The 1990s are known for iconic blockbusters. Nonetheless, there are a ton of underrated films that are typically overlooked while revisiting the classics. Here are some of the most seriously underrated films of the 90s. Do you agree?
1. Short Cuts (1993)
Short Cuts weaves together the stories of many characters in Los Angeles. The ensemble cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Matthew Modine, Julianne Moore, Fred Ward, Anne Archer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madeleine Stowe, Chris Penn, Jack Lemmon, Frances McDormand, Lori Singer, Andie MacDowell, Buck Henry, and Lily Tomlin.
This intricately crafted film provides a mosaic of interconnected stories, exploring themes of love, infidelity, and human complexity. With its stellar cast and masterful storytelling, Short Cuts offers a unique perspective on the intricacies of everyday life.
2. Twenty Bucks (1993)
Twenty Bucks features another stacked cast, including Linda Hunt, Brendan Fraser, Elisabeth Shue, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Lloyd, Gladys Knight, William H. Macy, David Schwimmer, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Spalding Gray.
It follows the journey of a $20 bill as it passes through many people’s hands. This cleverly interwoven anthology film captures various moments and emotions, revealing the impact that this seemingly insignificant piece of currency can have on people’s lives. The film’s exploration of human connections and experiences makes it a hidden gem worth discovering.
3. The Last Boy Scout (1991)
A blend of action and dark humor, The Last Boy Scout follows a disgraced Secret Service agent and a private investigator as they uncover a complex conspiracy.
With Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans in the lead roles, the film offers thrilling action sequences and witty banter. Despite overshadowing from other ’90s action films, The Last Boy Scout stands out for its unique tone and entertaining storyline.
4. Beautiful Girls (1996)
Beautiful Girls is a touching examination of friendships and connections in a small town. Centered around a high school reunion, the film delves into the challenges and dreams of a group of friends. With a strong ensemble cast, including Timothy Hutton, Natalie Portman, and Uma Thurman, the movie offers a touching portrayal of nostalgia, growth, and the complexities of adult life.
5. Buffalo ’66 (1998)
Vincent Gallo helms the compelling drama Buffalo ’66 and features him as well. The film follows a recently released prisoner as he kidnaps a young tap dancer and forces her to pose as his wife during a visit to his dysfunctional family. The film’s unique visual style and offbeat narrative make it a standout piece of ’90s cinema, exploring themes of identity, family, and redemption.
6. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
My Own Private Idaho is a poignant drama following two young street hustlers, played by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, on a journey of self-discovery. Set against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, the film delves into themes of love, friendship, and identity. Its unconventional narrative and powerful performances make it a standout work of artistry.
7. The Fisher King (1991)
The Fisher King presents a unique blend of fantasy and drama. The film follows a radio shock jock, played by Jeff Bridges, who befriends a homeless man, portrayed by Robin Williams. Their unlikely friendship leads to a quest for redemption and healing. With its imaginative storytelling and emotional depth, Fisher King is a thought-provoking exploration of human connection.
8. Kicking And Screaming (1995)
Kicking and Screaming offers a witty and relatable portrayal of post-college life and the challenges of transitioning to adulthood. The film follows a group of friends navigating relationships, uncertainties, and the complexities of finding their paths. With its sharp dialogue and authentic characters, this indie gem captures the essence of a generation.
9. In the Company of Men (1997)
In the Company of Men is a provocative drama that explores toxic masculinity and corporate power dynamics. The film follows two executives who embark on a cruel and manipulative plan to exploit a woman emotionally. With its unflinching examination of human behavior, the film offers a disturbing yet thought-provoking exploration of morality.
10. A Simple Plan (1998)
Directed by Sam Raimi, A Simple Plan is a gripping thriller that explores the moral dilemmas faced by three men who discover a bag of money in a crashed plane. As their greed and paranoia escalate, their lives unravel in unexpected ways.
The film’s tense atmosphere and complex characters make it a standout entry in ’90s cinema, highlighting the consequences of one fateful decision. It stars Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Bridget Fonda.
11. Carpool (1996)
The lighthearted comedy Carpool pokes fun at the unexpected situations that arise during a group carpool. Starring Tom Arnold, the film follows the comedic mishaps and adventures of a mismatched group of passengers and the harried driver. With its zany scenarios and quirky characters, Carpool offers an entertaining ride.
12. Dirty Work (1998)
In the comedy Dirty Work, starring Norm Macdonald and Artie Lange, two friends launch a business offering revenge for hire in order to obtain money for a heart transplant. Packed with irreverent humor and outrageous pranks, the film delivers laughs as it explores the unconventional ways the characters navigate their challenges.
