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

Stupid Bunny Suit

S. Darko is another inferior sequel released too many years later for anyone to care. Donnie Darko has a lot of cult appeal that can’t really be replicated. That didn’t stop them from trying anyway. S. Darko refers to Samantha Darko, sister of the late Donnie Darko from the first film. She wanders the road with her vapid best friend Corey. They wind up in a small town where several disturbances try to mimic the original.

Except the new cast of characters can’t back things up. You know you’re in trouble if Jackson Rathbone and Elizabeth Berkley were the best they could do. Although I have a personal appreciation for Daveigh Chase, her role is essentially a less interesting substitute for her brother. Now Sam is the one hallucinating, facing an end of the world scenario, and using the confusing time travel of the original. Only none of the minor alterations make it any less derivative.

An imaginary rabbit is replaced by an undead Sam (Samara Morgan she is not). The end is now 5 days before the 4th of July in 1995. Time travel is used twice in order to make the entire movie feel utterly pointless. Two separate deaths are reversed and the world nearly ends via meteor shower. Religious commentary is handled with far less grace. Meanwhile, the iconic bunny suit is only used as a recognizable image. S. Darko is just as unnecessary as it sounds.

S Darko

Sam and Justin stare at each other

Preceded by: Donnie Darko

Memory! All Alone in the Moonlight!

Cats (1998) has a bit of a reputation on Broadway. Although I was once a theater kid, I never really appreciated one of the longest-running musicals of all time. Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, it seems you either love or hate Cats. The 1998 movie is simply the play put to film with more effects and several returning cast members. I distinctly remember watching a VHS tape of Cats when I was 4.

I only remember being a combination of confused, creeped out, and bored to death. I don’t even remember how vaguely sexual the cats are. In case you’ve never seen the musical, Cats doesn’t really have a straightforward plot. It’s 100% singing, loosely tied together with various Jellicle cats wanting to be reborn in the Heaviside Layer. Don’t try to make sense of it. The stage is a more extravagant moonlit junkyard where each colorful cat is musically introduced. Each of them dressed in wild cat makeup and unitards.

There’s the ballet dancing Victoria the White Cat, storytelling Munkustrap, all-knowing Old Deuteronomy, seemingly lazy gumbie cat Jennyanydots, fun loving Rum Tum Tugger, fancy fat cat Bustopher Jones, cat burgling Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer, aging theater cat Gus, mischievous Macavity, flirtatious Bombalurina, railway riding Skimbleshanks, magical Mr. Mistoffelees, and sad former glamour cat Grizabella. Between all of those funny names are some genuinely catchy songs. I have a lot of personal favorites, but nothing beats Elaine Paige performing the showstopper “Memory.” Cats is still an acquired taste regardless of medium.

Cats

Cats

Off to the Ranch

Dr. Dolittle 3 is the first of 3 direct-to-video Dr. Dolittle movies without Eddie Murphy. I’m not sure if he was ever supposed to return, but he was a little busy making Dreamgirls. I don’t normally watch low quality straight to DVD sequels to popular movies, but I decided to give Doctor Dolittle 3 a chance. It’s the only one of those I’ve seen more than once.

Doctor Dolittle 3 now stars Kyla Pratt as John Dolittle’s daughter Maya. She was the only choice since Raven-Symoné was a little busy making That So Raven. Although Maya has sort of dropped her oddness in favor of wanting to be a normal teen. She’s inherited the ability to speak to animals like her father and sister, but a monkey related incident forces her to be sent to a ranch. Along with Kristen Wilson as her mother, Norm Macdonald as Lucky is the only other returning character. This time Lucky’s subplot is keeping an eye on Maya and romancing a country dog.

Dr. Dolittle 3 has a very cliché save the farm plot. Along with a cast of paper thin teens. There’s the mean girl who doesn’t like the protagonist for no reason, the fat guy who only wants to eat, and a clumsy redhead. Maya hides who she is from everyone including a handsome ranch hand. It’s only when she finds out about the financial troubles that she uses her abilities to influence the animals in a rodeo competition. Although Dr. Dolittle 3 is nothing special, I like Kyla Pratt too much not to at least find it watchable.

