1990 was a year of many things. Milli Vanilli was awarded a Best New Artist Grammy. Jim Henson died. Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture at the Oscars. I feel like there were some skirmishes with a place called Kuwait or a desert having a storm or something too. People wore terrible, terrible clothes.
1990 was, brace yourself, 25 years ago. Do you know what that means? It means that people born in 1994 can legally drink in the US, these movies could have kids of their own, and we are fucking old.
1. Dick Tracy
A long time ago, in an America that now seems so far away, comic book movies weren’t necessarily profitable. Sure, you had your 1989 Batman and the Superman flicks from the late 70s/early 80s. But you did not have a plethora of comic book films, El Guapo. So when a Madonna-dating Warren Beatty started developing a movie based on a detective from the funny papers of the 1930s, people were intrigued.
Beatty ended up starring in and directing a flick that garnered 10 Academy Award nominations.
2. Young Guns II
Young Guns was fine, but the sequel was somehow AMAZING to my 11-year-old brain. In 1990 it was still acceptable to have a crush on the entire cast, which included Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Christian Slater, Balthazar Getty, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Kiefer Sutherland. The Western also gave the world this, my favorite scene and possibly the movie quote I use the most.
I recently revisited the movie that brought Sutherland and Julia Roberts together for a brief engagement. Kevin Bacon was also in the movie, bringing us that much closer to a six degree separation from Chris Farley in the future. I’ll leave it to you to puzzle out how.
Anyway, a group of medical students start dicking around with dying and being brought back. This, of course, results in their old demons and regrets coming back from the other side with them. It’s science.
4. Home Alone
Though I now hate this movie with the intensity I usually reserve for people that cut me off in traffic and Jay Cutler, I can still admit that Home Alone is a classic. A classic tale of how serial killers are made and how white, upper class Americans are above the law as it pertains to child abandonment.
But Macauley Culkin (I want you to know I spelled his name right on my first try) slaps his hands to his cheeks and yells “AAAHHHHHH”, so all is forgiven!
5. Edward Scissorhands
Johnny Depp was still an unspoiled Actor, with a capital A and emphasis on the TOR, and Winona Ryder hadn’t stolen half of a store while banging dudes in bands. It was a wonderful time to be alive. Tim Burton was still telling beautiful, odd stories with a universal heart of human complexities thudding away at its center.
I unashamedly still adore this movie.
6. Pump Up the Volume
Christian Slater played Mark, a shy teenager attempting to fit in at a new school in Arizona. Mark soon starts lusting after Samantha Mathis’ Nora and begins broadcasting a pirate radio station under the name Hard Harry. The movie then becomes a rebellious fight against free speech and stuff. I think you also see Mathis’ boobs, but I can’t remember. I do know that you get to see what dudes were allowed to look like shirtless in 1990.
I do remember that the soundtrack was amazing, featuring a version of “Everybody Knows” by Concrete Blonde, “Kick Out the Jams” by Bad Brains with Henry Rollins, “Wave of Mutilation” by The Pixies, and “I’ve Got A Miniature Secret Camera” by Peter Murphy.
This is the year that everyone learned not to trust women who refuse to cuss. We also learned that bringing a wooden board and a sledge hammer into the bedroom isn’t foreplay, writers should never kill off popular characters, and driving in the snow requires attention.
8. Kindergarten Cop
Arnold Schwarzenegger finally got the role he had been pining for: a cop going undercover as a kindergarten teacher to track down a drug dealer. Everyone knows that it’s always best to work with kids, animals, and men with heavy accents. That’s why Kindergarten Cop is such a flawless ode to the craft of film.
Also, boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.
9. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Billy Peltzer and Kate Beringer are working at an a media mogul’s huge tower in New York when Gizmo gets wet again, creating a mass army of murderous Gremlins. Always remember that Christopher Lee played a man named Doctor Catheter in this movie. You should also remember that female Gremlins can only be made via scientific manipulation and that this is one of the most amazing sequels in the history of sequeldom.
Kevin Bacon makes another appearance with his floppy hair and ability to bring the whole cast of Reba only one degree away from it. Val and Earl stumble upon giant underground asshole creatures that are filled with gelatinous Hi-C Orange and hunt via sound vibrations. The wormy motherfuckers follow the duo back into their tiny desert town where everyone comes together to survive.