Top 20 Enjoyable and Lighthearted Films of the 1990s

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There’s not much better to lighten the mood than a good cheesy movie you can’t quite take seriously … unless it’s a 90s film that’s so cheesy you can’t quite take it seriously. Honestly; is there anything better than rewatching an old movie you’ve seen so many times that the jump scares have become the most predictable part?

There are some seriously great movies from the the last decade of the twentieth century, and we’ve rounded them up for your viewing pleasure.

If you’re in the mood for a fun and cheesy action movie circa the 90s, this list will guide you through a great 90s movie marathon. From corny 90s staples like ticking clocks and invincible heroes to the predictable inspirational speeches, it’s so bad it’s good.

1. Face/Off (1997)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Topping off the list, we have 1997’s Face/Off starring none other than corny movie kings John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. This movie has a respectable rating on IMDb of 7.3 and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound Editing.

The plot is certifiably camp: an FBI agent gets a facial transplant to take on the identity of a criminal mastermind who killed his son to stop a terrorist attack. However, the killer whose face he’s transplanting wakes up too soon and is not too thrilled about it.

2. True Lies (1994)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Numerous cinephiles boast about how good True Lies is and recommend it. This 1994 film, directed by James Cameron, stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis.

A fearless secret agent who takes down terrorists deals with inner turmoil when he discovers his wife could be having an affair with a used-car salesman while he’s dealing with the takedown of a terrorist who is trying to get nukes into the country.

3. Demolition Man (1993)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

We are going to insist Demolition Man should be on your corny 90s movie list. Released in 1993, this film features Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes in a story revolving around a police officer who has been cryogenically frozen for an extended period. In a world free of crime, he is thawed out to track down his arch-nemesis, causing chaos in the previously law-abiding society.

4. Last Action Hero (1993)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Last Action Hero has got to be one of the best answers to a request for corny 90s action movies. Featuring the ever-present Arnold Schwarzenegger, this 1993 action film revolves around a young movie buff who finds himself transported into the thrilling world of his beloved action movie hero, all thanks to a mystical ticket.

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5. Point Break (1991)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Point Break was a coveted corny 90s classic. The movie stars Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, but Reeves’ performance is famously ridiculed in this film. It’s about an FBI agent (Reeves) who infiltrates a group of surfers involved in several bank robberies.

As he befriends the leader of the group, Bodhi (Swayze), things get complicated. Despite being directed by Kathryn Bigelow, one of only three women to win an Oscar for Best Director, it’s often lambasted as a terrible film with a cult following. Rated 7.2 on IMDb, it must be a sizeable cult.

6. The Fifth Element (1997)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

A film lover listed a bunch of movies, including The Fifth Element, one of my favorites. This is peak Bruce Willis cinema; everyone is at the top of their game. So you have Gary Oldman as the cartoonish villain, Milla Jovovich as the supremely powerful alien in human form with strange orange hair, and Bruce Willis as the former special forces agent who saves the day.

In the future, a cab driver (Willis) accidentally becomes the central target in a search for a legendary cosmic weapon. This 1997 film is clearly loved by most, as it’s rated 7.6 on IMDb.

7. Batman Returns (1992)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Tim Burton’s 1992 Batman Returns is a sequel to Batman. It explores iconic characters like The Penguin, played by Danny Devito, and Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and of course, Michael Keaton stars as Batman. While it may not be the best and brightest of the Batman films, it’s worked its way into our collective psyche and carved out a cult following.

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8. The Rock (1996)

Photo Credit: Hollywood Pictures.

The Rock is a 1996 film that we’re all excited about. It would be impossible not to mention a film that we all know of in some capacity.

A renegade general, played by Ed Harris, threatens the government to launch rockets on San Francisco. Then a mild-mannered chemist and former convict, played by Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage, team up to stop him.

9. Independence Day (1996)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Independence Day, which landed among a few individual’s lists, is a 90s classic starring Will Smith. This 1996 film is about humankind’s willpower to survive an attack on Earth by an alien race. This huge blockbuster film grossed over $817 million worldwide. And with a corny but intense plot like that, who could honestly resist?

10. Total Recall (1990)

Photo Credit: Columbia/TriStar Pictures.

Yet another Arnold Schwarzenegger film makes this list, with 1990’s Total Recall, which is beloved much more than its 2012 remake. The story revolves around a man who has been implanted with false memories of living on Mars. Now, those responsible are determined to eliminate him.

