to humanity's erstwhile useless air-to-air combat weaponry. In addition to still holding up, "Independence Day" still contains a Top 10 goosebumps-inducing movie moment in the form of President Whitmore's pre-flight speech, though critics initially gave it middling reviews; "Independence Day" currently has a 68% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Big Lebowski

"The Dude abides" — three simple words that have remained relevant in the zeitgeist for more than two decades following the 1998 release of Joel and Ethan Coen's bizarre neo-noir crime comedy "The Big Lebowski," which had a cast full of all-stars. There is, of course, another enduring quote, uttered by The Dude (Jeff Bridges) to his friend, Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), but if you know, then you know; if you don't, we can't repeat it here.

All of this quotable goodness stems from a darkly comedic case of mistaken identity. Slacker and bowling aficionado Jeffrey Lebowski (Bridges' character's legal name) is assaulted in his home by two thugs working for adult film mogul Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara), who believe his wife, Bunny (Tara Reid) owes their boss money. The thing is, The Dude isn't married, which should be readily apparent to anyone who sees his home, including the two morons who broke in to dunk his head in the toilet and pee on his rug. This really puts The Dude, who's very chill by nature, in a foul disposition. After all, that rug really tied the room together. It turns out, another man named Jeffrey Lebowski, aka the titular Big Lebowski (David Huddleston), is indeed married to Bunny, who does indeed owe Jackie Treehorn money. And Bunny may or may not have been kidnapped for ransom, a situation for which The Dude is enlisted to aid, when all he really wanted was his rug replaced. Fortunately Walter has a plan that'll totally work out.

Office Space

Sandwiched in between creator Mike Judge's films "Beavis and Butthead Do America" and "Idiocracy" is the seminal workplace dark comedy "Office Space." Office drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is in a rut. He hates his wash-rinse-repeat job at Initech and he hates his smug boss Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), so he agrees to undergo hypnosis at the suggestion of his girlfriend. The only problem is the hypnotherapist dies of a heart attack after placing Peter in a relaxed state, so he remains in this care-free, relaxed mood, which results in ignored calls from Lumbergh and even his girlfriend, who dumps him. With his new chill vibe, it doesn't really bother him; in fact, he simply goes up to Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) the waitress he's been eyeing at franchise sports bar Chotchkie's, and asks her out in the middle of her shift.

When Initech brings in the Bobs (John C. McGinley and Paul Wilson), two efficiency experts, to trim the fat at the company, they're surprisingly impressed with his new cavalier approach to life — so much so that they confide in him that his friends Samir (Ajay Naidu) and Mike (David Herman) are among the upcoming departures. When Peter tells them, Mike devises a computer virus that will quietly shave hundredths of a cent off of the company's transactions, eventually making them rich off of money no one will ever notice is gone. Well, they'd never have noticed if he'd coded the virus correctly — since there's a bug, it grabbed hundreds of thousands of dollars the first weekend, which will of course get them caught.

Goodfellas

There are only a few gangster movies more satisfying than Martin Scorsese's 1990 crime caper "Goodfellas," and this one gets bonus points for being autobiographical in nature. The film's protagonist, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is based on a real-life mob associate of the same name who turned informant for the FBI. Ever since Henry could remember, he was seduced by the gangster lifestyle and began working for local organized crime operatives at a young age. Eventually he takes on a larger role as an adult, working with fellow sophisticates like the hot-headed Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and the scheming Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro).

Henry heads down a path of excess, with pretty much any day rife with the potential for things to go wrong in the arenas of sex, drugs, and murder. His drug habit and cheating on wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) are causes of concern for Paulie, the capo under whom he's been working for years. Tommy doesn't make life any easier when he kills Billy Batts (Frank Vincent); Billy was a made man, the type of whom is off-limits to pretty much anyone without official dispensation from the higher-ups. Things come to a head for the first time when Henry is sent to prison, relying on Karen smuggling in drugs for him to sell to other inmates in order to provide for the family. 

"Goodfellas" was nominated for six Academy Awards, with Pesci winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Scorsese was also nominated for Best Director and the Film was nominated for Best Picture, though it faced stiff competition in the form of "The Godfather, Part III" and eventual winner "Dances With Wolves" (via Oscars.org).

