Generation-X. The natural born rivals of Millennials (or Generation Y). All they do is seem to spit their venom on you.
They’re smarter. Work harder. Care more about world issues. You’ve heard it all before. You count the days before you are one with them. Finally accepted. Then and only then, will you stop taking your frustration out on those lowly Gen-Z’rs.
It’s not the older Gen-X’ers that bother you. The ones born in the sixties. They’re done arguing. You’re left dealing with the MTV-era Gen-X’ers. And that angry bunch still clinging to the good ol’ days of 90210 have got you in their crosshairs.
But here’s the reality. You need to get to know who these latter Generation X’ers are. They have the most numbers in the work place (ages 33-45), and more than likely your first supervisor is going to be one. Or maybe you end up dating one. Or maybe you’re trying to fit in with your uber-cool older cousin.
You need a plan.
So to infiltrate this group, you must first know them. And the simplest way is to watch the movies that really surmise what those ‘90s and early 2000s were really all about.
Sorry Boogie Nights and Dazed and Confused fans…there are rules here. Just because a movie was made during that time, it has to be about that time era. It has to have the music, the clothes, the attitude….
And don’t let those young Gen-X’ers star telling you those early ’80s movies count. Because here’s the reality. Just because they can recite the Breakfast Club since they were five, it doesn’t mean they could relate to running through the halls of Shermer High with John Bender. That’s for the 70’s Gen-Xers…
10 – Slackers
OK, slacker, you think doing just enough to get by is a Millennial thing? Puh-leaze. Baby Boomers worked too damn hard, a mistake the next group wouldn’t make. Generation X invited doing, simply, nothing. But not satisfied with being a Spicoli from Fast Times, the latter Gen-X’er went to elaborate lengths to simply, slack, and look good at it.
So before Jason Segal was forgetting about Ms. Marshall, he was one of the crew in Slackers, an elite unite of lazy college cheats who are too damn smart for their own good. Not to mention a very, adventurous, Laura Prepon.
9- The Net
Oh, Sandra. How adorable you were back in the day. And how scared you made us to dial into that modem. Oh no! My identity can be deleted by just the click of a mouse! Thank you for informing us about this, Sandra!
Sadly, since the ‘Net was a new thing to those latter Gen-X’ers, some people actually believed this could happen. Fortunately, we learned that the internet is really for pornography and…finding out who is the O.N.E. (for those who could never figure out why his name was N.E.O.)
8 – The Matrix
How the Internet was supposed to be! Immediate downloads that can teach us everything useful from Kung Fu to flying assault helicopters. The first of this trilogy (can we forget there were sequels, please?) was a marvel of movie buffs and tech geek hopeful to be plugged in and meet the “digital projection of their mental selves.”
Dissapointed we never got to this level of technology? Sorry, no USB ports for your head…yet…but keep the faith, and remember…there is no spoon…
7 – Empire Records
Finally, some music! Every latter Generation X’er had a Toad the Wet Sprocket or Cranberries CD in their Jansport backpack. Alternative, alternative and more alternative, notably with Renee Zellweger looking her finest singing on top of the Empire Records store. Very strange to see Dazed and Confused veteran Slater not so stonerfied.
And yes, Millennials, while this movie is fiction, it is very real that there was once a place called record stores (although in the 90s, there were no records, only CDs with a scatter of tapes) and yes, high school and college kids used to hang out in them. They would just run into each other there. No need to text to meet up first.
6 – Blair Witch Project
Must you carry that camera around everywhere you go? Welcome to the generation that began the concept of thinking they needed to record EVERYTHING. So you’re in the woods, lost, friends are dying, but dammit, this needs to be recorded (and there wasn’t even a social network to post it on to show it off in front of your friends!)
It was also the era were camcorders were becoming cheap and college students all over were buying them and thinking that they were…drumroll…documentarians! Hey, you’ve been to Nobody Beats The Wiz and bought a Sony, so yes, you can make a feature film without any training – naturally. So the just the concept itself – making a documentary about a witch – is a pretty funny play at the reality of what those young Martin Scorceses were doing those days.
