Growing up in the 1990s, you realize that things are far different compared to today. Clothing and cars changed in design. Remember the acid wash and ripped jean look we all sported more than we should have? How about the windbreaker movement? What about tying jackets around the waist? These things are considered the past with only small uses today compared to then. Heck, weed was illegal back then and now multiple states have legalized it for recreational and medical purposes.
Times have changed drastically, but what hasn’t changed is our love of movies. Today, the growth in superhero material is huge. Yes, those things we used to get in trouble for reading in school or were told was trash at that time has now made billions of dollars. Remember that, Mrs. Matthews! I could have been a billionaire. Movies in this era make much more than they used to and that may be due to the price of movies going up as well as the major love for them nowadays.
Back in the 90s, in order to see a successful movie, you just had to think about getting the budget back and things were good. You rarely saw sequels and if you did, it was just one and not three or four at a time. Iconic men and women were made in the 90s, as it was an era of unknowns becoming major names in the world of movies. The 90s were known for two types of films: action flicks and comedies. Comedies, more than anything else, are remembered by most 90s era kids.
Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Farley, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, and so many others became huge in this era all due to their comedy films. We decided to go over twenty comedy movies we all know you saw and loved growing up in this era. Get ready for the nostalgia.
20. The Sandlot
Some do not see The Sandlot as a 90s comedy film, but it certainly was. Made in 1993, it connected to a simpler time before this era going in. It was narrated by a boy who was new to a town and was taken in by a neighborhood full of boys who all loved one thing, baseball. It connected them throughout and it was very much about friends. The movie became a minor yet very successful film. Due to the fact it starred mostly unknowns at the time, it had a $7 million budget but ended up seeing over $33 million at the box office.
It will forever be known for one line that we probably have all repeated growing up. “Well you play ball like a girl!” Unacceptable to use today seeing as the rise of feminism has truly taken it out, it was the ultimate insult in that time for the kids. It really broke the kid getting the insult down to his core. It ultimately led to the line becoming iconic in every 90s kid’s mind. Despite this, the movie is praised for all it does but it is considered more of a cult classic by today’s standards.
19. Major Payne
Major Payne followed the exploits of an army major who was forced out of combat due to the fact that there was no one else to kill. This is a 90’s film after all. He tries a variety of jobs before finally ending up at a school where he becomes an ROTC instructor to what can only be described as problem children. He has to turn them around and make them worth something so that he can hopefully move up the ranks and they can win a trophy. This is all while making them better people.
Memorable parts of the movie are when he makes them all shave their heads and force them to train in some crazy ways. He also develops a relationship with Tiger, the youngest of the group and kills an imaginary monster for him by literally shooting into his closet. He also tells him of the Little Engine that Could and quickly goes into a war story on accident. The movie will make your sides hurt with laughter. Damon Wayans plays Major Payne in his most notable role. The movie clocked $30 million at the box office and has become a cult classic among movie fans.
18. The Nutty Professor
The Nutty Professor was a movie idea that came to Eddie Murphy as if it was a dream no one could control…okay that is a lie. The movie was based off an older one of the same name, so a remake of sorts. The man managed to play various parts in the film, including a professor who does all he can to try and lose weight and be more attractive. The professor realizes that he can use his smarts to create a cure for his weight, where he can lose it faster possibly. It was a success, but sadly issues come from the experiment…including side effects that could not be overlooked.
So, it did. A split personality was born called Buddy. The Professor was played by Murphy in a fat suit while Buddy was just Eddie without anything being done to him. So yes, he played the main two parts. Of course, he also played his mother, father, grandfather, etc. The idea is that he has to get rid of this, get the weight back full time and not allow Buddy to be seen. The movie is hilarious and very well known. It did quite well, earning around $274 million at the box office.
17. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
You know when your film is great the moment you see it still being played on television 20 years after it was made. The movie follows Ace Ventura, a pet detective that finds missing animals or the people that harm them. He is the best at his job and pretty much knows all there is to know about animals. However, he is absolutely crazy…yet genius. When the mascot of the Miami Dolphins is stolen, Snowflake, Ace is put on the case. People die and the investigation becomes a big deal throughout.