4. Dr Dolittle 3

Maya Dolittle encourages Butch

Preceded by: Dr. Dolittle 2 & Followed by: Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief

Super Soldier

Captain America (1990) is the crappy early attempt at a Marvel movie people forget exists. Rightfully so, because this low budget direct-to-video movie makes a mockery of the famous super soldier. Captain America is one of Marvel’s oldest characters. Having debuted in Timely comics as far back as 1941. Created by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby to help out the war effort. Captain America became Marvel’s first superhero to appear in other media. There was a 1944 serial, 2 crappy TV movies, and a catchy cartoon. Marvel needed a win against DC, but dumping him in the hands of a B movie director was a bad call.

Captain America (1990) is a complete mess with awful acting, cheesy special effects, lackluster action, horrific editing, and a costume that’s faithful, but worse than cosplay. The throwing of his mighty shield looks like a frisbee that defies all laws of physics. For some reason, Matt Salinger (son of J.D. Salinger) plays Steve Rogers/Captain America. His only qualification is being blonde since he can’t act to save his life. Steve is an already fit guy with polio living in California. Bernie Rosenthal from the comics is his girlfriend from the 40’s.

Steve volunteers for the procedure that makes him Captain America and they make a point of saying he’s no Superman. So it’s ironic that Ned Beatty appears in both movies. Red Skull is a terrible looking Italian Nazi who covers up his deformity for the entirety of the present. Cap is strapped to a rocket and frozen in ice. Waking up to thongs and Bernie’s 90’s daughter Sharon (not Carter). The not Red Skull is a mob boss who kidnaps the President for the environment or whatever. With a score of 7%, Captain America (1990) has the lowest Marvel movie score on Rotten Tomatoes. Now it’s only remembered as a weird novelty in the age of the MCU.

Captain America

Captain America speaks with the President

P.S. Since copies are scarce, I’ve supplied the full movie underneath.

Bucket of Slop

Charlotte’s Web 2: Wilbur’s Great Adventure is the equivalent of a lousy direct-to-video Disney sequel. In the way that it continues a much older movie nearly 2 decades later. Only with lower quality animation, storytelling, and voice acting. I first discovered the so-called sequel on a Nickelodeon VHS tape that I owned. That’s who markets the movie now that Hanna-Barbera isn’t as big as it used to be. Charlotte’s Web 2 has nothing to do with anything that E.B. White wrote. All the deep themes of the original story are ditched in favor of a juvenile kiddie story. The animation doesn’t help. It’s way too stylized with an overuse of bright colors.

The worst character looks are Charlotte and her three daughters Nellie, Joy, and Aranea. Who for some reason have human hair. Amanda Bynes as Nellie is the only recognizable voice in the movie. Charlotte’s Web 2 is about Wilbur, Charlotte’s kids, and Templeton trying to save a black sheep named Cardigan from a dastardly fox. Then Wilbur spends almost the entire rest of the movie as a dirty wild pig covered in nature. I think I’ll take the honest depiction of mortality in Charlotte’s Web over the lazy adventure in Charlotte’s Web 2 anyday.

5. CW2WGA

Wilbur plays with Cardigan

Preceded by: Charlotte’s Web

Skunk Smell

Why does Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild exist? It has nothing to do with E.B. White’s book. Instead they just make up a story set in the not so great outdoors. Stuart Little 2 and Spider-Man were such big hits for Sony that they both received short lived computer animated shows. Maybe they would have lasted longer if they didn’t have such bizarre animation. It wasn’t just computer animation, it was crossed with some kind of cel shading technique. Bottom line, it didn’t look right to me. So I wasn’t exactly keen on checking out the so-called third movie that came out 2 years later.

