Movies as Old as You: Staffers review popular ‘90s movies

Sally Cochran & Gennifer Geer, News & Sports Editors

“Jurassic Park” (1993) PG-13 

Gennifer: A classic in cinema, “Jurassic Park” is known as one of the best adventure movies. Using then-recent advancements in computer animation, the movie brings dinosaurs to life in a revolutionary theme park. Of course, having live, man-eating dinosaurs safely kept on an island doesn’t make for a very exciting plot. After power outages, the remaining guests must keep their survivor statuses by not becoming lunch — and raptors are ready in the kitchen. After hours of begging and promising I’d cover my eyes at the “scary parts,” I finally gained permission to watch this movie as a kindergartner. As someone who’s not a fan of horror films, it’s my favorite to watch with my little sisters — not too intense, and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) delivers great one-liners. Living up to its reputation, “Jurassic Park” is perfect when you want to see thrills, laughs and inspiration all on one screen.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Sally: This used to be my favorite movie. Of course, I’ve gone through my movie phases like any teenager. The Disney phase (still in it a little bit), the “Jurassic Park” phase and the “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” phase (come on, it is really funny). My dad once told me something interesting that applies to this movie — life is fun and exciting when one experiences things that are brand new. This was one of the first ever “scary, grown-up” movies I saw as a child, and I loved every bit of it. However, the grandeur of “Jurassic Park” has worn off a bit as I’ve grown older. It really isn’t all that scary, but, like any childhood favorite, it brings a nice wave of nostalgia when I watch it (again).

Rating: 3 stars

 

“Clueless” (1995) PG-13 

Sally: “Clueless” is your perfect girly movie. You have it all: the naïve girl, the new friend, the bad boy and the guy all of us would fall for. You can also see Cher (Alicia Silverstone) slowly making the realization during the course of the film that she is “totally clueless.” Spoiler alert: on a different note, am I the only one who finds it totally creepy that Cher falls in love with her ex-stepbrother (Paul Rudd)? After one puts this rather disturbing thought aside, the movie is a cute film, perfect for any sleepover. Just don’t get any ideas about your brother — ex-step or not.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Gennifer: Until recently, I’d heard of “Clueless” but never watched it. And what reason would I have to? It looked like a silly movie from a silly generation, almost like a Disney movie designed to con kids into thinking high school is as fabulous as Sharpay Evans. WINK. Yet, despite all my prejudice, I sat down to see what this “Clueless” everyone loved was about. In my opinion, it was pretty close to my prior judgement, but I did enjoy the movie. Though I should credit the screenwriter for the hilarity, Alicia Silverstone’s brilliant portrayal of a Beverly Hills valley girl made the entire film. This movie is fun to watch, and I see why it commands a cult following. However, it certainly isn’t one of the best comedies of all time.

Rating: 2.5 stars

 

“The Truman Show” (1998) PG

Gennifer: Though this movie debuted in the last century, it presents a very possible reality for today. After the NSA scares, it’s no surprise people fear for their privacy. In “The Truman Show,” Truman Burbank’s (Jim Carrey) entire life is broadcast live 24/7 to the world as a reality TV show. Hidden cameras chronicle his daily adventures, and every person he interacts with is an actor — even his wife. It really made me think about the state our country is in now. Could that really happen? I hope not, but that’s what makes “The Truman Show” such a great movie. It has a generally serious plot, but Carrey brings his usual comedy to the screen. Aligning with the frustration of Truman, Carrey bursts out in his classic spaz attacks that always pull giggles. Though I can’t understand why anyone would watch a real-life version of “The Truman Show,” the movie spurs thought and inspiration about living your own life.

Rating: 3 stars

Sally: *sigh* Just for the reference, reviewing this movie was Gennifer’s idea. Kidding aside, movies like “The Truman Show” have me sitting on the fence. On one hand, it addresses an incredibly important topic in a rather frightening way. On the other hand, it also makes attempts at humor throughout — phony advertising on the show, cracks from Burbank, etc. I think unless a movie is balanced fairly evenly between drama and humor, the screenwriter really should just pick one and stick with it. With “The Truman Show,” I see a fairly decent drama mixed with a few pathetic jokes when there’s really no excuse to wimp out on the humor with Carrey. However, I was thoroughly intrigued by the premise and plot of this movie. It really makes you think — so if you’re looking for a classic humor movie, look elsewhere.

Rating:  3 stars

 

“Mulan” (1998) G 

Gennifer: All animated Disney movies are classics. They’re all deserving of any number of praising words. That being said, “Mulan” is one of the best of them. Epic music? Woman power? A sassy dragon? Yes, please! The reasons for loving this movie are aplenty. Chinese culture had the story of Mulan for thousands of years, and without Disney’s classic, Americans would never have heard of it. Its music is iconic — half the time when my friends and I break out into song, it’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

Rating: 4 stars

Sally: “Let’s get down to business, to defeat…the Huns!” Sing along — you know you want to. Don’t even pretend like you don’t know the words. This was my absolute favorite movie when I was about eight. I remember recording it off Disney Channel onto a VCR and watching it repeatedly. “Mulan” is primarily carried by its music as many Disney movies are — props to Jerry Goldsmith, the composer. Even if (gasp) its music isn’t your thing, the tale of selflessness and bravery should do it for you. Mulan isn’t an “I’ll sit around and wait to be saved” kind of princess, and that’s something you can’t say for many Disney films. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the classic tale of the girl who’s anything but.

Rating: 4 stars

 

“The Matrix” (1999) R

Sally: In two words, this movie is completely hardcore. I will attempt explaining the intricate plot, but it’s really just one of those movies you need to see on your own. Also, in order to not spoil the movie, I’ll be brief and rather vague in explaining its setup. Basically, Thomas Anderson, or “Neo” (Keanu Reeves) is contacted by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), about answering Neo’s question, “What is the Matrix?” Before Neo actually meets Morpheus, he is intercepted by Agents. Curious about what is happening and unsatisfied with his daily life, he opts to follow Morpheus and learn about the Matrix and the war. Crazy graphics, fabulous special effects and spot-on costuming combine with a great story to bring you “The Matrix.” I’m not typically a fan of sci-fi and action movies, but this one is just above and beyond. Even someone like me enjoys the gun fights.

Rating: 4 stars

Gennifer: “What is the Matrix?” Good question, my friend. I can only tell you this: I didn’t know the answer to that the first time I watched this movie — or the second time. That being said, I liked being as confused as I was. The movie integrated dynamic, memorable characters and even more renowned special effects. The fighting scenes were delightfully Kung Fu-esque with freeze frames and “bullet time.” My only issue would be the speed of the plot. The deaths of characters breezed by without any closure or indication the character mattered. (It’s an R-rated, sci-fi adventure flick. Someone’s going to die. Get over it.) The character development came almost instantly. Regardless, it’s definitely a movie I will watch again and again and again, and maybe, just maybe, on my 98th viewing, I’ll finally reach full plot enlightenment.

Rating: 3.5 stars