For a younger generation used to the world wide web, tweets, and texting, a simpler world with flannel shirts and plaintive music might not hold as much appeal. But at the same time, the 1990s brought with them some of the most important bands (Nirvana, anyone?) to break indie music out of obscurity, created the notion of dot-com booms and busts, and generally were interested in being self-absorbed long before the days of blogs and YouTube posts. It was a kinder, gentler time when unemployment wasn’t as feasible, Johnny Depp was still in love with Winona Ruder, and “My So-Called Life” was actually airing on network television.
To relive the fun and the drama of the 1990s in a world of HDTVs and 3D movies, all that it takes is flipping through channels at any given point. The best of the 1990s in terms of film might be more obscure indie art house fare, but for many, it’s more about those iconic movies of twenty-somethings trying to deal with being in love with each other. Whether painfully nostalgic, pleasant to relive, or not even on one’s radar yet, here are some of the best generation X dramas to catch on satellite tv at any given time.
Reality Bites. For a true 1990s movie, all that anyone really needs is Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo to make appearances. Shot in Texas and focused on navel gazing twenty-somethings, it’s the sort of film that Teenage girls watching this movie thought that Ethan Hawke was dreamy, but anyone who watches the way that he sadistically plays with Winona Ryder’s emotions later in life might think twice about dating underemployed musicians in the future. The film, which managed to do surprisingly well at the box office, was actually directed by Ben Stiller, who plays a yuppie.
Empire Records. Once the go-to 1990s pick for those channel-surfing at three in the morning, “Empire Records” has to be one of the most-aired movies on satellite TV. The story of a quirky independently-run record store and its employees trying to save it from being overtaken by Music Town on Rex Manning Day boasts performances from some of the decade’s best-known young actors, some of whom even managed to make it big later in films like “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”
Clerks. Kevin Smith’s black and white debut was shot with a loving indie touch, featured the first performance of Jay and Silent Bob, and managed to make a big splash across the country. With off-color jokes featuring prominently, suburban stoner humor, and tumultuous relationships and fighting a major plot point, this 1994 film managed to sum up Generation X in more ways than one.
Slacker. Austin has been the go-to hip city at least once a decade, and this is the original slacker film of the slacker generation. A documentary that makes it possible to check out what exactly was going on in the 1990s counter-culture, this has sense become a classic. Also the film responsible for the whole “keep (your city) weird” phenomenon that is still so important to hipsters in artistic enclaves.