Shake Your Groove Thing

An Extremely Goofy Movie is an extremely strong follow up. Although not officially part of the Disney Renaissance, A Goofy Movie nevertheless earned an unnecessary direct-to-video sequel. Unlike other Disney sequels released in the 2000’s, An Extremely Goofy Movie is just as good as the first movie. My brother and I actually valued both movies equally growing up. The animation remains relatively cinematic and the core voice cast remains intact. An Extremely Goofy Movie continues to follow Max’s life as he goes off to college. It’s just as timelessly dated with a strong focus on totally radical extreme sports.

Max, P.J, and Bobby are now into extreme skateboarding and end up performing in the X Games. My only frustration is a glaring lack of Max’s girlfriend Roxanne. After an entire movie spent building up their relationship, it feels wrong to leave her out. P.J. is instead given a girlfriend in the form of a poetic beatnik Beret Girl. Bobby is given a fresh cut and a ton of extra attention with Pauly Shore doing his thing. Goofy of course misses Max when he leaves, but Pete can’t wait to get rid of P.J. When Goofy loses a job to his usual antics, he makes the relatable decision to return to college to get a degree. Much to the embarrassment of his son Max.

Sure it’s similar to Back to School, but that’s not a bad thing. Together Max & Goofy also deal with the cheating head of Gamma Mu Mu Bradley Uppercrust III. He’s just a preppy jerk supported by his muscle tank. They compete against Gamma in the X Games and another father/son lesson is learned. More unexpected is Goofy having his very own love interest in the form of cute librarian Sylvia Marpole. Since they both love the 70’s, they end up dancing to “Shake Your Groove Thing” on the disco floor. An Extremely Goofy Movie is both groovy and goofy.

An Extremely Goofy Movie

Goofy dances with Sylvia

Preceded by: A Goofy Movie

On the Open Road

A Goofy Movie is the goofiest, most heartfelt father/son adventure you’ll ever see. Unlike DuckTales, Goof Troop was never a major Saturday-morning cartoon. It only lasted 2 seasons and I honestly never knew it existed for a long time. So how did A Goofy Movie gain a stronger cult following than DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp? Although Scrooge McDuck is an icon in his own right, there’s no beating a classic character like Goofy. His goofy antics have been a mainstay of Disney since the early 30’s. Along with his popular How to… series, Goofy became something of an everyman with a job and family in the 50’s.

Goof Troop similarly turned Goofy into a single father with a son named Max. Since A Goofy Movie was made in the middle of the Disney Renaissance, soon to be fired Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg gave it the same treatment. Turning Goofy into a loving father just trying to connect with his son. Even though Walt Disney Feature Animation worked on the movie at the same time as The Lion King, no one believed in the project. Making it the second Disneytoon production. A Goofy Movie wasn’t an instant hit, but thankfully my generation has given it a second chance…

A Goofy Movie

Goofy on the road with Max

A Goofy Movie is just as much a childhood favorite as the rest of the Disney Renaissance. My brother and I watched it on VHS before it was cool. Something about A Goofy Movie really speaks to millennials such as myself. Maybe because it was one of a few contemporary Disney movies made in the 90’s. A Goofy Movie is filled with 90’s slang, pop songs, modern technology, and celebrities like Pauly Shore. Sure it’s dated, but timeless at the same time. A Goofy Movie picks up years after Goof Troop when Max is an average 14 year old dog. Jason Marsden replaces Dana Hill a year before her untimely death. Marsden gives Max all the attitude and awkwardness of a teenager. His biggest fear is turning into his father. Which is especially embarrassing when his dad is literally Goofy. Although strangely asked to tone down his goofy voice, Bill Farmer manages to make Goofy sincere without losing his “Hyucks.” Cartoony antics are maintained, but the story remains relatable. Goofy also remains a single father, but Pete is a different story.