Ace is given Courteney Cox to work with, who plays Melissa Robinson. Ace puts himself in an insane home to find out information on Ray Finkle, even goes to his childhood home. Little does he know, Ray is now a man and the head of the police department he frequents for his cases. The term “laces out” was born from this film and while the idea of the film sounds nuts, you have to truly see it to understand it. Truly, it is one of the greatest comedies ever made and for many, the best comedy of the 90s. Jim Carrey killed it in the 90s with comedies, but this may have shot his career up big time. The film brought in $107 million for a just really getting going Carrey. It truly made him stand out and they did all of this on a $15 million budget.
16. Happy Gilmore
Adam Sandler certainly knew what he was doing in the 90s when it came to comedy too, and he truly brought it with Happy Gilmore. Sandler plays the title character who is struggling to have a hockey career and take care of his Grandmother. He decides against hockey in order to save his grandmother’s home and ends up getting onto the golf tour that will allow him to earn enough money to buy the house before it goes up for auction. While on the circuit, Happy comes across veteran golfer Shooter McGavin, who is not happy with Gilmore being there.
Happy has incredible drives that often make him tough to beat, so Shooter sees the threat. Yet due to Happy having a bad short game, he rarely wins anything. Shooter remains a top winner yet everyone talks about Happy, making jealousy grow. Eventually, Grandma’s house does go up in an auction but Shooter buys it. He says if Happy can beat him on the course then the house will go to Happy. If not, he has to leave for good. The film has a great message yet it is absolutely hilarious even in its sadness at times. Few films still hold up in premise as time goes on, Happy Gilmore is one that does quite well. It did moderately well at the box office, bringing in $41 million. Yet sales on VHS and DVD following have done very well.
15. American Pie
If you can believe it, American Pie was actually a 90s film. It is known mostly as a 2000’s series, which makes sense. The first one came out in 1999 to a huge success as a new age, raunchy teen comedy. It saw $235 million on a mere $11 million budget, which no one can deny as a huge success for the series. It was based primarily on a group of friends who want to lose their virginity before they head off to college.
The movie is filled with various sexual material, including nudity and raunchy language. It is really not a film kids should watch, but many of us managed to get it on VHS anyway. Oh yeah, remember those things? Several stars were made from this series of films. It all started with the first. It is still not the best of films in the world, but it is quite hilarious and a teen comedy everyone remembers well. If nothing else, for Shannon Elizabeth…and you know why.
14. Black Sheep
A film starring Chris Farley and David Spade was primarily done to capitalize on the popularity of Farley and how different he was. Black Sheep was the perfect film to show him off. It follows Farley as Mike Donnelly, the son of a candidate for Governor of Washington named Al Donnelly, his brother. He drives around the state in an advertisement vehicle and runs into some of the weirdest and craziest things you can imagine. He travels with a campaign aide in Steve Dodds, played by David Spade. Dodds has to try to keep Mike out of trouble the entire time.
“Black Sheep” in term is used to talk about the difference between one compared to other sheep, who are primarily white. Anyone different would be black, and stand out. In this case, Mike is the black sheep of the family and far different from his brother and other family members. He has to overcome this and learn to live with everything as well as grow along the way. The movie has a great message and is pretty much timeless in that. However, it will make you cry laughing. The film saw $32 million at the box office, which was a good success for a comedy like this at the time.
13. Home Alone
In the movie Home Alone, Kevin McCallister was just your ordinary, trouble-making kid. He did not realize that he would be left alone at home while his family was in France without him on a vacation for Christmas. Thousands of miles away and unable enjoy the luxuries of proper phones and internet service, Kevin had to deal with being on his own while also managed to keep robbers away. On top of this, he has to also get around town when needed and make his own food combined with keep things organized so that it looks like a crowded house is present.
He puts these men through torture when they try to rob his home, and it was literally hilarious at every turn. This movie put Macaulay Culkin on the map as a popular child actor and allowed him to work as a major child actor for years after. Home Alone and Home Alone 2 have become Christmas classics that come on television every year or happen to be watched each year by several people around this time. Funny enough, one of the biggest Christmas movies ever happened at the very start of this decade. $476 million was seen at the box office, which was massive money at the time for any film, especially a movie starring a young kid just getting started in Hollywood.