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11. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Sisters Kat and Bianca could hardly be more different: Bianca is popular and pretty, while Kat is standoffish and reserved. But their father refuses to let either of them date. Kat doesn’t mind, but Bianca protests. Eventually, their father says that Bianca can date when Kat decides to date, and that is all it takes. Bianca will do anything to get Kat on a date so that she can go out as well … but at what cost?

12. It Takes Two (1995)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Which of us hasn’t dreamed of meeting a total look-alike while we’re at summer camp and convincing the the people we love most to get married to each other? This is a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen film featuring friends who look so alike, they’re able to switch lives in order to try to draw the one girl’s father and the other girl’s social worker into a relationship. But somebody is out to capitalize on each situation; an orphan girl up for adoption and a wealthy single man. Will the girls be able to orchestrate their own happy ending?

13. Groundhog Day (1993)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a grumpy forecaster who’s assigned a trip to Punxsutawney to cover the Groundhog Day festivities. But rather than six more weeks of winter, Connors experiences six more weeks of the same day, over and over again. At first, Connors becomes apathetic, convinced nothing he does matters. But eventually, he begins to look for what he can do to help. And finally, his coworker, Rita Hanson, begins to notice.

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14. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

From the same creators as Dumb and Dumber, now we get a love story. Four men all fall in love with Mary, and each of them is desperate to win her. There is no end of the hijinks these characters will get up to in order to scare Mary away from one or another of the competing suitors. But will any of them succeed simply by spreading rumors about the others? Or is Mary looking for something else entirely?

15. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures.

In this comedy, Julia Roberts plays Julianne Potter, a food critic whose best friend is about to get married to somebody else. And that’s when she realizes she’s in love with him herself. So Julianne, or “Jules,” undertakes to ruin their wedding by making Michael and Kimmy hate each other. But somehow, almost everything she does backfires, right up until the morning of the wedding. This one gets a ten out of ten for the comedy, and unique plot for a romantic comedy!

16. Pretty Woman (1990)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Pretty Woman is the comical story of a man who hires a woman to keep him company on his business trip. But because she’s a woman for hire and not naturally part of his world, he ignorance of the proper etiquette makes waves, and Edward Lewis realizes he’s jealous whenever Vivian talks to anybody else. Gradually, they both begin to fall in love; but his job is dismantling dying businesses to turn a profit, and hers is street-corner advertisement. Will their wants and hopes ever align?

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17. Mallrats (1995)

Photo Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

This film is a wild ride from start to finish. It begins with two college boys, each of whom has just been dumped by his girlfriend. To console themselves, they end up at the local mall, where one of their girlfriends has gotten involved in a love triangle, and the other is on a dating show. Mall hijinks such as you could only see in the 90s ensue as each of the boys tries to get his girl back in time for a trip they’ve planned to Universal Studios.

18. Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Photo Credit: Brooksfilms.

This spinoff tale of Robin Hood takes the original plot and fills it with bawdy humor. Even the characters’ names are twisted into jokes, like Asneeze, and his son Ahchoo. At one point, Robin Hood even consults the script and breaks the fourth wall. It’s a movie that delivers the humor that the 90s are known for; no holds barred, anything goes as long as it’s funny.

19. Out to Sea (1997)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Charlie Gordon convinces his brother-in-law Herb Sullivan to go on an all-expenses-paid cruise with him … only it turns out they’re going to be working as dance hosts to pay their way. As each of them attempts to fill their role in order to enjoy the cruise, they meet different women. At first, all seems well; two men falling in love with two ladies on a peaceful cruise. But each of the four hopes the others are something or some one that they’re not. Out to Sea is full of laughs and situational comedy as two old bachelors decide which truths to as they attempt to begin new lives.

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20. Ever After (1998)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Ever After is a retelling of Cinderella, set in in real-world France in the 16th century. But there are addition to the classic fairy-tale: Cinderella is named Danielle, and she meets Prince Henry before the royal ball, but she lies about her name. That one lie spirals out of control as her step-mother and step-sister spread their own lies about her to dissuade Prince Henry from falling in love. In the end, everything rests on Danielle’s kindness and loyalty to her old servants in the past, because it is they who are able to tell the prince who she really is.

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