Hello, Spongey here.
Well, today I get to cap off something I started a long time ago. Something I never thought I’d truly finish. I am of course referring to the most ambitious goal any person can have: Watching every single Disney Channel Movie ever made.
Jokes aside, this is something I didn’t think I’d really do. I did my first review of one with 16 Wishes way back in 2012 and got more serious about reviewing them in 2013 with my first DCOM month. I did a bunch and even by the time 2020 rolled around I had seen over half of them.
At the start of this year, I noticed I only had like 30 left or so, and thank to Disney+, it was much easier to get to most of those. Thus, over on Letterboxd I reviewed the rest of those, so now I can say I have both seen and reviewed all of them in some form. Although fair warning, The Jennie Project, Jett Jackson, and Under Wraps are not on Disney+ for whatever reason. At least Radio Rebel is on Netflix.
Anyway, I figured the best way to celebrate this is to look back at what we’ve been through here. There’s been over 100 in the 20 year span of these and I’ve been through a lot. As you all know by now, I have a soft spot for them, past and present that makes me more tolerant of the weaker stuff.
Looking back, I’d say the average quality is at least fine. It has shifted over time, an earlier one is likely to be better thought yet more likely to be forgettable. I would recommend not binging them as hard as I did near the end, especially if you’re left with all the boring spots movies.
Now that it’s all over, it’s time for me to go over the best and worst ones thee had to offer. Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun. So, which DCOMs managed to shine the brightest or fail the most? At least in my opinion. Let’s take a look.
This, is my Top 5 Least Favorite and Favorite Disney Channel Original Movies
I feel like most people are more exciting for this half. Don’t get too excited though. Looking it over, I actually didn’t rate 5 lower than 2.5, which may surprise you. I don’t know, a lot of the ones people would go harder on, I found enough to like for them not be rated too harshly. So I’m only hard on a few of these, most of them are just in the very weak camp.
I know with the reputation of these, you expected more anger but you won’t get as much o that here. Still, there’s enough problems with the weakest ones for me to do this. That said, which ones bugged me the most?
5. Ready to Run
This one kind of came out of nowhere near the end of my marathon. I wasn’t expecting that much out of it, just another fine but kind of dull type of DCOM. What I got instead was different and yet way weaker.
It’s clear that they are two types of DCOMS, the more down to earth “relastic” ones and the outlandish fantastical ones. The down to earth ones can sport more realistic stories but can also be boring especially if you’re not into the subject matter. The fantastical ones can be far more fun and creative but can also be stupider and annoying. This movie is what happens if you combine both types but don’t do either that well.
On one hand, you have a girl wanting to be a horse trainer because her dead father was one. There is some decent drama regarding that but most of it just dull and uninteresting. I kind of like the family at times but they don’t get as much focus as I wanted. I do recall enjoying the villain though.
On the other hoof, the girl discovers she can talk to her horses, with one of them being voiced by Sinbad. Yes. And those horses is rather annoying and most of the jokes there feel pretty lame and standard. It’s not impassible to combine these type of stories. Heck, I find that the fantastical DCOMs can sometimes pull off drama better. But the way this one does it feels do jarring. Each half is generally separate from scene to scene so it doesn’t feel cohesive as a whole.
Like, you have this guy going on about how the girl’s dad died…then you got her horse going on about how he has to pee. Doesn’t exactly gel together. The talking horse stuff isn’t super annoying per say, just not that funny.
And yet it’s not as horribly trainwreck-y as it should be based on all that. It’s mostly just boring, not going that far with either element. I almost wish it was wackier so it could at least embrace the absurdity more. I also wish the dramatic side had more going but alas, that’s not the case.
There are some decent moments that put it a bit above the rest of these, as it doesn’t go full trainwreck. I almost wish it did though so it at least be ironically fun like some others on here. Instead, it is messy but not even quite worth watching for the bile fascination factor. Perhaps a little but not a lot.
It has some parts I somewhat respect, which make it a tad better than it would be otherwise. But aside from that, it’s a below average mess where the two halves don’t connect very well and it ends up being weirdly forgettable despite how it odd it is. You can argue about some others being cynical or even messier but those tend to either have more things I like or at least be more interesting to talk about. Above of else, it’s just kind of boring.
