31 '90s Movies That Are Perfect To Watch This Autumn
I have a not-so-secret love affair with autumn, an also not-so-secret love affair with sitting around for six hours and watching movies ... and I feel like I’m not alone in that. I think with whole Netflix categories dedicated to holiday movies, I’m really, really not alone in that. Throw in our generational obsession with nostalgia, and you may find yourself on a crisp Sunday afternoon wondering if there are any appropriately fall-feeling '90s films. And there totally are, depending on what you think makes up fall.
Until Hollywood comes out with Infinity Scarf: The Motion Picture, most fall-feeling movies are inadvertent (or blatant) celebrations of Halloween or Thanksgiving. I won’t lie to you, that makes up a low-key portion of this round-up. But I also always looked at autumn as the dawn of the school year, the one three-month stretch where I could at least be mildly amused by scholarly pursuits. So school-themed movies? They’re in here, too, fam.
In short, most of these movies capture — sometimes tangentially and definitely subjectively — the vibe of autumn. As long as you get some spiked apple cider at the ready, you’ll still feel very seasonal, so scroll ahead.
1. The Craft (1996)
It mixes adolescent witchcraft, bubbling rage issues, black lipstick, and private school girl uniforms. How does that not scream "first semester of sophomore year"?
2. Singles (1992)
Because of all the rain and the grunge, 1990s' Seattle definitely has the proper feel of perpetual fall. You get a good fill of flannel here.
3. Pocahontas (1995)
Something about colonial America, the colors of the wind, and a film fronted by a Native American will make you think of elementary studies of Thanksgiving. And of course, something about the way Pocahontas is so grossly misrepresented in this animated film makes me think of my Rutgers University "Women In American History" midterm, which might have also been in November.
4. Rushmore (1998)
The bulk of this Wes Anderson classic takes place before Christmas rolls around, and regardless of the season, Max Fischer is the most charming sociopath on any campus.
5. James & The Giant Peach (1996)
I feel as though James And The Giant Apple or James And The Giant Pumpkin Spice Latte would be more fall, but with the orange of the peach as an anchor, the entire aesthetic is very Halloween — without being a Halloween movie.
6. Toy Story (1995)
I don't know why you'd ever need a reason to watch Toy Story. In terms of fall factor, though, this will take you back to prematurely flipping through Toys R' Us catalogs for Christmas presents waaaay before December even rolled around.
7. Scream (1996)
There are just so many cozy sweaters in this bloodbath, like Drew Barrymore is wearing a really snuggly beige number before she gets gutted.
8. Election (1999)
Welp. I'm pretty sure everyone is tuned in on when elections typically take place.
9. Clerks (1994)
My Jersey pride will always make me vouch for a Kevin Smith film, I'll be honest. Clerks is definitely a '90s classic with a well-worn feeling. It's anti-summertime fun in the sun. It's autumn-time misery behind a counter, because you're 23 and can't get a proper job.
10. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
If you've already cycled through the actual series enough times (which, especially in those Sunnydale High years, feels very fall), you might as well throwback to the wonky-but-enjoyable movie. It has Luke Perry!
11. Harriet The Spy (1996)
I don't know, I think it's the big yellow coat.
12. The Addams Family (1991)
I mean, duh. It's a classic Halloween movie, and yet it's still accessible if your little goth heart wants to watch it as early as September, or late as November ... or April. April, if you're me.
13. The Addams Family Values (1993)
Ok, this one seems to take place in summer — Wednesday and Pugsley's stay at the perkiest camp in history is a huge subplot — and yet there's an inexplicable Thanksgiving play.
14. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
You get a thorough spectrum of seasons (and a lot of antiquated commentary about the internet) in this one. Still, it's especially perfect if you love New York in the fall.
15. Batman Forever (1995)
There's nothing intellectual here: Batman gives me fall feels in general, yet the two films that precede this were made in 1989 and set in Christmastime respectively, and the last one ... I mean, let's not talk about Batman and Robin.
16. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
There's a lot of wandering in the forest here, like you're most annoying-slash-horrifying September camping trip.
17. Reality Bites (1994)
It's like when everything slowly crashes and burns after your first summer after graduation. It's a very cold blast of real life, even though it's set in, what, Houston?
18. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Or you could stay in this beautiful Bostonian movie, somewhere between MIT, Harvard, and the teachings of Robin Williams.
19. Clueless (1995)
I'd understand any arguments about this one, because of all locations in America ever, Beverly Hills does not feel very fall. However, it's the ultimate high school film, and when Tai shows up on the scene she totally looks like November in a world of Junes.
20. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Oh, come on. This one is viable from September through December, yet personally it's a good way to bridge the gap between Halloween and Christmas.
21. Matilda (1996)
No matter how much you love books, I don't think you'd want to go back to school with Miss Trunchbull as your headmistress-turned-evil dictator.
22. American Beauty (1999)
There's more falling roses than falling leaves, but eh, close enough.
23. Fight Club (1999)
Because there was definitely a guy in your 11th grade Creative Writing course that wrote like a 99-cent Chuck Palahniuk, or someone from a Halloween mixer that had the movie poster on his dorm room wall. I don't know, isn't it like a law that you have a regrettable October hook-up with some dude who's obsessed with Fight Club — or is that just me?
24. The Witches (1990)
In case you're not sensing a pattern here, witches and Roald Dahl adaptations = fall.
25. Mermaids (1990)
Winona Ryder also equals fall, except in Edward Scissorhands, which is more like a weird gothic Christmas movie and therefore did not make the cut.
26. Superstar (1990)
Those burgundy uniforms, that adolescent awkwardness. Oh, memories of being Mary Katherine Gallagher levels of unappealing are flooding back to me.
27. Fire Walk With Me (1992)
If my knowledge of David Lynch hasn't failed me, this details the last days of Laura Palmer, which would actually place it sometimes around mid or late February. Whatever. Watching Twin Peaks in the fall is a cozy little tradition of mine, and it only makes sense to cap off that marathon with this disaster.
28. Babe (1995)
OMG, doesn't it just remind you of all those field trips to your local farm, and how you had to mentally block out the fact that those little piggies would probably end up Christmas dinner someday? Fun.
29. The Matrix (1999)
The entire film feels very green-washed at parts, which is so unlike fall. Then again, everyone has on heavy-duty trench coats on at all times, so ...
30. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Creepy enough for the season, but not married to Halloween.
31. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
This is creepy enough for the season and having a low-key affair with Halloween. Also, Westchester County is so nice around that time of the year, TBH. Not as many foreboding trees as they put in here, though.
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy (31)