Underrated movies from the 1990s
15. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
This is a really fun little film, ideal to watch on a lazy Sunday. Loosely based on The Taming of the Shrew, it’s a pleasurable teen rom com with some great actors, a good soundtrack and most importantly, likeable characters. Joseph Gordon Levitt is adorable in it but then again this was made before he became ever-so-slightly smug. Or really smug? Yes, really smug.
14. Stir of Echoes (1999)
One of the main reasons this film isn’t more talked about is because The Sixth Sense came out at the same time and was the big creepy blockbuster. And yes The Sixth Sense is great. But Stir of Echoes is still a really decent, genuinely spooky and well written film with genuine ‘gasp’ moments. And it’s certainly better than many recent efforts.
13. Cube (1997)
Cube is a low budget, sci-fi / horror flick that spawned a few sequels of cult status – all worth a watch if you enjoy this one. It’s the classic ‘strangers waking up in a room’ formula, no idea how or why they are there but trapped inside a giant, inter-movable cube – helpfully filled with booby traps. The acting is a bit dodgy at times, but it’ll give you a giggle and it’s an interesting film that never gets boring.
12. The Craft (1996)
This film is so 1990s it’s great. The clothes, the hair, the jewellery, the fascination with witchcraft. We follow new girl at school (Robin Tunney) as she befriends a scary group of girls led by big mouth Nancy (big mouth Fairuza Bulk). The Craft is just a fun film combining the best elements from the 90s with spooky stuff, girly stuff and the angst of being a teenager.
11. Arachnophobia (1990)
Now before you start moaning about this crap entry just think about it. Thought about it? YES IT’S GREAT! Creepy, thrilling, silly and genuinely comical, I’ve always had a place in my heart for this film. Let’s face it spiders are internationally feared by most of us and when you add hundreds of the killer bastards to a small American town, throw in a phobia-filled Jeff Daniels and include comedy bug-exterminator John Goodman, then don’t you have a winning formula of thrills and giggles? Plus it’ll leave your skin crawling, whether you expect it to or not.
10. Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
This is a clever mockumentary masked as a girlie film. The premise is simple – a documentary crew are following the lives of young girls as they compete in the Miss America beauty pageant. It would be interesting anyway, but just to heat things up someone is so intent on winning – there are dead bodies mounting up. This is a funny and well written film with some fantastic actresses and comical lines.
9. Let Him Have It (1991)
Have your tissues handy because this biographical film is very sad indeed. Telling the story of Derek Bentley, a young man who was hanged for murder in England during the 1950s. It is a controversial case even to this day, due to a lack of evidence and no concern for Bentley, who suffered learning difficulties and never even pulled the trigger of the murder gun. Christopher Eccleston is amazing as childlike Bentley and the story itself is one that we should all consider for ourselves.
Ah man I love this film! It’s not really for kids, trust me. It’s so funny and has lots of cool things to look out for, like the actors from the Dirty Dozen (along with Tommy Lee Jones) voicing the bad toys, and the guys from This is Spinal Tap voicing the good toys. It’s pure entertainment, actually quite violent in places (which was controversial at the time of release) and genuinely hilarious. The effects are brilliant as well, so the film doesn’t appear that dated, even after sixteen years.
7. Fear (1996)
Another film that is just so 90’s. This typical but extra fun thriller stars Mark Wahlberg as the gorgeous new boyfriend of sweet Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) – who is unaware of his tendency to act like a complete and utter psychopath. Fear isn’t a masterpiece movie and it can be a little cliché at times, but it’s exciting, thrilling and extremely enjoyable. You know how some films just have that ‘edge’ to keep you interested? Well this one of them. Plus Mark Wahlberg looks incredible.
6. Falling Down (1993)
I think we can all relate to angry main character Bill Foster (Michael Douglas). Bill is a tired man who’s only intention is getting to his daughter’s birthday party. Being thwarted, threatened and stuck in traffic starts sending him over the edge and we get to watch in glee as he goes around town Charlie Bronson style (Death Wish obvs). A great role for Douglas and possibly Joel Schumacher’s finest ever film.
5. Event Horizon (1997)
Ah, the madness of Event Horizon. Half science fiction, half hellish horror there is nothing particularly new in this film but it’s so menacing and gross that it’s a personal favourite of mine. Plus you don’t see Sean Pertwee in much and I like him. So they’re stuck out in space (where no-one can hear them scream) in the not-so-distance future aboard Event Horizon – a dark and brooding spacecraft that is just waiting to kill everyone. Scientist Dr Weir (Sam Neill) proceeds to lose every last marble and the gates to hell are opened. Enjoy!
4. The Faculty (1998)
The Faculty is one of those films that when I watch it, I wish there were more around like it. It’s obviously based on The Body Snatchers but what makes it cool is the dark humour and mis-match of teenage clichés (nerd, burnout, queen bee, jock, lesbian, new kid) who have no option but to join forces to fight the aliens who are taking over their teachers and their home town. It’s just got a bit more edge than your normal teen horror and is over-the-top in that way that it’s supposed to be. And the cast is fantastic, I guarantee you’ll recognise everyone.
3. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
This is one of John Carpenter’s lesser known films but to fans, also one of his best. There is a slight Stephen King feel to the story and it’s pretty scary in that “they don’t make them like this anymore” way. Sam Neill stars as an insurance broker trying to track down awol horror writer Sutter Cane. We can sense from the off the sinister terror that awaits him and it just gets better and better (or worse and worse). It can be a bit ambiguous, but I suggest you enjoy it for what it is – a bloody good, nightmarish horror.
2. Final Cut (1998)
Have you ever wondered what your mates say about you when you’re not around? Well so did the creators of this English film, Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis. The film begins at the funeral of Jude (Jude Law) as his widow (Sadie Frost) explains to everyone he’s been secretly filming them all for years and they’re going to watch the footage now. Final Cut is VERY funny and also shocking. It’s not very well known though some of you may be familiar with Love, Honour & Obey which was made two years later by the same duo and stars pretty much the same people.
1. Kalifornia (1993)
You know who Brad Pitt is great at playing? A trailer trash, murderous scumbag called Early Grayce. In this movie Early and his nice-but-dim wife (Juliette Lewis) car share with a more hip and trendy couple (David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes) who are traveling to California and writing a book about famous murderers, stopping at the landmarks on the way. The twist in this tale is that they are already traveling with a real-life murderer – the psychopathic Early. The entertaining, violent story builds up to a tense climax and is hugely enjoyable throughout. This psychological thriller is certainly one of the most underrated films from the 90s – it barely received any recognition when it was released in 1993, yet for me, it’s a wonderful film, and the performances, particularly by Pitt and Lewis are just dazzling.