The '90s were a glorious time to be a movie fan. There were some true gems in that decade, but also a lot of films that tickle the nostalgia bone even though they aren't necessarily masterpieces. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the steamy "Wild Things," here are some of our favorite guilty pleasures from that magical decade.
'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze' (1991)
Nothing takes us back to the height of Turtle Mania like hearing "Ninja Rap" blasting through our speakers. The second TMNT film abandoned the darker, comic book-inspired trappings of the original for a campier adventure involving transforming pets, Vanilla Ice, and whatever the heck was going on with Shredder in that final battle. It's not a superior sequel by any means, but an enjoyable one all the same.
'Alien 3' (1992)
We won't deny that that "Alien 3" was a huge letdown compared to its predecessors. But we still get a kick out of watching Ripley make her final stand on a remote prison world. And we like to think that critics have slowly started to come around on this sequel, if only because the franchise has made it clear how much lower it's willing to go.
'Love Potion No. 9' (1992)
Movie studios really seemed to become obsessed with the "My Fair Lady" formula for romantic comedies in the '90s. "Love Potion No. 9" isn't the best of that particular bunch, but the fact that it stars Sandra Bullock is reason enough for us to keep a space on the DVD shelf reserved for this one.
'Last Action Hero' (1993)
No one will ever accuse "Last Action Hero" of being the best project actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and director John McTiernan worked on. It's not quite the clever satire of Schwarzenegger's brand of action movies we wanted, but it's still a sometimes fun romp that explores what happens when a musclebound action star crosses over into the mundane real world. Hint: Lots of explosions and bad puns ensue.
No franchise has "guilty pleasure" written all over it more proudly than "Leprechaun." Objectively, this horror comedy is a bad, bad movie that can't hold a candle to the likes of "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween." But it has its own, weird, very stupid brand of charm. And at least it's better than most of the direct-to-video sequels that followed.
'Batman Forever' (1995)
On one hand, we hate that WB ruined a good thing by shifting the "Batman" franchise away from the Gothic fairy tale approach of Tim Burton over to Joel Schumacher's neon-soaked toy commercial. On the other hand, nothing can transport us back to the summer of 1995 like popping in that incredible soundtrack album -- or watching Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones chew through all the scenery.
'Mortal Kombat' (1995)
The '90s were littered with terrible video game adaptations. "Mortal Kombat" is easily the best of a bad bunch. That may sound like faint praise, but it's always fun to return to this campy martial arts movie and rock out to that soundtrack and watch abysmal '90s CGI for a couple hours.
'From Dusk Till Dawn' (1996)
"From Dusk Till Dawn" is a weird little movie. It starts out as a Quentin Tarantino-esque drama (co-starring Tarantino himself, no less) before suddenly morphing into a hyper-violent vampire movie midway through. Still, we an't help but love this eccentric, stylish little horror movie. It's arguably a better grindhouse film than "Planet Terror."
'Space Jam' (1996)
If you were a kid in 1996, you were obsessed with "Space Jam" in both movie and soundtrack form. Perhaps the movie hasn't aged as well as all of us wish it did, but there's no denying that this goofy mash-up of NBA action and Looney tunes hijinks holds a special place in all our hearts. Now, how about that sequel already, guys?!
"Anaconda" is one of the quintessential "so bad, it's good" movies. It's certainly no "Jaws," but it's a very entertaining movie about a hapless documentary crew fighting for their lives against an angry, oversized, and surprisingly well-animated snake. What's not to love about that formula?
'George of the Jungle' (1997)
Like the cartoon that inspired it, "George of the Jungle" is basically just a goofy version of Tarzan with a ridiculously catchy theme song. Yet somehow that allowed it to become a huge hit and briefly make Brendan Fraser one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. We're not exactly sure what makes this comedy so enjoyable, but we still love it.
'Spice World' (1997)
The Spice Girls' "Spice World" is basically the '90s equivalent to "A Hard Day's Night," though much less critically adored. It's a great, fleeting flashback to that brief time when these five ladies were the biggest stars in the world.
'Starship Troopers' (1997)
Few movies manage to divide fans and critics as easily as "Starship Troopers"; Is it a brainless, hyper-violent, poorly acted action flick or a subversively intelligent film that attacks the modern military industrial complex? Or somehow both at once?
As much as we might want to hate this Michael Bay disaster epic, we just can't seem to quit "Armageddon." It's a stupid movie with some truly cringe-worthy moments -- and a real ear-worm of an Aerosmith song. Still, you can't not root for this band of blue collar heroes as hey fight to save the world from a giant asteroid. #SpaceDimentia.
'Wild Things' (1998)
If this movie were any more '90s, it would have been directed by Slap Bracelets and Zima. This convoluted, USA After Dark-level entertainment is notable/infamous for its threesome scene and for showing Kevin Bacon's full bacon. (We mean penis.)
'Bride of Chucky' (1998)
The "Child's Play" franchise has never been particularly good, so maybe it's just as well this franchise started to really lean into its own silliness with this sequel. "Bride of Chucky" introduced a second homicidal doll into the mix in the form of Jennifer Tilly's Tiffany, and the resulting dynamic gave us a dumb but very entertaining slasher movie.
'The Waterboy' (1998)
In terms of quality, "The Waterboy" can't really measure up to Adam Sandler's best '90s comedies like "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison." The gratuitous Southern stereotypes kind of ensure that. Still, we have fond memories of plucky waterboy-turned angry football star Bobby Bucher. He's the hero we all need right now.
'Cruel Intentions' (1999)
"Cruel Intentions" works better on paper than it does in reality. A group of the hottest young stars of the late '90s joining forces for a tale of sexy intrigue and betrayal? That was all we needed to hear. But despite the lousy script and sometimes questionable acting, we can't help but have fond memories of this one. If nothing else, it's one of the films that helped put Reese Witherspoon on the map.
'Deep Blue Sea' (1999)
"Deep Blue Sea" holds claim to the honor of being the second best killer shark movie of all time. We're not sure if that's an indictment of the genre or what. All we know is we'd rather watch this violent, silly romp than any "Jaws" sequel. At least it's not pretending to be something it isn't.
'Never Been Kissed' (1999)
"Never Been Kissed" is the story of a frumpy, socially awkward reporter getting her second chance at experiencing the highs and low of teenage romance by going undercover as a high school student. It's a somewhat iffy premise that we're not sure would be greenlit in this day and age. But despite that, we can't help but be entertained by this story of a lonely woman finally opening up and finding love.
'She's All That' (1999)
"She's All That" draws from the same source material as "My Fair Lady," but it shifts the setting to '90s SoCal and crams in a cast of the hottest, oldest-looking high schoolers you'll ever see. As predictable and generic as this romantic comedy is, the earnest performance from star Rachel Leigh Cook goes a long way towards making it stand out even two decades later.