Needless to say, I’m not ready to watch it again.
4. Camp Rock
This choice is an interesting one as, given my standards, it doesn’t really seem that deserving. It just seems like a typical movie from that era and that it would have enough charm for me to go easy on it. Yet at the time I reviewed it, I was a bit hard on it. Not super savage at all, but I was fairly critical in that review, going on about things feeling random and out of nowhere.
I was tossing and turning about the placement of this, so I decided to re-watch it. And the results that are that I am easier on it, but I still don’t really like it and feel fine putting it on here. It doesn’t do anyhing super horrible I suppose, it’s just an especially uninteresting one for me.
It starts out fine enough but once it gets more into the romance, I started losing interest. It’s pretty typical which on its own is fine but there’s not much to really relevant. The acting on both parts is fine but the chemistry is merely okay and the writing is also just okay on them.
When it gets into the groove of it, it’s just simply more dull than others but that’s it. I guess the stuff I pointed out is all true enough but when just watching for entertainment, it doesn’t quite bother me as much as the dull-ness does. Then comes the third act, where this starts feeling longer than it is.
The 3rd act break up feels especially flimsy here, as Shane shouldn’t care about this Demi told as much as he does. The Liar Revealed thing isn’t exactly a big turn off for me but in plenty of cases it can be tired and this is one such example. Them getting back just feels whatever and story ends up being so limp in the end.
There’ also that random bit with Tess breaking down and then seeming all happy in the finale song. It’s basically kind of the same as what they did with Sharpay but even more egregious since it hints at deeper issues that come out of nowhere and go nowhere.
On the positive end, Tess is a pretty fun alpha bitch with how far she goes for really no reason. Most of the songs are honestly better than I remembered, although nothing great. And finally, Alyson Stoner is pretty good here. And while it’s not a positive for this movie on its own, it least had a hugely improve sequel.
Seriously, the second one may not be better than simply decent but I’m still surprised at how much better it was. It may have some of its own problems but the story was built a bit better, it had more energy, far more memorable songs and that really surprisingly mature ending.
This first one on the other hand, is below average. There are some other DCOMs that are messier but honestly those are at least more interesting and become more fun to watch as a result. This has its charms to be sure, but as it goes along it becomes less interesting a bit sloppier.
The re-watch did make me like it a bit more but I’m still not big on it. And with the sequel being better, there’s not much reason to re-visit this one. I will give it this though: When it comes to Matthew Diamond movies, it’s way better than Oogieloves.
Never forget that they have the same director.
3, Can of Worms
This is an interesting one for me now. Back when I reviewed this, I didn’t like it that much and called it Meh. I was unsure where to rank this but while Camp Rock is more dull, it’s not like I expected much and had a bit more heart to some of it.
This one has a good premise for a fun romp but ends up being both too weird and too dull at the same time. Some of the aliens are just off putting and the main character was hard to get attached too because of how odd he is. His arc revolves around him not feeling like he fits and hoping he is actually an alien, waiting to go back to his home planet.
By the end, he is supposed to appreciate his home life and decide to stay. As it is, there’s no real transition and it just seems like he stays because the script says so, and also it would be weird given he is not an alien I guess. It’s not that good of an experience.
However, I noted it was based on a book, and went into how the author was a writer on the film but long story short, didn’t have a ton of control over it. Because no one else cares that much…I found it and read it. Linked above is my Goodreads review where I go into what is different and how the book compares.
The short version is that this may be one of the more faithful DCOMS based on a book, as it’s fairly close for the most part. It’s mostly small things that make it weaker. Like how Mike is easier to understand since it’s a first person POV and he comes across as not qutie as crazy. Plus, his arc has a better ending with a nice moment showing why he’s grown to appreciate his life more.
It’s easier to get some of the flaws of the film as some are in the book or it would have not been worth it to improve it. That said, it doesn’t make that much better. It still gets a bit too gross (the Horny Alien isn’t even in the book) and the main arc doesn’t land in comparison.
Honestly isn’t even better by a ton but it is better. Either way, the movie just wasn’t that good. It’s weird but not enough to be ironically fun, it’s mostly just dull with a weak main arc. It wants to be a weird romp with a grounded main arc but much like Ready to Run, it fails to make either side work all the way.
