Ah, the 90’s, there was nothing like it. Playing outside only to come back in itching something fierce because you have rolled in the grass one time too many. Watching the street lights come on and realizing this was your cue to go home. Saturday morning cartoons that played back to back, and TGIF on Friday evenings that had you glued to your television sets.
Let us not forget that the 90’s also brought up some great family films, the type that we may never see again no matter how many remakes take place. These films made us feel excited, warm and a part of something. Carpool made us all want to get kidnapped by a donut loving freak. The Babysitters Club made us want to be young entrepreneurs and start our own business. Dunston Checks In made us want to own a Chimp, and Jungle2Jungle well, we all clearly wanted to find a boy that looked like Mimi-Siku.
Watching a film from the past can bring up so many emotions; good, bad, whatever they may be, they are connected to moments that did something to our senses. They inspired us to be something; a writer like Harriet The Spy, a witch like the ladies from The Craft, or simply just an actor so we too could have that affect on people. Here is a mini list (there are so many more) that make us long for the films of our youth and remind us of how awesome our childhoods actually were.
14. Heavy Weights
This film is about a group of fat kids going to a fat camp, who take it upon themselves to fight back against the camp owner. Genius! The enemy is so perfectly played by a young pre-Zoolander Ben Stiller. This film made you nostalgic for an awesome away camp experience that in the back of your mind you knew you would never have but a kid can dream right? Heavy Weights made you realize how awful diets were and how unhealthy an overweight lifestyle is which then made you realize you were stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Jumanji not only had an all star cast including Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt and Kirstin Dunst, it also had a bunch of cool animals popping out of a board game terrorizing a neighborhood; monkeys stealing cop cars, a lion lurking in the shadows, it is like The Jungle Book on steroids. The best part of the movie was how cool the board game looked; the pieces moved by themselves and there was a contraption on the side like a glass ball that gave instructions every time the dice was rolled. Honestly, the board game was a cool concept but who else would be scared if it was in their house? Show of hands please.
12. 3 Ninja’s Trilogy
The 3 Ninja’s Trilogy helped dojos around the world recruit more students than ever. Colt, Rocky and Tum Tum were just about the cutest ninjas you had ever seen. However, if we are getting specific about this trilogy, there is no denying that 3 Ninja’s: Kick Back was the best one (keep in mind any true movie buff will watch all three originals in a row); their grandfather and sensei is kidnapped and they have to travel to Japan to save him. All three original films are awesome and one even had a small repeat; “Rocky loves Emily, Rocky loves Emily”.
11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
No, not the current TMNT (although it is great to see it make a comeback) but we are talking about the original 90’s movies based off of the original 80’s cartoon. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles focused on a group of genetically modified turtles that could kick butt, loved pizza, had a rat as a sensei, lived in a sewer and had two awesome sidekicks in the forms of April and Casey Jones. Shredder did not stand a chance. Going back and watching this film made you long for the originality of the turtles, being able to reference the cartoon while you experienced the movie but most of all, it made you wonder if superhero turtles really did live in the sewers.
10. Home Alone
(Slaps cheeks) Aaahhhhh! This classic scene is just one reminder why this film is so beloved. Home Alone proved to parents that in case their kids did get left at home they could take care of themselves. Kevin McCallister was a genius; he made all these contraptions and outsmarted two grown men who were trying to rob the house and potentially kill him; all while his family was trying to find their way back home. This fun film introduced boys and girls to the “Boy Talk” and “Girl Talk”, a cool recording toy that he used to make the burglars think he was in one place but really in another.
9. Harriet The Spy
This movie may have introduced us to Michelle Trachtenberg, but it is so much more. Harriet The Spy taught young girls about friendship, being honest and being your true self. Harriet was a strong female character that showed society that you did not have to be male to achieve particular things in life. She was always so brave and strong that the viewer had confidence that no matter what happened she would be able to come back from it. Almost as though she was an adult in a child’s body. When her nanny perfectly played by Rosie O’Donnell quits it tugs on your heart strings just a little too much.
