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15 Movies From the ’90s That Were Nostalgic for the Past

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Sure, we can’t get enough of ‘90s nostalgia these days. But while we’re remembering all of our cool toys, our favorite Nickelodeon cartoons, and the now-discontinued cereals, it’s wise to think back to the baddest decade ever and remember that the ‘90s were actually nostalgic for previous decades. Take, for instance, these 15 movies: hardly just period pieces, these films made their respective past settings into characters of their own.

Ed Wood (1994)

Tim Burton’s biopic, also starring Johnny Depp, followed the titular cross-dressing sci-fi director as he prepared his magnum opus Plan 9 From Outer Space, which many call the worst film ever made. Shot in black-and-white, Ed Wood is not just a love letter to the auteur who inspired Burton’s aesthetic — it’s also an homage to a time when our cinematic tastes were much less refined.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Richard Linklater’s ensemble comedy about Austin teenagers on the last day of school in 1976 was hardly a teen flick, and it featured an impressive roster of ‘90s indie actors, including Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, and Joey Lauren Adams. More importantly, it was the beginning of the ‘90s obsession with the ‘70s from the bell-bottoms up to the bongs.

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Todd Haynes treats the British invasion of glam-rock with all of the glitter and sex it deserved in this cult favorite. Originally intended to be a David Bowie biopic, Velvet Goldmine stars Rhys Meyers as a composite of Bowie and Marc Bolan named Brian Slade, and it captured a slice of the ‘70s rock scene with Citizen Kane-like aspirations.

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Jeffrey Eugenides’s debut novel gets the existential film treatment from writer/director Sofia Coppola, who made her directorial debut with this gorgeous adaptation starring Kirsten Dunst. With a soundtrack including Heart, Styx, ELO, and Todd Rundgren, the film is perhaps most notable in retrospect for Josh Hartnett’s amazingly feathered hair.

The Wedding Singer (1998)

This Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy was set in 1985 for the sole purpose of making fun of how stupid the ‘80s were. (1998 Billy Idol has a cameo as 1985 Billy Idol, for crying out loud.) It’s hardly historically accurate, as rapping grandmas weren’t a thing until the late ‘90s.

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