12. Liar, Liar
Jim Carrey, in part, ruled the 90s when it came to comedies. A lot of his films make this list, but Liar Liar is often forgotten as one of the better films he has done. It did insanely well for its time at the box office, earning just over $300 million. The movie follows Carrey’s character Fletcher Reede, who is a lawyer and has to lie quite often for his job to work. However, he often does it in his real life too. Soon, his child Max begins to realize it. So he makes a wish his dad cannot lie for one whole day. This is killer to Fletcher, who must go far in his job as his exaggerations in court are what help him to do his job well.
He goes through the entire day, unable to lie. He has to do his best to overcome this by being creative. He tries to lie multiple times and all that comes out is gibberish. A memorable scene is when Fletcher tells an entire boardroom what he thinks about them. Another is when he beats himself up in the courthouse bathroom to hopefully push his case to the next day. It does not work. The movie is terrific and went over so well that Carrey won the Golden Globe for best comedy actor that year.
11. There’s Something About Mary
After a great first performance in The Mask after being a model for years, Cameron Diaz seemed to be perfect for comedy. She was gorgeous, yet also hilarious at the same time. Ben Stiller was just getting started at that time too, so it was an excellent chance to get everyone in a proper spot right away. There’s Something About Mary was a major success, seeing over $300 million at the box office. This was a popular number among the successful films of the era, with only a few seeing over $400 in the comedy world. This movie followed Stiller’s character who was in love with Diaz’s. It all started when Ted Stroehmann, played by Stiller, lands a date with Mary Jenson, played by Diaz.
Sadly, he gets his, well…male member caught in his zipper in the bathroom and is unable to go to the prom with his dream girl. Years go by, but there is something about Mary that makes it tough to get her out of Ted’s mind. He finds a private detective to track her down, played by Matt Dillion. He quickly falls for Mary and lies to Ted so that he believes she is gross and overweight. The movie goes throughout as Ted tried to win over Mary.
Clueless was a teen comedy built to connect to kids without going over the top. Alicia Silverstone was a rich teen who was just trying to get through life but seemed to always mess up along the way. She was popular, yet want to be with the wrong guys. Her step-brother, who really wasn’t part of her family anymore, was played by Paul Rudd. Alongside friends Stacy Dash and Brittany Murphy, she would try to get through the latter parts of high school in the 90s.
This movie had every 90s stereotype you could think of, complete with huge phones and cars that no one would drive today. Alicia’s character would fall for her step-brother once removed toward the end of the film, as it would seem like it made total sense all along and that her father set it up the whole time. Seriously, watch the film that is clear when you get to the end. As a kid, you loved all the drama of today and it connected to anyone in middle or high school back then. It came out in 1995, so it was caught right in the middle of every 90s trend there was. Complete nostalgia and the movie is hilarious and despite being overly 90s, is timeless. The film saw $56 million on an $11 million budget, which was pretty major for any film. This is especially true for one involving stars that were just getting going in Hollywood.
9. Billy Madison
Billy Madison is an Adam Sandler film that follows Billy as he has to basically redo school in order to run his father’s company when he passes. He does not want the film to go to Eric, one of the top people in the organization. Eric knows if Billy gets through school in the span of a few weeks, he will get the family fortune and run the business. So he tries to sabotage him throughout. Memorable things from the movie include Billy having to learn how to take naps.
He also has to learn how to spell better and learn cursive. On top of this, he plays dodgeball with the kids but also manages to fall in love with his third-grade teacher, Veronica. She helps him do well as he tries to pass school. One of the best parts is at the end where he has to take part in a game show against Eric, where he is told his answer is one of the worst ever…in possibly the best diss you’ll ever hear. The movie is hilarious but did not do well at the box office. It became a bigger hit once people had access to it at the video store. Yes, we used to have to physically go rent stuff. Such is life. The film saw $26 million at the box office, which wasn’t huge. However, it has since been hailed as one of the best comedies of all time by several experts.
8. The Mask
The Mask follows Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss, a guy of no real major qualities. He finds a mask that when put on one’s face gives them major powers. The movie is loosely based off of the comic book series of the same name. That is not filled with a lot of laughs to be fair. Having the mask on gives Stanley the ability to conform his body to various shapes and avoid death from bullets and other harmful material. Jim does a good job at bringing it to life, as he makes the character over the top and it fits right into the comic aspect of it…which worked well.