Good Will Hunting

For 1997's award-winning drama "Good Will Hunting," up-and-coming actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck did more than simply star as the title character and his best friend, respectively; they wrote the movie, for which they received the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at 1998's 70th edition of the Academy Awards. The film tells the tale of Will Hunting, a brilliant but troubled young man. A product of the foster system in South Boston, Will grew up subject to abuse, but that didn't stop him from developing an incredible thirst for knowledge, which, coupled with an eidetic memory and self-taught skills in advanced and theoretical mathematics, make him something of a paradox. 

After Will is caught solving a complicated math problem in the halls of MIT, he quits his job as a janitor, prompting Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) to track him down. They finally catch up at Will's hearing for assaulting a police officer — long story — and the good professor sets Will up with his old college roommate, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), as his therapist as part of the conditions of his release. Sean helps Will come to terms with what he suffered in the past and navigate his first real adult relationship with Skylar (Minnie Driver), a beautiful Harvard student who fits in swimmingly with Wills best friend, Chuckie (Affleck), and the rest of their crew. Can Will truly open up to Skylar and share himself or will he shut her out like he has with everyone else who's tried to form an emotional bond with him?

Forrest Gump

In 1994, the director known for fun and engaging comedies like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and the "Back to the Future" franchise swung big and the result was the award-winning drama "Forrest Gump." Robert Zemeckis took home the Oscar for Best Director at the 67th Academy Awards and he wasn't the only one who worked on the film to walk away with some hardware; actor Tom Hanks won Best Actor for his performance as the title character, writer Eric Roth won for Best Adapted Screenplay and the film won Best Picture, among other awards. 

"Forrest Gump" follows the title character from childhood, growing up with sweetheart Jenny in Greenbow, Alabama. He's fitted with leg braces and seems to be living with some form of intellectual disability that's never specified, though he could politely be called slow-witted. As a result, he's an easy target for bullies, though one day he finds he can run like the wind, which eventually leads him to a college football scholarship and the chance to meet President John F. Kennedy as an All-American. Forrest's life intersects with numerous historical events throughout the decades, from the integration of the University of Alabama and the Vietnam War to the Watergate Scandal and fictitiously inspiring John Lennon's song "Imagine" during a TV interview. Forrest and his former commanding officer, Lieutenant Dan Taylor (Gary Sinise) even become millionaires in the shrimping industry, but in the end, the story is all about Jenny (Robin Wright), from whom Forrest was inseparable, like peas and carrots.

Tombstone

Hollywood executives could stop green-lighting films of the Western oeuvre if they really wanted to, because we're not sure anything is ever going to top 1993's "Tombstone" when it comes to that particular genre. Featuring Kurt Russell as legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and one of actor Val Kilmer's best performances in the role of gunfighter and gambler John "Doc" Holliday, "Tombstone" is one of many tellings of what transpired at the OK Corral in the titular Kansas city.

The movie starts, mind you, with the arrival of the Brothers Earp — Wyatt, Virgil (Sam Elliott), and Morgan (Bill Paxton) — at Tombstone. After retiring from law enforcement, Wyatt and his brothers are going into business for themselves, which at first means dealing faro at a local casino. Life gets pretty good pretty fast for the Earps and their wives, though they need to steer clear of the local Cochise County cowboys, a gang of outlaws that can count sheriff John Behan (John Tenney) — whose actress girlfriend Jospehine Marcus (Dana Delany) has eyes for Wyatt — as a friend. But when gambling and drinking mix among people carrying guns, things can potentially get ugly at a moment's notice, the first instance of which comes with the death of town marshal Fred White (Harry Carey, Jr.).

Since this film is titled "Tombstone" and not "Happy Place," there's plenty of gun-fighting action between the Earps and the cowboys, namely leaders Curly Bill Brocius (Powers Boothe) and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn). After things go down at the OK Corral, the cowboys strike back, leading to the legendary Wyatt Earp Vendetta Ride.

True Romance

With apologies to the Bard, what's in a name? A Quentin Tarantino-penned movie if by any other name would still be filled with the filmmaker's trademark gratuitous violence that we know and love. So while this Tony Scott-helmed romantic crime film was met with critical acclaim — it's Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an impressive critics score of 93% — it bombed at the box office, barely recouping its $12.5 million production budget, according to The Numbers. The only explanation we can come up with is Tarantino fans were unsure about the title and rom-com fans going to see a movie called "True Romance" starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette did not get the movie they were expecting.

