The other night I was surfing though the movie channels (hurray for 3 months free HBO from Dish Network!), and a few 80s and 90s movies caught my eye. I started to remember all the really fun movies I watched growing up, and decided to make a list of the dramas and comedies for the family.
Keep in mind this is more or less my list, in no particular order. It’s based on nothing more than my personal preference. This is also only part 1 – part 2 will be listed next week.
Many of the movies on the list you may have heard of, while others might have slipped past you. If you have not seen them, give them a try! They may be lacking the special effects of the movies today, but they were still special in their own way.
1. Dutch (1991)
Dutch was a feel-good movie for the family, with very few raunchy innuendoes. It was the type of movie that made 90’s movies great – it was not a sappy romantic comedy where you guessed the ending, nor was it a slap-stick comedy that was more stupid than funny. It had its heart-warming moments, but for the most part was just random hilarious mishaps.
While trying to impress his girlfriend and take an interest in her son, Ed O’Neal stars as Dutch Dooley, the working-class man on a road trip to bond with Doyle (played by Ethan Embry). What made it a top movie was its unique story line and setting, mixed into a fun comedy that made you smile when it was over. It even snuck in a tiny message that high class doesn’t mean “better than you”.
2. Maverick (1994)
Back when Mel Gibson was hot, and adored by millions of fans, he starred a movie set in the old west. He wasn’t the only top actor – Jodi Foster and James Garner also co-starred.
There were plenty of twists and turns throughout the movie, and several times you wondered if Mel Gibson’s character was going to come out on top. Close calls, quirky lines that made you giggle, and suspense made this a fun movie for all.
3. Curly Sue (1991)
An adorable little girl (Alisan Porter), and her homeless “father” Bill Dancer (James Belushi), scam their way across the country to eventually find a real home. Another feel-good movie for families, which make you stop and think what choices you would make if left in this position. Are the decisions James Belushi’s character made best for the little girl?
4. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
While this movie is targeted more towards teenagers of the 90s, it still promotes a “happily ever after” theme with an average teenage boy after the girl of his dreams. It stars Ethan Embry as Preston, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as the girl of his dreams. What makes this movie fun is its reminder of high school days, lusting after love was the hardest part of life. Set on the last day of school, in the midst of a wild graduation party.
5. Dazed & Confused (1993)
No matter what the time period, teens have always had their “hang out” places and activities. This movie is set at the beginning of summer in the 70s, including a cast of various high school students. From naïve new freshman trying to fit in, to senior football players deciding what is most important in life. Each ponders their place in the social scheme, while go in search of a good time.
6. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Slightly on the dramatic side and lacking in true comedy, this movie takes a look at the average life of Gilbert Grape (Jonny Depp). His life is not terrible by any means, although he realizes life could be better once meeting a new (and exciting) friend (Juliette Lewis). Featuring Leonardo DiCaprio in an amazing performance as Gilbert’s mentally challenged younger brother.
7. Robin Hood – Men in Tights (1993)
If you need a movie with loads of laughs, this is the one! It swings more to the “goofy comedy” side, including many witty comments and comments which adults would find humorous and kids will not fully understand. For this reason, it makes an excellent family movie everyone will enjoy.
8. Forever Young (1992)
Forever Young is an awesome drama with comical and romantic moments. Mel Gibson stars as Capt. Daniel McCormick, who agrees to be frozen in time after the love of his life goes into a coma. The cryogenics experiment, which was only to last a few years, falls by the wayside. Daniel finds himself more than fifty years in the future when he’s accidentally unfrozen by two boys (Elijah Wood and Robert Hy Gorman).
9. A League of Their Own (1992)
If you are interested in dramatic movies with subtle comedy, this movie is for you. It’s based on a true story about the woman’s professional baseball league during World War 2, featuring all-star cast of the top movie stars of the nineties. Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Jon Lovitz, Rosie O’Donnell, and many more stars in this heart-warming movie.
10. What About Bob? (1991)
When you put Bill Murray as the lead character, you are in for a goofy comedy. There are no shortages of laughs as Mr. Murray stars as a mentally disturbed (yet loveable) patient in search of “the cure” from his new favorite psychiatrist.
Be sure to read part two for the rest of the list!