I’d say just read the book, it may not be better by a lot but it does a better job making Mike an understandable lead and the ending makes the main arc more satisfying as a whole. The film isn’t a huge train-wreck, but it’s not as fun as it could have been and it’s just not very good as a whole.
Overall, Can of Worms is one can of worms that’s not worth opening, but it is an interesting study in adaptation at least.
2. You Lucky Dog
Perhaps the most obvious pick as this seems to be the most unanimously dislikes ones from those have seen it. Honestly, this is likely objectively the worst one but I dislike my number one more.
There really isn’t much to add from my review, for once I got it right the first time. Basically, the movie has an absurd that goes to absurd places. Kirk Cameron plays a man who once had the power to talk to dogs and became a dog psychiatrist. The power faded away but he kept it up and it came back in time for him to help the dog a rich guy.
The rich guy dies and because his family is full of assholes, his dog gets his stuff with Kirk being placed as trustee because he helped the dog that one time. Yes, this is all real and it just gets wilder as it goes on. The way Kirk talks to the dog is weirdly portrayed, with the dog sort of possessing him and talking through him.
Looking back, having us just hear barks and Kirk get what the dog is saying works okay since they may just wanna drive home how crazy he looks or didn’t wanna have a voice for the dog. But that other aspect is just weird. Oh and speaking of making him look crazy, having everyone comment on how looks crazy gets old after a while.
There isn’t much as far as character arcs or anything like that which would be fine if the movie worked otherwise but nah. It’s just too dumb and Kirk is a jerk half the time and boring the other half, with everyone else just being there. There’s also an overbearng score and some weird out of nowhere dark elements.
This is a goofy movie where someone talks to a dog and also the villains murdered a guy.
Some of the actors like James Avery manage to be decent and have some funny lines at times but otherwise this is a sloppy mess. Speaking actors, remember how Dabney from Good Luck Charlie appears as a judge in this? She later appeared a judge in an episode It’s Always Sunny.
That’s…such an odd connection.
Because the movie is out there and dumb, it is ironically enjoyable. It can get repetitive at times but otherwise it is recommended if you something really stupid to make fun of. Plus, it is generally not anger inducing, just rather dumb.’
It is easily the messiest DCOM and the dumbest, which is saying something. It is possibly more ironically enjoyable than some others as a result but it doesn’t detract from how bad the film is otherwise.
It is easy to tell it is from the director of Can of Worms. It’s weird how they wanted him back after this and maybe he would have improved with more movies. As it stands, his two efforts were not so lucky to escape criticisms from me.
Finally, a cringey ending joke.
And my least favorite DCOM is..
1. Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars
Yes, this is in that weird “not technically a DCOM” area, even more so than 16 Wishes. Outside of the first airing, I don’t think Disney has ever really tried to make people think it was one that hard. Yet it’s close enough that I wanted to count it. Mostly because it makes for a far more interesting number one. But if the inclusion of this doesn’t sit with you, then my number 6 is uh..Read it and Weep I guess.
Anyway, You Lucky Dog is at least ironically enjoyable, this one is just blah. The main skeleton of the movie doesn’t seem like it would be too terrible at first, even with a bunch of cliches like the lead getting in with the popular crowd and ignoring their friends. On paper, this should just be at worst a dumb but harmless little story.
And there’s at least an attempt at heart with the nanny, Golly, that can work at times. However, they ruin it by making Harriet really unlikable. The spying I can almost let it slide since the whole point is that it goes too far but she’s also a brat and pretentious, always claiming to be so much better than everyone else.
She just has this aura about her that makes her hard to like and yet we’re supposed to. Of course, in the end she doesn’t learn anything. I suppose she learned not to snoop too hard but they come up with a contrived way for her to get sympathy when this teen actor she was spilling info on wants her to stop writing all together instead of just stop writing about him.
The fact that they attempt that “lead becomes a jerk when falling in with the popular crowd” at all, which is hard to pull off when that lead is already a jerk to begin with. It feels like not much has really changed. There’s other problems too, like how the Golly part of the story does not gel well with the rest due to not being focused on as much as it should.
