Even if lockdown and social distancing rules have been loosened where you live, you may still feel that there’s just something not quite right about throwing a house party in the times of Covid. This is probably not a good time to invite judgement from your neighbours, nor potentially invite suspect germs into your home from a friend of a friend of a friend’s +1. So how about we just stick to something manageable – movie night! Keep the guest list cozy, say 10 or under, but make an event out of it. Set up the projector with a few twinkle lights, get the movie snacks ready, maybe a few bottles of vino, but most importantly, have a fun movie prepared. We’re talking movies that keep spirits high, trigger memories of the good times, prompt you to yell out the best lines, laugh at corny moments and throw popcorn at the screen. Whether it’s girls night, guys night, couples night or a cinema for one, we’ve put together a list of recommendations for all occasions; from comedy classics and epic adventure to forgotten 90s flicks and a few “so-bad-so-good”. We can’t guarantee you haven’t seen a few of them, but we are betting that you’ll be intrigued to re-watch most of them. In no particular order…
1. Death Becomes Her
In 1992, Death Becomes Her was overlooked in the box office, but we were bewitched by the lavish and wild black comedy with cartoonish flair and manic energy, starring none other than Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis.
Tom at his cutest, charms his way through this silly but loveable 80s movie. Esquire magazine says: “In case you haven’t seen Cocktail, or haven’t seen it in a while, you should know it’s kind of insane. It takes place in three acts, across New York and Jamaica. Cruise’s character is a working-class guy from Queens, who’s striving to become an ’80s era yuppie, yet he settles for a relatively quiet life owning a small bar and raising a family—an enormous shift his character makes in a few minutes. There’s a suicide. There’s a waterfall sex scene…But I love the movie. Tom Cruise remains the most exuberant actor on the screen, and in Cocktail he’s at his second-most exuberant, behind only Jerry Maguire.”
3. Singing in the rain
Our favourite of all the technicolour musicals. The songs, the costumes, the dancing, it never, ever gets old.
4. My Cousin Vinny
Arguably one of the greatest romantic pairings in cinematic history, Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci are magnetic throughout. There aren’t many who’ve seen this movie that don’t count it among their top 10 favourite films of all time. And they’ve probably memorised a lot of the best lines too – it tends to be competition amongst other fans of the film who can recite Marisa Tomei’s deer rant perfectly. Think Goodfellas meets To Kill a Mockingbird, two wise-talking city slickers take on small town America and hilarity ensues.
5. Boogie nights
We’re not insinuating that your movie night turn into a swingers party or anything, but man, the 70s looked wild.
6. Sister Act
Whoopi Goldberg is even funnier than you’ll remember. And try not to all sing-along, we dare you. You can also set up a marathon and watch the sequel starring Lauryn Hill, which is also a nostalgic delight for 90s kids.
7. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
There was a forum that went viral on Reddit titled: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a Goddamn Masterpiece. One commenter wrote, “I know this is probably a given for most of you, but when I was younger I hated this movie for some reason. I just watched it air on TV and holy shit do I appreciate it so much more. The amount of effort and quality in this movie is amazing, and something that’s rarely seen today imo. What a fantastic movie, I have to buy it for my collection now”.
8. Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion
“Umm, I invented Post-Its.”
So many funny lines in this movie, plus the fashion is amazing. And don’t forget that Cyndi Lauper dance sequence.
You’ll even find another film recommendation within this film: “You know, even though we’ve seen Pretty Woman like 36 times, I never get tired of making fun of it.”
9. The Room
Tommy Wiseau’s cult hit is often championed as the worst movie ever made. It’s so bad it became a Hollywood phenomenon and a follow up movie was made about its creator starring James Franco. If you’re going to watch The Room, you have to watch it with friends and prepare for the twilight zone.
10. That Thing You Do!
One of Hollywood’s most overlooked light-hearted comedies, written, directed by, and co-starring the great Tom Hanks. Its the story of a rock group in the 60’s that makes it big with a popular song. The vintage scenery and costumes are a treat and see if this clip doesn’t get you into a great mood already…
11. Working Girl
The insane 80s hair, make-up and fashion, the brilliant Joan Cusack and a dreamy young Harrison Ford – all very good reasons to make this your girls night film of choice.
12. The Mask of Zorro
A throwback to the old days of action adventure serials of the 30s and 40s, the film has an old school charm, a kind of swashbuckling adventure that Hollywood just doesn’t make anymore. It’s not the greatest action/adventure film of all time, but it’s super entertaining and fun. We think you’ll find it still holds up.
