Ever rewatch a movie years later, only to realize how corny and outdated it has become? What was once a cool and totally realistic scene is now obviously green screened and oh-so-cliché (or even worse, downright silly). But fortunately, not all movies suffer from becoming archaic and laughable. While the 1990s brought us kitschy movies such as Spice World (1997) and Super Mario Bros. The Movie (1993), the film industry was not a total abomination. In fact, the 1990s gave birth to quite a few excellent movies that still retain its quality. So which movies have aged well? While there are many classic ‘90s movies I have yet to see, here are five of my favorite movies from the ‘90s that I believe have aged pretty well into the 21st century.
1.) What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) A classic coming-of-age story, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is about the story of 24 year old Gilbert Grape, a young man stuck in a rural Midwestern town, with no real future ahead for him as he is stuck having to take care of his mentally retarded brother Arnie, and his severely obese mother, Bonnie. The reason this movie has aged so well is because, over twenty years later, the premise of the movie is still relatable: we are all still humans living a life with responsibilities forced upon us. And whether barely entering adulthood or going through a mid-life crisis, we still have no sense of identity or direction within our lives. We just live. Day by day, week by week, never knowing what is going to happen next. It is an uncertainty that is just part of the human life. No matter how many more years past, this movie will always speak to its viewers.
2.) The Truman Show (1998) There’s no doubt that are modern society is obsessed with T.V. And with the impact that came with the MTV Generation, our modern society is even more obsessed with reality T.V. For some reason, watching the lives of other people is fascinating. It’s intriguing—a perverse look into the life of another person. This fixation is the premise of The Truman Show, in which Truman Burbank’s entire life, unbeknownst to him, has always been the subject of for a T.V show. Fast forward to today, and our society’s obsession with reality T.V has only tripled. For this reason, the movie’s satirical representation of the media only grows more and more relevant and true as the years go by—making the film even funnier and better as it ages.
3.) Forrest Gump (1994) A story about a dimwit who doesn't realize all the opportunity he’s encountered or that his one true love is just using him seems like it would be an insubstantial comedy. A movie made just for laughs. But Forrest Gump is no cheap comedy. A conglomeration of drama, romance, and of course comedy, Forrest Gump is an endearing and heartwarming movie about hope, love, and loyalty. Most importantly, it is a movie about life and the human experience. As Forrest famously says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The best you can do is keep optimistic and enjoy life, making the best with whatever you have. There is also the added incentive of witnessing firsthand (or at least through Forrest’s eyes) Americana pop culture. From the Vietnam War to its subsequent Hippie movement, we see how society changes in reaction to its current issues. And so this feel-good movie is always refreshing to watch.
4.) Jurassic Park (1993) One would think that a movie about dinosaurs made in the ‘90s would feature outdated special effects and blatantly fake dinosaurs. But Jurassic Park’smixture of animatronics and CGI keep this movie from looking cheesy and outdated. In other words, you won’t be watching this movie thinking, “Man, this movie is so from the ‘90s.” Instead you’ll be immersed into the exotic and terrifying world that is Jurassic Park. And with an innovative plot about an island theme park populated with genetically engineered dinosaurs –that, you guessed it, goes horribly wrong—Jurassic Park is still highly watchable today. As a sci-fi movie, the possibility of resurrecting dinosaurs is fascinating. As an action movie, trying to outrun and survive a dinosaur infested island is gripping. Added all together, Jurassic Park will always make for an entertaining and timeless adventure film.
5.) Titanic (1997) Last but not least, what would the ‘90s have been without the phenomenon that was Titanic? A timeless story of forbidden love found aboard the RMS Titanic on her doomed maiden voyage, Titanic was a beautiful film then, and is a beautiful film now. After all, a good love story is timeless. But from the gorgeous sets and costumes to our morbid fascination of Titanic’s tragic fate, there is just something special about Titanic that sets it apart from other romance movies. Whether it has to do with the fact that it’s set on an infamous ship or if it’s because people envied the intense love between Jack and Rose, Titanic is a love story that will always be relevant.