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As bills stack up and student loans remain the bane of my existence, it’s nice to recall simpler, stress-free times. Times like the golden years of Disney Channel Original movies which, being born in the mid-90s, I had the pleasure to live through. Some call it the peak of cinema, and I can’t argue with them. Before Disney owned every media company there is, they were releasing primetime, straight-to-television films that had every adolescent in America buzzing. For a few years, they were churning out one per month. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, so I’ve compiled a list of my personal top Disney Channel Original movies.
Twins born from a witch, separated at birth and reunited on their 21st birthday to kick some demon ass. Pair that concept with the sass and mid-2000s fashion sense of Tia and Tamera Mowry and you have yourself a gem. Would love to see a modern interpretation where Cardi B plays both twins.
Aly and AJ are the most underappreciated stars of the 2000s. This movie was like The Simple Life with Paris and Nicole but wholesome and actually enjoyable. I didn’t know I wanted a movie about two hotties who set their house on fire and help solve a dairy heist, but I did.
Girl power, baby. Wikipedia says that this movie is a “loose adaptation” of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and I might say it’s better than the original. Fun fact: the producer of Motocrossed, George W. Perkins, also produced Teen Wolf and Desperate Housewives. I’d like to think those universes are connected.
With this began my love for the goddess that is Demi Lovato. This one came late in the game and is certainly the last good Disney Channel Original to come out, everything since has been garbage. Would rank higher if the lip syncing wasn’t so awful.
Max Keeble but he’s Jewish and, with the help of a former college basketball player turned head coach, leads his team to a championship in Philly. Also, it’s all connected to Hanukkah. Oh, and the power keeps going out in the gym.
The Top 10:
10. The Luck of the Irish
March is for two things: basketball and Paddy’s Day. The 2001 Men’s Basketball National Championship was solid (Go Blue Devils) but it pales in comparison to Kyle realizing he doesn’t need his lucky coin to take big bad Seamus McTiernan to school on the court and banish his evil leprechaun ass to Lake Erie.
9. Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century
How young Raven Symone didn’t get a Best Supporting Actress nod from the Academy is beyond me. Some people think Miley Cyrus kicked off the space-buns trend that every sorority girl across the nation has hopped on, but those people would be wrong. Zenon originated the space-buns and wow, she rocked it.
8. Cadet Kelly
Arguably Gary Cole’s best work. Lizzie McGuire may have been her masterpiece, but Hilary Duff really showed her range with Cadet Kelly. Are you trying to say you didn’t tear up when she rappelled down a cliff to save her dad? Quit playing. Ily, Hilary.
7. Phantom of the Megaplex
The giant fan that blows all the moviegoers out of their seats has to be a top ten prank of all time. Props to the casting department for pulling Mickey Rooney into a low-budget interpretation of The Phantom of the Opera. As Movie Mason said: “there’s always magic at the movies.”
6. The Cheetah Girls
I don’t care how unrealistic it is that all traffic would stop and the people of Manhattan would cease what they’re doing to listen to four high school girls sing their hearts out to save a tiny little dog named Toto, I was and still am here for it.
5. Smart House
Hologram mom “Pat” scared the living bejesus out of me as a kid, and rightfully so. Was her lust for power and overbearing personality not a sneak peek into what our future holds? If you think for one second that I’ll ever trust an Amazon Alexa, you’re wrong. This movie was deeper than y’all think.
4. Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off
Swap your baseball glove for an oven mitt, kings, because we’re breaking down masculine barriers in 2018, just like Eddie. Who says we can’t crank dingers on the diamond AND show off our sensitive side in the kitchen? Eddie changed the game. Super-chef Bobby Flay was the icing on top.
3. High School Musical
Is this the Grease of our generation? Hot take, but there’s substance to it. Another take: Sharpay wasn’t “sassy” or “goals,” she was just a bitch. Goals are finding your Gabriella on New Year’s Eve and singing the night away instead of overpaying for a subpar party and watered down cocktails. NYE sucks.
I don’t care if the plot is essentially just Harry Potter with a girl subbed in and not British, this movie slaps. I’m a grown man and still pretend I’ve been whisked away to Halloweentown at every haunted hayride I go on. Side note: what’s the surge pricing like for Benny the skeleton’s Halloweentown taxi?
1. The Even Stevens Movie
A controversial number one, but even the GOAT has haters. The Even Stevens Movie still holds up, and it holds up well. Some say the fame it brought Shia LaBeouf is what drove him to madness. I’m still scanning Amazon daily trying to find a replica of Louis’ luxury chair. My only question is: Why in God’s name did they take Beans on this vacation?
Adulthood can be tough. Oftentimes, a throwback can soothe the pain. Next time the scaries are looming, consider throwing on a Disney Channel Original. You won’t regret it..
Image via Youtube