13. A View To Kill
It’s generally not considered the best Bond film by critics but we’d argue that the movie has so much tongue-and-cheek that it puts it on the level of an Austin Powers-esque parody – which of course makes it so much fun to watch, regardless of quality. A View to Kill was Roger Moore’s last outing as James Bond in 1985 and it’s almost comical that he’s just slightly too old to still be playing the part. The film also stars Grace Jones and Christopher Walken as highly memorable villains. It’s packed with highly entertaining action sequences: Bond chasing Jones up the Eiffel Tower and across Paris, fire truck races and duels on a Zeppelin airship.
Oh and there’s that awesome Duran Duran soundtrack.
“What is this? A center for ANTS?”
Described as one of the smartest dumb comedies ever made, this is Ben Stiller at his best.
15. Tin Cup
Having re-watched this very recently, we can confirm that this Kevin Costner 90s rom-com absolutely holds up. Costner and Russo are completely charming and the golf US Open storyline really gets the audience cheering on the film.
16. Coming to America
A great film that displays Eddie Murphy’s comedic genius, and was his first film playing multiple roles as Akeem, a Barber, and even old Jewish man in a Queen’s barber shop. And can we talk about the amazing pastel and pre-Wes Anderson set design in “Zamunda”. Also, if you haven’t seen another one of Eddie’s classics: Trading Places, add it to the list too.
The bizarre 1980 attempt to combine a classic musical with the roller-disco is absolutely worth watching just for the visuals. It stars Olivia Newton John and the legend Gene Kelly, both on roller skates of course, drowned by a haze of lilac neon lights. The original trailer for Xanadu is as much a work of art as the entire film is. Glorious. And pretty hilarious too.
18. Jurassic Park
Do it for Jeff Goldblum.
19. Drop Dead Gorgeous
Nobody talks about Drop Dead Gorgeous but its a pretty awesome movie. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Kirstie Alley, Denise Richards, Britney Murphy and a young Amy Adams, it follows a small-town Minnesotan beauty pageant whose contestants are being killed off one-by-one. It’s a Mockumentary black comedy, firmly grounded in late 90s culture.
20. Con Air
If only to be a little provocative with your movie choices! If we’re gonna do a 90s action movie, we have to talk about Con Air. It has a love-hate relationship with audiences across the globe, some claim it’s one the greatest films ever made, while others feel very strongly repelled by the Nicholas Cage blockbuster which also stars Dave Chappelle, Steve Buscemi, John Malcovich and John Cusack. Obviously you can’t take Nicholas Cage (or his hair) seriously, but the divide of audience opinion is sure to make movie night particularly entertaining. Feel free to throw popcorn at the screen or simply be entertained. Or just go with something safer like Independence Day.
21. Dirty Dancing
This might seem way too obvious a choice and, ladies, you may have watched this a million times in your youth, but have you watched it together with all your girlfriends?
22. Hot Shots!
A classic spoof movie starring Charlie Sheen. Part Deux is also a must.
If you’re having a wine night with friends, this is kinda perfect.
24. The First Wives Club
We’ve heard there’s a Hollywood reboot in the works for this movie – time to relive the classic moments with Goldie, Bette and Diane.
25. The Bodyguard
Great soundtracks have the power to make a movie. And the power to make everyone sing-a-long.
26. Jerry Maguire
It’s almost 25 years since that movie came out… and the only thing that’s dated is the beepers and call only cellphones. The rest of the movie is fresh, beautiful and totally loveable.
27. The Craft
Relive all the moments you tried to do a séance with your girlfriends in high school.
28. Steve Zissou’s Life Acquatic
This a movie that people REALLY like or dislike. We’re taking the chance that if you’re an MNC reader, you love it (and probably can’t fully explain why). Both Bill Murray and Owen Wilson are highly amusing to watch in our opinion. We’re adding it to our list because it’s our guess that most of your movie night guests won’t have seen it.
A recommendation for the guys! The zero-gravity strip tease, the shag carpet in the interior of the space-ship – this movie is definitely a product of it’s own time. Jane Fonda is insanely gorgeous in this movie and Milo O’ Shea is delightfully campy as Durand Durand. (Trivia: This movie is how the 80s band Duran Duran got their name). We just love how batshit ridiculous it is.
30. Mean Girls
Every now and then, a movie comes along that does a great job of reflecting teenage culture of that time period and Mean Girls did just that, with a whole lot of Tina Fey’s satire. It resonates best with kids who went to high school from about 2003-2006 – so only advisable for a rewatch if that’s your era. There are some golden quotes too.