In Goof Troop, longtime Disney villain Pete was Goofy’s brutish neighbor with a son named P.J, a daughter named Pistol, and a wife named Peg. Only Jim Cummings and Rob Paulsen return as Pete and P.J. in order to enforce the themes of fatherhood. Pete rules by fear, while Goofy prefers affection. All Max wants to do is impress his crush Roxanne. Roxanne has nerdy friends like Stacey and is just as shy as Max, but she does return his feelings. Max & Roxanne are honestly one of the cutest Disney couples. It’s literal puppy love. With the help of his friends, Max manages to put on a concert at his school dressed as their favorite popstar Powerline. Singer Tevin Campbell voices Powerline as a cross between Michael Jackson and Prince. P.J. is still Max’s best friend, but they’re joined by Bobby aka Pauly Shore as himself. Wallace Shawn voices the mildly villainous Principal Mazur who worries Goofy to the point of starting a father/son fishing trip. Max doesn’t want to go, but he makes things worse when he tells Roxanne he’ll be at a Powerline concert. A Goofy Movie is a particularly wacky road movie with references to Walt Disney and cameos from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Even a movie as zany as this isn’t exempt from creepy Disney moments. The opening is a dream turned nightmare that somehow manages to make Goofy’s laugh scary. Goofy taking Max to a corny hillbilly possum show always upset me when I was younger. Goofy later tries to bond over teaching Max the perfect fishing cast, but it only succeeds in finding a vicious, albeit rambunctious Bigfoot. Leading to a genuinely heartfelt connection ruined by Max changing the map. As they start to compromise over the things that they enjoy, Max starts to have second thoughts. When he doesn’t act on them, it leads to an appropriately goofy father/son talk that sends their car off a canyon, plunges them in a river, and nearly takes them over a waterfall. Max performs a perfect cast and Goofy takes his son to the concert. Ending with Max telling the truth, getting an innocent kiss from Roxanne, and fully embracing his dad.

A Goofy Movie may have outsourced its animation, but I honestly can’t tell the difference between other Disney movies of the era. The open road feels grand and concerts feel like actual events. A Goofy Movie is a contemporary musical with a seriously underrated soundtrack. “After Today” highlights the high school experience and Max wanting to stand out. “Stand Out” is a fun Powerline single that helps Max get noticed. “On the Open Road” gives Goofy his silly showstopper, while the “Lester’s Possum Park” theme is just cringy. “Nobody Else But You” is the right song to bring Goofy & Max together. Until the much more energetic and catchy “I 2 I” performed by Powerline on stage. A Goofy Movie took a forgotten show and made something special out of it.

A Goofy Movie 2

Max sings to Roxanne

Followed by: An Extremely Goofy Movie

Life is Like a Hurricane

DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp is a tale of derring-do bad and good luck tale. DuckTales is one of the most popular Saturday-morning cartoons on TV in the 80’s. I didn’t watch it regularly, but my brother and I did watch episodes on VHS. The adventures of Scrooge McDuck and Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewy, and Louie eventually warranted their own movie. The problem was Walt Disney Animation Studios always being responsible for every animated film. After 28 films, DuckTales: The Movie became the first in a new line of Disneytoon productions. Animation was done in France, but it still retains the charming look of the cartoon.

DuckTales: The Movie is officially the final Disney movie to use cel-animation. Although I vaguely remember watching it when I was younger, Treasure of the Lost Lamp is mostly just another adventure. Similar to Indiana Jones, Uncle Scrooge travels to the Middle East to find the treasure of Collie Baba. He’s joined by the mischievous Huey, Dewy, Louie, the adorable Webby, accident prone pilot Launchpad McQuack, grandmother Mrs. Beakley, and faithful butler Duckworth. All characters retain their signature voice actors, but celebrities join the cast as usual.

