Way back in the '90s, finding inappropriate content that you weren't allowed to see was a lot harder than it is now in the age of the internet. If your parents didn't let you turn on the TV and watch that show people at school were talking about, or take you to go see the movie that everyone was at last Friday night, then it was pretty hard to work around that. But not impossible. What that means was that there was a whole host of R-Rated '90s movies that you sneakily watched at a friend's house, so that you could get your eyes on all that sweet, sweet, inappropriate action without your parents knowing.
Everyone's parents had different rules about what was and wasn't allowed. I had some friends whose parents wouldn't even let them watch PG-13 movies. In fact, I was the kid whose house you'd go to in order to watch the more scandalous movies. My parents didn't really have rules, and they had an absolutely enormous VHS tape collection that took up an entire wall, where nothing was off limits to anyone in the family. That meant that when my friends wanted to flout the rules of their stricter parents with R-rated fare, all we had to do was consult the giant movie wall. Many of those classic 90s R-Rated movies are below, and I hope they bring back fond rebellious memories.
"It's a movie about history, mom. It's educational." Who among us didn't fast forward through some of the boring promenade and smokestack talk so that we could get to the super hot nude drawing scene and that hand on the steamy carriage window?
Brutal and gross, sweaty and sexy, utterly messed up and completely intoxicating. Your parents didn't want your teen or preteen mind to be influenced by Fight Club's hedonism, but there was no way you were going to be the only kid in school who hadn't seen it.
It's possible you learned what the word "raunchy" meant for the first time from hearing this movie described. And once you watched it (in secret, pausing the TV whenever you heard parents' voices or footsteps), you learned a lot of new words — and started asking important questions about your school's band camp.
4'There's Something About Mary'
It was not hair gel. And if you were the kid that didn't know what it was, you were definitely uncool.
The high gross-out and creep-out factor of Trainspotting (that baby, oh my god) made it a top edgy choice for watching with friends. How many of us could stomach the toilet scene when we first watched it?
Ugh, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith were so cool. Your parents definitely didn't like the guns, drugs, cursing, and sex, but for you that basically meant it was required viewing.
It's hard to get more scandalous than Lolita. The sexual predation of Humbert Humbert toward the 14-year-old Lolita is heinous, but for hormonal teens and preteens, it was so messed up and naughty that you just had to see it.
8'South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut'
If your parents totally didn't let you watch South Park on TV, the VHS tape of the South Park full-length movie, which could be watched at any more freewheeling friend's house, was a blessing for you. You may not have liked or even understood a lot of the jokes in it, but that didn't stop you from laughing.
Your parents knew you'd have nightmares so they didn't let you watch it, but it was perfect for a super freaky slumber party activity.
Not that many people's parents were down with a threesome scene involving minors, that's for sure.
How else were you going to do a faithful recreation of Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board except to screen The Craft beforehand?
Oh, how many times could any given teen watch, rewind, and rewatch the kissing scene between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair? Youths across America were all in secret competition to see whose VHS tape would wear out the fastest.
Ah, the memories. Just reading about all those movies stirs up a frisson of disobedience, even if we're now all old enough to choose what we get to watch.