When Blockbuster recently closed its remaining 300 locations, cinephiles everywhere mourned the loss of those blue-and-yellow polos, Nerd Ropes, and that creaky metal flap that welcomed overnight returns. Fittingly, one ironic customer decided to lament the video behometh’s death knell by renting Seth Rogen’s apocalyptic comedy, “This is the End” — the last video ever checked out at Blockbuster. Like corporate bookstores — which are suffering their own slow demise — Blockbuster was once considered an unhip bogeyman, but now that it has been reduced to rubble, it lives in that same downy wistfulness we’ve placed on other ’90s fads, like slap bracelets and thug “Looney Tunes” T-shirts.
But for those suffering through ’90s withdrawal, 2013 has been a redemptive breath of fresh air. Seattle’s boho chic, made popular by Sleater Kinney and Pearl Jam, was well represented at New York Fashion Week in August, Spike Lee and Alanis Morissette both announced that they’re heading to Broadway, and NBC gave word that it’s adapting a definitive Gen X film classic into a primetime sitcom. From flannel to Fox Mulder’s pensive countenance, here are 14 cultural touchstones that have helped usher back in the grunge era.