Slacker Films from the 1990s

by kjtenorman | created - 30 Jan 2016 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

The 'slacker' genre is a major film genre that hit its popularity peak in the mid-1990s and mostly fizzled out by the end of the decade. The films in this genre helped define an entire generation and are sometimes called Gen X films. Driven by the grunge rock movement, they often feature stories about young characters who are perfectly content with going nowhere and doing nothing with their lives. Later examples of slacker genre-influenced films include "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (2001), "School of Rock" (2003), Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), and "Knocked Up" (2007).

"The mentality that there is no inherent value to labor… trying… caring. The mentality that it’s better to stand idly by and watch things happen, perhaps with a sardonic comment here and there, than to actually contribute to the happenings. The mentality that nothing is worth doing anything for, and that despite the apparent lack of answers, you’ve got all of them. The mentality of the slacker." - Michael Arbeiter

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1. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

44 Metascore

Two seemingly dumb teens set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Terry Camilleri

Votes: 103,879 | Gross: $40.49M

2. Slacker (1990)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

69 Metascore

A day in the life of Austin, Texas as the camera roams from place to place and provides a brief look at the overeducated, the social misfits, the outcasts and the oddballs.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine, Jan Hockey

Votes: 18,633 | Gross: $1.23M

3. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

60 Metascore

A tyrant from the future creates evil android doubles of Bill and Ted and sends them back to eliminate the originals.

Director: Peter Hewitt | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Joss Ackland

Votes: 59,781 | Gross: $38.04M

4. 1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992)

Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary, History, Music

David Markey's documentary of life on the road with Sonic Youth and Nirvana during their tour of Europe in late 1991. Also featuring live performances by Dinosaur Jr, Babes In Toyland, The ... See full summary »

Director: David Markey | Stars: Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley

Votes: 1,297

5. Singles (1992)

PG-13 | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A group of twenty-something friends, most of whom live in the same apartment complex, search for love and success in grunge-era Seattle.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick, Sheila Kelley

Votes: 26,349 | Gross: $18.47M

6. Wayne's World (1992)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Music

57 Metascore

Two slacker friends try to promote their public-access cable show.

Director: Penelope Spheeris | Stars: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Rob Lowe, Tia Carrere

Votes: 137,067 | Gross: $121.70M

7. Encino Man (1992)

PG | 88 min | Comedy

25 Metascore

When they find a frozen caveman in their back yard, two high school outcasts thaw him and introduce him to modern life while he in turn gets them to actually enjoy life.

Director: Les Mayfield | Stars: Sean Astin, Brendan Fraser, Pauly Shore, Megan Ward

Votes: 35,691 | Gross: $40.69M

8. Wayne's World 2 (1993)

PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy, Music

60 Metascore

The inseparable duo try to organize a rock concert while Wayne must fend off a record producer who has an eye for his girlfriend.

Director: Stephen Surjik | Stars: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Christopher Walken, Tia Carrere

Votes: 73,798 | Gross: $48.20M

9. Dazed and Confused (1993)

R | 102 min | Comedy

78 Metascore

The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane

Votes: 152,176 | Gross: $7.99M

10. Son in Law (1993)

PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Having gotten a taste of college life, a drastically changed farm girl returns home for Thanksgiving break with her best friend, a flamboyant party animal who is clearly a fish out of water in a small farm town.

Director: Steve Rash | Stars: Pauly Shore, Carla Gugino, Lane Smith, Cindy Pickett

Votes: 16,593 | Gross: $36.45M

11. Airborne (1993)

PG | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sport

Mitchell Goosen is sixteen/seventeen year old kid from California who loves to surf and roller blade. Yet his parents, who are two zoologists were given a grant to work in Australia. The ... See full summary »

Director: Rob Bowman | Stars: Shane McDermott, Seth Green, Brittney Powell, Chris Conrad

Votes: 6,031 | Gross: $2.85M

12. Clerks (1994)

R | 92 min | Comedy

70 Metascore

A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

Director: Kevin Smith | Stars: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonauer

Votes: 205,292 | Gross: $3.15M

13. Reality Bites (1994)

PG-13 | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

A documentary filmmaker and her fellow Gen X graduates face life after college, looking for work and love in Houston.

