A lot of ’80s and ’90s nostalgia feels gratuitous, lazy and boring at this point; however, we could not be more grateful to Stranger Things for reminding us of our obsession with Winona Ryder. It’s not that’s she’s been completely AWOL in recent years, it’s just that we sort of spaced how incredibly iconic she once was, and are beyond happy to see her returned to her former glory. Here, 10 of her best films to binge watch this weekend.
Ryder produced Girl, Interrupted, and pushed hard to cast then B-list actress Angelina Jolie in the role that would earn her an Oscar. It's no surprise that Ryder was so intimately involved with the making of a film which dealt with mental illness as, at the age of 20, she checked herself into a psychiatric institution to deal with anxiety and depression following her split with Johnny Depp. "I remember I did Diane Sawyer, and I talked about my experiences with anxiety and depression," she recently told The Cut. "And I think by doing that, maybe coupled with my physical size, there's this 'crazy' thing. And I've realized recently it's literally impossible to try and change that story." Girl Interrupted can be streamed for free on Amazon with a 7-day trial subscription to STARZ.
Ryder's casting as Beth, the former ingénue attempting to deal with being aged out of the spotlight, added an extra layer to the film given that Ryder's heyday was, at that point, years behind her. With all of the present day Stranger Things-related hoopla, however, that is most certainly no longer the case. Black Swan can be rented via Amazon or iTunes.
How strange and wonderful is Beetlejuice? The pitch perfect, droll delivery of Ryder's character in this 1988 film epitomizes teen angst timelessly. Beetlejuice also stars Michael Keaton, who has been experiencing a career revival in recent years very much akin to Ryder's. Beetlejuice can be rented via iTunes or Amazon.
Ryder was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the iconic character Jo March in this film. Her co-stars include Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale, a dream ensemble that's reason enough to re-watch the film. Little Women can be rented via iTunes or Amazon.
This movie really is everything. The dorky love interest played by Ben Stiller. The aloof best friend/lover played by Ethan Hawke. The '90s style, which looks freakishly familiar now that we're living in a seemingly endless revival of that time period. Ryder's character's use of her dad's gas card to supply the gang with food and other supplies needed by starving post-graduates. Though times are supposed to be tougher now for millennial grads than they were back then, we're not so sure all that much has changed, based on the plot of this quintessential '90s film (aside from the fact that these days, if all else fails, you can always get famous on Instagram). Reality Bites can be rented via iTunes or Amazon.
We won't lie—Heathers hasn't really aged well given the real violence which occurs in schools regularly nowadays, and its harsher moments can induce some serious cringing. The black comedy was never meant to be taken at face value, however, and is instead a brilliantly-executed critique of the kind of groupthink that often makes troubled kids feel isolated in high school. Heathers can be streamed via Netflix.
The Crucible is based on Arthur Miller's play of the same name, which was written in 1953. Ryder plays a 17-year-old who accuses the wife of a man with whom she's had an affair of witchcraft. As other young girls follow suit with accusations, the infamous Salem witch trials begin. The Crucible can be streamed for free via Amazon Prime.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
This Francis Ford Coppola film was a smashing success when it was released in 1992, winning acclaim that was in no small part due to an all-star cast which included Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins and, of course, Winona Ryder (and was also possibly in spite of an awkward performance by Keanu Reeves). You can stream Bram Stoker's Dracula for free on Amazon with a 7-day trial subscription to STARZ.
Here, Ryder stars alongside Cher and a super young Christina Ricci, and the result is hard not to love. "Dear God, don't let me fall in love and want to do disgusting things" is one of our favorite Ryder-delivered lines ever, though it may be topped by Cher's line, "A real woman is never too old," which is also from Mermaids. You can stream the film for free on Amazon by signing up for a 7-day trial subscription to STARZ.
This iconic film's screenwriter once said that he partially based the character of Edward Scissorhands on his dog. No wonder Edward sort of seems like the perfect man, or that this is one of our favorite love stories of all time. You can stream Edwards Scissorhands for free on Amazon with a 7-day trial subscription to STARZ.