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Eight Underrated Films From the 1990s

Ryan McLachlan
Photo Credit: HBO Pictures / lindsaylohanslastfan / MovieStills DB, Paramount Pictures / lindsaylohanslastfan / MovieStills DB
Photo Credit: HBO Pictures / lindsaylohanslastfan / MovieStills DB, Paramount Pictures / lindsaylohanslastfan / MovieStills DB

There are tons of excellent movies from the 1990s that are greatly underrated. In fact, some people don’t even know they exist, but these films deserve to be watched! Have you seen any of these eight underappreciated ’90s flicks?

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991)

Christina Applegate, Dinielle Harris, keith Coogan, Robert Hy Gorman, Christopher Pettiet, and Concetta Tomei in a promo still from Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. (Photo Credit: HBO Pictures / lindsaylohanslastfan / MovieStills DB)

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead is a 1991 comedy film. Directed by Stephen Herek, the movie follows the story of five siblings who are left in the care of an elderly babysitter when their mother goes on vacation for two months. However, upon the babysitter’s sudden demise, the kids are faced with the challenge of keeping her death a secret while managing their own lives.

The film revolves around Sue Ellen Crandell, played by Christina Applegate. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dad offers a blend of comedy, coming-of-age themes, and family dynamics. The film delivers a lighthearted and entertaining experience with a touch of ’90s nostalgia, making it a beloved cult classic among fans.

The Game (1997)

Michael Douglas in a still from The Game.
The Game. (Photo Credit: PolyGram Films / Pineapples101 / MovieStills DB)

The Game is a psychological thriller film released in ’97. The movie follows Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy investment banker played by Michael Douglas, whose mundane and controlled life is turned upside down when he becomes embroiled in a mysterious and dangerous “game.”

The Game is beloved for its intricate plot, mind-bending narrative, and intense atmosphere. The film explores themes of identity, control, and the power of perception. It challenges the viewer to question reality and consider the consequences of one’s actions.

Jackie Brown (1997)

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown in a publicity still for Jackie Brown.
Jackie Brown. (Photo Credit: Miramax Films / Demon / MovieStills DB)

Jackie Brown is a crime thriller directed by Quentin Tarantino. The movie is based on Elmore Leonard’s novel “Rum Punch” and features an ensemble cast led by Pam Grier in the titular role of Jackie Brown, who is joined by Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, and Robert Forster.

Set in Los Angeles, the film centers around Jackie Brown, a middle-aged flight attendant who finds herself caught between various criminal elements. Jackie gets involved in a complex plot involving smuggling money and narcotics, all while trying to outwit both law enforcement and the dangerous criminals she’s associated with.

With its intricate plot, well-crafted dialogue, and a strong emphasis on character development, Jackie Brown showcases Tarantino’s storytelling prowess and his ability to blend elements of crime, drama, and dark humor. The film remains a cult classic, appreciated for its compelling narrative, memorable performances, and homage to classic crime cinema.

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo in the film To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. (Photo Credit: Universal Studios / Zayne / MovieStills DB)

Directed by Beeban Kidron, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar is a comedy. The movie follows the journey of three drag queens as they embark on a cross-country road trip, spreading love and acceptance along the way.

The film revolves around the drag queens Vida Boheme, Noxeema Jackson, and Chi-Chi Rodriguez, portrayed by Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo, respectively, who are preparing for the “Miss Drag Queen of America” pageant. Discovering that they are disqualified, they decide to use their prize money to go on a road trip to Hollywood instead.

The film explores themes of acceptance, self-discovery, and the power of embracing one’s true identity. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar is a heartwarming and uplifting comedy that blends humor and social commentary in an entertaining and touching way. It remains a beloved film for its memorable characters, feel-good message, and its celebration of the power of embracing one’s true self.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

John Cusack and Minni Driver in Grosse Pointe Blank.
Grosse Point Blank. (Photo Credit: Hollywood Pictures / murraymomo / MovieStills DB)

Grosse Pointe Blank is a dark comedy film that follows the story of a professional hitman, Martin Q. Blank, played by John Cusack. He finds himself questioning his life choices and facing personal dilemmas while attending his high school reunion.

Grosse Pointe Blank blends elements of action, comedy, and romance while creating a unique and offbeat narrative. It explores themes of identity, redemption, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. It combines witty dialogue, dark humor, and a nostalgic 1980s soundtrack to create a distinct atmosphere.

