10 Mad Max Fury Road
A desert highway where speed-loving racers in souped-up cars drive precariously and dangerously with scant regard for fellow motorists. Does that sound familiar to you? A simple trip to the mall can sometimes feel like a dystopian dash for survival on Dubai roads, but if you just follow the rules of the road and stay away from sabre-wielding biker gangs, you should be okay.
9 The Revenant
Leonardo DiCaprio’s wilderness trapper was made of stern stuff in this hotly tipped survival thriller. While you’re unlikely to come across any bears or native ambushes on a Dubai camping trip, there is a lesson to be learned about packing enough provisions. Too many times we’ve taken ourselves out to a remote camping spot only to realise we left cool boxes at home and felt the need to go on a rough country rampage.
8 The Big Short
The depths of complex financial information and theoretical economics in this highly entertaining comedy drama are enough to make us swoon. But the details boil down to the fact that a lot of people tried to get very rich, very quick, by toying with real estate investments in the middle of the past decade. If you’ve heard that story before you’ll probably also know that it doesn’t end well and the simple takeaway lesson is that there is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to investments.
7 Silence of the Lambs
Do you find yourself going to the same restaurants, ordering the same dishes and dining with the same people over and over again? Take a leaf from Dr Hannibal Lecter’s book in this 1991 Academy Award winner. The cultured doctor eschews boring dining conventions and takes an adventurous approach that we can all understand. We don’t condone a cannibal serial killer, but we do appreciate his willingness to try something different from the kitchen.
6 Forrest Gump
“Life,” says Tom Hanks’ eponymous Oscar winner, “Is like a box of chocolates”. His reasoning, as you will remember, is because you never know what you’re going to get. It is a lesson that carries well into a brunch. You set off with the best intention of selecting only carvery and a small bit of salad, but return to the table five minutes later when your plate groans under the weight of curry, sushi, mini-burgers and, ironically, half a box of chocolates, too.
5 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
If you surround yourself with crazy people then you might go a little crazy yourself. Escape the mad situations as much as you can to stay sane.
4 The Apartment
It might be more than 50 years old and set in New York not Dubai, but the basic ideas of bosses being tricky and good real estate being hard to find are timeless struggles. Watch it now and you will be reminded of the monumental importance of having good flatmates.
Sylvester Stallone’s heavyweight character was a hopeless nobody at the start of the film, with no real chance of making anything of his life or achieving anything special. All it took was a few urban workouts and some inner-city bootcamps and before you know it, he’s winning titles. You can’t move in parts of Dubai for personal trainers barking motivational orders. Sign up for a class and reinvent yourself.
2 The Godfather Part II
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, teaches Al Pacino in the Best Picture-winning mafia sequel. This was a man who obviously tried to join an orderly queue in a Dubai supermarket. Managing the line and making sure pushers-in are kept in check with a suitably steely glare are all part of daily life for Dubaians.
If you’re sailing through troubled waters, keep an eye out for icebergs. This wisdom works as a metaphor for life, but it’s also of huge practical use if you’re ever in charge of an ocean liner. But probably not much use in the Arabian Sea.
Will Milner is a frequent contributor. He is an anti-hero.