8. My Girl
My Girl is a great coming of age story that followed a young girl who lived in a funeral home with her family and was very aware of the effects of death. However, it was so much more than that; it was about two friends who went on adventures together and were essentially attached at the hip. This was one of the first films that opened a child’s eyes to the idea that death can come for anyone. When MacCaulay Culkin is stung to death by bees your heart breaks, and from personal experience that is the same feeling every time you watch this film no matter how old you are.
7. Mrs. Doubtfire
To spend time with his kids after divorce, Robin Williams plays dress up and becomes their nanny. Mrs. Doubtfire is a classic, granted it ticked off a lot of people because Williams was dressed in drag but come on, how can you not end up loving the old Irish lady who just wants to be a caregiver to a couple of misunderstood kids? This comedy made you laugh and wonder which one of your parents were in drag, or better yet, why your parent would not dress in drag just to be around you. Yes, it was a bit over the top but it was an awesome family film.
6. The Mighty Ducks
Let’s just begin by saying Jonathan Jackson. There, now that that is out of the way we can talk about the actual film. An underdog hockey team is coached by an aging former, slightly disgraced hockey player played by Emilio Estevez. The coach takes the team of misfits and turns them into an unbeatable team complete with a signature move, the flying V. This film hits you in the feel goods, a young boy who finds a father figure in his coach and makes a bunch of new friends along the way, how can you hate? There was also a part 2 and 3, you can decide what you think of those.
5. House Arrest
Siblings kidnap their parents so they cannot file for divorce, genius. Unfortunately things get a little crazy when a few other neighborhood kids hear about the plan and want in because, let’s face it, everyone has crazy parents and divorce is a pandemic. This cool concept also meant that all these kids were unsupervised and were able to do whatever they wanted (they choose to have an actual family dinner). This cast had a few up and comers like Jennifer Love Hewitt, who mysteriously, has not aged. We will not spoil the film for you but it is a great one.
4. Little Giants
A girl who wants to play football? This was one of the first films of that generation that had a character who was a girl and an awesome football player, and it was not even the main plot point. Little Giants was a fun film about two rival pee-wee football teams, coached by two rival brothers. If you think Ed O’Neill is funny in Modern Family, you should see him in this film, not only does he take constant cheap shots at his brother played by Rick Moranis (if you can believe it), but he has a young, handsome Devon Sawa on his team. Interested yet?
3. The Sandlot
This coming of age baseball comedy follows a group of youth in the early 60’s who play on a summer baseball team. It is a coming of age story about a group of boys and their passion for the game, along the way they enjoy a lackluster summer break until they venture into a neighbor’s yard to retrieve a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. This film is nostalgic to any little boy who dreamed of growing up to be a professional baseball player, it taught you to take advantage of the mischief you were bound to get into during our summer breaks and the importance of having an awesome set of friends.
2. Surf Ninjas
One brother is an uber talented surfer the other is master video game player. Ah, what more do you need? This movie left every kid feeling like they could kick butt, surf and rule the arcade. The concept was so futuristic, a kid with a video game that guided their future. Plus who could forget car surfing? This film put Ernie Reyes Jr. on the map (maybe the only film to do so), and even had a young Rob Schneider. The film takes a few crazy turns and has some cheesy jokes that you cannot help but laugh at. Plus some really entertaining fight scenes.
1. Camp Nowhere
It was the camp experience they showed you that you could have but the camp experience that you never actually had. The kids got to have bonfires, set sick traps and their parents day was unlike any parents day that anyone has ever seen. Not to mention the best part of that film was a young Jonathan Jackson; even in his youth he was the epitome of hotness and just so darn cute. This was one of those films that had a bunch of up-and-coming actors that you failed to notice at the time; Andrew Keegan and Jessica Alba were among the few.