The nineties were a decade characterised by grungy teenagers, listening to Kurt Cobain and wearing ripped jeans. This generation of slacker culture spawned some of the most incredible films to have ever been committed to celluloid. We take a look at the greatest slacker films of the nineties.
1. The Big Lebowski
Not just a great slacker film, a great film full stop, and arguably the Coen Brothers best (although O Brother Where For Art Thou? fans might have something to say about that). The ability of The Dude to remain a slacker right to his very core, even when caught up in the dangerous world of kidnapping and ransom has impressed slackers the world over.
A 1996 comedy-drama about some unemployed, down-and-out actors living on the Eastside of Hollywood (think an American mid-nineties Withnail and I) starring John Favreau, Ron Livingston and a still-skinny Vince Vaughn.
All three actors also gave cameo roles to family members, with Vaughn casting his dad as a gambler in a casino. How sweet. A massive critical and financial success (turning a $200k budget into $4.5m at the box office), Swingers was labelled “funny, heartfelt and effortlessly cool” and was recently voted the 14th best film set in Los Angeles by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and critics. The film’s swing soundtrack (hence the name) was also terrific.
3. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
1991 sci-fi comedy (is there even such a thing?) Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey might sound like a children’s book, but it was actually a very entertaining and funny movie. The sequel to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the film was centred on two time travellers in the utopian future.
4. Wayne’s World
Starring Mike Myers as the loveable goon Wayne, Wayne’s World exemplified the very best of nineties Americana surf/ slacker culture. Revolving around two cable TV hosts in Illinois, the film featured jeans ripped at the knee, baseball caps worn over long hair and those totally awesome guitar riffs, meaning that Wayne’s World has left a lasting legacy that resonates across the world. Peace out man.
A day in the life of two convenience store clerks as they, well, slack. A beautifully simple yet utterly fantastic film.
6. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America
If you were one of those people who liked to stay up until the early hours sitting on the couch eating crisps, you were undoubtedly a massive Beavis and Butt-head fan. The film, building off the success of the television series, showed the animated socially-inept delinquents on their quest across America to find their beloved TV.
The beauty of Slacker is that, like an actual slacker, it was completely plotless and directionless, following a day in the life of a bunch of misfits and drop-outs in Austin, Texas. However, the film was far more successful than that summarisation might lend you to think. It was named by the United States Film Registry as being one of a group of ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant’ films and was given an ‘A-‘ rating by Entertainment Weekly and three out of four stars by notoriously hard-to-please film critic Roger Ebert.
8. Reality Bites
Despite the fact that it starred a certain Ben Stiller, Reality Bites was actually a pretty great movie. It follows an aspiring videographer (played by Winona Ryder) filming a documentary called Reality Bites about the disenfranchised existence of some her friends. Sounds a bit annoying, doesn’t it? You can’t get a job and your mate insists on filming you. Anyway, the film was remarkably well received and is regarded as a ‘seminal’ work on ‘Generation X’ (the generation born after the post baby-boom era).