13. Dead Man (1995)
In the visually stunning and surreal Western Dead Man, Johnny Depp plays a man on the run who gets involved in a number of strange and existential events. The film’s poetic and enigmatic narrative stands out as a unique exploration of identity, mortality, and the human experience.
14. Wild at Heart (1990)
The bizarre road trip movie Wild at Heart, directed by David Lynch, is aesthetically captivating. Starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, the movie follows a passionate and often surreal journey of love and danger. Known for its Lynchian aesthetic and unconventional storytelling, Wild at Heart is a captivating and offbeat cinematic experience.
15. Dead Presidents (1995)
Dead Presidents is a gritty crime drama that explores the struggles of a young Black American man after he returns from serving in the Vietnam War. Starring Larenz Tate, Chris Tucker, Keith David, Rose Jackson, and Freddy Rodriguez, the film examines themes of poverty, racism, and the challenges veterans face.
With its powerful performances and social commentary, Dead Presidents offers a raw and impactful portrayal of a generation’s experiences.
16. Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
Dark comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous mocks small-town life and beauty pageants. With a mockumentary-style approach, the film follows the competitive and often deadly rivalry among contestants in a local pageant.
Its sharp wit and over-the-top humor make it a standout comedy with satirical commentary on societal expectations. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Denise Richards, Allison Janney, Ellen Barkin, Kirstie Alley, and Amy Adams.
17. Copycat (1995)
This gripping thriller stars Sigourney Weaver as a criminal psychologist and Holly Hunter as a detective teaming up to catch a serial killer. The film delves into the mind of a deranged murderer who emulates the techniques of famous killers. With its suspenseful plot and strong performances, Copycat offers a captivating and chilling cinematic experience.
18. A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
A Life Less Ordinary is a whimsical romantic comedy that blends elements of fantasy and romance. The film follows a down-on-his-luck janitor (Ewan McGregor) and a spoiled heiress (Cameron Diaz) who are thrust into an unexpected adventure. With its quirky premise and offbeat humor, the movie explores the unconventional ways love can blossom.
19. Head Above Water (1996)
The married couple at the center of the suspenseful thriller Head Above Water have their lives turned upside down as they get caught up in a web of lies and suspicion. Starring Cameron Diaz and Harvey Keitel, the film presents a tense and unpredictable narrative that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
20. But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
The satirical comedy But I’m a Cheerleader centers on a young cheerleader who is sent to a conversion therapy camp to cure her alleged homosexuality. The film humorously critiques societal norms and stereotypes while exploring themes of identity and acceptance. The movie’s colorful and campy style delivers a unique and thought-provoking message.
21. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
In the neo-noir mystery Devil in a Blue Dress, Denzel Washington plays a private eye involved in a challenging case in post-World War II Los Angeles. With its atmospheric setting and intricate plot, the film offers a stylish and engaging exploration of crime and intrigue.
22. Hurly Burly (1998)
Hurly Burly is a dark comedy-drama that looks into the lives of a group of friends in Hollywood, exploring themes of existentialism, relationships, and self-discovery. Adapted from the play by David Rabe, the film boasts a talented ensemble cast (Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Chazz Palminteri, and Meg Ryan) and provides a raw and thought-provoking examination of the human condition.
23. The Player (1992)
The Player is a satirical Hollywood insider film that takes a witty and scathing look at the entertainment industry. Tim Robbins stars as a studio executive caught up in a murder plot. Through its clever meta-commentary and sharp humor, the film offers a unique and engaging exploration of ambition and morality.
24. Gattaca (1997)
The film Gattaca, starring Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, is a science fiction thriller set in a future where genetic engineering determines one’s social status.
The film follows a man with inferior genes who dreams of space travel and assumes the identity of a genetically superior individual. With its thought-provoking themes of genetic discrimination and identity, Gattaca presents a compelling dystopian narrative.
25. Trespass (1992)
This is a crime thriller starring Bill Paxton and Ice-T as two firefighters who stumble upon a map leading to stolen gold. As they pursue their claim, they find themselves in a dangerous conflict with a group of criminals. The film’s tense atmosphere and intense performances create a gripping and suspenseful cinematic experience. It costars Ice Cube.
26. Brain Donors (1992)
A slapstick comedy that honors vintage screwball comedies is Brain Donors. The film follows a trio of eccentric characters as they become embroiled in a legal battle over a ballet company. With its fast-paced humor and zany antics, Brain Donors offers a lighthearted and entertaining ride reminiscent of comedy classics.
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