Growing up in the 90'S / Part 2 : Movies

The film industry is constantly giving us groundbreaking and even life-changing experiences all these years, making it so special in our lives. It was during the 90's that some really memorable and iconic films were released, creating genres and franchises. Without further ado, let's have a look at the movies that we loved the most.

The Shawshank Redemption

A movie that shook us to our core and is considered rightfully a cultural masterpiece is The Shawshank Redemption. The movie was released in 1994 and it immediately amazed us with its exceptional story, outstanding cinematography, and great performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Based on Stephen King's novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the movie is an inspirational drama about overcoming overbearing authority, expressed through the story of banker Andy Dufresne, who is sentenced to life despite his claims of innocence. It's no coincidence that The Shawshank Redemption is IMDB's highest-rated movie of all time.

Life Is Beautiful

World War II was a dark period in mankind's history with millions of innocent people dying in the hands of Nazi Germany. But, as it is said, even in the darkest and most difficult situations there is always a silver lining. In 1997, Life is Beautiful demonstrated how a father's infinite love managed to preserve his son's happiness and innocence in the most harrowing of circumstances. The movie is not about Nazis and Fascists, but about the human spirit. It is about rescuing whatever is good and hopeful from the wreckage of dreams. About hope for the future. About the necessary human conviction, or delusion, that things will be better for our children than they are right now. About the possibility of hope in the face of unflinching horror. A touching story for the ages.

Cameron's contribution to this list begins with the 1997's classic Titanic. The movie took us back to 1912 when the homonymous British passenger liner sank during its maiden voyage. Cameron successfully brought that era into life, putting us right in the front seat, watching how different were people's lives back then and at the same time watching in dread at their ill fated end. The movie's blend of spectacular visuals and old fashioned melodrama was simply flawless, making the experience of watching the movie for the first time in cinema priceless.

Pulp Fiction
Cool, stylish, violent! These are the words that are best fit to describe Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction, which was released in 1994. A case of exemplary screenwriting mixed with pitch-black humor and pop-culture touchstones, the film was awing us during every turn of its unconventional structure. Tarantino's filmography currently consists of 9 movies, all of them unique in their own way. If his statement about retiring after the completion of his 10th movie is to be believed, then we truly can't wait for what's coming up for the closure of his grand career!

The Matrix

The Matrix was released in 1999 and exceeded our wildest expectations, it literally changed everything! The film managed to influence the film industry at its core and at the same time capture our expectations and fears of the growing expansion of technology in our lives. The Matrix is praised by both filmmakers for its innovative action sequences and special effects, and philosophers for its philosophical and intellectual themes. To this day it is considered one of the best science fiction movies of all time.

Terminator 2: Judgment day,
Not as influential as The Matrix, but still a highly remarkable science fiction film, Terminator 2: Judgment day released in 1991. James Cameron, well known for his perfectionism and vision, directed a technical and visual masterpiece that gives meaning and depth to its human and cyborg characters. Its visual effects saw breakthroughs in a computer-generated imagery, including the first use of natural human motion for a computer-generated character.

American History X

This next one comes as an inter-temporal message about human rights, equality, and freedom, a message that unfortunately seems essential even today. Released in 1998, American History X made us wonder: "Why do people hate one another, what can be done to change that?''. Racism and hate have been plaguing humanity for many years, feeding on people's fears and insecurities but in reality, no person is born evil, no one is born racist. It all starts at a certain point in some peoples' lives through specific events and if we open our minds and hearts we will realize that deep down we are all the same. The movie did a fantastic job delivering this message. Let's just hope that there is going to be a time when this message won't be necessary anymore.

The Silence of the lambs
When talking about influential horror films it is impossible not to mention The Silence of the Lambs, which was released in 1991. A horror masterpiece that teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. But what truly made this film special is that before The Silence of the Lambs, serial killers in films had been claw-handed bogeymen with melty faces and rubber masks. By contrast, Lecter is highly intelligent with impeccable manners, thus making us dread what a superficially normal person is capable of.

Daring to be the first mainstream Hollywood movie to acknowledge a sensitive subject such as AIDS back when social awareness wasn't very progressive and partially inspired by real-life events, Philadelphia was released in 1993 and helped people to broaden their understanding of the disease. With a story that is timely and powerful, with Tom Hanks' award-winning performance and with the sensitive direction the film fulfilled its quest to impart a meaningful message and assure that its characters will not immediately vanish into obscurity.

The People vs Larry Flynt
Pornography has always been a polarizing subject in our society, often met with condemning and hypocritical reactions. Showcasing these reactions, The People vs Larry Flynt was released in 1996 and chronicled the rise of pornographer Larry Flynt and his subsequent clash with religious institutions and the law. The film spans about 35 years of Flynt's life from his impoverished upbringing in Kentucky to his court battle with Reverend Jerry Falwell and is based in part on the U.S. Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. Woody Harrelson's performance paid an entertaining tribute to an irascible iconoclast with a well-constructed biopic that openly acknowledges his troublesome flaws, elevating this movie to classic status.

The Usual Suspects
The film initially released in 1995 almost silently, only in a few theaters but thanks to favorable reviews and word-of-mouth marketing it was eventually given a wider release. The film began as a title taken from a column in Spy magazine called The Usual Suspects, after one of Claude Rains' most memorable lines in the classic film Casablanca, and director Bryan Singer thought that it would make a good title for a film. Expertly shot and edited, the film gave us a simple plot and then piled on layers of deceit, twists, and violence before pulling out the rug from underneath, with a twist in the end that took us by surprise. So, who is Keyser Söze?

Dumb and Dumber
Embracing the sillier side of things, Dumb and Dumber was released in 1994 and instantly won a place in our hearts. Both Carrey's and Daniel's performances elevated the movie's relentless comedic attitude, spreading laughs all over the place scene after scene. The film is rightfully considered a cult classic.

Toy story
What if a toy could think and feel? What if our toys could come to life? When Toy Story was released in 1995, it completely changed the way we would be watching animated movies from now on. The film is all about toys that live, that want children to play with them, to make them happy and this desire of theirs drives their hopes, fears, and actions. It has the purity and the ecstatic freedom of imagination that touches the hearts of children and grown-ups alike. With a stellar voice cast and groundbreaking 3D animation technology, Toy story is considered to be one of the best animated movies of all time.

Walt Disney Pictures
Some of our most beloved children's memories belong to Disney. By creating some truly memorable animated movies, Disney managed to capture our imagination, our dreams while at the same time delivering some meaningful teachings about life. Movies like Lion King, Aladin, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Mulan are pure masterpieces.

In the next part of our coverage, we are going to look back at some of the music albums that inspired us through the 90s.
Stay tuned!