Now I know I’m breaking the cardinal rule of the site by discussing pop culture after the 90s but what the hell. The Rules of Attraction which came out in 2002 could have easily been released in the 90s. I remember seeing this when I was in college with a whole group of friends. I can safely say that I was incredibly obsessed and ran out to get the book (by Bret Easton Ellis) just a week later.
Shannyn Sossamon, who is one of the standouts of the film is my personal style icon from almost any film. From her asymmetrical haircut, tomboyish attitude, and skateboard girl cool factor she’s pretty much perfect. Also, can’t help but to give James Van Der Beek an honorable mention for his role as sketchy and deviant charater, Sean. Who is a far cry from his standard 90s role of “Dawson Leery” from “Dawson’s Creek”. It’s also impossible to forget Ian Somerhalder as Paul and Victor’s whirlwind trip through Europe.
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In going through the icons of 90s past I was surprised that I hadn’t mentioned Hole bassist, Kristen Pfaff. While she was only in the band for a short time, she played and sung backup on their most critically acclaimed album, Live Through This. She was a friend of Kurt Cobain and much of the grunge scene.
When she attended college in Minnesota she learned the bass and formed the band Janitor Joe with some friends. The band begun to take off in the early 90s and while on tour in California she caught the attention of Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson of Hole. After much persistence, she became the new bass player for Hole in ’93. She moved to Seattle to work with the band on the most iconic album of their career, Live Through This. During this time in Pacific Northwest it was such a creatively energetic time, enter friendships with Cobain and Erlandson.
The negative side to living in Seattle during this time was the noted heroin problem the city was facing. on June 16th 1994 ( just months after Kurt’s death) she was found in her apartment by a friend. She died of a heroin overdose. There are so many notable figures who we have lost during this musically rich time, but we can never forget them. Kristen Pfaff still holds a place in rock history, and is one of my favorite fallen stars from the grunge era.
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This is one of those films that immediately captured me when I watched it the first time. Within 20 minutes it just seemed like the most accurate portrayal of meeting a stranger when traveling. Thankfully, I’ve had few experiences exactly like this one, but there are a few people I’ve met while traveling that have had a dramatic impact on my life.
The film follows an early 90’s Ethan Hawke (which says it all) and French actress Julie Delpy on a train headed to Paris. In Vienna they stop and have an amazing time getting to know each other while discovering a new city. This film also spawned Before Sunset and Before Midnight, which are just as important as this one. This first in the series is just so captivating that you almost have to watch it twice.
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During my discovery of grunge music when I was just a kid, I found all sorts of treasures when looking outside of the Nirvana bubble. I then expanded to the Sub Pop oeuvre which lead me to Seattle based band, Mudhoney. The distortion and grimey sounds that they are known for was just a little less melodic and poppy than Nirvana which was a great way to expand myself beyond the popular “grunge” genre. They also played shows with Nirvana in the early days and their early music has been noted as an influence so many Seattle bands in the late 80s/early 90s underground scene. Lead by Mark Arm who is still playing with the band today, is a definite reminder that the spirit is not dead.
See also: Green River
I’m taking this time to pay homage to one of my ultimate 90s crushes, Ryan Phillippe. I shouldn’t even talk about him the past tense like he’s not still insanely hot. Only now he has a sleeve and is pushing 40. In the mid 90s there was literally no one who could touch him. From Sebastian in Cruel Intentions, Barry in I Know What You Did Last Summer, and my favorite Shad in Nowhere there was no film where he wasn’t wearing a tank top or soaked in water. And to whoever made that decision, we thank you. So here’s a nice collection of images from his heartthrob days…swoon.
not to worry…he still looks amazing.
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In the 90s there was no better tv role model than Angela Chase from My So Called Life. Played by Claire Danes to a tee, she really encapsulated what it was like to be an extremely introspective teenager with a crush on Jared Leto. Yes, of course many of us still haven’t gotten over the fact that she got to make out with him, but I digress. See also my post on her amazing tv best friend, Rayanne Graff.
After being the voice of a generation she starred in one of my favorite movies of all time, “Romeo + Juliet” with Leonardo DiCaprio. I still watch it to this day and remember every word. I gathered some great 90s recaps of Claire Danes including this gem of a YouTube video with her and Jared Leto on MTV in ’95. Perfect end to the week I’d say.
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I know I missed the usual Menswear Monday segment by a few days but what would life be without a little mystery? Which brings me to my appreciation of 90s Stephen Dorff. Just last week I happened to be watching TV and saw that blu commercial for the new e-cig and alas my high school crush came flooding back to me. He was more of a heart throb figure in the 90s and most famously in my head was Alicia Silverstone’s bf in Aerosmith’s video, “Cryin”. Oh and we can’t forget “Blade”.
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One of the many reasons that I love Netflix is the ability to drag up some random b movies in my search for something to watch. It seems that I spend more time deciding what to watch than anything else. Much to my amazement I found that “Kalifornia” was just re-added back to the game. It’s probably one of the best early 90s films with very little budget and recognition, but in true 90s fashion has a stellar cast. Imagine David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes on the open road as journalists researching serial killer spots when they pick up drifters Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis. Not give too much away but no one is truly what they seem at first glance. Released in ’93, this film is a B-movie not to be missed.
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Who doesn’t love a little Christian Slater? Especially when he’s running a rogue radio station while still in high school. I wish when I was 16 I could have run my own station from my mom’s basement. Oh yes, and of course in true 90s fashion style. The film came out in ’90 but has a very 80s approach. Directed by Allan Moyle, who famously directed “Empire Records” is pretty much exactly what brings me back to my youth. Another great pick if you’re looking for something to watch this holiday season.
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Just the other day I was listening to Silverchair’s debut album, Frogstomp and completely remembered why I love them in the first place. They got put into the “post-grunge” genre since they gained US fame in the alternative rock scene of a post-Nirvana world. Quite strange since they formed in 92. These Aussies recorded their first album when they were in high school which is even more impressive. Take a trip back with one of my favorite albums of the 90s.
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