Director: Ben Stiller | Stars: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn

Votes: 43,450 | Gross: $20.98M

14. PCU (1994)

PG-13 | 79 min | Comedy

42 Metascore

A high school senior visits college for the weekend, and stays at the wildest house on campus in this classic tale of anti-political-correctness.

Director: Hart Bochner | Stars: Jeremy Piven, Chris Young, Megan Ward, Jon Favreau

Votes: 11,631 | Gross: $4.35M

15. S.F.W. (1994)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

An alienated and misanthropic teenager gains sudden and unwanted celebrity status after he's taken hostage by terrorists where his indifference to their threats to kill him makes news headlines.

Director: Jefery Levy | Stars: Stephen Dorff, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Busey, Joey Lauren Adams

Votes: 4,587 | Gross: $0.06M

16. Airheads (1994)

PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Crime, Music

46 Metascore

Three band members hoping for a big break head to a radio station to play their demo tape and wind up holding everyone hostage with plastic guns when the head D.J. refuses to play them.

Director: Michael Lehmann | Stars: Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley

Votes: 44,201 | Gross: $5.37M

17. Threesome (1994)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A girl named Alex is by mistake housed with 2 guys, Stuart and Eddy, in a college dorm suite. After initial problems they become friends. Stuart has the hots for Alex, Alex for Eddy and Eddy for Stuart. Can it work?

Director: Andrew Fleming | Stars: Lara Flynn Boyle, Josh Charles, Stephen Baldwin, Alexis Arquette

Votes: 12,200 | Gross: $14.82M

18. The Stöned Age (1994)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Music

Joe and Hubbs are a pair of rockers who are on a quest for 'chicks'. This is the tale of their adventures over one night.

Director: James Melkonian | Stars: Michael Kopelow, Bradford Tatum, China Kantner, Renee Allman

Votes: 4,222

19. Before Sunrise (1995)

R | 101 min | Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert, Hanno Pöschl

Votes: 247,958 | Gross: $5.54M

20. Empire Records (1995)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

30 Metascore

24 hours in the lives of the young employees at Empire Records when they all grow up and become young adults thanks to each other and the manager. They all face the store joining a chain store with strict rules.

Director: Allan Moyle | Stars: Anthony LaPaglia, Debi Mazar, Maxwell Caulfield, Rory Cochrane

Votes: 46,765 | Gross: $0.30M

21. Kicking and Screaming (1995)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

A bunch of guys hang around their college for months after graduation, continuing a life much like the one before graduation.

Director: Noah Baumbach | Stars: Josh Hamilton, Eric Stoltz, Samuel Gould, Catherine Kellner

Votes: 9,895 | Gross: $0.70M

22. Mallrats (1995)

R | 94 min | Comedy, Romance

41 Metascore

Both dumped by their girlfriends, two best friends seek refuge in the local mall.

Director: Kevin Smith | Stars: Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Claire Forlani

Votes: 111,582 | Gross: $2.12M

23. Glory Daze (1995)

R | 100 min | Comedy

With college graduation pending, the old gang tries to avoid the inevitability of breaking up and going forward with their lives.

Director: Rich Wilkes | Stars: Ben Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Megan Ward, French Stewart

Votes: 3,251

24. Joe's Apartment (1996)

PG-13 | 80 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Musical

A nice guy has just moved to New York and discovers that he must share his run-down apartment with a couple thousand singing, dancing cockroaches.

Director: John Payson | Stars: Jerry O'Connell, Megan Ward, Billy West, Reginald Hudlin

Votes: 12,104 | Gross: $4.61M

25. Hype! (1996)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary, History, Music

Documentary covering the growth and subsequent overexposure of the Seattle "grunge" music scene in the early 90s

Director: Doug Pray | Stars: 7 Year Bitch, Valerie M. Agnew, Carrie Akre, Jeff Ament

Votes: 2,202 | Gross: $0.27M

26. Bottle Rocket (1996)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

66 Metascore

Three friends plan to pull off a simple robbery and go on the run.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Ned Dowd, Shea Fowler

Votes: 65,915 | Gross: $0.56M

27. Bio-Dome (1996)

PG-13 | 88 min | Comedy

1 Metascore

Moronic best friends get themselves locked inside the Bio-Dome, a science experiment, along with a group of environmental scientists for one year.