Treasure of the Lost Lamp is practically a precursor to Aladdin. The story is almost exactly the same except with anthropomorphic ducks. Comedian Rip Taylor voices the fast talking Genie from the titular lost lamp. Similar to Aladdin, Genie grants three wishes to his master and wants to be free. Christopher Lloyd stands in for Jafar as evil shape-shifting sorcerer Merlock. Together with slimey partner/Indian stereotype Dijon, Merlock seizes Scrooge’s Money Bin as he fights to take it back. It’s not a musical, but the catchy DuckTales theme can be heard at the end. Although it failed to launch a franchise, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp is like a hurricane of fun.

Ducktales Treasure of the Lost Lamp

Scrooge McDuck and the Genie

Tra-La-Laaa!

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is packed with action, thrills, and laffs! Although I was 22 at the time, Captain Underpants was something I had to watch in theaters. Unlike the previous DreamWorks Animation movie starring an underwear clad hero released in 2017, I already knew what to expect from Captain Underpants. I’ve been reading Dav Pilkey’s epic novels since middle school. I mostly ignored them in elementary school, but I found them hilarious and relatable when I gave them a chance. Like the main characters, I myself created my own superhero comics at a young age. Knowing they were making a movie was both unexpected and overdue. DreamWorks made The First Epic Movie cheap, but very faithful to the books.

The cartoony drawings are nicely computer animated and the potty humor is very much intact. Your enjoyment of the movie depends on how you feel about the source material. The cast of comedians is fitting, but not at all what I imagined. The adult Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch voice 4th graders George Beard and Harold Hutchins. George is the kid with the tie and the flat top and Harold is the one with the t-shirt and the bad haircut (remember that now). Like the books, they’re best friends who love pranks and making comics at Treehouse Comix Inc. Their crude comics are recreated with fun traditional animation and the “Flip-O-Rama” is even used in a graphic action scene. Ed Helms is a mean, but surprisingly sympathetic principal Mr. Krupp. A romantic subplot is added to humanize him a bit more.

Like the book, Krupp is hypnotized into thinking he’s the greatest superhero of all time! Although Captain Underpants steals the show as a dimwitted superhero, the friendship between George & Harold is the heart of the movie. They hilariously try to keep their principal out of trouble, but a classic villain gets in the way. Unlike his starring book, Professor Poopypants plots to eliminate all laughter. Nick Kroll voices a mean villain, but Jordan Peele voicing the nerdy tattletail Melvin Sneedly is more unexpected. Laughter saves the day and Captain Underpants gains powers in the process. Ending with terrible talking toilets and an appropriate song from Weird Al Yankovic. Captain Underpants will win over the young and the young at heart. “Tra-la-laaa!”

33. Captain Underpants

George and Harold laugh at Captain Underpants

Dirty Diaper

The Boss Baby: Family Business is no worse than the original Boss Baby. At this point I know what to expect from a more low effort DreamWorks Animation sequel. Most direct follow ups are just as good or better, but the bar was already pretty low. Family Business does have its moments like the original. It just wasn’t worth seeing it in theaters in a post-pandemic world. My brother and I paid for Peacock just to see it at home. I wasn’t looking forward to a sequel, but I knew it was inevitable after how the first movie ended. Similar to the book sequel The Bossier Baby, Family Business follows a female Boss Baby. Tim & Ted Templeton are grown ups as promised, but the movie does change a few things.

Anything from their childhood can be seen in the Netflix show Back in Business. Alec Baldwin is back, but Tobey Maguire wasn’t likely to return. He’s instead replaced by fellow Marvel superhero James Marsden. With Tim’s wife Carol being voiced by the hispanic Eva Longoria, their children Tabitha & Tina are both redesigned with mixed features. The computer animation is still simple and Tim is still imaginative, but his oldest daughter Tabitha is a typical smart girl growing up too fast. Ted is a CEO who showers his niece with money and honors his word to buy her a rambunctious pony. Now set during Christmas time, there’s conflict between the two brothers that can only be solved by doing the first movie all over again.

