5 Indie Films From The 90s That Are Way Underrated (& 5 That Are Overrated)

The 90s saw a ton of cult classic indie flicks release, and, while some are now super popular, others remain fairly underrated.

The 90s offered up some indie films that will go down in history. Unfortunately, many of these films have been forgotten, overrated, or didn’t get the attention it truly deserved. Thanks to technology like VOD and streaming services, people are getting the chance to experience these films yet again. All that was lost and forgotten is now in your face and at your fingertips. Hundred of films are made every year and it’s easy for many of them to slip under the radar, get outshined and in some cases not get the fair shake it deserves.

We now have the chance to watch them all over again, which 90s films on this list do you agree or disagree with? 

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10 Underrated: Dazed And Confused

As popular as this film is today, Dazed and Confused did not do well at all when it was released in 1993. Writer and director Richard Linkletter had a small budget of $6.9 million.

Yes, this is still a truckload of money but for the film business, it’s small. In its opening weekend, the film only made about $918,000. Yea, that’s a mess. Fortunately, the film is pretty respected now. It’s shown in film classes and it launched the careers of a number of stars who did pretty well for themselves. 

9 Underrated: Friday

When critics heard that a member of the gangster rap group NWA had written a film about smoking weed, losing his job, and chopping it up on his front porch all day with his drug dealer best friend, there is no doubt they were appalled.

The film was made for a small $3.5 million and opening weekend it made $6.5 million. That was not enough for critics and naysayers to take a second look at it. Besides all the rating drama, the movie spawned 2 sequels, and there are talks for a third with Chris Tucker coming back to play the iconic character, Smokey. 

8 Underrated: Pump Up The Volume

Pump Up The Volume was a film starring Christian Slater from the same writer/director that did Empire Records, Allan Moyle. It is often forgotten about, but, at the time, the film did pretty well for the small budget it was made with. Because it was glanced over, many people have forgotten that the film had a great story, and dare we say it was a bit before it’s time?

This film still has the potential to inspire this generation with Slater’s character being a social justice warrior on the airwaves after hours. Moyle hit the nail on the head with this film and some of his others like fellow indie film New Waterford Girl.

7 Underrated: Swingers

In 1996, Jon Favreau was an unknown writer and pretty new on the LA scene. He wrote and starred in the film Swingers with other unknown (now famous) actors like Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, and Heather Graham. The film depicted a good picture of what reality has to offer up for wannabe actors in LA.

It was made for a measly $200,000 and opening weekend it grossed about $75,000. Despite all that, the film has made a name for itself as people are finally realizing that it was kind of a genius film. It was also very well written, and, without this film coming out, we may not have such good Marvel films. Just saying. 

6 Underrated: Welcome To The Doll House

Welcome to the Dollhouse was a film that explored the life of a seventh-grader who is the middle child. The film was ambitious, shocking, and left fans wondering what in the world is going on with this family. Made for $800,000, it made little waves when it hit theatres.

It was a great study of human behavior and focused on a young Heather Matarazzo being bullied in junior high and how it affects her both at home and interacting with others. This film explored some rough content but didn’t really get much appreciation until years later. 

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5 Overrated: Kids

Harmony Korine is known for making films that leave a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. Kids was one of the first films he made that evoked this kind of feeling. Made for $1.5 million, the cast included some up and comers who still have a career today like Chloe Sevigny and Rosario Dawson. The film was eventually praised for its open dialogue about the AIDS virus but it was quite overrated as the dialogue was mostly boring and it may have been ahead of it’s time which isn’t always a good thing. 

4 Overrated: Chasing Amy

In 1997, writer/director Kevin Smith was working on his third feature film after Clerks and Mallrats. Chasing Amy was about a guy (Ben Affleck) who falls for a girl only to find out she is a lesbian and he has no chance in hell with her. The film was made for $250,000, but, by this time, Smith had gained a little bit of fame from his previous work.

Watching as the main character Holden relentlessly harasses and essentially stalks Amy in hopes for a date would not go over well today. Even though Smith kept a small budget for the film, it still came off as a bit mainstream. It also didn’t provide that thought-provoking dialogue that many people felt from Clerks.

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3 Overrated: Boondock Saints

Two brothers who accidentally fall into the killing business is a pretty weak concept for a film. This showed at the box office when this semi-independent film bombed royally back in 1999. Yet, somehow this film is one of those cut films that people praise relentlessly. The film starred an unknown Norman Reedus, Willem Dafoe, and Sean Patrick Flanery. To be fair, there were some great lines in this film, and some of the action was great. Yet, we don’t know if it deserves all the new-found popularity. 

2 Overrated: Heavenly Creatures

This true story with its dream-like look, innocent-faced young women and the murderous plot was the talk of the town when it was released in 1994. It was directed by Peter Jackson and was made for a much smaller budget than what he is used to now. It was creepy and luring, and the fact that it was a true story has made it even more popular. The popularity has risen over the years due to the rise in fame of its much younger stars Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynsky. Ultimately, it was a mild telling of what really went down with these New Zealand murderers.

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1 Overrated: The Virgin Suicides

Like everyone else in the late 90s, I was a fan of Sophia Coppola’s film The Virgin Suicides. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, and Kathleen Turner amongst a number of other celebrities who you wouldn’t have necessarily seen in an independent film.

Yet, to be completely honest, the film was slow-moving, and we have a sneaking suspicion that her last name had a lot to do with her being able to make this film in the first place. Don’t get us wrong, it was a great film, but there were many other films (some on this list) that just deserved a little more shine.

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