This is an aged up/modern version of the book it is based on and on its own that would be okay if it were actually done well. For one, the spy shtick is at least a bit more charming when it’s a kid vs a teen. At least we have a better candidate for worst DCOM based on a book than Can of Worms.
While You Lucky Dog may have been sloppier, this movie annoyed so much more. Any decent aspect is brought down by the messy story and the unlikable main character. It was just an annoying one to through and I don’t blame Disney Channel for basically ignoring the existence of it.
Again, the Nickelodeon adaptation may not have been anything super memorable but it was at least decent, which is more than I can say for this. There’s not a whole lot to really add here. Due to it’s weak writing and unlikable lead, it is my least favorite DCOM, regardless of it it counts or not.
…Still a better Ron Oliver movie than Bigger Fatter Liar though.
Now we can get the taste of those out with the ones. Thankfully, this list was more fun as frankly there was more to choose from, sort of. I looked over my ratings, and only about 6 got a Very Good or higher. That means I couldn’t quite do a fully informed top 10 like I hoped. So instead I did a top 5, hence there being a more fleshed out bottom 5 than I planned.
Despite there not being a ton of great ones, there was enough quite good ones for there to be a bit more to pick from. That said, this was easier than the one list since there’s a certain few that have stood out and the others didn’t come too close.
Those who follow me long enough will know what is on here, for the most part. But those who are now here or don’t follow the Spongey Lore that deeply will be interested to see what makes it. So let’s what my favorites were.
5. HalloweenTown II: Kalabar’s Revenge
There are naturally plenty of DCOM sequels, and most tend to be mixed. That’s more due to me not being fond of the originals to them a lot of the time but still. When it comes to the DCOM franchises, I found that the most consistent, at least to me, was Halloweentown.
Sure, each one carries its own flaws but I personally found each one to at least be fairly good. Given some franchises can drop the ball with only one sequel, it’s impressive that all four managed to pull it off. I know I’m alone when it comes to the 4th one but you gotta admit that as far as Part 4s go, it could have been far worse.
And of the four, this one was my favorite. The first one I do still like but in hindsight it is a bit aimless a fair bit of time, being paced like a TV show pilot meant to simply introduce the world. While I feel the “cute” tone fits for a kid target Halloween movie, you wouldn’t call it too spooky.
Thankfully the sequel tightens up a lot of that. It’s still not that spooky but the higher stakes at least gives it a spookier feel than the first one and the cutesy tone is toned down a bit as a result of said higher stakes.
There is more of a plot here as Halloweentown gets cursed to turn turn turn to grey and the monsters turn into boring caricatures of humans, just like how humans pretend to be caricatures of monsters. That’s a bit clever. Outside of that, it’s a good threat to put on the world and there’s a ticking clock.
It’s interesting to watch things got worse and we learn some more things about the world. There’s this troll guy whose house is where all lost things go, and we got a head that is a phone. Things like that are fun. Luke gets more to do as he gets some nice stuff with Marnie and Marnie herself again makes for a good lead.
There’s a good “low” moment before the third act that does the job pretty well. Cal being the villain is obvious but at least it is revealed early on. He’s not the grandest villain ever but his plan is good and his motivation is fine. Although really it’s not Kalbar himself getting revenge. Honestly this one should have been called Return to Halloweentown.
Since we are on flaws, it is disappointing that Dylan and Sophie get pushed aside. Yeah Dylan was a tad annoying in the first one but that’s lessened here and he’s good in the next one so I feel like he and Sophie should have done more than suspect Cal’s “dad”. At least they get some sort of subplot, which is more than we can for Sophie in the next two.
And boy is that climax still anti climatic. It’s far from the worst offender but it is still weak given the build up. The wrapup is fine though.
I will grant that it’s not quite as great as I thought back in the day but it’s still very good. It has the creativity and fun of the other movies but less of the flaws with a more engaging and tight story. It expands on things and doesn’t just repeat everything. It’s frankly everything a sequel like this should be for the most part.
It may not do anything exemplary per say but it does everything in a solid way creating a pretty good solid sequel all around. As far as DCOM sequels go, this is a very solid Halloween romp that gets the done pretty well.
