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Still reeling over Coach and Tami Taylor walking away from her and into a sunset in Philadelphia. lauramcclellan.com

Top 5 Disney Channel Original Movies


First I’d just like to lay my cards on the table and say that I know it’s possible this post could fall on deaf ears. We don’t usually talk about stuff like this on TVA. I know it’s not cool. And I know it’s entirely possible that I may be the only one who relates. But I’m willing to take that risk in the hopes that I’m not.

Worst case scenario, everyone thinks I’m lame and I’ll have to backpedal and say it was all a joke and I actually watch Downton Abbey exclusively. Best case scenario, I provide a safe haven for others like me and prove that we’re not alone. This is an asylum anyway, is it not?

So here it is: I regularly watch shows intended for 12-year-olds. Disney Channel and Nickelodeon see more action than I’d care to admit in my house. Though lately, my aversion to change combined with the fact that they keep canceling my favorites (ahem, iCarly) and starting over with child actors who look like they crawled out of preschool and straight into the spotlight has seriously cut down on my roster.

ANYWAY. Due to this fact, I’ve also seen my fair share of Disney Channel Original Movies in my day.

In the name of strolling down memory lane (and getting things off my chest) I thought I’d present you with some of the best:

+ Motocrossed (2001)

Even though the main character in this movie (the girl) was the worst ever and had a chin dimple that would put Ben Affleck to shame, the middle school me thought the two leading men more than made up for her awkwardness. In case you were cooler than me and have never seen this, it tells the story of a family of motocross racers in which the oldest son gets injured and can no longer compete.

His twin sister decides to masquerade as a boy and compete in his place. Awkward moments ensue as she develops a crush on her competition, who is apparently terrible at gender recognition and is totally convinced she is actually her brother. Hoodwinks, pretty boys, heartwarming family moments…what more could you ask for?

+ High School Musical (preferably Vol. 3, but that came out in theaters) (2006-2008)

This movie ushered in a new era in which it could be considered moderately cool to sing. Nearly every TV show and movie Disney Channel has produced since then has included the main characters singing in some form or fashion. It also brought us Zac Efron (the best) and Vanessa Hudgens (the worst). How could one couple possibly have such disparate levels of awesomeness? Anyway. Basically I just love musicals and Zac Efron so this is easily in my top 5.

+ Smart House (1999)

Essentially this movie is a commentary on modern society in which our bent on technology will eventually be our undoing. Very Fahrenheit 451. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it and it’s about a house that does everything for this family and then goes on a power trip and tries to take over their lives. That’s basically the same, though.

OH MY GOSH, you guys. In Wikipedia-ing this movie to find the release year, I found this GEM of information: this movie was directed by none other than the legendary LEVAR BURTON. I will let that statement stand in its awesome glory and not tarnish it by adding anything to it. I also found out that this movie is supposedly based on a short story by Ray Bradbury. So I was totally close on my analysis.

+ Even Stevens Movie (2003)

I’m just going to go ahead and say I have a deep love for Even Stevens. I’m not even remotely ashamed of that. It was and continues to be great. The plot of the movie was that the family went on what they thought was a vacation to a deserted island but actually was a reality show (a la Survivor) and all their friends back home were watching.

The producer of the show (played by Tim Meadows, guys) basically goes all Hunger Games (or Truman Show?) on them and manipulates all the external factors to test their patience and make good TV. Also Dave Coulier makes an appearance. It’s funny, touching and everything Even Stevens should be.

+ Wish Upon A Star (1996)

First and foremost, it has to be mentioned that Katherine Heigl starred in this movie. Katherine Heigl. Basically it’s a story of the-grass-is-always-greener in which two sisters secretly wish to be each other simultaneously, and it works. Then they have to live life as each other until they learn to love themselves or something like that.

It’s very Freaky Friday. But it has Katherine Heigl in it. And the sister is totally the rebellious girl with the knife-pen (Harley’s sister) that Corey tries to date in Boy Meets World. It’s 90′s fabulous in every way, right down to Katherine’s tiny patent leather backpack.

What’s your favorite DCOM? (Or…how ’bout that MacGonagall in Downton Abbey? She’s pretty mean, right?)

