Midweek Musings: Nineties Nostalgia

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's probably the ridiculous amount of Friends I've been watching recently, but I've been thinking a lot about 90's era Romantic Comedies, and you know what? There are very few rom coms released after the nineties (okay, I cheated a little bit...released after 2001) that live up to the standard of Meg Ryan and John Cusack and Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. I grew up with the soundtracks to these movies and their plots were sometimes my bedtime stories. My parents would go on a date to the movies, and the next night, my mom would tell me the story. I may be able to thank nineties-era rom coms for my Romantic nature and affinity for high waisted pleated pants. (They are remarkably fantastic, really.)

So now, I present in no particular order, some of my all-time favorite 90's rom coms.

1. One Fine Day (1996)

First of all, young Michelle Pfeiffer was a total babe and she has a really great haircut in this movie. And George Clooney is just nice too look at, so casting-wise, One Fine Day was set out to be a success. The plot revolves around these two single, working parents trying to get their kids to a field trip and in the midst of the ironically horrid, nothing-going-their-way "fine day," they fall in love and realize there are a lot more important things in life other than their careers and duties. Plus, the song that inspired the movie's title was penned by Carole King and sung by The Chiffons and is so happy and wonderful. The movie features two versions of this song: the opening credits scroll to Natalie Merchant's slow and steady version while the original can be found later in the film.

2. Serendipity (2001)

I watch Serendipity every Valentine's Day. Any movie set in New York City immediately has my heart, and I love the premise behind this one: two people (John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, again, casting gets two thumbs up. He's so quirky-cute and she is über cool.) meet accidentally while shopping for gloves and they end up going to Serendipity Ice Cream Parlor and ice skating at Rockefeller Center and that's all it takes: they fall in love immediately. But, Sara, Beckinsale's character, believes in fate and says that can prove she and Jon, Cusack's character, are meant to be together. She puts her name and number in a book she's carrying and sells it to a secondhand shop while he does the same with a dollar bill. After several years of unlucky searching . . . well, I won't give away the ending. ;)

3. Kate & Leopold (2001)

Meg Ryan, queen of 90's rom coms (Sleepless in Seattle! French Kiss!!) plays opposite Hugh Jackman in this hilarious time-traveling tale. Jackman, or Leopold, accidentally gets whisked away from his time period (1870's New York City) and lands in present day: 2001 New York City. He lands in the apartment building of Kate (Ryan's character) and the two fall in love. Kate, a typical rom com heroine, is fed up with the lack of chivalry in men of her age, and is quite attracted to Leopold's old fashioned kindness and thoughtfulness. This movie is definitely for anyone who has dreamed of (or still dreams of? #guilty) marrying a prince.

4. Notting Hill (1999)

Fun fact: my dad can quote this entire movie. I grew up with the soundtrack to Notting Hill playing over and over and over in our house. To this day I know all of the words to Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Elvis Costello's "She." Needless to say my parents really love this movie, and I get a little homesick every time I watch it. Notting Hill tells the story of a world famous actress and a down-on-his luck Notting Hill resident who meet accidentally and fall in love. It is quirky (gotta love British humour) and sweet: the perfect mix for a romantic comedy.

5. Sabrina (1995)

Lastly, Sabrina, a remake of the classic Audrey Hepburn film, visualizes the story of Sabrina, the meek daughter of a chauffeur for a wealthy family. Sabrina has loved the youngest brother David her whole growing up life, but he just sees her as a childhood friend. Sabrina is sent to Paris to work for a fashion magazine, and upon her return, both brothers notice her maturity (and her new haircut :). Eventually, Harrison Ford's Linus Larrabee (the older brother) falls under Sabrina's spell and the rest is history. Full of elegance and true love, this movie is one of my favorites. 


  1. A big reason why I love One Fine Day has less to do with the actual quality of the film than with my personal memories of watching the movie multiple times. I have very fond childhood memories of sneaking into my parents’ bedroom, slipping under the covers where my mother lay half awake, and digging into a bucket of popcorn as the two of us watched reruns of this movie.
    One Fine Day may not be very original, but George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer have amazing chemistry that brings the story to life. It’s a movie I deeply treasure, and one I hope others will come across after reading your post and give a chance. It deserves a new lease of life.

  2. I agree! Connecting nostalgia to creative works (whether they be literature, art, film, etc.) brings new life and a personal element to those mediums. This connection of nostalgia and creativity has been a source of limitless inspiration for me. I hope others are inspired as well!

    Thank you for reading!