Giving you butterflies one after school special at a time.
10. Zachery Ty Bryan
Then: Zachery Ty Bryan was most known for playing the role of Brad Taylor on “Home Improvement” and for having the stereotypical 90s boy haircut.
Personally, he wasn’t my favorite but I also wasn’t a huge fan of “Home Improvement.” But I know he was popular with some of my friends so I felt like he had to make the list. He is most known for his stint on that show but has also appeared in a dozen other TV shows and handful of movies as well, most notably “3 Fast 3 Furious” (also known by its technical name of “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift”).
Now 33, his last appearance as an actor was in Syfy Channel’s movie “Hammer of the Gods” as Thor. Since then, he appears to have switched over to producing instead of acting.
9. Joey Lawrence
Then: Joey Lawrence was probably best known in the 90s for playing Mayim Bialik’s unoriginally named older brother, Joey, in the hit TV show “Blossom.”
He acted in various other TV shows and movies throughout the 90s. Originally, I was all set to make fun of the Disney show “Brotherly Love” or the movie “Horse Sense”, but when I was looking through Joey Lawrence’s acting credits, I discovered that he was the voice of the titular character in the 1988 Disney movie “Oliver & Company.”
Aside from rocking the incomprehensibly popular Roger Klotz hair, 39-year-old Joey Lawrence seems to be doing well. He’s acted in a variety of projects but most notably “Melissa & Joey” which he stars in alongside another 90s darling, Melissa Joan Hart.
Guys, I am so freaking funny. You’re welcome.
8. Devon Sawa
Then: If you asked “Who is Devon Sawa?” then you didn’t have the same sexual awakening experiences the rest of us did while watching “Little Giants”, “Casper”, “Now and Then”, “Wild America”, and “SLC Punk!”
YES, YOU CAN KEEP ME, DEVON SAWA!
Now 37, Devon Sawa has continued to work steadily in a mix of independent films and bigger movies such as “Final Destination.” He also appeared in the Eminem’s music video “Stan” as the crazed fan obsessed with Slim Shady.
7. Erik von Detten
Then: Most notably known for the Disney Channel Original Movie “Brink”, this floppy haired kid was a favorite for anyone with cable and a love of inline skating. He’s also known for visiting my high school and revealing himself to be either completely stoned or completely stupid.
The most recent acting credit I could find was when he reprised his role of Sid for a cameo in “Toy Story 3” in 2010. Perhaps my prediction in last week’s column came true and 32-year-old Erik von Detten has moved back into his parents’ basement to start an online t-shirt company.
6. Will Smith
Then: What didn’t he do in the 90s? Most notably he starred in the incredibly popular TV show “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” but he also starred in indie films such as “Independence Day” , “Men in Black”, and several others you’ve probably never heard of.
When he wasn’t busy being the art house favorite, he also released some little known albums and songs such as this little ditty:
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it, it wasn’t very popular.
No one has heard from the 46-year-old in years or has any idea what he’s been up to.
5. Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Then: Best known as the love of our lives, Zack Morris, on “Saved by the Bell.”
He was clearly way cooler than Slater and vastly superior to Screech. Not that the latter was difficult–pretty much everyone is better than Screech.
41-year-old Mark-Paul Gosselaar has been fairly active in TV roles, most notably as one of the titular characters in “Franklin & Bash.” I’d tell you if was Franklin or Bash but I have no idea, I’ve never watched the show. Instead, I like to pretend like “Saved by the Bell” never ended, he’s married to Kelly Kapowski, and they’re busy living happily ever after.
4. James Van Der Beek
Then: He was Dawson in “Dawson’s Creek.” Do you really care what else he was in?
James Van Der Beek, now 38, has acted in a variety of roles but is perhaps best known for starring in a meme about 90s problems.
3. Jared Leto
Then: In the 90s, Jared Leto was best known as Jordan Catalano in the cult classic TV show “My So-Called Life.”
When he wasn’t making us feel twitterpated and insanely jealous of Claire Danes, he started to gain some notoriety in film and also started a band with his brother called 30 Seconds to Mars.
He’s doing super well, thanks for asking.
2. Leonardo DiCaprio
Then: He appeared on the TV show “Growing Pains” alongside a yet-to-turn-crazy Kirk Cameron, starred in gritty and critically acclaimed films like “The Basketball Diaries”, and was nominated for an Oscar in 1993 for his performance in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”
What really got us going though was his role as a star-crossed lover in Baz Luhrman’s “Romeo + Juliet” opposite Claire Danes (that’s right, she got to kiss Jared Leto AND Leo) and, of course, as Jack Dawson in the 1997 blockbuster “Titanic.”
In addition to slowly evolving into Jack Nicholson, the now 40-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio dates the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and creates countless movies that routinely make the Academy of Motion Pictures jizz in their pants but hasn’t yet won an Oscar.
He has a new movie coming out this Christmas called “The Revenant” in which he stars alongside Tom Hardy. We can expect that just a few short months later, Tom Hardy will win an Oscar and DiCaprio will have to be content with staying an internet meme.
1. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Then: What, did you think I could really make a list of 90s heartthrobs and leave out JTT?
I almost feel at a loss for words to explain why exactly JTT was the ultimate hottie for us young folk in the 90s. Was it his role in “Home Improvement”? “Man of the House”? “Tom and Huck”? “The Lion King”?
Whatever it was, all I know is that all of my friends agreed that we were wildly in love with JTT and that he was the most beautiful thing we’d ever seen.
It was probably the jean jacket.
JTT took a break from acting for a few years to focus on his education and attended Harvard. Now 34, he has appeared on the occasional episode of “Last Man Standing” over the last couple years and I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really hoping we see more of him in the future.
Additionally, I recently learned that my best friend shares a birthday with him on September 8th. My birthday is on April 15th–do you know what happens on my birthday? Tax Day, Abraham Lincoln died, and the Titanic sank.