19 Movies That Defined The '90s Cool Girl & Shaped Who You Are Today

If there was anything that prepared me for the big bad world of high school and beyond, it was the classic movies of the '90s. You all had your favorites, there's no denying it. Whether you were a die hard fan of Jennifer Love Hewitt or considered yourself more of a Sarah Michelle Gellar girl, there's no denying that there are certain movies that defined the '90s cool girl, and certain movies you completely worshipped.

These films provided a guiding light to the hierarchy of friendship, high school, college, and life after higher education. They influenced your '90s fashion choices, made you wish you had a computerized closet, and even conned you into making a few questionable decisions involving plaid, and probably pigtails. Classic lines from the films became standard in every day conversation, you dreamt of being able to kick some major butt a la Buffy Sommers, and what it might be like to find yourself battling a crazed killer. (You most certainly learned that being a virgin helped your chances of survival, no matter what the old horror flicks told you, and that nobody, I mean nobody, could be trusted.) But most of all, you learned that the '90s were a golden age of cinema, never to be repeated again. Grab some popcorn, ladies. It's time to get nostalgic.



The Holy Grail of '90s movies. Thanks to Cher Horowitz, I began my dangerous descent into fashion — including satin shoes, matching plaids, and Azzedine Alaïa.


'Never Been Kissed'

For anyone who had a tough time in high school and was terrified that tough time would last your entire life, Never Been Kissed soothed those fears. Sure, Josie wasn't exactly over her awkward phase when the film began, but by the end of the flick? She had it all figured out.


'The Craft'

Who didn't want to invoke the power of Manon after they saw this movie? The number of games of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board went way, way up after this release.


'10 Things I Hate About You'

Kat Stratford, bad girl of our dreams. While it was probably much easier to be a Bianca, something about Kat blasting Joan Jett just changed you.


'Empire Records'

Not today, not on Rex Manning day! Renee Zellweger and Liv Tyler teamed up in this epic '90s tale about an independent record store going belly up, giving us all dreams of damning the man in favor of keeping the dream alive.



Even popular girls get screwed. From epic fashion choices to dragging a dead girl across the quad, Jawbreaker was a film that you had to watch on the sly, or mom and dad would flip their lids.


'Wish Upon A Star'

For anyone with a sister, this film solidified just how terrible and amazing it can be. Katherine Heigl's best work, if you ask me.


'Cruel Intentions'

Another flick you couldn't watch with mom and dad, Cruel Intentions was the foundation for all things Gossip Girl, and completely blew your mind. Sometimes, nice girls do finish first.


'Now And Then'

The original squad, in my humble opinion. To this day, when I watch this movie? I just want to ride bikes around the neighborhood and make friendship bracelets.


'She's All That'

This classic ugly duckling-turned-prom queen story helped girls realize that they are beautiful no matter what the dumb jocks say.


'American Pie'

Even though this movie was definitely aimed at the bros of your generation, who didn't watch this and learn a thing or two?


'Can't Hardly Wait'

The ultimate high school house party movie. It encompassed every clique, every struggle, every obnoxious friend, every jerk, every underdog's dream. Plus, Seth Green wore goggles for almost the entire movie.



Why did Sidney always run up the stairs? Why?! And why did her babely boyfriend have to be the one behind the mask? The '90s were ruthless. But they gave us Gale Weathers.


'Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead'

Because when your caretaker dies while your mom is in Australia, naturally, you pretend to be older so you can land a job in the fashion industry. This movie was the stuff of dreams.


'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'

Before there was Buffy on TV, there was Buffy the movie. Perhaps the pinnacle of Kristy Swanson's career, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the beginning of all butt-kicking dreams the ladies of the '90s had.


Romeo And Juliet

Oh, Leo. Sweet, sweet, Leo. Thanks to Baz Luhrmann, '90s kids learned to appreciate the story of star-crossed lovers, and got to imagine the Montagues in Hawaiian-print shirts.


'Dazed And Confused'

If you didn't want a crewneck sweatshirt that said seniors across the chest, you were lying to yourself. One of the only movies of the '90s that bridged the gap between your generation and your parents'.


'Varsity Blues'

Before there was Friday Night Lights, there was Varsity Blues. I'm not comparing those movies at all, but Varsity Blues was an MTV Movie that won your hearts and gave you unrealistic expectations of what your sex life would be like in high school.


'I Know What You Did Last Summer'

I have vivid memories of watching this movie from the cozy comfort of a neon pink inflatable plastic chair. Does it get more '90s than that? Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr.? Dream team.