The '90s often trigger bouts of nostalgia, especially when it comes to movies and television. While some content from that decade holds up, others are best forgotten. The '90s gave movie fans gritty action flicks with social commentary on capitalist culture and ridiculous comedies with slapstick humor that blurred the lines of grotesque and funny.
From romantic to sadistic, movies of the '90s sparked conversation in their time and continue to fuel the great debate of, "Are those films really as good as we remembered?" Here are five '90s movies that are timeless and five that aged poorly.
10 TIMELESS: Jurassic Park (1993)
This franchise remained such a classic family adventure that director Colin Trevorrow saw fit to reboot its premise with Jurassic World. The original film follows paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Satler as they're called upon by John Hammond, the creator of dinosaur clones.
Hammond's grandkids join the fun as they explore the park and portray the wonder of seeing real live dinosaurs. But as Jeff Goldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm so wisely put it, "they were so busy wondering if they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." Naturally, mayhem ensues.
9 AGED POORLY: American Beauty (1999)
The '90s were a simpler time when more people sympathized with a middle-aged man romantically pursuing his teenage daughter's best friend. Lester and Carolyn Burnham fell out of love. So when their daughter Janie's friend Angela comes into the picture with more experience than other teenage girls, the obvious course the film takes is making it a romantic tale of new love.
The creep factor never should've made this movie the hit it was back then, but Kevin Spacey's current reputation makes it worse today.
8 TIMELESS: Thelma and Louise (1991)
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis went down in history as feminist icons in this early '90s hit movie. Two best friends decided to escape their crappy lives as a waitress with a bad boyfriend and the wife of an emotionally abusive man.
But when a man at a roadhouse threatens to sexually assault her friend, Louise takes the law into her own hands and shoots the man, killing him. The two women go on the run from police and eventually end up dying together, driving off a cliff into the sunset.
7 AGED POORLY: Dances With Wolves (1990)
The Kevin Costner-led film centers on Lieutenant John Dunbar as he discovers the American West through the lens of an Indian tribe. Along the way he befriends a wolf he names Two-Socks.
The premise is that by seeing how the natives of the land live, Dunbar becomes sympathetic to their plight and becomes one of them. Except he doesn't really, because he falls in love with a white woman raised by the tribe, which leads the only two white people in the tribe to become its saving grace.
6 TIMELESS: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Is it cheesy as all get out? Absolutely. Does it make any scientific sense? Probably not. Does the convoluted time travel plot negate its own story? Most likely. But these are all the elements that make T2 such a classic mainstay in the sci-fi genre.
The future John Connor sends back the Terminator model that was originally sent to murder his mom in the first movie to protect his child self from the new Terminator model that was sent to kill him. It's an insane storyline, but delightfully so.
5 AGED POORLY: She's All That (1999)
The prince of teen dramedies of the '90s, Freddie Prinze Jr. starred alongside Rachel Leigh Cook in a movie that taught little girls everywhere that if they're willing to change everything about themselves, then the school's hottest guy will give them the light of day.
It was such played out trope that even the 2001 film Not Another Teen Movie parodied it with Chris Evans as the lead. The idea of a popular jock turning an "ugly" girl into prom queen for his amusement is insulting and misogynistic.
4 TIMELESS: Titanic (1997)
Star-crossed lovers Rose and Jack find one another aboard the Titanic, a ship fated to sink after crashing against an iceberg. Though everyone knew how the movie would end, it didn't make the blow any less devastating.
Iconic moments like Jack painting Rose in the nude and Jack screaming, "I'm king of the world," at the bow of the ship still get referenced to this day. The debate of whether or not Rose could have let Jack onto the stray door floating in the water is still controversial.
3 AGED POORLY: Chasing Amy (1997)
Everything about this movie is problematic, in retrospect. First, the two protagonists are introduced to a lesbian couple, Alyssa and Hooper, as a way to teach them about the LGBTQ community to make them feel better. Then, Holden (Ben Affleck) falls in love with Alyssa, who rejects him at first, but then changes her mind and begins a romantic relationship with him, cheating on her girlfriend.
Later, after finding out she participated in a threesome in high school, he's disgusted to find out he's not the first man she's been with.
2 TIMELESS: Independence Day (1996)
There's a reason various networks still play this movie every Fourth of July. Who doesn't love to see Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum team up to kick serious alien booty and save the world from annihilation? Not to mention that rousing speech given by Bill Pullman playing the President with such grace during a time of crisis.
Of course, Randy Quaid's heroic sacrifice to defeat the aliens can't go unnoticed. This film is filled with iconic moments and lines. The nostalgia factor was high enough to bring about a sequel.
1 AGED POORLY: Mortal Kombat (1995)
Even for the '90s, this movie's production quality was bad. But for today's standards, it's downright embarrassing. It's a fun film to hate-watch and make fun of, but from a critical perspective, the graphics are garbage, the story is botched and the writing is awful.
Its one saving grace is Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage. This was an early foray into adapting a video game into a movie though. Perhaps this is one instance where the upcoming reboot can save the franchise and break its adaptation curse.