Things about Now and Then you only notice as an adult

Now and Then may not have been a commercial success at the time of its release, but that hasn't kept the film about four funny and devoted best friends from becoming a cult classic. Of course, a lot has changed since 1995 when the film was released — if you were a '90s kid at the time, you're now a '90s adult. Have you checked back in lately with Roberta, Samantha, Chrissy, and Teeny? Prepare to be surprised by all of the things that stand out now that you're actually a grown-up (like you wished you were the first time you saw the film). 

Its common thread with Pretty Little Liars

Did you notice which big Hollywood writer-producer's name rolled by in the beginning credits of Now and Then? If you said I. Marlene King, you're right — and probably a fan of Pretty Little Liars, another series about a steadfast group of girlfriends that King created. But unlike PLL, which ran from 2010 to 2017, Now and Then came at the beginning of King's career. 

"I was just starting out as a writer, and had taken a lot of classes, and people said write what you know — and I decided to write about the summer when my parents got divorced, which was the summer of my 12th grade year. A lot of the movie was really what we were going through back then," she revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. According to King, many elements from the movie were pulled straight from her childhood, including the girls' Gaslight Addition neighborhood and the cemetery séances. 

Janeane Garofalo cameos as a surly waitress-slash-fortune-teller

Janeane Garofalo's star was just beginning to rise when she snagged the role of Wiladene in Now and Then — a cantankerous waitress at the diner the girls frequented, and one who happened to dabble in fortune telling on the side. It was a bit part for Garofalo, who'd starred in another cult '90s hit the year before: Reality Bites. However, the small role still established a rapport between Garofalo and the younger actresses she filmed alongside. In 1999, Ricci alluded to that connection, explaining that Garofalo had come to her defense when the media began singling her out over her size. 

"I was so happy to read an US interview where Janeane [Garofalo] said it was ridiculous that I always get slammed for my weight because, in real life, I'm not fat. At all," Ricci told Moveline at the time. "Maybe short, but not fat. And I do have a neck." 

Brendan Fraser's hunky veteran was more than just a pretty face

Watching Now and Then as a teen or preteen in the mid-'90s, it was easy to swoon over the drifter played by Brendan Fraser. Watching as an adult, though, it's clear Fraser wasn't just eye candy. A Vietnam veteran, Fraser's character hints at the turmoil plaguing the country. When the girls press about the war, suggesting American forces were winning, Fraser's character responds, "Nobody's winning." 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King discussed the dichotomy of idealism and transition during the '70s. "It was a very special time to grow up. And there's a hint of how the world is changing when the girls meet the Vietnam vet played by Brendan Fraser on the road, and they think that everything is all hunky-dory but he sort of opens the window to the fact that things are changing," she said. 

Of the movie, Fraser said (cryptically, much like his character), "That I think speaks to everyone who's kept little bits and pieces of the world to keep themselves together… I think the lesson in that is we are who we are no matter what we are, and we are the sum whole of — not everything we collect, but — our experiences." 

Was Devon Sawa really naked?!

Let's be real: your 13-year-old self didn't really care to know the truth about whether or not then-teen-heartthrob Devon Sawa was 100-percent nude in the movie. He looked it, and that was enough. And, getting even more real, what '90s girl didn't test out the old rumor that you could catch a glimpse of Sawa's penis if you paused the movie at precisely the right moment? In the immortal words of Teeny, "I saw his penis. And the balls." 

Alas, Sawa has since laid that rumor to rest. "I've always wanted to address that," he said to E! News. "It's not true, we wore these sock things, which at the age of 14 or 15, was extremely embarrassing!" 

The gutter scene gives off major IT vibes

If the scene where Gaby Hoffmann's character, Samantha, gets swept down into a rain gutter seems eerily familiar, well, there's good reason. The scene hearkens IT, the classic 1990 horror flick, which was rebooted in 2017. Georgie's yellow raincoat from IT is practically a dead-ringer (no pun intended) for Teeny's, and they even call out in distress nearly the same way. While it's uncertain whether or not the Now and Then scene was an actual nod to the Stephen King adaptation, an interview with Hoffmann made it abundantly clear the scene was arguably just as much of a nightmare to shoot. 

"That was a set — and at the end of the shoot — and I said, 'I'm not doing it unless you guys warm the water! I'm serious, I can't deal with it anymore, I will walk off set!' So they heated the water and I wore a wet suit," she revealed to Index Magazine. She also added that the rats trained for the scene got the true star treatment, divulging, "And the rats would get taken out, put in front of a heater, fluffed up — everyone would be waiting for this while I'm shivering and moaning, and I thought, 'This is so insane, the rats are getting treated better than I am!'" 

