Nostalgia for the ’90s is in full bloom these days, with a recent three-part special on the National Geographic Channel asking “The ’90’s: The Last Great Decade?” It’s been 20 years since Kurt Cobain died; “Friends” is celebrating its 20th anniversary with much fanfare and Bill Clinton is perhaps more popular than ever. With global warming on the rise and world order increasingly chaotic, it’s no surprise that many of us (at least those who were old enough to remember the decade) look back on the ’90s with fondness (although we still can’t get over the fact that “Dances with Wolves” won the Best Picture Oscar in 1991 instead of “Goodfellas”).
We admit to being a bit nostalgic about the independent film scene of The ’90s, which arguably was the heyday of the contemporary indie film movement. In 1989, Steven Soderbergh’s Sundance Award-winning “Sex, Lies and Videotape” set the stage for a renaissance that would last more than a decade, producing directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Nicole Holofcener, Alexander Payne, Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Ang Lee, Sofia Coppola and many more. From “Slacker” in 1991 to “Boys Don’t Cry” in 1999, it was a strong decade for fiercely independent films which continue to be as relevant today as they were back in the day.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the most influential films of the decade (from some of the most influential directors) which are available to stream on Netflix. Note that we chose to only list one film by each director (and we admit it was hard to choose between “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs,” which is also available).
They’re listed below in alphabetical order:
Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberly Peirce, 1999)
Fargo (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1996)
Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994)
The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, 1997)
Pi (Darren Aronofsky, 1998)
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)
The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)
The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (Lasse Hallstrom, 1993)