Twofer Thursday: offering up a new release and an oldie for you to enjoy during the weekend!
For this 90s edition, I'm looking at movies that weren't just great movies in and of themselves, but one that really captured the flavor and feel of the 90s. So, yeah Saving Private Ryan is a great movie, but I don't exactly get a feeling of nostalgia while watching that one. So here are my top two very personal picks for what I can say are quintessential 90s!
Swingers (R) - 1996 - Runtime: 96 minutes
Starring: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn
Director: Doug Liman
This is one of my all-time favorites. This movie had everything in it: a little bit of comedy, some drama and whole lotta heart. Written by the ever more popular Favreau, this was his ode to Hollywood and struggling as an actor/comedian. This movie put Vince Vaughn on the map and he's been doing this schtick for what seems like forever. It brought back swing music to popularity and was part of the indie movie craze back in the 90s. So it has nineties written all over it, but the movie itself is fairly straightforward: Favreau is playing a down-on-his-luck comedian who is thinking about going back home to the east coast. Of course, his best friend, the chatty Cathy played by Vince Vaughn, tries to tell him how dangerous that idea really is.
What this movie has going for it is a lot of heart and the ending is so perfect. Favreau and Vaughn are perfect foils to each other and the movie is a bit full of itself with the cool, hipsters permeating the screen, but it's an honest depiction of the time. Although I really have no basis for that statement - I've never really been to Hollywood, much less in the 90s! But it seems genuine and honest and that's what matters. If you don't laugh or connect at all with these smooth Lotharios, then you must be a robot.
Can't Hardly Wait (PG-13) - 1998 - Runtime: 100 minutes
Starring: Ethan Embry, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Seth Green, Lauren Ambrose
Director: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
If you're looking for the perfect 90s teen comedy, this is by far the best one. I can't quite explain it, but they nailed the experience of high school in this decade perfectly. Plus, it's hilarious and romantic, if not a bit too idealistic in its approach. I could tell you who in my high school class fit the mold for most everyone in the movie - from the big dumb jock to the girl who just wants to preserve the memories of high school by getting every single classmate to sign her year book (a great cameo by Melissa Joan Hart).
It's the day of graduation and the the year's biggest party is happening. Everyone from the class of 1998 is there (yeah, I know - I don't remember going to any party where my whole class was there! Suspend some disbelief!) and Preston has one last shot at professing his love to Amanda (Hewitt) before she forgets about him forever (not that she even knows he exists!). And that's the story - it's one night in the lives of all these kids. It's hilarious and touching and romantic. I think every girl wanted their own Ethan Embry to come into their lives with a love letter about how great they are. And yeah, the movie ends on a very unrealistic and romantic note, but that's what the end of high school is about. It's the start of something new where it seems like the possibilities are limitless. The movie captures that exact spirit very succinctly. Plus, it's an ode to the decade of the 90s and our generation.