The film stands out for its blend of genres, its unconventional take on the hitman trope, and its exploration of existential themes amidst a backdrop of high school reunions and suburban life. Grosse Pointe Blank is an entertaining and thought-provoking film that offers a unique twist on the typical action-comedy genre.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson in The Long Kiss Goodnight.
The Long Kiss Goodnight. (Photo Credit: New Line Cinema / Zayne / MovieStills DB)

The Long Kiss Goodnight is an action thriller film released in 1996. Directed by Renny Harlin, the movie follows the story of Samantha Caine, played by Geena Davis, a suburban housewife who suffers from amnesia but discovers her past as a highly-skilled assassin when her life takes a dangerous turn.

The Long Kiss Goodnight combines elements of mystery, espionage, and high-octane action, as Samantha/Charly utilizes her lethal skills and resourcefulness to survive and protect those she cares about. Along the way, she must confront both physical and emotional challenges, including reconnecting with her long-lost daughter. The film remains a beloved entry in the action thriller genre, delivering a satisfying blend of excitement, intrigue, and emotional depth.

The Birdcage (1996)

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in a promo shot for The Birdcage.
The Birdcage. (Photo Credit: United Artists / MoviePics1001 / MovieStills DB)

The Birdcage is a comedy film based on the French play “La Cage aux Folles.” It tells the hilarious and heartwarming story of a gay cabaret owner and his partner who must pretend to be straight for a family gathering.

The film showcases brilliant performances, with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane delivering memorable comedic lines that perfectly balance humor and heart. The film also features strong supporting performances from Gene Hackman as Senator Keeley and Dianne Wiest as Louise Keeley, adding to the comedic dynamics of the story.

The Bridcage’s charm lies in its ability to blend laughter and social commentary, showcasing the universality of love and family bonds. The Birdcage remains a beloved comedy that has resonated with audiences for its warmth, wit, and celebration of diversity.

Double Jeopardy (1999)

Ashley Judd in a publicity still for Double Jeopardy.
Double Jeopardy. (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / RobertMcClaine / MovieStills DB)

Double Jeopardy is a thriller film released in 1999. The movie follows the story of Libby Parsons, played by Ashley Judd, who is wrongfully convicted of murdering her husband and subsequently embarks on a quest for justice and revenge.

The film begins with Libby leading a seemingly happy life with her husband, Nick, portrayed by Bruce Greenwood, and their young son. However, everything changes when Nick mysteriously disappears, and Libby is convicted of his murder based on circumstantial evidence. Sentenced to prison, she serves six years before being granted parole. Upon her release, she discovers the shocking truth that her husband is actually alive, having faked his death to frame her.

In her search for her husband, Libby is joined by Travis Lehman, a parole officer played by Tommy Lee Jones. Double Jeopardy combines elements of crime, mystery, and suspense, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats as the protagonist uncovers the truth and confronts her manipulative husband. The film explores themes of betrayal, trust, and the pursuit of justice.

Double Jeopardy is a captivating and suspenseful film that offers a satisfying blend of action, intrigue, and emotional resonance. It keeps viewers engaged as they accompany Libby on her journey for justice, making it a thrilling and memorable cinematic experience.

More from us: Catherine Zeta-Jones Makes Michael Douglas Publicly ‘Drop His Pants’ When He Loses to Her in Golf

If you haven’t seen any of these films, what are you waiting for? Plan a ’90s movie night and break out the Orville Redenbacher popcorn!

Ryan McLachlan

Ryan McLachlan is a historian and content writer for Hive Media. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Classical Studies and his Master of Arts in History from the University of Western Ontario. Ryan’s research focused on military history, and he is particularly interested in the conflicts fought by the United Kingdom from the Napoleonic Wars to the Falklands War.

Ryan’s other historical interests include naval and maritime history, the history of aviation, the British Empire, and the British Monarchy. He is also interested in the lives of Sir Winston Churchill and Admiral Lord Nelson. Ryan enjoys teaching, reading, writing, and sharing history with anyone who will listen.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching period dramas such as Murdoch Mysteries and Ripper Street and also enjoys reading classical literature and Shakespeare. He also plays football and is an afternoon tea connoisseur.