Beautiful Girls (1996)
The 90s Movie: Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) returns home to Knights Bridge in the midst of a dreary winter for his high school reunion. During the trip he catches up with his oldest friends as they all ponder life, love and turning thirty.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: The ensemble cast perfectly capture the confusion wrought by a late-twenties existential crisis. And, a 13-year-old Natalie Portman has a charming cameo.
The 90s Movie: Way before Matthew McConaughey established himself as an Academy calibre actor, he popped up in this little comedy gem from Ron Howard.
A lighter riff on the ideas explored in The Truman Show , a national TV network sends a camera crew to follow video store clerk Ed (McConaughey) for a new reality show. The difference here is that Ed knows his life is being broadcast to the world, and soaks up the instant fame that follows.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: It eerily predicted the current state of reality television. And of McConaughey’s reputation.
The 90s Movie: A serial killer is on the loose in San Francisco, copycatting the crimes of infamous killers in history, and he has his eyes set on serial killer psychologist Dr. Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver).
Cops, Monahan (Holly Hunter) and Goetz (Dermot Mulroney) are desperate for her expertise. The problem is, she’s now an anxiety-ridden agoraphobic after surviving an attempt on her life by murderer Daryll Lee Cullum (Harry Connick, Jr.).
Released one month after Seven hit cinemas, it was swallowed in the shadow of Fincher’s now-classic serial killer whodunnit.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: It’s a fun, at times terrifying piece of moviemaking, made all the more exceptional by the play-offs between Hunter and Weaver.
Blood And Wine (1996)
The 90s Movie: A Floridian noir tale of backstabbery, Blood And Wine reunited director Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson for one of the actor’s most nuanced performances.
Wine dealer Alex Gates (Nicholson) cases the houses of wealthy clients then ropes in Victor (a grizzled Michael Caine) to help with the robberies. It winds up going horribly wrong as his troubled relationship with his wife and stepson complicates matters.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: Nicholson and Caine’s exploits come across like two seasoned thesps having a blast.
The Funeral (1996)
The 90s Movie: Abel Ferrara’s New York gangster tale revolves around the funeral of one of the Tempio brothers, while the story flashes back to the travails of this notorious brood and their violent criminal stylings.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: In a cinematic era cluttered with mobster flicks, The Funeral had a lot of tricks up its sleeve. Johnny’s personal beliefs betrayed normal gangster stereotypes, and that ending! Well, you’d better see for yourself.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
The 90s Movie: A suburban schoolteacher (Geena Davis) uncovers her true identity eight years after being struck with amnesia. She’s a trained CIA assassin with goons on her tail. Teaming up with smart-mouth private investigator Mitch Hennessy (Samuel L. Jackson), she hits the road to unravel the mystery of her double life.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: Penned by one of the hottest screenwriters at the time, Shane Black, the script is frenetic and fast-paced with a glut of brilliant one-liners.
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
The 90s Movie: A virtual reality noir whodunnit, Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) finds himself the prime suspect in the murder of a VR system’s billionaire designer, Hannon Fuller. With the help of Fuller’s daughter he ventures into the simulation; a mock-up of 1937 Los Angeles, to find clues left by his deceased mentor.
It was released a month after The Matrix , and suffered at the box office due to their similar subject matter. Two “reality exposes” in the same genre was too much for audiences, who opted for the action-packed Wachowski offering.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: There’s a bunch of solid twists that’ll have you gobsmacked when they roll around.
Pump Up The Volume (1990)
The 90s Movie: Teenage loner, Mark Hunter (Christian Slater) secretly dishes out life-altering aphorisms to his fellow schoolmates under the guise of local radio legend, Hard Harry.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: This is Slater in his prime. A self-aware kid without the ego, Hard Harry’s efforts to raise awareness on major issues are the sort of thing that’d be buried under a pile of schmaltz if made today. True cinema gold.
The 90s Movie: Peter Weir’s plane crash drama cast Jeff Bridges in arguably his second strongest performance after The Big Lebowski. As a crash survivor, he immediately embarks on a spiritual journey of discovery - questioning his very soul sovereignty.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: It’s so understated because it opens on one of cinema’s most punishing plane crash sequences, responsible for swaying viewers into thinking this was a straightforward action flick. When it’s really a deeply unsettling human parable.
The 90s Movie: Before Doug Liman made a leading man of Matt Damon, he directed this quirky narrative jumble. Penned by John August, the lives of three supermarket clerks overlap and zig zag across the space of one night with dire, drug-fuelled consequences.
Why It’s Worth A Watch: The nineties brandished a lot of “Mobius strip” storytelling - narratives that backtrack and intersect - but never was it this much raucous fun.