The gloomy winter doldrums are almost gone, Masterminds, and spring has just about sprung itself, which means warmth and goodness will be coming soon. And, of course, hella rain, which means even MORE indoor activities bringing us one axe swing closer to Shining-esque cabin fever. So we’ve compiled a list of seriously great 90’s flicks that are a) essential viewing for self-described geeks everywhere, and b) awesome enough to help you beat the boredom, at least for a few hours. We present: 7 flicks for your 7 days of break!
1. Emma, 1996 (Netflix, hulu)
This is one of the better film adaptations of a Jane Austen novel. It’s light, fun, and stars Gwyneth Paltrow in the role that first showcased her so-good-it-won-an-Oscar British accent. Her Oscar was for Shakespeare in Love, (which you should also see) but Paltrow infuses Austin’s clueless matchmaker with just the right amounts of naiveté and sincerity that she’s guaranteed to win even the curmudgeonliest of us over.
2. Jackie Brown, 1996 (Netflix, hulu)
Tarantino’s critically acclaimed, least bloody flick is one of his most underrated. It’s also a pretty great love story with a butt-kicking female lead. Pam Grier stars as Jackie Brown, a stewardess whose bad luck knows no bounds—until she meets bail bondsman Max Cherry. The Tarantino staples are all here: offbeat and catchy soundtrack, hilarious and well-crafted dialogue, and Samuel L. Jackson. Several very funny scenes involving clueless surfer girls and Chris Tucker will make you wish you had seen this one sooner.
3. Bottle Rocket, 1996 (Netflix,hulu)
Calling all Wes Anderson fans! This was his first full-length feature, and it’s idiosyncratic, fantastic, and hilarious. Starring real-life bros Owen and Luke Wilson as hapless heist-ers who can’t seem to carry out the perfect "job," the fun and quirks begin immediately when one brother breaks the other out of a "voluntary" psychiatric hospital. If you like the world of Wes, this was where it began, and it’s worth a gander.
4. Darkman, 1990 (Redbox)
If you haven’t seen this flick starring Liam Neeson as Peyton Westlake, a scientist who seeks revenge on the mobster who blew up his lab and burned him irreparably, you’re missing out—it’s one of the best cult superhero movies of all time! Directed by Sam Raimi, Darkman features a totally unique hero: Westlake develops time/light sensitive skin and uses it to mask his burns, all while romancing his ex, who feared him dead in the lab explosion. And props for an ending you don’t entirely expect.
5. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? 1993 (Netflix)
Wanna see a younger Johnny Depp and a teenaged Leonardo DiCaprio in a sweet and sensitive family story you’ll never forget? Then check out at this gem, a truly moving depiction of familial dysfunction. Yes. You read that right. Depp plays Gilbert, a grown man in charge of taking care of his the family house, expenses, and family itself, which is A LOT when considering that his mentally challenged little bro (DiCaprio) is prone to taking off randomly and his mom is so depressed (and obese) that she hasn’t left the house in years. It sounds crazy, but it’s incredibly original!
6. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (local libraries/video stores)
If you haven’t seen Gremlins, the over-the-top 80s comedy-horror fest about the creepy creatures that emerge when you feed cute little Gizmo after midnight, that’s kosher. You don’t have to see it first to enjoy its hilarious and appropriately over-the-top sequel. This movie knows exactly what it is—total camp craziness—and it hits you with near laugh-a-minute gags. It also gets bonus props for its setting: a ridiculously garish NYC department store that serves as a metaphor for everything bad about consumerism. Trust us—you’ll be entertained throughout!
7. Toy Soldiers, 1991 (local libraries/video stores)
Why would you wanna watch a truly stinky flick about a bunch of privileged preppies whose school gets taken over by crazed mercenaries? Because it stars a pre-LOTR Sean Astin and a post-Star Trek TNG Wil Wheaton as two of the sharp lads who work together to bring the bad guys (who overact ridiculously, and, as a result, aren’t scary at all) down, that’s why! This wasn’t meant to be a comedy, but with a few buds, it sooooo will be.
What movies will YOU be checking out over your spring break?