10 Best ’90s Movies With A Grunge Vibe, According To Reddit

According to NPR, Mariah Carey might finally release the grunge album that she secretly recorded in the 1990s – whose existence was first revealed in her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey – as, in a recent interview, she described the unreleased grunge album as “something we should hear.” Thanks to artists like Nirvana and Soundgarden, grunge was one of the most popular musical stylings of the ‘90s.

Redditors believe that the anti-establishment expression of grunge spilled over into the cinema of the ‘90s in movies like Clerks, Fight Club, Wayne’s World, and Trainspotting.


Reality Bites (1994)

Ben Stiller made his feature directorial debut with Reality Bites and starred alongside Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. The film tells the story of an aspiring videographer capturing her disillusioned friends’ lives for an indie documentary.

This movie was lauded for tapping into the zeitgeist of Generation X, and according to Redditor u/wakax3, it embodies the spirit of grunge.

Clerks (1994)

Kevin Smith kickstarted his own career and helped to revitalize independent cinema with his debut feature Clerks. Shot on a shoestring budget in the convenience store where Smith was working, Clerks revolves around an average day in the lives of two best friends stuck in dead-end retail jobs.

According to Redditor u/IntelligentWest11, the rebellious tone and anti-consumerist message of Clerks give it the feel of a grunge movie. Like Reality Bites, Smith’s indie directorial debut was praised for capturing the spirit of Generation X.

Trainspotting (1996)

Before Ewan McGregor played legendary Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, he played recovering heroin addict Mark Renton in Trainspotting. Danny Boyle’s stylish adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name faithfully translates the anarchy of its source material to the screen.

While the soundtrack doesn’t feature any grunge music, Redditor u/cheddarcheese9951 gets grunge vibes from the film’s daring style, twisted sense of humor, and hallucinatory visuals.

Airheads (1994)

Although it was dismissed by contemporary critics, Michael Lehmann’s Airheads has since been reappraised as a cult classic. Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and an early-career Adam Sandler star as a down-on-their-luck rock band, The Lone Rangers, who hijack a radio station to force a DJ to play their demo on the air.

According to Redditor u/chriscaulder, this tale of a hard rock band sticking it to the man instead of taking the traditional route into the music industry embodies the tenets of grunge.

Fight Club (1999)

David Fincher deftly captured the manic tone, rapid pacing, and pitch-black humor of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club with his cult classic film adaptation. The anti-establishment opus revolves around a group of frustrated young men who start an underground fight club – and later an anarchist movement – to express their pent-up rage. Fight Club has one of the most iconic plot twists of all time and it’s anchored by the electric on-screen pairing of Edward Norton as the narrator and Brad Pitt as his mayhem guru.

Redditor u/RevolutionaryTone153 thinks this movie fits into the grunge category, although its message that chaos isn’t a suitable substitute for capitalism is often lost on viewers.

Singles (1992)

Cameron Crowe’s Singles follows the tumultuous love lives of a bunch of Gen X’ers living in Seattle at the height of the grunge movement, with appearances by artists such as Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament.

According to Redditor u/TexasTokyo, with bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, Singles has one of the best grunge soundtracks of all time.

Wayne’s World (1992)

One of very few hit movies based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, Wayne’s World stars the perfectly paired Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as a couple of metalhead slackers with their own public access show. According to Redditor u/thildemaria, Wayne’s World is one of the grungiest movies of the ‘90s.

While Myers and Carvey took care of the comedy, director Penelope Spheeris – best known for helming rockumentaries and music videos – gave the movie a tangible rock ‘n’ roll quality.

Slacker (1990)

Richard Linklater inspired a generation of independent filmmakers with his sophomore directorial effort Slacker. The low-budget classic revolves around a day in the life of Austin, Texas, constantly switching perspectives between different characters.

This 1990 gem – selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry – was named one of the grungiest ‘90s movies by Redditor u/blackmetaltay.

Kids (1995)

Directed by Larry Clark and written by Harmony Korine, the controversial classic Kids revolves around a group of New York City teenagers indulging in substance abuse and sexual experimentation. Such stars as Rosario Dawson and Chloë Sevigny made their movie debut in Kids.

Redditor u/Beckland named Kids as one of the grungiest films of the ‘90s, with such indie rock musicians as Sebadoh and Folk Implosion on the soundtrack.

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Oliver Stone directed one of Quentin Tarantino’s earliest screenplays, Natural Born Killers, by retaining the script’s mix of graphic violence and sincere romance and dialing up its satirical themes. Redditor u/plinkett-wisdom felt this movie embodied the goal of grunge.

In Stone’s politically charged hands, Natural Born Killers lampoons the media’s glorification of celebrity criminals, an issue that was particularly rife in the 1990s with cases like Tonya Harding and the Menendez brothers.

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