They were watching Love Story in the tree house

When it was released in 1970, Love Story wasn't exactly a movie marketed for preteens and teens. Starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal, it was the kind of flick you might catch your mom watching after you went to bed, trying to muffle her sobs with a floral throw pillow. But, sure enough, it is the movie the girls watch on the projector screen when they try out their tree house. That doesn't mean the real-life young actors starring in the movie were watching the same, though. 

"Pulp Fiction came out that summer and while we were shooting it [Christina and I] went and saw it four, five, six times," Devon Sawa shared with Us Weekly. Sawa's co-star, Gaby Hoffmann, confirmed the young stars' obsession with the edgy film during an interview with The Washington Post, saying she and Ricci "spent our weekends going to see Pulp Fiction and smoke cigarettes in the alley." 

Little Rumer Willis was her mom's co-star

With parents like Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Rumer Willis was bound to have acting in her blood. Over the years she has enjoyed roles in top TV series such as Hawaii Five-O and Empire, but her career actually kicked off with a minor role in Now and Then as Samantha's little sister, Angela. Since Moore played the adult version of Samantha, yes, that means little Rumer played the sis of her real-life mom. 

Of the role, Willis told Elle, "My dad says I was an extra in Die Hard. I think it's true. But Now and Then was the first real thing. I loved it. All these amazing people. I was the tiny little seven-year-old on set and everyone was always like, 'Oh, you're so cute!' I just really liked being on set because I had grown up doing it." 

Everyone smoked in the film

It wasn't just the adult versions of the girls who smoked cigarettes in Now and Then. It was also the Vietnam veteran played by Brendan Fraser, as well as some of the girls' parents… not to mention the young versions of the girls, too! Although there was no literal statement made on behalf of the movie about this habit shared by so many characters, the movie itself may have been making a social statement. 

In 1995, when the film was released, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) released a report on the problem with minors accessing tobacco products. And, according to an article in the National Academies Press on the background of smoking bans, the early '90s saw the first large wave of restrictions regarding smoking in public spaces. 

Regardless of the intention behind the characters smoking, at least one critic took the film to task for it. In his negative review of Now and Then, Roger Ebert panned the proclivity as part of a bigger cinematic issue. "In theory we might be interested in seeing what kind of women the girls grew up to be — but the movie gives the adults so little screen time that it has to resort to shorthand, like using smoking as a character trait."

The language was salty for a teen film!

From Melanie Griffith's adult Teeny hollering, "Hey, bitches" to Devon Sawa's young Scott yelling, "Give us our clothes back, damn it," Now and Then is chock-full of adult language. Watching it as a preteen or teen in the '90s, that probably made you feel pretty cool. Watching it as an adult, though, you may find it surprising the film managed to rack up so many expletives. However, the salty language didn't interfere with the movie's PG-13 rating. In fact, Common Sense Media deems it appropriate for ages 12 and above.

It was sexually progressive

One thing about Now and Then that hasn't changed is how refreshingly honest the film portrays the coming-of-age experience, especially as it pertains to sex. Chrissy was every '90s girl with an over-protective parent, suffering through the awkward "this is a garden, and a garden needs a big hose to water it" speech. Roberta was every empowered '90s girl, explaining penises to her sheltered BFF, "It's only big when the guy has a hard-on."

Devon Sawa and Christina Ricci made the cutest couple — again

Mere months before Now and Then hit theaters in October of 1995, another beloved '90s film had its release in May. That film, Casper, also happened to star Christina Ricci and Devon Sawa — her as the daughter of a paranormal investigator, and Sawa as the human form of the friendly ghost inhabiting the dad and daughter duo's new home. Who could forget the scene in the movie during which Ricci and Sawa slow dance and share a sweet kiss at her Halloween party? After all, it spawned the best pick-up line of all time: "Can I keep you?" 

Ricci and Sawa sharing another kiss in Now and Then (which he says, despite him being older than her, wasn't awkward at all) sent teen hearts a'flutter and, as a byproduct, led to rumors of a real-life romance between Ricci and Sawa. But in an interview with Us Weekly in 2016, Sawa set the record straight. "That story of all the Now and Then girls fighting over me was a little blown out of proportion," he explained. "Someone had written that me and Christina [Ricci] had a thing, which wasn't true. We were all so young and so innocent."