After the highly-loved hideousness of the '80s, the '90s came to wipe the slate clean. Long-haired rock fell to disheveled grunge, and a sea of personal expression, rebellion against pop, and teen sexuality exploded. Unlike the '60s, which are touted as a sexy free-for-all, the '90s focused on its many aspects. In the realm of film, having sex wasn't link to "good" or "bad," but rather, to its different manisfestations and preferences. Emphasis was placed on the characters rather than the story, and this bred a collection of youthful films unlike the movies of other generations.

Here are the films that rocket me back to the '90s with their great characters, music, and sexual expression. Which do the same for you?

Empire Records

I know this -- that if I win this roll, I will save the place that I work from being sold, and the jobs of my friends that work there -- thus striking a blow at all that is evil and making this world a better place to be in.

People usually either love or hate Empire Records, and the ones that love it cherish its quirk, uniqueness, and killer lines. As the Empire employees fight against the news that their beloved workplace will be turned into a Music Town, they also struggle with their own personal issues. Artist A.J. glues quarters to the ground, which drives hooligan Warren crazy, while he obsesses over his secret love for Corey. She, meanwhile, plans to sweetly seduce the aging rock star guest Rex Manning, but he's more into her bad-girl best friend, Gina. Debra tried to kill herself with a pink, plastic razor with daisies on it. Lucas lost $9,000 of the store's money in Atlantic City, but it more interested in relaying his pearls of wisdom: "In this life, there are nothing but possibilities." Mark just gets stoned and hallucinates. And Joe, well, he loves these guys, but is weighed with the responsibility of running the store, and fighting the incoming music chain.

From Rory Cochrane's philosophical rambling to Renee Zellweger's stint as a sex-crazed wanna-be singer, Empire Records is a film in love with music and being different. The characters have extremely diverse interests and attitudes, but they all come together and happily co-exist in this tune-laden environment. Yet it isn't sickeningly saccharine; it's just accepting and honest.

Trivia: Deb's boyfriend Berko is played by the wonderful Coyote Shivers, who, at the time, was Liv Tyler's stepfather.
categories Cinematical