Not to mention, this movie was marketed brilliantly. Many thought it was real, foolishly. (cue joke about your friend who thinks Paranormal Activity is real footage)
5 – Go
While disco balls and Donna Summer were brilliant inventions for the early Gen-Xers, raves to club music were the unfortunate invention of latter Gen-X’ers. Sadly there were filled with post-college grads working minimum wage jobs like the cast of Go, which has a killer soundtrack behind it.
While hopefully you never downed a few E’s and were threatened by a mind-reading cat, maybe you’ve been in that spinning room before.
4 – American Pie
No one was ever as sexually confused as our young Jim, who decided that the best way to feel what a women “feels like” was to ruin his mom’s Betty Crocker creation. Oh, Jim. Oh, Jim.
But nothing screams latter Gen-X more than the web cam and those ugly “windows” that are all over those ancient computers. Sadly this scene created a paranoia over who could “tap” into your computer and watch you in your room. It also led to countless hours of hoping to see someone like Nadia mistakingly dance before you live on the web. Sadly, the only person you saw dancing naked looked more like Eugene Levy.
“We’ll just tell your mother you…ate it all.”
3 – Can’t Hardly Wait
There’s nothing like Jennifer Love being Jennifer Love back when house parties were the norm in high school. There’s a young Jason Segal in this with his broken watermelon full of vodka and the frighteningly true soliloquy by “legend” Trip McNealy about how all the women he chases are now with men beyond his frat-boy league. “He’s a pre-med. They all are…”
Toss in one of those perfect, awkward first kisses we’ve all had by Kenny Fisher and the Six Feet Under gal with 311’s All Mixed Up playing in the background and you’re in Gen-X bliss…
2 – Singles
So in case you’re wondering why your older brother was rocking a Citizen Dick t-shirt, it’s because of this forgotten classic from the 90s. No movie screams grunge like this one. Bridget Fonda, Kyra Sedgwick and Matt Dillon are three of the “friends” who live in an apartment complex in Seattle, a concept that was so popular that after the success of the movie, the concept was repackaged for New York with Joey, Ross and Rachel.
The soundtrack to the movie was at the top of the charts for months, unleashing alternative rock on the country by a bunch of guys in flannel shirts. Yes, the 80s was over (sob) but with cameos from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice and Chains, this movie gives you that Seattle-coffee-stand-on-every-corner feeling.
Not to mention, one of the funniest sex scenes of all times, featuring a bizarre cameo from Seattle Supersonic Xavier McDaniel.
1 – Reality Bites
There’s so much that’s brilliant about this it’s frightening. Especially since it’s about a group of recent college grads who think they are early Generation X (the same way some of you think you are latter Generation X). Their references are filled quotes from their childhood of ’70s shows, yet they are just breaking into “adulthood” and coming into their own era.
Winona Ryder is to the 90s what Molly was the 80s, and let’s face it…she buries Molly. She’s hotter, a better actress and clearly knows how to shop at the finest of boutiques. (albeit a discount). It’s also got an Ethan Hawke when Ethan Hawke was a “up-and-comer” in Hollywood. Janeane Garafolo. Steve Zahn. A yuppie Ben Stiller. (And don’t think we didn’t catch that Renee Zellweger cameo)
So what’s great about it? Nearly every damn topic of the 90s is covered. Let’s start with the LA-esque-not-so-much-Grunge-but-certainly-90s band that Troy is in. Then we have the first generation that had to deal with AIDS testing in college, or The “Big A” as Vickie put it. Sammy comes out of the closet. Lelaina is filming a documentary about the struggles of post graduation and how not being able to get a job in your major is depressing. And it’s disturbing how accurate Michael’s vision for the documentary becomes a campy joke aka our modern reality TV…
Throw in the bouncing to The Knack’s My Sharona at the gas station munchie line and making love to Peter Frampton’s Baby, I love Your Way, you got yourself the epitome of the latter Gen-X’ers.
So what’s so bad about it: Ugh. The sad reality. Post-graduation sucks. Being an adult sucks. The job market sucks. You know what you are going to tell Gen-Z someday really soon? Reality truly does bite…