Oh God, not another ’90s themed listicle. Fault me all you want for writing it, but when you’re done chastising me, take a good look at yourself through the hazy glow of whatever screen it is you’re reading this on. What are you even doing here right now?
You’re here because you remember the ’90s. You’re here because there’s a movie from your past, one you’re able to recall more vividly and fondly than any of the banality that comes with adult life, and you’re seeking validation from this list. Or you’re planning on calling me an asshole in the comments.
Brand-peddler emeritus Don Draper would have you know you’re here because of nostalgia. “It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone,” he’d say. “It takes us to a place where we ache to go again,” he’d say. “I think my cigarettes are over there, underneath your underwear,” he’d say.
So without further ado, let’s mine some of that nostalgic #content, shall we?
Which ’90s movie best encapsulates family drama?
In his 1998 picture Dirty Work, Norm MacDonald plays down on his luck ne’er-do-well Mitch Weaver, a man who has just been fired from his job as a delivery driver at a pizza joint, and a self-proclaimed “taker of no crap from anyone.” Joined by pal Sam McKenna, a scene-stealing role if there ever was one turned in by legendary method actor Artie Lange, Mitch decides to turn his life’s motto into a business, hoping to earn enough money to pay off Chevy Chase’s crooked doctor character so he’ll perform a heart transplant on Sam’s ailing father. I’ll spare you the spoilers, but along the way Mitch and Sam learn a lot about themselves, and each other, in this touching comedy that shines a light on new-age familial roles.
What’s the best sports movie of the ’90s?
In his 1998 flick Dirty Work, the aforementioned Norm MacDonald, as glorified grifter Mitch Weaver, unearths a secret from his past. I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t seen this cinematic masterpiece but…eh, to hell with it. Mitch finds out his best friend Sam’s dad, a gruff old whoremonger named Pops, is also his dad. Pops, an ex-boxer, instilled in young Mitch a credo that he shouldn’t take crap from anyone. There’s also a scene where a bunch of lackeys eat non-FDA-approved brownies and hallucinate a fight between Ken Norton and Gary Coleman, which technically qualifies this as a boxing film.
What’s the best buddy cop movie of the ’90s?
In his 1998 film noir Dirty Work, Norm MacDonald’s character Mitch Weaver, joined by his pal Sam McKenna (Artie Lange) trick a bunch of rugby-shirted frat boys into thinking the cops that show up at their house aren’t really cops, but fake cops as part a prank being played by them on a rival frat. The real cops show up at their house, so the frat boys start kicking the shit out of them, thinking they’re actually fake cops, but then Mitch and Sam, dressed as cops, kick the shit out of the frat boys before they’re arrested. Four stars.
What’s the best Adam Sandler movie of the ’90s?
Every skilled comedic craftsman takes a turn in a cameo role, and for Adam Sandler, that role was as himself in the 1998 Norm MacDonald joint Dirty Work.
Wait a second, is this whole thing just an excuse for you to talk about Dirty Work?
Yes, yes it is.
Fuck you, man. I’m a fan of the classics. I don’t have time for this nonsense.
Oh, you like the classics? How about Don Giovanni, the famous Italian opera that documents the exploits of noted lothario Don Juan? Would that interest you? Well, friend, no performance of Don Giovanni was more captivating, more spellbinding, than the one portrayed in the 1998 masterpiece of the silver screen Dirty Work. If you’re looking for an authentic portrait of what 17th century libertinism was like, look no further than Pops, onstage in his hospital gown, chasing around an unsuspecting soprano.
Let’s talk about the best on-screen use of a personal recording device in a ’90s movie for a second.
Dirty Work > Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Let’s move on.
This is the former Mrs. John Stamos with a beard. That is all.
What about romance? Will my significant other enjoy this movie?
Romance? Dirty Work has it. In spades. Dogs loving dogs. Skunks loving dogs. Actresses from “2 Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place” loving baggy shirt aficionado Norm MacDonald.
Does that mean your significant other will enjoy it? I’m not here to judge your taste in lovers, compadre. But if ever there was a movie that could serve as a litmus test for your compatibility with another human, Norm MacDonald’s 1998 picture show Dirty Work is it.
So Norm MacDonald wears baggy shirts, huh?
Nothing is more ’90s than Norm MacDonald’s shirts.
I take that back.
This credit, which precedes a clip of “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye blind, is peak ’90s.
Do you have any idea how hard an old man can squeeze a pair of balls?
Pro tip: when you’ve recently found out your best friend’s ex-boxer father is also your father, and he’s the kind of guy who wears a locket around his neck that houses a picture of him copulating with your mother, and he asks you not to tell your best friend that you’re actually brothers, well…you listen to him.
That’s all well and good, but I’m still not sold on this being a good movie.
Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. On good days, you’re invincible, and the world seems to revolve around you like you’re its celestial center. On bad days, you’re aimless, adrift, and the only thing that can anchor you down from floating into the rudder of life’s trash barge are the friends you’ve been lucky enough to make along the way. Hold on to those friendships. Keep them inside your heart. Because those friends will be there for you, and you for them, when you need each other the most. And if they happen to be taking a squirt on someone while you’re mid-heart-to-heart? Well, you stand by them when a piss drenched maniac comes seeking vengeance. Pretty sure that’s in The Bible.
I can’t make you love Dirty Work as much as I do, and I can’t force you to watch it, and no network will fulfill my wish to have it play for 24 straight hours on Christmas Day. So here’s the tl;dr version.