Jerry Maguire (1996)
Jerry Maguire probably holds the 90s record for the most quoted lines. Cameron Crowe’s script about a football player and his down-on-his-luck agent is full of heartfelt dialogue. Renee Zellweger’s, “You had me at hello,” helped launch her into her current star status. Tom Cruise reinforced his blockbuster appeal by unforgettably yelling “Show me the money!” — Lori Bartlett
Wes Craven brought a new era of slasher flicks with Scream. The opening scene barely allows the audience to connect with the character before she is killed. Yet, Scream keeps with the traditional guy-out-to-kill-the-teenagers plot. While it does provide a good amount of blood, Scream figured out how to build suspense. — L.B.
Being John Malkovich (1999)Being John Malkovich is the original film script from the bizarrely wonderful mind of Charlie Kaufman. John Cusack stars as a puppeteer who discovers a way to escape reality by literally going into the mind of actor, John Malkovich. The film is the first of its kind and a springboard for Kaufman to write more mind-bending tales. — L.B.
Michael Mann personifies the American dream for artists by maintaining integrity of content with commercial appeal. In spite of his success on both levels, though, movies such as Heat are too frequently shrugged off because of its silky-shiny Hollywood skin. Heat’s screenplay was the result of Mann’s 20 years of research of the cop/criminal relationship, which is shown to sometimes be indistinguishable on a deeper level. The production of this movie, from a few Moby songs (before commercial success) to the outrageous yet realistic shoot-out in downtown L.A., is classic ultra-cinema Mann. — Harold Valentine
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
For those who get a chance to see the late Hunter S. Thompson as a younger man, they’ll better appreciate Johnny Depp’s exaggerated mimicry of his character, also known as Raoul Duke. The movie is as grotesque and self-indulgent as the famous counter-cultural book and succeeds in the challenge of sustaining Thompson’s death-trip for two hours. More than doing justice to the book, this story’s film incarnation reintroduced a drug addict’s rationale on an absurd universe from the early 70s to the late 90s. — H.V.
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
A comedy with two dimwitted pals and their journey to return a briefcase to a lovely lady in Aspen, Co., Dumb and Dumber helped catapult Jim Carrey into Hollywood’s leading funny man and kicked-started the Farrelly Brothers’ career. The film became an instant trademark of the decade and a snippet of the comedies to follow. — Pablo Saldana
The Sixth Sense (1999)
“I see dead people,” were four words that changed the entire horror genre into suspenseful, gore-lite family-friendly fares. The Sixth Sense is in no way a great film, but its surprising twist has affected nearly every PG-13 horror film of the past five years. From The Others ripping the film’s ending to The Ring stealing Haley Joel Osmond’s character, The Sixth Sense has forever changed horror films. — P.S.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
A little-seen drama based on a short story by Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption has grown from underdog at the Oscars to being proclaimed as the decade’s best film. The movie is immaculately crafted with strong performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. A true testament to a film’s strength is its ability to stand the test of time and still be remembered as a classic The Shawshank Redemption is this film. — P.S.