I Ranked The Top 25 Disney Channel Original Movies Even Though They're All Canonically Perfect
Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge.
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Camp Rock (2008)
Whatever, I guess I'll put this on the list because I know you'll be mad if I don't but I have never cared about any Jonas brother. Yet in recent history I had a dream that a Jonas brother broke my heart so now my feelings have actually gone from neutral to negative. This is a subjective list, so YEAH my dreams get to factor in. LAST.
Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)
I tbh don't love this movie that much, but I understand that it's beloved by many. I just so happen to have an enormous crush on the Phantom of the Opera, so any story even vaguely adjacent to his storyline is fine, I guess.
I am glad this movie exists, I just can't help but wish it was about skateboarding. I just can't buy into thinking that to raddest dudes in town are...in-line skaters. It deflates me. So close yet so far.
Cow Belles (2006)
Cow Belles served Paris and Nicole realness appropriate for tweens, and for that, I am thankful. When I am well into my years and can barely remember the fine details of my life, Aly and AJ slipping in kitten heels and being covered in blueberry mush will still be with me. The rest of the story, I'm sad to say, will be gone.
Johnny Tsunami (1999)
Disney Channel / Via
The saddest story ever told: a very cool surfer named Johnny (ahem, much cooler than ANYONE in
Brink!) is forced to move to Vermont and go to prep school. :( The stuff of nightmares. Despite going to a school for skiers (lame), Johnny becomes a great snowboarder (cool), and along the way, I think we all learn a little something about class and socioeconomics. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000)
This isn't the best Christmas movie, but as I child growing up in Florida, I couldn't help but think that snow — not a shiny new bike, not even world peace, but snow — would be the ultimate Christmas present. This movie is, in a few words, not very good, but I would like to thank Disney Channel for portraying girls as more capable of fixing a weather machine than Santa. #WomenInSTEM
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)
The movie itself is...medium but easily has some of the best DCOM fashion. Zenon walked so Forever 21 could run, send tweet.
Now You See It... (2005)
I love that someone sat down and wrote a movie about "the first show in television history to be produced entirely by kids." I love that the show is an intense magic competition. I love that Aly Michalka — a DCOM queen — was like...yeah that sounds great, I'll do it. I love that a group of important executives approved an ellipses in the title.
Now You See It... deserves so much more.
Witch movies? Dope. Twin movies? Dope. Together? An undeniable hit. Tia and Tamara tbh deserved a better DCOM (if not just
more DCOMs?) but they still crushed it.
Stuck in the Suburbs (2004)
I don't care about this movie a lick, but it brought us Hot Taran Killam playing a guitar and singing a song "dedicated to what's special about all of us." That's enough for me and it should be enough for you, too. I literally couldn't tell you anything about the plot, but Taran's singing scene is one of the funniest things I've ever seen (THE CLAPPING OFF BEAT!), boosting it on the list.
The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006)
Dropping the Cheetah Girls in the land of tapas and romantic guitar for their anticipated second act was a genius act ordained by the heavens. This sequel ultimately fueled my young life's pursuit of making long-haired musicians in vests fall in love with me, but don't worry, I'm better now.
Cadet Kelly (2002)
The star power is this DCOM shakes me to my core. Hillary Duff *AND* Christy Carlson Romano? 1) How could they? 2) How dare they. 3) I'm so thankful they did. There was also a Cadet Kelly video game on Disney Channel's website back in the day that has stayed with me perhaps even more than the movie itself. The real ones remember.
The most Shakespearean of the DCOMs and yet another twin story — this movie couldn't suck if it wanted to. This film (yes, FILM) taught girls to give the middle finger to their dads who want them to only do "girl things" and was undoubtedly a sexual awakening for many. The pixie cut, the rugged bike riding...I'm not sure how we even handled this.
High School Musical 2 (2007)
People are quick to poo-poo this movie, but guys...the hits: "What Time Is It," "Fabulous," "You Are The Music In Me," "Bet on It." HSM2 has been treated with intense disrespect and I need you all to apologize right this minute. This movie is trying so hard to be
Dirty Dancing for teens and ya know what? It's working.
Pixel Perfect (2004)
This is a perfect movie. The Zetta Bytes are my favorite band. "Nothing's Wrong With Me" is my favorite song. Ricky Ullman is my favorite Disney Channel Star. Project famed hologram Loretta Modern kicking and spinning and doing a triple backflip in all white at my funeral.
Double Teamed (2002)
This movie should have failed — a super sexual title for a kids movie, casting actresses who are definitely NOT twins in a movie very much about twins (I explicitly remember watching extras about how one had to wear platform shoes). And yet, it's one of the best DCOMs. For that, they can thank the undeniable poignancy of a good sports story and my (all of our?) strange childhood adoration of crutches.
Officially the Only Good Halloween Movie franchise. I genuinely do not like Halloween, but put Debbie Reynolds in a crushed velvet dress into the mix and I'm there. The skeleton cab driver can get it. So can the pumpkin in the middle of town. I love this movie and wish I was the mayor of Halloweentown instead of dumb-dumb Kalabar.
Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (2001)
Ranking this a smidge above
Halloweentown is one of the most chaotic things I have ever done, but hear me out: this movie has all the magic of the original but with higher STAKES! An evil mayor, the continuation of a long-time romantic obsession, a "grey spell" that threatens to suck all the magic out of Halloweentown — forever! I can't objectively say if this sequel is actually better, but proclaiming that " Halloweentown 2: Kalabar's Revenge is better than Halloweentown" was one of my first pure and independent cultural opinions as a child, and I'm choosing to honor that.
The Cheetah Girls (2003)
An undeniable classic. Nonstop hits. HITS, I tell you! It's impossible for me to imagine a better girl group or any other singers worthy of "Cinderella," "Girl Power," or "Cheetah Sisters." The trendy velour jumpsuits are just icing on the cake.
High School Musical (2006)
Go — and I cannot emphasize this enough — wildcats. HSM is cinematic in a way most DCOMs fail to be. How it wasn't nominated for *several* Academy Awards is beyond me. It gave us Zac Efron, heavily featured fedoras, made New Years Eve special to twelve-year-olds everywhere, and absolutely has those bops. YES I still know the "We're All in This Together" choreography, and YES I'm keenly aware that that is was choreographed *and* directed by Kenny Ortega — knowledge I will take to the grave.
Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off (2003)
This...is in my top ten movies of all time. Chocolate on chicken?! EDDIE WENT THERE and furthermore, Bobby Flay loved it. This movie really delves into one of life's most difficult and universal questions: should you be on a baseball team with a bunch of fifth graders or become a celebrity chef?
The Thirteenth Year (1999)
Finally giving young boys the mermaid representation they were yearning for. Never again would a kid with
Dawson's Creek hair think he couldn't grow up to be a gorgeous man-fish. This movie taught children that if you're intensely thirsty, that's just one of many symptoms pointing toward an impending mermaid transformation. Dave Coulier is in it. And despite it all...it's great.
The Luck of the Irish (2001)
Don't you hate it when your high school basketball career is at stake because you lose your family's lucky coin and start slowly transforming into a leprechaun? Same. This is a relatable movie that is absolutely wild about bucket hats, features — like many great DCOMs — a stressful basketball game, and ends with protagonist Kyle Irish step dancing in front of a giant American flag. The year was truly 2001.
Smart House (1999)
No moment in cinema history will ever be burned into my mind quite like when that cardigan is stuck on a plant and the smart house can't suck it up, revealing that there's been a wild party when the dad gets home from a date. A classic mom-less Disney story,
Smart House blew my little '90s mind. This house just wants to be a mommy and it's weird, strangely heartbreaking, and thoroughly entertaining.
Gotta Kick It Up! (2002)
My heart is so full just thinking about this movie. It has everything a great DCOM should have in spades: strong female friendships, an underdog story, a teacher in a bad wig, a catchphrase. *holding back tears*
Si se puede!!!!!!!
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