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The Most Underrated Films of the 1990s

Anyone who grew up in the 90s is always going to have that one obscure film that they love with all their heart and yet no one else remembers seeing it. The 90s was also a strange time for movie culture as it was the era that started transitioning from VHS tapes to CDs and DVDs. A lot of peoples’ exposure to 90s movies came in the form of those VHS tapes or CDs that took up valuable shelf space in the household. As the years have gone by, a lot of cinematic masterpieces have been produced and have cemented their status as household names. And yet, there are also a few hidden gems from the 90s that very few people talk about but are still deserving of attention. Here are a few of the most underrated films of the 1990s.

Before Sunrise (1995, Richard Linklater)

Before Sunrise was such a breath of fresh air in an era of movies that heavily relied on gigantic set pieces, intricate practical effects, and over-the-top action sequences. This Richard Linklater classic took a more subdued approach to storytelling by relying heavily on dialogue and classic cinematography. Set in Vienna, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) cross paths and get a chance to spend an incredibly memorable night together. Their romantic chemistry on screen is palpable and only adds to the dynamism of the fantastic writing. This movie would later serve as the first of a trilogy of films surrounding the two characters.

The Mask (1994, Chuck Russell)

The 90s was quite the era for Jim Carrey, who might have had his best performance in the film Liar Liar. However, how could anyone ever forget about his iconic performance as The Mask in 1994? Carrey starred opposite Cameron Diaz, who played his love interest in the film. What started off as a cartoon series eventually produced one of the best comedic performances of the decade. In fact, The Mask was so great, that it even inspired The Mask Slot Game that’s still being continuously played by people around the world today.

Meet Joe Black (1998, Martin Brest)

Undeniably one of Brad Pitt’s best performances of the 90s. And that’s saying something, considering that Pitt also starred in cult classics Fight Club and Se7en, both of which are well-beloved today. And despite the brilliance of Meet Joe Black, it often gets overshadowed in the midst of Pitt’s other works. With a loaded cast consisting of Anthony Hopkins and Claire Forlani to accompany Pitt, Meet Joe Black is a thought-provoking story that really highlights the acting chops of those involved.

Dazed and Confused (1993, Richard Linklater) 

This is the second Richard Linklater entry on the list, and it might just go to show that this director was ahead of his time. The Before Trilogy would eventually gain more popularity in the 2000s, but Dazed and Confused ends up getting lost in the discussions of Linklater’s best works. The film features a young Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Adam Goldberg. The story was set in the mid-70s and served as a coming-of-age film. It fared fairly poorly on the box office but has since come to amass a cult following. Even Quentin Tarantino has come out to say that this is on his list of the ten greatest films of all time.

Small Soldiers (1998, Joe Dante)

Toy Story changed the game when it came to digital animation back when it first came out. Toy Story was so good and so iconic, that it ended up overshadowing another classic film from that era: Small Soldiers. While the film didn’t necessarily have the classic charm and commercial appeal of Toy Story, it was still a solid story that had great set pieces and stellar animations for its time.

Final Words

The 90s were such a great time for people to be alive, particularly when it came to pop culture and media. The world was slowly transitioning towards the digital age and so this era served as the last hurrah for CDs and cassette tapes. For the most part, the 90s brought with it a lot of color and vibrancy in terms of mainstream media. And perhaps that’s the reason why so many people who grew up during that period are nostalgic for this iconic era of human existence.


One Comment

  1. Dazed and confused I wish I was a teenager in the 70s

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