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Blast From the Past: Broadly’s Most Nostalgic Stories from 2016

Our best articles about the best movies, music, and celebrities from the past.
Collage by Official Sean Penn

From President-elect Donald Trump to the continued restriction of abortion rights, 2016 sucked. But we found comfort throughout the year by looking back at some of pop culture's finest moments from the past. We caught up with celebrities, like Bai Ling and Speidi, a.k.a. Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, about what's changed since the height of their fame, reexamined the sexism experienced by women like OJ Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark, and collected the oral histories of some of our favorite cult films, such as Britney Spears's Crossroads.


Here's a look back at our favorite nostalgia pieces from 2016.

Head over Hills: The Undying Love Story of Heidi and Spencer Pratt

In the mid-2000s, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt gained widespread notoriety by playing the villains on 'The Hills.' After spending five months with the two, we quickly learned their love was never mere tabloid fodder—like all timeless and iconic couples, they are forever.

Photo courtesy of Scholastic

Looking Back on Our Collective Obsession with the Baby-Sitters Club

In honor of the series' 30th anniversary, Scholastics editorial director David Levithan discusses his experience editing the Baby-Sitters Club, the books' influence on pop culture, and the weirdest BSC memorabilia he owns.

Screenshot via YouTube

Not a Hit, Not Yet a Cult Classic: Shonda Rhimes on the Making of 'Crossroads'

In interviews with Broadly, the women who wrote, directed, and produced "Crossroads" reflect on creating a small-budget film with Britney Spears—who, despite being one of the world's biggest pop stars, only requested tuna Lunchables and edamame on set.

Photo by Laura Greenfield

Looks Like Teen Spirit: Intimate Portraits of 90s American Girlhood

Photographer Lauren Greenfield has documented female life through direct, gritty images of young girls and women for decades. Her new monograph "Girl Culture" offers an empathetic perspective that humanizes rather than reduces its female subjects.

Photo by Jason Altaan

Bai Ling Is Still Alive

She's endured "Celebrity Rehab," sexual abuse from Chinese generals, and going from playing Richard Gere's romantic partner to starring in direct-to-DVD movies. Here's how she survived.

Illustration by Katherine Killeffer


'They Wished I Was Dead': How 'The Blair Witch Project' Still Haunts Its Cast

Starring in "The Blair Witch Project" sounds like a career highlight. The low-budget indie grossed $248 million and spawned a franchise that reboots this week. In an oral history, key players from the film share how "Blair Witch" became a real-life curse.

Photo courtesy of the ACTF

Have You Ever, Ever Felt Like This? The Oral History of 'Round The Twist'

We asked Paul Jennings why he made strange things happen.

Illustration by Juliette Toma

'Perverting the Youth of America': The Oral History of Teen Classic 'Jawbreaker'

Rose McGowan, writer/director Darren Stein, and members of the cast and crew tell the story of the making of the cult film about three girls who accidentally kill their best friend.

Photo by Nathaniel Turner

O.J. Simpson Prosecutor Marcia Clark on Her Unexpected Redemption

Over tea in Calabasas, Marcia Clark tells Broadly about her new career as a mystery novelist, the real story behind her bad hair day, and how Kris Jenner was an unexpected domestic violence victim advocate.

Illustration by Katherine Killeffer

Please Not the Shack: How M.A.S.H. Came to Predict Our Uncertain Futures

Everyone remembers spending time at sleepovers and between classes trying to divine their destiny through the acronymic game—but most fail to realize it's an age-old method of sublimating our existential dread as helpless children.

Screengrab via YouTube

'You're So Cool': An Artist's Homage to the 90s Cult Classic 'True Romance'

Artist Grear Patterson's exhibition captures the film's nostalgia through romanticized sunsets.

Screengrab via YouTube

Sick, Sad World: The Voice of 'Daria' on Being an Iconic 'Misery Chick'

Tracy Grandstaff (and her unforgettable monotone) spent five years as the voice of Daria, the angsty role model of both 90s girls and their Tumblr-blogging disciples. We caught up with Grandstaff to talk about how her strong, smart female character has stayed relevant 15 years later.