Director: Jason Bloom | Stars: Pauly Shore, Stephen Baldwin, William Atherton, Denise Dowse

Votes: 25,028 | Gross: $26.76M

28. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)

PG-13 | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

64 Metascore

The dim-witted teen duo of Beavis and Butt-Head travel across America in search of their stolen television set.

Directors: Mike Judge, Mike de Seve, Brian Mulroney, Yvette Kaplan | Stars: Mike Judge, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Cloris Leachman

Votes: 49,538 | Gross: $63.07M

29. SubUrbia (1996)

R | 121 min | Comedy, Drama

62 Metascore

A group of suburban teenagers try to support each other through the difficult task of becoming adults.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Giovanni Ribisi, Steve Zahn, Jayce Bartok, Amie Carey

Votes: 8,455 | Gross: $0.73M

30. Swingers (1996)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

71 Metascore

Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Vince Vaughn, Heather Graham, Jon Favreau, Ron Livingston

Votes: 72,400 | Gross: $4.51M

31. Walking and Talking (1996)

R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

Just as Amelia thinks she's over her anxiety and insecurity, her best friend announces her engagement, bringing her anxiety and insecurity right back.

Director: Nicole Holofcener | Stars: Catherine Keener, Anne Heche, Amy Braverman, Miranda Rhyne

Votes: 2,956 | Gross: $1.28M

32. Chasing Amy (1997)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

71 Metascore

Holden and Banky are comic book artists. Everything's going good for them until they meet Alyssa, also a comic book artist. Holden falls for her, but his hopes are crushed when he finds out she's a lesbian.

Director: Kevin Smith | Stars: Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Ethan Suplee, Scott Mosier

Votes: 127,780 | Gross: $12.01M

33. The Big Lebowski (1998)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Crime, Sport

71 Metascore

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi

Votes: 685,582 | Gross: $17.50M

34. Brink! (1998 TV Movie)

TV-G | 99 min | Drama, Family, Sport

Andy "Brink" Brinker and his in-line skating crew--Peter, Jordy, and Gabriella--who call themselves "Soul-Skaters" (which means they skate for the fun of it, and not for the money), clash ... See full summary »

Director: Greg Beeman | Stars: Erik von Detten, Sam Horrigan, Christina Vidal, Robin Riker

Votes: 5,194

35. SLC Punk! (1998)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

50 Metascore

In the early 1980s Stevo and Heroin Bob are the only two dedicated punks in conservative Salt Lake City.

Director: James Merendino | Stars: Matthew Lillard, Michael A. Goorjian, Annabeth Gish, Jennifer Lien

Votes: 24,882 | Gross: $0.30M

36. Go (1999)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Crime

72 Metascore

The aftermath of a drug deal as told from three different points of view.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Sarah Polley, Jay Mohr, Scott Wolf, Taye Diggs

Votes: 65,136 | Gross: $16.84M

37. Detroit Rock City (1999)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Music

33 Metascore

In 1978, four rebellious teenagers try to scam their way into a KISS concert.

Director: Adam Rifkin | Stars: Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello, Sam Huntington

Votes: 34,119 | Gross: $4.22M

38. Dogma (1999)

R | 130 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

62 Metascore

An abortion clinic worker with a special heritage is called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loop-hole and reenter Heaven.

Director: Kevin Smith | Stars: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Bud Cort

Votes: 201,955 | Gross: $30.65M

39. 200 Cigarettes (1999)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

33 Metascore

A collection of twentysomethings try to cope with relationships, loneliness, desire and their individual neuroses.

Director: Risa Bramon Garcia | Stars: Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Dave Chappelle, Guillermo Díaz

Votes: 14,288 | Gross: $6.85M

40. Office Space (1999)

R | 89 min | Comedy

68 Metascore

Three company workers who hate their jobs decide to rebel against their greedy boss.

Director: Mike Judge | Stars: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu

Votes: 232,081 | Gross: $10.82M

41. High Fidelity (2000)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

79 Metascore

Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black

Votes: 161,220 | Gross: $27.28M



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