Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 September 2020

From 'Clueless' to 'Seven': 24 of the best '90s films you can stream online in the UAE

From family-friendly classics to dark thrillers, these movies have gained cult viewing status in the following decades

'The Sixth Sense', 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion' and 'My Best Friend's Wedding' are among the '90s films available on UAE streaming platforms. Getty Images
'The Sixth Sense', 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion' and 'My Best Friend's Wedding' are among the '90s films available on UAE streaming platforms. Getty Images

For those of us who lived through them, it's unsettling to know the '90s started three decades ago.

The dungarees, hair glitter and Tamagotchis feel like they happened only a few years ago, don't they?

But alas, the decade that spawned thousands of pop culture references is almost historic by Gen Z standards.

But whether you remember them like they were yesterday or are keen to gain a deeper understanding of exactly what all these '90s children are talking about, one way to reminisce is with the era's films.

Whether explosive action films, cult comedies or fantasies that have stood the test of time, a number of the decade's best movies are available to stream online here in the UAE.

We round up some of the ones to add to your must-watch list now.

1. 'Clueless' (1995), Netflix

Is this the era's peak romantic comedy? Perhaps so. Still referenced decades later, whether in Iggy Azalea's Fancy music video or any time anyone wears a chequered skirt suit, this coming-of-age tale is based on Cher Horowitz, a wealthy and popular high schooler who befriends a new student – played by Brittany Murphy – and decides to give her a glamorous makeover. Also starring Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone in the lead role, Clueless is a perfect snapshot of teen life in Beverly Hills.

2. 'The Matrix' (1999), Netflix

This mind-bending sci-fi, another chapter of which is set to be released next year, changed the face of the genre as we once knew it. In the dystopian fantasy written and directed by the Wachowskis, Keanu Reeves stars as hacker Neo in a world where what we know as real life is actually a simulated reality. The world has been overthrown by robots that use human bodies as batteries. Neo becomes unplugged from the "matrix", where he bands together with a group of rebels led by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne).

3. 'Good Will Hunting' (1997), Netflix

In this drama, which launched the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the former plays the titular character, a mathematical genius and felon who works as a caretaker at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When his talent becomes unearthed, and a fist fight lands him in jail, Hunting must commit to therapy sessions in order to be released under the watchful eye of an MIT professor. Robin Williams scored a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn as empathetic therapist Dr Sean Maguire, while Damon and Affleck won Best Original Screenplay for their self-penned script.

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4. 'Hocus Pocus' (1993), Starzplay

It doesn't have to be Halloween for you to watch this spooky comedy-horror, in which Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy play three Salem witches brought back to life by local teen Max. As the trio try to bewitch the town's children to give up their lives so they might stay young, Max, together with his little sister, high-school crush and a talking black cat, must thwart their every move. Midler's mid-movie rendition of I Put a Spell on You is still as enthralling today as it was in 1993.

5. 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' (1995), OSN Streaming

The Die Hard franchise may have started in 1988, but the third instalment is, arguably, its best. That is in no small part due to the introduction of Zeus Carver (Samuel L Jackson), a store owner who helps police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) on a deadly treasure hunt around New York, as the pair try to stop a terrorist bombing. The punchlines are as explosive as the action in this proper popcorn blockbuster.

6. 'Notting Hill' (1999), Starzplay

This Richard Curtis-penned classic stars Hugh Grant at his bumbling, British best as William, a bookshop-owner who inadvertently becomes romantically entangled with Anna, an A-list American actress played to perfection by Julia Roberts. This archetypal romcom is the easiest of watches, like a big Hollywood hug, and Rhys Ifans in his breakout role as William's flatmate is nothing short of ingenious.

7. 'Jurassic Park' (1993), Netflix

This Steven Spielberg classic, based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, spawned a franchise that continues to this day. This adventure flick is set on a fictional island where a rich businessman and a team of scientist have managed to bring back species of dinosaur from extinction. However, a theme park filled with T-rexes and velociraptors is bound to spiral into chaos, as it dutifully does, with Sam Neill and Laura Dern forced to rescue the businessman's grandchildren from dinos on the loose.

8. 'Schindler's List' (1993), Starzplay

It might be a heart-rending, difficult watch, but it's also an important story that must be remembered. This Spielberg-directed historical drama tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman credited with saving the lives of more than 1,000 Jewish people during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. The stirring film, which stars Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, ended up winning seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score.

9. 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion' (1997), OSN Streaming

This cult comedy stars Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino as two best friends who face returning to their high-school reunion having precious little to show for their lives since graduating. So, the two spin an impressive lie to boast to their fellow alumni, only for it all to unravel on the night. For anyone who went to high school, particularly one rich in cliques, there'll be a lot of nostalgia created by this one.

10. 'Bad Boys' (1995), Netflix

If you're in the mood for some action distraction, this shoot-'em-up cop flick, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as two Miami police officers, should fit the bill. The pair of detectives have only 72 hours to recover $100 million worth of drugs, and are forced to switch identities in order to get a witness on board. Fun fact: this was Michael Bay's directorial debut.