4. Don’t Look Under the Bed
The weird thing about this one is that it’ s a spooky themed DCOM, yet it actually takes place around Christmas-time even though it only plays a small aprt. That makes this both the best Halloween DCOM and the best Christmas one!
I was impressed with this one at the time as I wasn’t expecting that much of it and got something I considered rather mature. I still think that, generally. The only reason I may rate it lower now is cuz my system was weird back then. Actually wait, I gave it a B+ which does line up with my current rating, Yet on scorecards and such I put it as higher. Weird.
My main problem is that it can get repetitive, mostly around the mid point. It just Larry the imaginary friend popping up sometimes to hint at the Boogeyman while taking a fair bit to really go into him. There’s also a few clunky bits and it can drill the point into your head quite a bit. And as much as I like that the third act and ending is actually drawn out of once, it can go for a bit too long despite being just 90 minutes.
This has some infamy for supposedly being scary to kids and I can sort of see it now. There are some bits that can be creepy to kids like how Larry start to transform into a boogeyman. Nothing big but still effective for what it is.
But for me the highlight is the theme of growing up. Francis grew up a bit fast and became this logical person who forced her little brother into not believing in imaginary friends anymore, which becomes a problem. Again, it can beat these themes into you but it makes for it with how well developed she is.
The way the Boogeyman ends up connecting to her adds some solid depth, especially with a certain reveal. Although there is one awkward aspect to it in hindsight. Otherwise, her development is well handled and the whole thing with the little brother having Lukemia at one point was…certainly a bit more than what you’d expect.
It all comes together into a drawn out but mostly satisfying third act and eplilouge. As drawn as it is, it is far more than what we usually get in DCOMS so I can’t complain too much. It does a good job setting up to the internal and external conflicts from the starts and they get handled fairly well in the end.
Also, that library scene is weird but it actually does payoff in the climax in an interesting way. Oh and Larry generally straddles that line between fun and annoying decently well, even if he can be a bit much at times. The way they use dutch angles when creepy stuff is going on is annoying at first but I got used to it.
Overall, Don’t Look Under the Bed is a really solid one with interesting handling of imaginary friend and Boogeyman lore with a well developed lead and solid decently explored themes. I also like how they don’t treat growing up at her age as bad in itself, it’s just bad she did it too early and tried to get her brother to do the same.
So yeah,a pretty pleasant surprise all around. And speaking of that whole growing up theme…
3. 16 Wishes
I feel like I’ve talked about this one quite a bit at this point. Hell, I went as far to re-review it after feeling my first attempt was lackluster. I’ll keep this one even shorter than the others, hopefully.
I will fully admit this one is all in the third act. I like the rest but it’s more of a fairly good one before that. Abby can have some unlikable moments, and the direction can sometimes try too hard. It’s still able to keep itself afloat some funny moments and being generally enjoyable.
Then she wishes to be an adult and it all changes. At first it’s simply another solid take on the “Don’t grow up too fast” thing, which I am a sucker for. That alone would be good but it goes the extra mile as Abby realize she has been dragging people down this whole. That sad scene honestly still gets to me every single time I watch it. It’s kind of a reverse It’s a Wonderful Life situation, just played more dramatically.
It makes her less desirable moments feel like it was actually building to something. That’s what makes it work vs Harriet the Spy Blog Wars, where it’s lead stays unlikable the whole time. The movie has some clunky moments prior but this gives the film a strong theme and a satisfying ending that ties it all together well.
Even with the lesser bits, it’s still at least a pretty good movie but the strong themes and third act put it above that. I feel like my weirdly nostalgic connection (I mean it’s 10 year old so that’s close to old enough) does make me like it more than I would otherwise. But even taking that aside, it still plenty for me to appreciate, especially with the ending.
I feel like this might be the live action one I’ve seen the most, oddly enough. I saw it when it first aired, then when I reviewed it in 2012, then another time randomly which inspired me to review it again, giving it another viewing. Then I watched it last year for old times sake…then soon after finding it in a thrift store, I watched it for the 10 year anniversary back in June of this year. That’s 6 times, dang.
