90s rom-coms. – maude Skip to content

90s rom-coms.

90s rom-coms.

Maudern Movies, a weekly series that curates films for your viewing pleasure.

Why do we love romantic comedies so much? Is it the rush of oxytocin that floods our brains as we watch protagonists fall in love? Is it the shared connection amongst millions of viewers? Is it that signature ever-so-saturated palette or those perfectly-timed musical notes signaling the coy dance of it all? It's hard to tell, but romantic comedies have nonetheless left an ever-lasting imprint on our culture.

As the story goes, there were two waves of the good ol' RC—one defined by Old Hollywood with its Bogarts and its Hepburns and the second, our favorite, the 90s. From Ephron to Meyers (to those mom jeans, frankly), this was the golden age of adorable and complicated love and it has since left generations of us feeling exactly what they wanted us to: both hopeful and hopeless. 

To that we cheers six of our favorites—and yes, WHMS was technically released in 1989, but a rom-com list is no list at all without Meg Ryan. 

When Harry Met Sally, 1989

Directed by: Rob Reiner
Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

After being friends for ten years, Harry (Crystal) and Sally (Ryan), can't seem to resolve their never-ending disagreement: can [heterosexual] men and women can be platonic friends? The iconic film is a must-watch for New Yorkers, as the duo's friendship evolves over the course of time throughout the city.

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon, Vudu

Four Weddings and A Funeral, 1994

Directed by: Mike Newell 
Starring: Andie McDowell, Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas

With a screenplay by Richard Curtis, the Godfather of British rom-coms, this film follows Charles (Grant) over the course of many months and you guessed it, many weddings and a funeral, as he finds himself running into Carrie (McDowell). While his fondness grows, fate isn't having it and it takes an ill-timed final act of bravery—or stupidity—to decide their future. 

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon, Vudu

Reality Bites, 1994

Directed by: Ben Stiller
Starring: Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, Ethan Hawke

Struggling musician Troy (Hawke) and Lelaina (Ryder), class valedictorian, find themselves stuck in a complicated love/hate relationship as they navigate life as roommates post-college in Houston. With an epic soundtrack—think Lisa Loeb, U2, and The Posies— and Janeane Garofalo playing the best friend, this cult film defined Generation X.

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon, Vudu

Stealing Beauty, 1996

Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Liv Tyler, Carlo Cecchi

This stunning film is a tale of grief and growing up. After her mother's death, Lucy (Tyler) returns to Tuscany on a quest to discover more about her mother's past that leads to her own romantic pursuits, learning about herself and her mother in the process. Stealing Beauty is an unexpected hero's journey with a young Liv Tyler at the helm.

Where to watch: Amazon, Vudu

Love Jones, 1997

Directed by: Theodore Witcher
Starring: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington

After meeting at a Chicago club, two star-crossed lovers Darius (Tate), an aspiring writer, and Nina (Long), an aspiring photographer, had an instant connection setting the scene for a bittersweet romance. The story is smart and unlike the textbook films of the time.

Where to watch: Amazon, Vudu

Never Been Kissed, 1999

Directed by: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan

A twisted tale of forbidden love. Josie, an undercover writer goes on assignment at a high school falls for her English teacher. A juxtaposition of our high school and adult selves, Barrymore's performance positioned this in the canon of romcoms across the decades.

Where to watch: Amazon, Vudu