Amy Sedaris tries, but only the original Boss Baby can steal the show. Tina reveals herself to be a fellow Baby Corp worker with another important mission. She uses the magic pacifiers on her father and uncle, then turns them young again using the special formula. Except Marsden continues to voice his younger self. The new, but admittedly similar threat involves another villainous baby man. Jeff Goldblum is the intelligent Dr. Armstrong who plans to eliminate all grown ups at Tabitha’s advanced school. Tim bounds with his daughter, helps her sing “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out,” and bounds with his baby brother yet again. Just add more unnecessary baby butts and that’s The Boss Baby: Family Business.

38. The Boss Baby Family Business

Tina turns Ted and Tim young again

Preceded by: The Boss Baby

Cookies are for Closers

The Boss Baby is literally for babies. DreamWorks Animation isn’t known for its consistency, but I never expected a movie centered on a baby in a business suit. The Boss Baby is mostly based on a picture book of the same name. It’s a straightforward metaphor for newborn babies that feel like the boss of the house, but the movie is a lot weirder than you might expect. So weird that I was very confident in skipping The Boss Baby in theaters. Until my brother and I gave in to all the attention it was getting. Although The Boss Baby has its moments, they’re either too adult or too childish for me to be fully invested. With a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’ll never understand how it was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.

I’m a big fan of Rugrats, but other properties like Baby Geniuses prove baby movies are a tricky thing to get right. Frequent DreamWorks collaborator Alec Baldwin now voices a literal boss baby named Boss Baby. I’ve never seen Glengarry Glen Ross, so most of the office humor doesn’t appeal to me. The only thing I can relate to is the brother dynamic between Boss Baby and his new brother Tim Templeton. The seldom seen Tobey Maguire voices an older Tim who narrates his childhood in an over exaggerated way. Tim often speaks to a Gandalf-like alarm clock and has many fantasies. The computer animation is simple with stylized imagination sequences. Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow voice his parents who always sing “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney.

It’s only when Boss Baby is discovered that things get really bizarre. Turns out all babies are made at Baby Corp where they’re either assigned to a family or management. They stay young by drinking special baby formula, a pacifier can astral project people to his office, and Tim actually questions whether Boss Baby is the baby Jesus. He conducts meetings with his fellow babies Jimbo, Staci, and the Triplets to solve a love crisis. His mission is to prevent Puppy Co. from taking all the love away from babies. You can’t make this stuff up, but I do wish it were more clever. There’s still several poop jokes and more baby butts than I’d expect to see in a kids movie. Steve Buscemi voices the villainous Puppy Co. CEO out for revenge. He sends his burly goon after the brothers as they go on an adventure to save babykind and maybe bound along the way. The Boss Baby delivers what it promises.

32. The Boss Baby

The Boss Baby

Followed by: The Boss Baby: Family Business

Just Sing

Trolls World Tour is the best Troll 2 I’ve seen. Even if it did inadvertently harm the film industry for years to come. Like most DreamWorks Animation sequels, Trolls World Tour likely would’ve came and went if it was released exclusively to theaters. When the pandemic struck, Trolls World Tour became the first major movie simultaneously released on a streaming platform. So my brother and I were forced to watch the sequel from the comfort of our home. Turning the movie into a bigger success that nearly lead to a ban of Universal films for AMC theaters. Although Trolls World Tour isn’t really worth the extra attention, it is another surprisingly strong sequel that doubles the fun of the original. The computer animation is even more colorful with trippier images that would’ve been cool to see on a big screen.

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake are back to sing their hearts out. Since the soul focus of World Tour is the music. Turns out the Trolls are really one group in a tribe of Trolls defined by musical genres. There are Pop Trolls, edgier Hard Rock Trolls, aquatic Techno Trolls, winged Classical Trolls, centaur-like Country Trolls, and the Funk Trolls that look like the out of place giraffe creature Cooper. Plus more niche genres like Smooth Jazz, Yodeling, K-Pop, and Reggaeton. Poppy & Branch sort of hit the reset button since the latter constantly tries to confess his love. While Poppy makes a few poor decisions as the Queen of the Pop Trolls. She personally confronts Queen Barb of the Hard Rock Trolls with Branch and Biggie’s help. James Corden is promoted along with a few other returning cast members.