Anyway, even with some clunky parts here and there, the strong themes make it fairly impressive given it’s not actually a DCOM status. It may not have spawned any Tik Tok moments but it’s still really good.
2, Kim Possible So the Drama/Across the 2nd Dimension
That’s right, I tied the two best animated ones. People who know me would assume that the latter would take the slot on its own but honestly I like So the Drama so much that I thought it deserved to be equal.
Compared these with other DCOMS is weird because they are more of an extension of their shows than a traditional DCOM. But regardless of how fair it is to compare these to the rest, they are still great.
Across the 2nd Dimension is one I’ve went into a lot at this point. It has all the humor and heart that made the show great, and it does a lot with the 2nd dimension idea. It’s not just a generic “everyone is the opposite” deal, it’s more of an Alternate Timeline, showing what would happen if Doof was actually evil enough to get in power. We see how everyone dealt with that and we get a lot out of it.
Candace’s arc is one of the highlights in that regard, especially that one scene between her and Candace-2. The way that gets resolved and interacts with the main story I thought was pretty decent. She doesn’t end up distracting from the main point, with Phineas and Perry. And that is generally done really well, if I will admit some parts with Phineas can be slightly forced here and there.
Meanwhile, So the Drama does a really good job combing the internal and external conflicts. Drakken’s plan manages to mes with both Kim and Ron in natural ways and creates some solid drama on both ends. This leads to that great moment where Kim ends up thinking of giving up.
The highlight of these movies based on shows tends to be how they push the characters further than in a typical episode and both of these do that very well. They go bigger but also deeper which helps make them both worthwhile.
I couldn’t quite pick which is better. My own attachments make me enjoy AT2D a bit more but objectively both are about the same. There’s elements the other does a bit better, so it just depends on your preference. Either way, both are pretty great at being extenions of their shows as well as being a film.
Honestly, I feel with some tweaking, they could have worked in theaters and done well. Ah well. By the way, that backstory where So the Drama started life as a possible live action film is funnier now that we have a live action Kim Possible movie, which blatantly borrows one certain plot point from So the Drama. That was still fine, btw.
Regardless of which one is better, these were both still pretty solid standouts.
10, Tiger Cruise: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/dcom-month-2-tiger-cruise/ I wasn’t sure which one to put here but while I had my problems with it as I went into, I respect the generally solid drama enough for it to go here. Some I like more but this had plenty going for it. Oh and this is the 9/11 one.
9. Under Wraps ( https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/halloween-in-july-under-wraps-2/ ): The main friendship with the mummy is weirdly charming and Patrick Star as said mummy is great but the real reason this ends up on here is for the strangely raunchy but somewhat clever humor that makes it a unique stand out as the first official DCOM. And yes, it is getting a remake for some reason.
8. Color of Friendship https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/the-color-of-friendship/ I had my hangup when I reviewed but re-watching it again I further appreciate how it tackles the subject matter. It’s not perfect, being what it is, but it’s pretty engaging and generally respectful. Still not over the N word scene though.
7. You Wish https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/dcom-month-you-wish/ This story of two brothers is better written than you would expect, as it portrays them as at odds while showing them getting along even at the start so it’s more easy to believe their nice moments by the end. Pretty nicely done, even if this was the reason that Miranda wasn’t in the last bunch of Lizzie McGuire. Easily Paul Hoens best work.
6. Wizards Of Waverly Place the Movie https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/wizards-of-waverly-place-the-movie/ If you don’t count 16 Wishes at all, just pretendsthis is Number 5 instead as it really came that close to getting on here. The best DCOM based on one of their sitcoms, it really shows how good the show is with the solid family dynamic that gets pushed further here. There’s some especially good drama later on with the actors getting plenty of chances to shine. I have no funny way to end this, just quite solid.
FURTHER HONORABLE MENTIONS: Tru Confessions, Twas the Night, Lemonade Mouth and Girl Vs Monster,
And my favorite DCOM is..
- Smart House
Yeah, no surprise here. Anyone who has been following these knew this would be number one and nothing managed to top it. Granted, nostalgia does play a part since it was my favorite as a kid but even looking at it critically, it’s still at least really good and tops basically all the other DCOMSs.
