1. “Billy Madison”
A millionaire’s son exposes the absurdity of our country’s educational system while struggling to keep his mind from being destroyed by alcoholism.
2. “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”
This delicate homage to 1960s espionage fiction urges its protagonist (and viewers) to reject the intoxicating pull of nostalgia while also reconsidering global dominance in a post-Cold War political landscape.
3. “The Nutty Professor”
In a breathtakingly bold acting performance, Eddie Murphy attempts to answer the age-old quandary of whether science should allow us to “play God,” portraying multiple characters in the process.
4. “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”
Couched in neo-noir elements, this film challenges our accepted norms of gender identity and the bond between animal and man.
5. “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”
This liberal retelling of the Jason and the Argonauts myth simultaneously bemoans and celebrates materialism (symbolized here as a bicycle) while expressing confusion over our country’s violent past, namely the Battle of the Alamo.
Can a dog be human? Can humans coexist with dogs? What happens to family dynamics when an animal is introduced to the home? Who is more human—a loving dog or a thieving man? All these difficult questions are explored here.
7. “Home Alone”
Abandoned by his family, Kevin McCallister quickly turns feral in what is perhaps the most chilling depiction of children’s self-preservation instincts since “Lord of the Flies”.