Nevertheless, "True Romance" practically has the pedigree of a modern classic. Comic shop nerd and Elvis devotee Clarence Worley (Slater) meets his wife-to-be, Alabama (Arquette) at a kung fu movie triple feature, not knowing at the time she's a call girl hired by his boss to show him a good time on his birthday. It doesn't seem to bother him, and the two are instantly smitten, which means Clarence needs to have a sit-down with her pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman). That doesn't exactly go smoothly, but one dead scumbag later, Clarence walks away with a bag full of drugs and they're bound for the West Coast. Clarence wants to visit his childhood friend, aspiring actor Dick Ritchie (Michael Rappaport), to try to unload the drugs for cash. The only problem is the cocaine's proper owner has sent his henchman, Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) after them in pursuit.

Friday

In 1995, rapper Ice Cube set out to dispel the negative image of life in the hood presented by popular entertainment — though it could be argued he contributed to it with his role as Doughboy in "Boyz N The Hood." As such, he co-wrote the script for and starred in the feel-good stoner comedy "Friday," working alongside actor Chris Tucker. Cube appeared as Craig, a recently unemployed, pot-smoking young man whose best friend, Smokey (Tucker), gets them in shared debt of local drug dealer Big Worm (Faizon Love), whose money better show up or they'll be killed. Craig and Smokey try all manner of raising the $200 owed —which seems like a petty amount to cost someone their life, no? — from borrowing from any number of sources to stealing from their neighbors on behalf of local bully Deebo (Tiny Lister Jr.). Fearing for their lives, they hide out at Craig's home but eventually have to head outside, with Big Worm's deadline approaching, to settle up. 

F. Gary Gray, who made his directorial debut with "Friday" initially had his doubts about directing Ice Cube playing against type in such a good-natured, comedic role; given the rapper's public persona, Gray said the prospect "scared the s*** out of" him (via Complex). "He was like the toughest man in America, and when you take someone you're used to delivering on hard-hitting social issues in hardcore gangster rap, and who has a hardcore point of view on politics, you would never think comedy." But the film was a success and spawned two sequels, 2000's "Next Friday" and 2002's "Friday After Next."

L.A. Confidential

Director and co-writer Curtis Hanson delivered big with 1997's neo-noir period crime classic "L.A. Confidential." For his efforts, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and won for Best Adapted Screenplay with co-writer Brian Helgeland, according to Oscars.org. The film enjoys an enviable 99% creitics score and is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Set in the 1950s, "L.A. Confidential" tells a tells a multi-pronged tale of police corruption in Los Angeles, California. With mob boss Mickey Cohen behind bars, several entities are rushing in to fill the power vacuum and own the criminal enterprises, which includes a rich heroin trade. Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) employs hot-headed detective Bud White (Russell Crowe) to intimidate any would-be usurpers, while the smug, bookish detective Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce) has misgivings over the case that seems to have made his career. Celebrity detective Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is content to chase bright lights as a technical advisor on the law enforcement TV show-within-the-show "Badge of Honor," his conscience is driving him to dig deep on an investigation that may have resulted in blood on his hands. All the while, the mysterious Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn) — whose shadowy Fleur De Lis service includes high-end call girls who've had plastic surgery to resemble movie stars — is pulling strings behind the scenes and yellow journalist Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) is sticking his nose and camera lens anywhere it can fit to get the scoop.

With the film successful in every regard, Hanson had an "L.A. Confidential" sequel in the works, though it failed to materialize.

Rudy

The 1993 biographical sports movie "Rudy" has been hailed for its inspirational, never-say-die themes, embodied by its title character, Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a scrappy football player from Illinois who chases his lifelong dream of playing for the University of Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. Rudy, as played by actor Sean Astin, has the deck stacked against him: he's undersized and never bothered hitting books, meaning he lacks both the physicality and grades to attend the esteemed private Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana. He settles for a life of manual labor alongside his father (Ned Beatty) and brother Frank (Scott Benjaminson) at the local steel mill, until the death of his best friend Peter (Christopher Reed) drives him to finally chase his dream.

Since you can't just walk up and enroll at Notre Dame, he enrolls at Holy Cross, hoping to later transfer. To make ends meet, he get s a job as a groundkeeper at the Notre Dame football field. After plenty of tutoring from new friend D-Bob (Jon Favreau) and with the force of his undeniable will, Rudy is granted admission to his beloved Notre Dame. The thing is, he's still way too small, but manages a spot on the practice squad to start.

"Rudy" is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a critics score of 78% and gets frequent mention among the top sports movies of all time, including coming in at No. 27 of the Chicago Tribune's 2020 roundup. Detractors of the film point out its dramatized moments that didn't quite happen that way in real life as part of their criticisms.