The mask’s powers were clearly big, but obviously, Stanley does not know a lot about what goes on when he wears it as it takes him over. The movie managed to land well and gave Cameron Diaz her big break. It even killed at the box office, making over $350 million. Carrey killed it in the 90’s, but this movie is signature to him as it fits well with the slapstick style of comedy that he is known for. It was one of the best films of the 90’s, without any caring of being a comedy. The fact that it was makes it one of the top ten of its era. It did huge at the box office, bringing in a little over $350 million on a mere $23 million budget. It has never had a sequel involving Carrey, but if it did one could imagine it would do very well in comparison to the sequels attempted that did not star Jim.
7. Tommy Boy
Tommy Boy is yet another wonderful comedy starring Chris Farley and David Spade. This time, Farley plays a moron who is the air to a successful business named Tom or Tommy Callahan. Chris’ character returns from college and his father, Big Tom gives him a job in his auto parts company as an executive in the business. Tommy’s father lets him know that he is going to be getting married and thus, new family members are added. Played by Bo Derek, a hot woman who does not truly love the father, she just wants to kill him and take all he owns. She has a son, or someone we assume to be one that is also brilliantly played by Rob Lowe.
Suddenly at the wedding, Big Tom, has a heart attack and dies. After this, Callahan Auto’s debts are high but the bank is letting them pay it off. Sadly with the passing of Big Tom, they remove that idea. Zalinsky Auto Parts, the rival auto parts company, offers to buy them out while shares are high but trying to avoid this, Tommy suggests a deal. He will let the bank take his inherited shares and house in exchange for helping the sales of brake pads. The bank agrees, but if Tommy fails the bank will foreclose. Tommy goes across the nation with Spade, or Richard Hayden, his father’s pretty nutso assistant.
It is absolutely one of the best films of the 90’s and an impressive comedy that still holds up today with story and premise. The film saw slightly over $32 million at the box office, which was still great for a comedy in its time that starred Saturday Night Live stars that people were just now getting to know.
6. Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was a take on a comedic version of 007, which had suffered through bad films in that era. Played by Mike Myers, Austin Powers made sense to bring some life into the spy world, and he did so with comedic acts that literally had people rolling. The film is absolutely crazy, but follow us here. Powers kills an attempt by Dr. Evil to assassinate someone in London in 1967. Evil escaped in a rocket and many do not know when or if he’ll return. So Austin volunteers to be cryogenically frozen should Dr. Evil return. Dr. Evil does end up coming back and Austin is unfrozen and put on the case to stop him.
Evil is going to try to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage for one millio….I mean one hundred BILLION dollars! Powers has to stop him and try to stay out of trouble along with trying to understand the era he is now in compared to the one he left. As you can imagine, crazy things occur and Powers does find himself in a lot of compromising positions throughout. The ultra-60s man, Powers has to balance being that in the 90s with all the crazy stuff that goes on in the era. The film is terrific and a big blast from the past for anyone who watches it. The film saw some good success for the time at $67 million when in theaters. It more than doubled its budget and thus called for a franchise.
5. Robin Hood: Men In Tights
Robin Hood: Men in Tights comes from the genius mind of Mel Brooks, a writer/director/actor that could do no wrong in comedy. His take on Robin Hood was a bit different than most, but it was absolutely incredible with humor that everyone could love. Families enjoyed it due to the temperature of the film being family oriented, but kids loved it because they got most of the jokes. The ones they didn’t, adults did, which made for more fun. Watching it back, you’ll notice some of the things you missed as a kid for sure.
The film has a crazy Robin Hood, his manservant Blinkin, a blind man. He has a black friend named Ahchoo, whom he is told about by the boy’s father. And then he meets little John, who is actually big, when he needs to pass through on a bridge along with a man named Will Scarlet. He meets the Sheriff of Nottingham, who has trouble with words, and of course the beautiful Maid Marian. Naturally, the story is the same as always, but how it is done and the trip there is what you really will love. It uses old-school comedy and adds a new school flavor to it.
When other 90s films needed to go vulgar in this time, Brooks was able to deliver a family film that had something for everyone. It truly is a masterpiece of comedy. While it only did around $35 million at the box office, it is now seen as a major classic that people love to watch.