  • http://twitter.com/kayriz10 Kristen

    Wish Upon a Star! Loved that movie!  And Motocrossed. 

    And I was never clear on whether or not this was a Disney Channel original, but I would watch it every single time it aired on Disney. I would still watch it right now…Model Behavior with Justin TImberlake. 

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      YES. I looked that up and it was first aired on ABC, so I didn’t add it…but that is for sure a good one.

  • http://www.haleybragg.com/ haleybragg

    I can’t follow you to Disney, but I’ll settle right in with their cousin, ABC Family. I love the TV shows, the movies, THE CHRISTMAS SPECIALS!! Forget about it, I’m ridiculous for some ABC Family.

    • http://www.haleybragg.com/ haleybragg

      I feel the need to clarify that when I say I can’t follow you to Disney, it’s mostly because we didn’t have The Disney Channel growing up. And that’s before it was pretty standard to have it included in a cable package. I lived for the preview weekends, though.

  • TheLaurenJean

    Life size, Alley Cats Strike, and Jett Jackson: the Movie. Oh so good!

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      GOOD ONES.

  • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

    EDIT: it has been brought to my attention through Facebook/Twitter that I have grossly overlooked Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (Cetus Lapetus!!),  Brink! and Johnny Tsunami. Apologies all around. those are quality for sure.

    • http://calebmcnary.com/ Caleb McNary

      I’m glad I read this first, because I was going to yell BRINK! And then summon my best “Come On!” a la GOB Bluth.

      • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

        hahaha. That would have been acceptable. 

  • http://edhyndman.com Elizabeth Hyndman

    Alley Cats Strike, The Color of Friendship, maybe Zenon, and definitely High School Musical are probably my favorites.
    Once, I tried the 7-10 split move she uses in Alley Cats Strike at the bowling alley. I could hear all the kids whispering, “like Alley Cats Strike!” I think it disappointed all of us when it failed to knock down both pins.

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      Yes! The one where she spins it and then blows on it. We definitely tried it too. 

      ooo color of friendship. heavy. :)

  • http://twitter.com/jagausta Jason Gausta

    Even Stevens was the best thing Disney put forth since Mickey. Yep, I said it.

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      No arguments here. :)

  • ClintM

    Wish Upon a Star – I had a huge fan crush on Katherine Heigl because of this movie.

    And I don’t mean any disrespect, but a Disney Channel Original Movie list that doesn’t contain Johnny Tsunami (the first one) is just heartbreaking. How could you?? HOW?

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      I know, I know! I’m sorry! I totally forgot about it and I don’t know why. I should have enlisted my husband’s help before posting this. His immediate reaction was “Johnny Tsunami.” 

      But it IS quality and it totally deserves to be on the list.

      It featured the Famous Jett Jackson, too, which made it doubly awesome. “Man, I am SO OVER bein’ cold!”

    • http://craigmcclellan.com/ Craig McClellan

      Yep, you beat me to it. Johnny Tsunami was the best! And it had the dude from Famous Jett Jackson in it.

      So. Good.

  • KWoodsMK

    Showing my age here, but when I think Disney Channel Original Movie, my first thought is always “Goodbye, Miss 4th of July” (1988). I was able to see them filming one scene from the movie & met Louis Gossett Jr. so the movie stands out in my mind as one of the best. Haven’t seen it in over 20 years though…so i have no clue how it really compares to the movies you’ve listed (which, I have to admit, I haven’t seen any of). :)

  • http://chrystalmurphy.com/ Chrystal

    you are not alone. I too love some Disney channel. I do have a 4 year old I can blame it on, but if I’m being honest I’d watch it regardless. I’m still a huge Shia Labeouf fan because of Even Stevens.

  • http://www.scottcouey.com/ Scott Couey

    I’m going to show my age as well, but anyone else remember Not Quite Human (1987) - 

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      Oh my gosh, I vaguely remember that. They must’ve shown it again in the 90′s because it was literally before my time ;) but I definitely know what you’re talking about!

  • http://frewayhome.wordpress.com/ Luke

    Luck of the Irish (It has Lassater from Psych!)

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      YEP. good one. I almost included that one! They also lead an impromptu cheesy singalong of This Land Is Your Land at the end. Classic.