The Bergens are reduced to cameos. Leaving room for more voices like Rachel Bloom as the feisty Barb, Ozzy Osbourne as her father, Kelly Clarkson as the Country Troll mayor, Mary J. Blige as the Queen of the Funk Trolls, and Sam Rockwell as a helpful guide named Hickory. The diversity in music makes for a fun soundtrack that takes advantage of even more hits. Troll music is threatened when Barb seeks to unite everyone under rock. Although she seems like the villain, this is 2020. Of course the real enemies are circumstances from the past that no one can control. Though it’s not as annoying since the ultimate moral is embracing differences. Ending with a not as catchy final song that melds all genres called “Just Sing.” Trolls World Tour rocks without even trying.

36. Trolls World Tour

The Troll tribes united

Preceded by: Trolls

Can’t Stop the Feeling

Trolls shouldn’t work as well as it does. I’m not trolling when I say Trolls is the most surprisingly fun original DreamWorks Animation project in recent memory. After Home gave me too many red flags, I very nearly skipped Trolls as well. I remember thinking it was very bizarre to make a movie based on the creepy troll dolls I had when I was a kid. The colorful approach and poppy soundtrack made it seem less like something I needed to see in theaters. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it anyway. The computer animation is simple, but vibrant like a glittery pastel scrapbook come to life. All trolls retain the trademark tall colorful hair of their namesake. Along with a big nose, big ears, and often exposed butt.

Trolls are an overly happy race that do nothing but sing, dance, and hug. Their natural enemy are a fictional race called Bergens that believe in eating Trolls to be happy. The celebrity voice cast is a mix of musically talented entertainers and frequent animation collaborators. After Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick was the perfect upbeat choice for sweetly naive Troll Princess Poppy. Her fellow Trolls are voiced by the likes of James Corden and Gwen Stefani, but they aren’t given a lot of attention. There are big Trolls, small Trolls, glitter farting Trolls, and an odd Troll that looks like a giraffe. All of Poppy’s partying attracts the attention of evil Bergen chef Chef voiced by Christine Baranski. So Poppy is forced to team up with her overly cautious polar opposite Branch voiced by returning DreamWorks collaborator Justin Timberlake.

Their journey is fraught with pipe cleaner spiders and sarcastic clouds. Although most jokes are juvenile, it’s too creative not to laugh out loud. The Bergens are led by the easily fooled young King Gristle Jr. voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Poppy, Branch, and the rest of the Trolls use everything they know about happiness to keep from being eaten. Including help lovesick scullery maid Bridget voiced by an unrecognizable Zooey Deschanel. Until they’re all betrayed by a zen Troll fittingly voiced by Russell Brand. Poppy & Branch of course come to together in the end through the power of music. As a jukebox musical, Trolls is full of catchy hits. The catchiest song is easily the Best Original Song nominee “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” As kid friendly, party filled DreamWorks movies go, Trolls can’t stop my feeling of enjoyment.

31. Trolls

Poppy and Branch sing

Followed by: Trolls World Tour

Warner Bros. The Movie

Space Jam: A New Legacy is corporate branding run amok. It’s no secret that nostalgia sells. So it was only a matter of time before Space Jam 2 finally entered active development. When Michael Jordan left the project, the closest thing to a sequel became the underrated Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Although Warner Bros. considered other sports icons to focus on, the only constant was other popular basketball player LeBron James. Space Jam has been a personal favorite of mine since childhood, but I never felt the need for a sequel. The already bizarre premise of the Looney Tunes playing a high stakes basketball game will only feel derivative the second time around. A New Legacy is one of many 2021 films released simultaneously in theaters and on streaming. Appropriate considering how much it feels like an ad for HBO Max. My brother and I saw A New Legacy in theaters with an audience of kids who all seemed to enjoy it. A New Legacy has several problems that I can only blame on current trends.

