Nostalgia can take on many shapes and forms and — like a powerful blow straight to the feels – it can strike without any preamble or warning. Whether it’s the smell of your grandmother’s perfume on an old scarf, or maybe it’s a pop song that automatically jets you back to your tween years, nostalgia can quickly overwhelm you with a combination of warm and fuzzy feelings and hazy yet fond memories. While many types of nostalgia can occur organically, sometimes it’s nice to deliberately delve deeper into those pleasant sensations so you can relive the simpler times in your life. If you’re looking to recall that golden era in your life, right when you were on the cusp of adolescence and your biggest concern was what was airing on TGIF tonight, then you need to give these classic movies from your childhood another watch.
My Girl (1991)
If we had to sum up My Girl in a word…well, we really couldn’t. This movie seems like it’s all over the place, but it’s a remarkably very cohesive and emotional slice of cinema. My Girl follows a sweet young girl named Vada as she explores her transition into becoming a teenager and tries to make sense of her complicated life. As a young girl who lost her mother during childbirth, Vada is bright, curious, and precocious. My Girl is an incredibly poignant and gut-wrenching masterpiece, and if we had to sum it up in just one quote – are you ready for this? – we’d have to say, “Where are his glasses? He can’t see without his glasses!” (Ouch, are you crying yet?)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Very few movies boast what The Princess Bride offers to its viewers. Are you looking for a film about a dashing and handsome pirate and a fair and lovely princess? Check. What about a little bit of action and adventure? Got it. And of course, a dash of true love? As you wish! Not only is this movie your quintessential fairytale about daring duels and stalwart swashbucklers, it still manages to subvert expectations as the story unfolds. There’s no damsel in distress or knights in shining armor in this film. Oh no, Princess Buttercup can hold her own, but the movie still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat without promising any happily-ever-afters. Inconceivable!
Jurassic Park (1993)
What happens when an eccentric billionaire gets the idea to bring long-extinct animals back from the dead and hold them captive in a theme park meets nature preserve? You get Jurassic Park, a cutting-edge science fiction movie based on the Michael Crichton book by the same name. No, this isn’t a gory zombie film. Nor is it a superficial slasher movie, either. Instead, it’s an unexpectedly intelligent and thrilling movie about dinosaurs, paleontologists and even a surprisingly charming mathematician. This movie managed to revive interest in archeology and dinosaurs while shedding light on the ethics of cloning, and its practical effects – all done with minimal CGI – still manage to look as visually stunning today as they did back then.
Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetleju — okay, we’ll stop now. This movie (which we won’t repeat the title of anymore, lest we inadvertently summon a lecherous poltergeist) was absolutely the pinnacle of millennial entertainment. Contemporary ghosts, a dysfunctional but loving family, and the little girl named Lydia Deetz, who could actually see and interact with the spirits. This movie not only was a dark comedy, it also made Harry Belafonte cool again, as well. Both the “Banana Boat” song and “Jump in the Line” rocketed back into popularity, making both calypso music and quirky ghost stories an emblem of this hit film.
Our Youths, Defined
As millennials, the movies of our childhood largely influenced not only our personalities (self-proclaimed nerds!) to our fashion styles, too (Lydia Deetz’s gothic chic, anyone?). Now that we’re grown up, though, we can look back on these movies with a mix of amusement and wistfulness. After all, while these movies are locked in time, we’ve grown older and wiser with every passing year. Nevertheless, if we’re ever longing for the opportunity to feel young and carefree again, we can always dust off the ol’ VCR and binge-watch these movies on repeat. Or, you know, grab our Blu-ray players because honestly, who even owns a VCR anymore? C’mon, it’s not 1995. But with these four movies, it can at least feel like the early 90s once again!