I know everyone and their favorite blogger is probably writing a Disney+ list right now. In fact, it’s most likely similar to this one… but I think the best thing about it’s launch is the appeal the service carries towards audiences of all ages. For example, my Disney+ watchlist is going to look slightly different than my sisters would look and probably way different than my younger cousins’ lists would look. My goal with this post isn’t to tell you what to watch (just ignore the title); it’s more of a list to remind myself of what I loved watching as a kid and why it meant so much to me. When consumed irresponsibly, Television can be mind numbing but Television can also open your eyes to a world you never knew existed. The titles below all affected my life in some way, shape or from and for that, I will always be grateful.
So without further ado, “Let’s get dangerous…”
- why? The writing on this show is fucking phenomenal. It follows a dogged pursuit to theme and detail and its use of alliteration is next level (eg: “villainous vegetable” “sizable sapling” “dastardly duck”, etc). The show itself is about a crime fighting duck who wears a purple mask and cape and has a sidekick named Launchpad McQuack (if you’re not sold already than shame on you). As a kid, this show made me laugh endlessly and at least subconsciously inspired my love for witty banter and puns. In my drunken college years, I may also have been quoted as saying “If I were a rapper, I’d want to be named Darkwing Duck.” So obviously this show had a huge effect on my psyche. It’s also the first thing I watched on launch day (yes, even before The Mandalorian).
The Goofy Movie
- why? Goofy is my favorite Disney character but this is the movie where I decided I wanted to be like Maximillian Goof. From the skateboarding, to the singing all the way through the backwards cap… Max exuded steez before I even knew what that meant. I grew up as a quiet and shy kid and Max Goof inspired me to break out of my shell. However, I think the deeper reason this movie means so much to me is the journey Max and Goofy make together. In this heartfelt father/son tale, Goofy tries so hard to reach his son while Max continues to rebuff him. At the end of the day, they end up best friends and that always made me think of my relationship with my dad. Also there’s this wonderful scene below… (which anyone who went to elementary school with me can see is the clear inspiration for me participating in a talent show):
The Lion King
- why? Someone asked me recently what my top three movies of all time would be and I had a hard time leaving The Lion King off my list. For one, my love for it has lasted nearly my entire lifetime. I owned the VHS in my youth, I streamed it multiple times throughout my teen and college years and now I can watch it whenever I please in my “mature” years. The main reason I love this movie though is its heart. Sort of like the Goofy Movie, this movie just cuts right to my soul and makes me feel things that movies don’t normally elicit out of me. Seeing Simba witness his father’s death was one of the most heart-wrenching things I had witnessed in a movie up to that point.
The Sword in the Stone
- why? As a child, I related to this story in a number of ways. I was obsessed with medieval culture, swords and armor; I loved magic and wizards; but most of all, I loved a good fantasy story. This love and obsession with the fantasy genre has never left me as I continued to devour every book or series that I could get my hands on. About a year ago, I picked up “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White and quickly recognized book one as the original telling of “The Sword in the Stone” (much to my delight). Reading the book and re-watching this movie gave the story a whole new meaning for me. The Disney version was my first introduction into that world of knights and round tables and for that I will always be grateful. Also, this wacky iteration of Merlin would be in my top 5 fictional wizards list (coming soon) as evidenced by this insane scene of him packing while singing “Higitus Figitus:”
Rookie of the Year
- why? “LET THE BIG DOG EAT!” This movie is a classic on so many levels. First of all, the concept is ridiculous: a young Henry slips on a baseball, breaks his arm and the accident somehow gives him the ability to sling a baseball upwards of 100 mph. Secondly, Coach Brickma. Brickma has so many moments in this movie that I don’t want to spoil any for you so you should just watch the “big dog” for yourself. Third, Gary fucking Busey is the heart of this movie. Not only is he the love interest of Henry’s mom but he’s the role model for young Henry Rowengartner (all of which is mind blowing because… have you seen Gary Busey lately?). Lastly, John Candy is the motherfucking announcer! Please watch this movie!! It’s dying for your attention. Also, the many mispronunciations of Henry’s last name (which my sister and I continue to laugh about to this day) are comedy gold:
- why? Mannnnn this is the movie that makes me feel old as shit. Not only do I remember this movie coming out in 1995 but I remember how different it looked from all the other animated movies I’d seen up to that point. This is the movie that jump started Pixar and changed the way we watch and make animated movies. For years I only knew Tom Hanks as the guy who plays Woody. That’s pretty crazy in retrospect. I didn’t even know Tom Hanks was a good actor at this point in my life. Shit, I saw Toy Story before I saw Forrest Gump. Also, Pizza Planet looked really good and I really love pizza.
Luck of the Irish
- why? This is the movie that showed me irish dancing was cool for boys… sike! This is the movie where I decided I would NEVER irish dance despite the ploys of my family for me to join my girl cousins (see video below). This was also a movie that related to me in a number of ways. The main character loves basketball (*young Sean raises hand), he’s very irish (*raises both hands) and the actor is the same boy from one of my favorite basketball movies of all time: Air Bud (*YOUNG SEAN STANDS UP AND CLAPS). Seriously though (as a side note), the fact that the Disney Channel Original movies are included with Disney+ is pretty cool. Everyone has their favorite. For example, my sister held a double feature at our house the other day of Cadet Kelly and Double Teamed; I hated it but I couldn’t turn away. A childhood friend watched Zenon on the first day the service launched. Even Julian Edelman got in on the action sharing a screenshot of Johnny Tsunami on his instagram. The variety and general love of these Disney Channel originals is too much to be contained and I’m glad they’ve entered our collective consciousness again.
- why? This show is why I love Spider-Man to this day. All the mythology that I know instinctively about the webbed wall crawler comes from this show. The web shooters, the swinging, Aunt May and Mary Jane, the wise cracks and even the girl problems. This iteration of Spidey is the GOAT in my opinion. All the classic villains are present: Venom, Kraven, Doc Ock, Mysterio etc. Jonah J Jameson is in prime form… the list for this show goes on and on. Before we got Tobey Maguire or Tom Holland, this is the Peter Parker that most nerds my age grew up with.
Boy Meets World
- why? When I was growing up, Cory Matthews was like a role model to me. He was awkward, he made mistakes, he had issues understanding girls and for most of the show’s running, we were around the same age. I saw him grow from an annoying 6th grade boy to marrying the girl that sat in front of him in class. Throughout the show’s run, not only did family play a central role but so did an extended family that included his best friend, Cory’s classmates and his teacher. Countless lessons about growing up were learned throughout the course of this show and I truly don’t believe I would be the person I am today without the tutelage of Mr. Feeny and the trials and tribulations of Cory Matthews. This was also the show my sister and I would come home to and eat our post-school snacks of Hot Pockets and Ritz crackers to. We would actually sit there quietly and not fight for thirty minutes… which must have been a tremendous relief for my mom. I think that right there shows the immense power this show wielded better than anything I could possibly write.
Author’s note: I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane and I’d like to leave you with this classic song from intergalactic pop artist Protozoa: