This week, Cameron Leakey gets some popcorn out and cracks into some Disney Channel Original Movies.
Disney Channel Original Movies were the bomb. They may not always hold up now, but those DCOM originals were the highlight of any disney channel experience. I’ve unearthed the archives, drawn deep in the DCOM universe to bring you the top ten DCOM movies.
1: High School Musical
This was always going to be #1 wasn’t it. This movie was iconic – is still iconic – and was such a serve for 2006. The modern day Romeo & Juliet with Troy and his love of Basketball and Gabriella, the Mathlete, combining for the spring musical. Bloody iconic. The soundtrack was awesome and the movie spawned two pretty huge sequels. Everyone watched these movies.
The Song: ‘Breaking Free’ or ‘We’re All In This Together’.
2: Pixel Perfect
This movie was fucking awesome. Basically, a teenage boy creates a humanoid hologram singer to lead his best friend’s band, The Zetta Bytes. A weird human-hologram love triangle emerges, feelings get hurt as the Hologram becomes the star of the band. Things only get weirder. There’s a whole subtext about whether holograms have rights, someone falls into a coma, and then there’s also a random scene where the hologram walks into the rain and basically dissolves (it’s not spoilers when the movie is from 2004) This movie covers a lot of tricky ground for a DCOM original. But what actually makes it so good, is the music. The terrible disney pop that is just so goddamn fun. 10/10
The Song: Nothing’s Wrong With Me – The Zetta Bytes
3: Stuck in the Suburbs
Jordan Cahill is a huge pop superstar and Brittany Aarons (Danielle Panabaker) is his biggest fan. When she goes to watch his music video shoot, the two accidentally bump into each other and their cell phones are swapped during the mayhem. In the days before Find My iPhone (and apparently cell phone passwords?) crossed wires are at play as Brittany – and her best friend – mess with Jordan’s manufactured pop star life. The title, referring to how boring things are for Brittany being ‘stuck in the suburbs’. It’s also hilarious seeing Taran Killam before Saturday Night Live fame.
The Song: Oh god they’re all pretty bad. Listen to ‘More Than Me’ for a laugh.
4: Get a Clue
One of the OG Lindsay Lohan movies and a DCOM Classic, Get a Clue has Lohan playing Lexy Gold, an upper class Manhattan high schooler with a passion for reporting. The coolest girl in school, Lexy teams up with classmate Jack to solve the mystery of one of her teacher’s disappearing. Lohan was sixteen when she filmed this but because she played a High school student right up to her mid 20’s, she looks about 13. For a movie about a ‘stylish’ teen, she also has some questionable fashion choices. Shoutout to young Brenda Song who plays her best friend, Jen.
The Song: There’s one song, the aptly named ‘Get a Clue’
5: Read it and Weep
Starring the legendary disney sisters, Kay and Danielle Pannabaker, Kay stars as Jameson ‘Jaime’ Bartlett, a ‘shy and quiet’ high school girl who accidentally hands in her diary for an english project, and then wins a writing contest. The book becomes a bestseller and Jaime becomes popular overnight. However, when her school finds out the journal is about them, they turn on her. A typical tale of losing your identity to popularity before finding out ‘who you really are’, the sister act business is pretty phenomenal.
The Song: ‘I Will Be Around’ performed at the Ocean themed School Dance
6: Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
Brenda Song is Wendy Wu, a homecoming queen-in-waiting, who discovers she is the reincarnation of a powerful Chinese warrior and is now the only person who can defeat the evil spirit, Yan-Lo. I’m not going to comment on the implications of this movie for chinese representation, it’s problematic at minimum. The whole film was shot in New Zealand which is fun. Wendy’s high school is actually Long Bay College, which makes those scenes much less impressive when you watch it again. The Auckland Museum also features very heavily. Wendy Wu does some pretty good stunts though.
The Song: ‘I’m Not That Girl’ by Brenda Song. I can’t find this song online now, it’s a lost treasure
They’re twin witches. Twitches. That’s the movie.
The Song: The Twitches Theme Song absolutely slaps
8: Cow Belles
The Disney version of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie’s ‘The Sweet Life’ stars Alison and Amanda – A.J. – Michalka as two spoiled sisters whose Father decides they need to try some goddamn honest hard work and sends them to his dairy farm for summer work. Your classic conceited rich girls lose it all just to find they have a heart and soul tale. Aly and A.J. were disney royalty and this movie was a serve from them.
The Song: ‘On The Ride’ by Aly and A.J.
9: Jump In
Corbin Bleu is Izzy Daniels, a young boxer, who is drawn into the world of competitive Double Dutch (Jump rope). This movie single handedly made this sport look cool and somehow the soundtrack has three absolute bangers. It’s a pretty cool movie, double dutch is actually a dope sport and it features Keke Palmer pre-True Jackson VP and Hustlers.
The Song(s): Honestly the soundtrack for this movie has some goodies. Hit up ‘Push it to the Limit’, “Jump To The Rhythm’ or the absolute hype track that is ‘It’s My Turn Now’
10: Zenon Z3
Okay so this is actually the third movie in the Zenon trilogy but it’s more of my time era so I’m using it here. In this movie, Zenon (our favourite space resident teenage girl) is out to win the Galactic Teen Supreme contest and celebrate at the Moonstock Festival on the Moon. Which is as ridiculous as it sounds. There isn’t any redemption for that. This is what happens when Disney makes a movie and adapts everything to be space themed. But I guess there’s some girl power in here too so top marks for that.
The Song: Of course the song is called ‘Out Of This World’ and it sounds exactly like you think it would.