Even if Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Michael J. Fox all returned, there’s still a distinct lack of Nathan Lane. Sadly this was Fox’s last movie role for nearly a decade. And this wasn’t even a theatrical release. Instead the quality is greatly decreased, the rating is lowered to a G, and the actors are given nothing to work with. Stuart Little 3 is just about camping. Along with Snowbell being kidnaped by a cougar in the wilderness. What’s worse is the fact that Stuart befriends a skunk whose just a walking stereotype. Stuart Little 3 ditches charming fun in favor of a childish cartoon.

3. SL3COTW

Stuart at camp

Preceded by: Stuart Little 2

She Wants Fabulous

Since the High School Musical craze refused to end, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure was made. The only spin-off made for the musical franchise. Most people don’t know it exists since it was released direct-to-video. Sharpay Evans is the “antagonist” of the three High School Musical movies. Played by Disney Channel “it girl” Ashley Tisdale. I say antagonist, but really she never did anything outright villainous. Of course Disney couldn’t keep her bad forever either. So she was always redeemed at the end of every movie. Sharpay is definitely the protagonist of Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. Which has just about the most generic/cliché plot imaginable.

After graduating from East High, Sharpay now yearns to star on Broadway. So she moves to New York, stays in a crummy apartment, doesn’t get the part, meets a guy that helps her, and eventually becomes a star. Its been done a million times and the only standout is the character. The songs don’t even standout. I also wasn’t happy to see her love interest change. Since she’s supposed to be with Zeke (the baker). The only real connection to the trilogy is a cameo from her brother Ryan. Which can only be seen on TV. Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure is at best a colorful distraction.

sharpay

Sharpay and Boi are shocked

Spin-off of: High School Musical

Slumming for Dummies

Havoc is as the title suggests, full of self-destruction. It was also Anne Hathaway’s first attempt at shedding her good girl Disney image. For most young stars that means appearing in the most adult movie possible. Since this came out a year after The Princess Diaries 2 and a few months before Brokeback Mountain.

Havoc deals with drugs, gang violence, promiscuity, and a variety of other heavy topics. All involving teens. The final result can be hard to watch, but not always for the reason you think. Havoc centers around the documented exploits of rich white kids from L.A. that talk and act like gangstas just cause they’re bored. It’s kinda too cringy to take seriously. Especially since a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum play a part.

Their stupid behavior eventually catches up with them once they willingly enter a tough neighborhood and reality sets in. Although that doesn’t stop Hathaway’s character from going back, getting arrested, and bringing her equally incompetent best friend along for the ride. Anne Hathaway swears frequently and appears naked several times. It’s the main reason I knew the movie existed. It was apparently so lewd that it was released direct-to-video. Not that Hathaway isn’t putting effort into her performance. If Havoc is trying to say something, it’s probably to not make dumb decisions.

havoc

Allison flirts with Eric

The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph: King of Dreams is a prequel to The Prince of Egypt. Prequel because it takes place in the Book of Genesis. Which is before the Book of Exodus in the Bible when Moses’ story takes place. Much like Disney movies at the time, Joseph: King of Dreams is the only Dreamworks Animation movie released direct-to-video. Since the story of Joseph hasn’t been done nearly as much as the story of Moses. Here’s a quick Sunday school lesson. Joseph was the youngest of 11 sons. His father favors him the most, for he possesses the power to see the future in dreams. So his father gave him an amazing technicolor dreamcoat. His jealous brothers left him to die and he was taken in by an Egyptian pharaoh. Eventually Joseph’s ability to decipher dreams helps him to gain power and reconcile with his brothers. Joseph: King of Dreams does still have nice animation (specifically in its dream sequences) and good music. It only suffers from its direct-to-video status. Which keeps it from being as grand as it could have been. Frankly, I would have been happy to get several biblical animated movies from Dreamworks. Joseph: King of Dreams is just a pleasant piece of an even larger puzzle.

joseph

Joseph dreams

Followed by: The Prince of Egypt