I and a few others have gone into it enough but since it’s been a while on my mind I can go into detail. It takes full advantage of the premise, with all the things Pat can do and there’s some fun and interesting stuff there. Pat herself really works here, as Katie Segal gives a really great performance.
She is required to be robotic, stern, motherly and scary at various points and she pulls them all off really well. She is one of the two big highlights, the other being the family dynamic. Ben, Angie and the dad work well off each other. Right from the start we them bond naturally and they feel more like a real family compared to most movies like this. Angie is a sort of typical sister but she isn’t super bratty and the bits with her and Ben don’t go too far. Again, feels fairly natural.
Having a dead mom isn’t new for a Disney movie but I like how it factors in. Ben doesn’t want anyone to replace her so he basically takes over that role in a way, making dinner and such. He doesn’t Dad to get a new mom and this does cause him to not do as much of his kid stuff. He makes Pat become motherly so they can have a mother figure without the “human” element that would cause their current dynamic to be messed with.
This of course goes south, given this is an AI trying to simulate human emotion. This leads to some scenes that make this scarier than all the actual horror themed DCOMs combined. Seriously, I did that Rated G joke that never came back for a reason. It also to some good emotional moments that bring things home.
Also, I like the score, fits the whole electronic theme they got going on.
As far things I can nitpick in hindsight, the love interest is pointless and there could have been a slightly longer epilogue. Some bits can be a tad draggy but that’s about it. Of course, there are corny parts but that’s to be expected and they add to the charm. I mean, at least the bully leads to that awesome scene where Pat takes him down.
Overall, all these elements make Smart House fairly great. It manages to have weirdly more down to earth and realistic at points than most of the actual down to earth ones, and it portrays the family pretty well. Pat is a well realized character and the emotional moments land very well. So yeah, even after all this time, Smart House still remains my personal favorite Disney Channel Original Movie of all time.
And those were my least favorite and favorite DCOMS. It’s so nice to finally fulfill this loft goal, as I figured it would never happen. It’s good to have an informed view of them all so I can know for sure what works for me and doesn’t. The main thing I’ve learned is that I don’t care for the boring ones. Even when something doesn’t work, I can respect it if it’s more creative or out there, compared to something that’s just dull.
The line between boring and interesting can be thing and subjective, but it’s clear most of these are more for kids into certain things and aren’t meant fir older viewers. Then you get the ones that can do a better job of appealing to kids and have things adults can appreciate. No matter what era you’re talking about, these have never really been for adult and have been trend chasing since the start.
They just did it in different ways over time. Speaking of, I noticed that the classic era dominated both lists. That’s…weird. I tend to slightly prefer the later ones just for at least being more interesting while objectively the earlier ones are far more consistent, usually. Looking over my reviews, these tend to be just in the middle on average.
Or maybe that’s out of the one I binge reviewed this year, as I already did most of the interesting ones. I will always have a soft spot for these, as, for better or worst, they are usually interesting. There is a reason they tend to stick with kids, past and present. They can usually know how to appeal to that audience and even sometimes can respect that audience on occasion.
Regardless of which era we’re talking about, there’s always gonna be at least some charm in them on average, even with all the mixed qualities can hold. And when they’re good, they can be pretty solid. Honestly, I didn’t even hate the worst ones for the most part, but I know most people won’t feel the same.
The future for DCOMs is gonna be weird. At least we’re getting more actually original ones here and there, despite there also being a remake in the future. But their focus on Disney+ might up end making them obsolete. Frankly, I’m surprised no Disney Channel movies are being pushed to there, unless you wanna count the weird case of Secret Society of Second Born Royals.
Anyway, hope there’s at least some values in the ones coming up. Overall, for all the highs and lows, I’ll always have a soft spot for these and I enjoyed getting to go through all of them over all this time. By the way, there may still be some scene by scene reviews for not only future ones, but a few past ones I feel I can say more about. …And by that I just mean Stepsister From Planet Weird. That one was…something.
With all that said, hope you enjoyed this look back at them and aren’t too mad that I didn’t hate more or them. Actually, in this wacky world where we have so many disagreements about media and especially DCOMs, I am happy there’s one thing we can all agree on: You Lucky Dog is not very good.