1995 doesn’t feel like it was so very long ago. If you were alive in that era, you probably still remember oohing and ahhing over Toy Story‘s CG-animated surfaces for the very first time, or meeting a brand new 007 in Pierce Brosnan. But in fact, you are wrong. 1995 really was that long ago. At least we still have some favorites of the era to take us back. Even if we’re now streaming them on iTunes instead of popping them into our VCRs.
We’re not saying these are the best films of 1995 — that’s a conversation for another time — but these are the ones that stuck with us. Some because they’ve become reliable favorites, some because they still feel remarkably fresh, and others because they’re so hilariously 1995, they couldn’t possibly have been made at any other time. Join us in revisiting 20 films turning 20 in 2015 after the jump.
These days it’s more notable when an animated feature isn’t CG, but that trend only (“only”) dates back to 1995. Toy Story wasn’t just the first Pixar movie, it was the first-ever full-length CG-animated feature. For obvious reasons, the animation doesn’t look as cool and cutting edge as it once did. Yet the movie holds up, because even then Pixar knew to put story and character first.
As Pixar and CG animation were trending up, Disney’s traditional hand-drawn animations were starting their slow decline. The Disney Renaissance era peaked with 1994’s The Lion King, and began its gradual slide back down to earth with Pocahontas. While it was a box office success, it couldn’t hold a candle to The Lion King’s record-setting gross, and drew mixed reviews besides.
Batman Forever took Batman away from the Gothic feel of Tim Burton’s earlier Batman films and launched the candy-colored, much-reviled Joel Schumacher era. Though the film did well enough to bring Warner Bros. and Schumacher back together for a sequel, the studio seems eager to avoid past mistakes — it’s stuck with a grim and gritty tone for the Caped Crusader ever since.
Adam Sandler was already famous before Billy Madison came out, but Billy Madison was the film that cemented his status as a movie star. It also marked the start of a storied tradition of critics disliking Adam Sandler films. To date, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer are the only real Adam Sandler comedies with a “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Now and Then
Although Now and Then wasn’t much loved by critics, for girls of a certain age it was a defining childhood movie. Oh, and speaking of girls of a certain age, here’s a terrifying realization for you: If you were roughly the same age as the younger versions of the characters when you first saw Now and Then, you’re roughly the same age as the older versions now.
That’s right: At this point, Clueless the movie is older than the main characters in the movie. Even so, it endures as an all-time teen movie classic, thanks to its wildly specific setting, its endlessly quotable lines, and Alicia Silverstone‘s irresistible charisma. It’s also perhaps the best Jane Austen adaptation put to film. It’s true to the author’s satirical spirit, if not her Regency Era backdrop.