4. Dumb And Dumber
Harry and Lloyd were just two morons who happened to be roommates and bachelors. They both did odd jobs with Lloyd being a limo driver and Harry being part of a dog grooming company. One day a beautiful woman left a briefcase in the middle of the airport and Lloyd was determined to get it back to her, like a real hero. He and Harry team up to go find her. Little did they know that this case was left to pay off people that were going to do her family harm, but they did not figure this out until near the end of the film.
Throughout, both men end up in some absolutely crazy situations with both having to get to Aspen to deliver the case they do not realize has cash in it. So down on their luck, they are out of money and don’t know what to do when they find the case and use it to buy crazy things like bright orange and blue suits. They accidentally kill a man, drive to cold Aspen on a scooter and practically freeze, and have some of the craziest altercations one could have all while being complete idiots. It is literally one of the funniest movies of all time and few things come close. At the box office, it saw huge success at $247 million. All of this on a mere $17 million budget.
3. The Waterboy
Whatever Momma says, Momma gets. Well, most of the time. Adam Sandler plays Bobby Boucher, a young man who gets a job as a waterboy for a local college, where he works for free to give the football players good water. He is very particular about his water, how its made, and what it does to make it refreshing for the players. He is very adamant about the water due to his father supposedly dying of dehydration in the Peace Corps, which we find out later did not actually happen. Bobby gets picked on a lot due to being different, and when Coach Klein sees this he tells Bobby to stand up for himself. One day Bobby gets picked on and he doesn’t like it, so he tackles one of the football players in a rage of anger. When Coach Klein sees this, he begs to get Bobby on the team.
They try to talk to Momma about it, but she claims “fooseball is the debil!” and doesn’t allow Bobby to do it. We later find she does this because she does not want to lose her son. Yet he does anyway and helps the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs win for the first time in years. The film follows Bobby as he goes to college and handles his anger along with balancing a new social life and trying to hide it all from his Momma. The film is hilarious and every 90’s kid probably ranks it high on their list of greatest comedies they grew up on. It performed relatively well at the box office, seeing just over $180 million.
2. Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire is a film that follows Daniel Hillard, played by Robin Williams, who is a voice actor that ends up quitting his job over an argument with his boss. He loves his children and is a great father, but his wife Miranda, played by Sally Field, considers him unreliable. After a big argument, she files for divorce which devastates Daniel. His now ex-wife looks for a sitter to watch her kids which allow Daniel to swoop in and play the character of Mrs. Doubtfire.
He wears a suit complete with breasts and uses a Scottish female accent to play the older, experienced nanny. He has to keep his identity a secret in order to stay with his family. Throughout all of this, he has to get closer to his kids while also attempting to get his wife back as well. The movie is made for families but it has classic Robin Williams secret vulgar work too. In fact, it is said that Robin made so many dirty jokes that you could make an entirely new film based on the ones that were cut. They did leave some in, however. The movie is great and probably one of the late Robin Williams’ best work. It did massive numbers at the box office, going over $440 million at a time in which movies did not perform as well as they did now. Tickets were cheaper too. If adjusted for inflation, it could have gotten near or crossed one billion dollars.
1. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
Jim Carrey was an all-star in the 90s, as the man could not make a bad film in that decade. Possibly his best film might be the second instalment in the Ace Ventura franchise When Nature Calls. Ace has to find a bat for a tribe, as they believe another one stole it. Ace has to go to Africa to find the bat, of whom he is not a fan of. Little does Ace know, the man that hired him is the very same man who wants the tribes to fight. Ace has to find a way to not only stop the tribes from fighting but also make sure to get the bat back to where it is supposed to be.
Throughout the film, Ace makes you laugh more than you can handle it. He shoots spitballs at a man trying to balance for days in order to move up in his tribe. He basically is birthed from a Rhino. He then has fun with elephants, has altercations with the competing tribe, etc. This film is a true laugh-out-loud piece from Jim Carrey, whose finest comedic performances happened here. It may be the best comedy of the 90s, but it could very well go down as one of the top five best comedies ever. It clocked over $212 million at the box office, despite initial low ratings from so-called “experts.” It is now played on television just to get ratings during low periods. Seems it did alright.
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