31. Saturday Night Fever
The music and the dance scenes are what makes it iconic. It’s gritty and dark but also really corny and disco. Also if you really want a laugh, watch the 80s sequel Staying Alive. It’s hilarious but for the completely wrong reasons. (Also Sylvestor Stallone directed it!)
32. Mars Attacks
As a kid, it probably scared the crap out of you – and you probably didn’t even understand the humor (says this 80s baby). Re-watch it as an adult and it’s an entirely different movie – and in hindsight, Mars Attacks doesn’t really get enough love. The number of big name actors that were cast is absolutely absurd too. For that time, and for a Tim Burton film, you’ll be shocked by how many of the biggest actors and actresses signed on for this film.
33. Willy Wonka
Just because it’s fun to re-watch your favourite childhood movies with your friends as a grown-up.
A funny, cutting, and poignant film from an American moment defined by shifting social and sexual identities. The backstory behind it makes it even better and worth re-watching:
35. When Harry Met Sally
This has aged super well in terms of avoiding creepy male behavior patterns that masquerade as sexy which vintage rom coms tend to do. It also feels like we’re watching real people, which is also not the strong suit of many romantic comedies. Meg Ryan’s orgasm scene is obviously iconic but your guests are guarantee to lose it during Billy Crystal’s monologue at the NYE party at the end. Oh and there’s a sequel too. When Harry Met Sally: Day of the Soldado.
36. Grease 2
If you want to go for the original Grease, suit yourself, but this one is so much easier to make fun of, which is of course, half the fun of watching it.
37. Spice World
Don’t be embarrassed! This movie is one of those weird things that could only exist in the confines of the 90’s; some view of western culture filtered through a funhouse mirror. Pure nostalgia for 90s kids and the (spice) girls were definitely in on the joke, which makes it all the better.
38. Purple Rain
Prince: alive and in his prime is enough to watch it alone. While the politics don’t hold up very well, this is an oddly alluring and charming movie that crosses the line between narrative film and concert movie. Obviously, the soundtrack is everything, best enjoyed with fellow-Prince lovers and a few glasses of wine.
For 90s kids, we don’t even need to justify this cult classic, but those out of its target audience will find the movie surprisingly self-aware. Many fans are unaware themselves that it follows the plot of Jane Austen’s Emma pretty closely, but Clueless fans will delight in showing this one to non-fans, who usually find it pretty funny.
40. Honey I Shrunk the Kids
One from childhood you’ve likely forgotten that still holds up with that 80s movie magic.
41. Bridget Jones Diary
A solid choice for girls night and the soundtrack is highly energising.
42. Cruel Intentions (or the original)
Reminisce on all that teen angst. Cruel Intentions is actually an adaptation of the 1988 movie, Dangerous Liaisons, starring John Malcovich, Uma Thurman and Glenn Close, which is perhaps the more sophisticated alternative.
43. Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon Dynamite deserves more credit for being a pioneer in today’s obscure humor. Watch it again and you might realize that Napoleon Dynamite is perhaps more of a documentary than a comedy. Very slow small towns, subtle nods to Mormonism.
The Scream movies revitalized the horror genre of franchises like Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm St, which were pretty much dead by the 90s. Relive that iconic opening scene with Drew Barrymore, and reconnect with 90s favourites like Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell.
45. Basic Instinct
Watch it purely because it hasn’t exactly held up so well, which actually makes it all the more surprising and entertaining if you re-watch with friends. This was one of the biggest movies of the decade, but the iconic thriller has almost become an amusing parody of its own genre over the last 20 years.
If you haven’t seen it in years, you’ll appreciate how good all the supporting comedic actors are all over the place. You’ll realize that it a little weird that the Saturday morning cartoon has Beetlejuice and Lydia as friends, when Beetlejuice is actually a murdering pervert. Nevertheless! Baldwin and Davis are great. Keaton is amazing in it. The music is perfect
47. Magic Mike
Curve ball: husbands tend to enjoy this movie more than their wives.
48. 10 Things I Hate About You
Can also confirm that this 90s rom com holds up some 20 years later. And in fact, the jokes are much funnier, dirtier and inappropriate than you remember them being.
David Bowie had us at hello.
What a fun movie! If it’s your first time, you’ll be wishing you watched as a kid too.
Make Martinis and light up a few cigars. If only to imagine what nightclubs in the 80s were like.