I’m still not a sports fan, but I of course know who LeBron James is. While he is a slightly better actor than MJ, there’s way too much hero worship placed on “King James.” LeBron’s fictionalized life plays out similar to Space Jam, but they include a father/son element that tries too hard to be sentimental. Especially for a movie concerned with IP. Don Cheadle is given a ton of attention as an evil algorithm named Al-G Rhythm. His unusual plan is to use LeBron’s success to insert him in existing properties. Everyone thinks it’s a bad idea, but the movie does exactly that. Al-G takes LeBron’s son Dom and sends him through the Warner Bros. Serververse. The LEGO Movie, Ready Player One, and Ralph Breaks the Internet did the exact same thing, but somehow A New Legacy feels more in your face. It’s nice to see the traditionally animated Tune World, but something about Bugs Bunny feels off. I know it’s manipulative, but I couldn’t help but have fun with Bugs searching several Warner Bros. movies or shows to find his friends.

That of course includes the DC Universe, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Matrix, and other more inappropriate franchises. There’s a serious double standard that doesn’t stop there. Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, Granny, and Speedy Gonzales get to be on the team, but Pepe Le Pew is suddenly bad. Lola Bunny is also a non-sexualized tough girl with the slightly distracting celebrity voice of Zendaya. Granny is similarly given an unusual amount of attention. The Looney Tunes are computer animated against their will in a video game version of basketball attended by all the remaining IP’s that do nothing but watch. The Goon Squad can’t hold a candle to the Monstars since they’re all real life players I’ve never heard of. Neither can the very forgettable soundtrack that doesn’t even include the catchy “Space Jam” theme. Some of the jokes, including one about Michael Jordan work, but a rapping Porky Pig is pure cringe. The overlong sequel tries to have an emotional payoff that’s totally lost in a movie like this. Space Jam: A New Legacy is a no win situation.

Space Jam A New Legacy

LeBron James and Bugs Bunny play basketball

Preceded by: Space Jam

The True Meaning of Smekday

Home is the worst DreamWorks Animation movie I’ve ever seen. I know most people say Shark Tale or Bee Movie, but I can never hate anything I grew up watching. I was 19 when Home came out. Despite my brother and I promising to always see computer animated DreamWorks movies in theaters, I could tell we weren’t the target demographic. Home is based on a 2007 children’s book called The True Meaning of Smekday. Although a movie adaptation was nearly called Happy Smekday!, they went with the extremely generic Home instead. A short titled Almost Home was shown with Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Rio 2. The 4 minute short is funnier than the hour & a half long movie.

Home feels like it appeals to the lowest common denominator. The animation is basic and kid friendly, the humor ranges from childish to nonsensical, and the music is contemporary. The Boov are a silly alien race with generic alien speak, bubble technology, and skin that changes color based on mood. Jim Parsons voices your basic overly excitable alien Oh. I’m not a Big Bang Theory fan, so I found him annoying in the role. The cowardly Boov peacefully relocate humans to Australia, except for the oddly named Gratuity “Tip” Tucci and her pet cat Pig.

Rihanna voices the first black female DreamWorks lead, but not even she can save the movie. Fellow popstar Jennifer Lopez voices Tip’s lost mother Lucy. I love both singers, but it feels self-aggrandizing to see characters grooving to their own music. Tip & Oh form an unlikely friendship when Oh foolishly invites the entire galaxy to his party. Including the Boov’s sworn starfish enemy the Gorg. They’re pursued by the Boov’s selfish leader Captain Smek voiced by an eccentric Steve Martin and their police officer Kyle. So Tip & Oh travel in a flying car powered by music and slushies. Most of the action is chaotic and any attempt to be heartfelt doesn’t land. Home is further proof that aliens and Rihanna simply don’t mix.

29. Home

Tip (human) and Oh (alien)