Movies From The 90s – 1990

I have a friend that was born in late 80s and thus missed out on a lot of 90s movies, while it probably was the most active movie watching time for myself. So I figured I’d recommend some great films to her and it quickly ended up being a dozen. Then I figured, why not pick a movie or a few for each year and recommend it to others as well.

I ended up limiting this to 5 movies per year and even then I had serious troubles narrowing it down in certain years. I’m mostly leaving out the super obvious titles like Schindler’s List or Shawshank Redemption, and I’m also avoiding most of the IMDb top 250, only picking something from the list if it’s also my absolute favourite.

I’ve sorted out the years 90-94 so far and managed to somewhat categorize the movies similarly. I’m not sure I’ll be able to manage the same categories for the later part of the decade but the groups are ‘appreciated’, ‘quality drama’, ‘cult movie’, ‘weird’ and ‘obscure’. Some of the movies would of course fit several of these categories. (Perhaps unfortunately) most of these films will be American ones, as I wasn’t exactly hunting around for any obscure films in my (pre-)teen years.

It’s pretty hard finding out the age limits for old movies like these (especially since they vary in different countries) so I’m just going to go with the US rating that’s mentioned in IMDb.

The Appreciated One:

Edward Scissorhands

Score: 8.0
(IMDb score: 8.0)

This Tim Burton film is actually not really my favourite from him but it still has a lot of charm and Johnny Depp deliversĀ  in a strange role like usual. Dianne Wiest is also excellent like always. The film has the Burtonesque aesthetics and Elfman’s music. It was #20 in US Box Office and reviewed well also receiving several movie awards.

The story is a fairytale like fantasy about a introducing a completely different type of person into the everyday life of the suburbs. The movie has plenty of humour but it’s still rather clearly a drama with actually quite heavy tones. There’s also a romance in the air.

Tags: Fantasy, Drama, Comedy, Romance

The Quality Drama:

Pump Up the Volume

Score: 8.0
(IMDb score: 7.1)

Some people might consider Edwards Scissorhands being the quality drama here but Pump Up The Volume certainly qualifies as well. It’s one of the rare movies depicting teenagers that I actually enjoyed watching more than once. It also received a couple of movie awards.

Christian Slater plays a shy loner student Mark – by day. At night Mark is a daring pirate radio host that all the kids in the school listen to. After another student commits a suicide, the school authorities come after Mark and we have a battle of teenage rebellion and some crooked adults.

Mark plays Leonard Cohen and talks dirty, and this is definitely one of the best performances from Christian Slater ever. The movie has a great and – at least in my opinion – realistic teenage atmosphere and the basic themes of it still apply today. It’s funny and awkward in the right places.

Tags: Drama, Comedy, Teens

The Cult Movie:


Score: 8.5
(IMDb score: 6.9)

Stephen King’s It was originally a mini-series but who cares about that. It works quite well as a three hour movie too. I almost read the books (I had like 3rd left of the second one before I got busy with other things and then never got back to it) so I could nitpick about things like Beverly’s hair color and cleaning up a lot of the really disturbing things but I wont. It is a fine film as it is and probably caused more coulrophobia with the kids born in late 70s and early 80s than anything else ever.

Tim Curry is wonderful as Pennywise and this story has King’s trademark small town kids mixed with a supernatural horror. The main cast also battles with their own inner demons. The movie is not perfect but it’s something everyone should see at least to know ‘what the whole deal with the scary clown’ was.

Tags: Horror, Dark, Drama

The Weird One:


Score: 8.0
(IMDb score: 6.4)

When I was looking for movies from 1990 I noticed Darkman was all “yeah, that was awesome”. And then I realised I don’t really remember anything about it. But I’ll add it to this list anyway. (Some people might have already picked up on that 1990 wasn’t one the best years.) I’ll definitely watch it again soon with a pair of fresh eyes.

But anyway. This is Sam Raimi’s darker and weirder superhero flick with excellent actors (yep, Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell are there too). The thriller plot has some nice sci-fi and noir elements. Worth checking out.

Tags: Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Noir, Dark

The Obscure One:


Score: 9.0
(IMDb score: 7.4)

The character Nikita herself is definitely not that obscure. There’s two American TV series about her and they even remade this French film as an American version called ‘Point of No Return’. But has everyone these days seen the Luc Besson’s original?

Just in case someone doesn’t know it, Nikita tells a story about a young female that gets apprehended by police and offered an opportunity to train as an agent instead of going to jail. And then the job doesn’t turn out to be exactly a dream job.

I don’t hate the other versions by any means, but the original just does everything better. It’s real, it’s artistic, and Anne Parillaud is just wonderful as Nikita.

Tags: Thriller, Action

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