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The End of the 90s

By Josiah Teal | October 6, 2021

Set in Phoenix, Arizona, at the cusp of the new millennium, The End of the 90s seeks to bring back the angst and attitude of a world prepping for Y2k. Krista (Tarah McDaniel) and Jonathan (Ben Holmquist) are celebrating the end of the century in true Jay and Silent Bob style: blasting music and drinking beers and more beers in a small park outside the city. But the irony laced send-off is for more than their beloved 1990s as Krista is leaving for new horizons in New York tomorrow. The plot is entirely secondary to the atmosphere created by the cassette welding Krista, the smug Jonathan, and the distortion-heavy soundtrack of this 8-minute gem.

The End of the 90s is a constant homage to the slacker, Gen X spirit as laid down by Richard Linklater and Kevin Smith. From the black and white aesthetic to the director thanking Sonic Youth and a slew of 90s bands in the closing credits, the movie screams its adoration for and celebrates grunge, lounging around, and DIY filmmaking. The soundtrack is superb, cramming nearly five songs into the short runtime. Despite the constraints, each track highlights the essence of the film, transporting you into the lives of Krista and Jonathan, and more importantly, back to 1999.

“…blasting music and drinking beers and more beers in a small park…”

I wanted more out of the short. Beez has great instincts on what fans of the slacker genre want to see and, he crams several fantastic needle drops into such a short time. I honestly would like to see a feature with these characters exploring the end of an era and the conclusion of Krista’s days in the Southwest. I will admit the narrator towards the end felt very abrupt and took me out of the story, but nowhere near enough to stop me from rewatching it.

The End of the 90s drips with a smug 90s-Beck attitude towards everything. From Krista’s departure to the ultimate decision of giving or not giving a stranger a beer. Using “Pennies” by Smashing Pumpkins to take us to the closing credits is inspired and yet another example of the soundtrack creating a vibe for the whole picture. The film’s not perfect, but like any slacker flick, it’s fun to the bitter end.

The End of the 90s (2021)

Directed and Written: Ray Beez

Starring: Tarah McDaniel, Ben Holmquist, Izen Cahill, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

The End of the 90s Image

"…Beez has great instincts on what fans of the slacker genre want to see..."

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