11. 'Forrest Gump' (1994), Netflix

In a seminal performance that scored him an Oscar for Best Actor, Tom Hanks plays the titular character, a kind-hearted man who inadvertently stumbles through some of the 20th century's most monumental moments, all while trying to find a way back to his childhood sweetheart.

12. 'The First Wives Club' (1996), OSN Streaming

It's one of those films touted to watch after a break-up, but there's really no time this comedy won't be enjoyable. The stellar trio of Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler play three divorced women seeking revenge on their husbands, who all left them for younger women. Highlighting the power of friendship in helping to overcome heartbreak, it's a witty watch that will also leave the song You Don't Own Me stuck in your head for days.

13. 'My Best Friend's Wedding' (1997), Starzplay

How is this cult romcom 23 years old? Julia Roberts stars as Jules, a food critic who realises she's in love with her best friend, played by Dermot Mulroney ... after he announces he's engaged to be married. Jules then plots to break up her pal and his fiancee (Cameron Diaz), all the while faking her own relationship in an effort to make her unrequited love, well, requited.

14. 'Dumb and Dumber' (1994), Netflix

If you're in the mood for some mindless distraction, this goofy film will do just that. (And if you're not a fan of silly, slightly dated comedies, perhaps give this one a miss). Jim Carrey – in peak Jim Carrey-ness – and Jeff Daniels play two friends who embark on a cross-country journey to reunite a briefcase full of money with its rightful owner, not realising they've stumbled into a kidnap plot.

15. '10 Things I Hate About You' (1999), Starzplay

This teen romcom launched the career of Heath Ledger, as well as revived Andy Williams's hit Can't Take My Eyes Off You. The Australian actor stars as Patrick Verona, a rebellious expat high-school student, paid to woo the sister of a fellow student’s love interest. However, Verona soon falls for the object of his (remunerated) affections, played by Julia Stiles – just as she discovers the reason behind his out-of-the-blue attention.

16. 'The Green Mile' (1999), OSN Streaming

This hard-hitting drama, based on Stephen King's novel, comes with a side of fantasy, centring on a death-row inmate (Michael Clarke Duncan) with supernatural gifts. Tom Hanks plays a corrections officer who notices the prisoner's talents, and delves deeper to discover if he really committed the crime he's been convicted of.

17. 'Goodfellas' (1990), Netflix

Much like The Godfather or Scarface, this is just one of those mob crime dramas you should watch at some point in your lifetime. The Martin Scorsese-directed film, which stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta, charts the rise and fall of a mafia associate, as well as his friends and family, over 25 years.

18. 'The Sixth Sense' (1999), Starzplay

Even if you haven't seen this psychological thriller, you probably still know its most famous line: "I see dead people." Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist whose young patient reveals he can communicate with the spirits of those who have died. As you'd expect from an M Night Shyamalan film, prepare for plenty of twists and turns along the way.

19. 'Big Daddy' (1999), Netflix

We couldn't make a round-up of '90s films without including one of its stalwarts, could we? Adam Sandler epitomised the cinematic era with the likes of The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, but comedy Big Daddy is a particular favourite. Sandler plays Sonny, an aimless adult who finds himself raising his flatmate's five-year-old son. Mayhem ensues as Sonny develops unorthodox parenting techniques, before he starts to turn things around.

20. 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994), Starzplay

This drama, based on a Stephen King novella, follows the story of banker Andy (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover. Over the next two decades, Andy – who has always maintained his innocence – develops a money-laundering operation with prison staff, while also trying to overturn his conviction.

21. 'Seven' (1995), Netflix

This classic but creepy David Fincher thriller centres on a soon-to-retire detective, played by Morgan Freeman, who teams up with a new-to-town detective (Brad Pitt) to find a serial killer using the seven deadly sins as inspiration for his crimes. It's a dark, brooding watch that might have you reaching for the pillow to cover your eyes at times.

22. 'Armageddon' (1998), Starzplay

Don't expect a lot of workable, scientific fact, but this sci-fi apocalypse film is big on action and adventure. Bruce Willis plays a deep-sea oil driller, who leads a team of fellow drillers – who are definitely not astronauts – to try and take down a world-ending-sized asteroid headed for Earth. Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi and Billy Bob Thornton round out the A-list cast in this critically panned film, which has achieved cult viewing status in the years following its release.

23. 'Air Force One' (1997), OSN Streaming

This is a prime example of a classic '90s action film, starring perennial action hero Harrison Ford along with Gary Oldman and Glenn Close. Ford plays US president Marshall who finds himself, as well as his family, advisors and a number of journalists, held hostage mid-air on the presidential plane. the president has to use his military background to try to outsmart the hijackers and save those onboard.

24. 'Girl, Interrupted' (1999), Starzplay

This drama scored Angelina Jolie an Oscar, Bafta and Screen Actors Guild Award for her turn as Lisa Rowe, a patient at Claymoore psychiatric hospital. She befriends new intake Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, teaching the teenager and her fellow patients how to manipulate the system before events take a dark, dark turn.

Updated: May 11, 2020 05:00 PM

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