Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Goofy Movie

(Movie Reviews)

This movie came out in 1995.  It's kind of based on The Goof Troop TV show.
I'm just seeing it now.

More Background / My History with the Franchise
This movie is based off of The Goof Troop TV show.
Kind of.  Although they did sort of reboot things for the movie.  They changed some of the voice actors, got rid of some of the characters from the TV show (e.g. Peg, Pistol), and added in some new characters for the movie (Roxanne, Bobby, Stacy).

[Sidenote: I read online somewhere that part of the reason Disney retooled and recast premise for the theatrical version is because the Ducktales movie had under-performed at the box office, making the studio leery of directly transferring another show to the big screen.]

The Goof Troop TV show premiered on the Disney Channel when I was in 8th Grade.  And I did  watch the TV show.

8th Grade is right about that age where you're beginning to feel embarrassed about watching cartoons, but you still watch them anyway.  (I trust I'm not just speaking for myself here, right?)
Plus, I had always been a huge Disneyphile growing up, so I was keen to keep track of what the Disney characters were up to, even if I did feel like I was outgrowing it a bit.
I liked Goof Troop. I don't remember it quite as fondly as some of the other Disney Afternoon Cartoons, but that could have been because this one came out right when I was growing out of the whole thing.  But Goof Troop was good Saturday Morning Cartoon fare.  It was a suburban comedy, which was different than the usual adventure-driven plot of shows like Ducktales, but it was different in just the right way.   It was funny seeing Goofy's life in the suburbs, and I remember each episode usually had a big wacky slapstick finish (e.g. an out of control fire engine careens around the neighborhood, etc.)

A Goofy Movie, however, came out 3.5 years later, which was right around the time I was graduating from high school.  At 18, I was definitely too old to be interested in this movie, and gave it a pass.

I do remember reading a couple reviews of it when it came out.  (Just because I read reviews of all new movies).  And I remember reviewers panning it at the time.

Strangely enough, however, the movie seems to have become a cult classic over the years.  At least with the generation that has come up since mine.
The Nostalgia Critic notes this in his review of A Goofy Movie.

And, I've got to say, although the Nostalgia Critic's review was my first hint of this, searching around a bit on the Internet has confirmed this for me.  There are a lot of dedicated fans of this movie among the under 25 crowd.

I'm too old to remember A Goofy Movie fondly, but of course I understand the phenomenon easily enough.  I am also nostalgic for all kinds of cartoons from my own youth--even the ones that weren't really all that great.
It's a funny thing nostalgia.  It prevents each generation from ever objectively viewing the media of their childhood, and it has a way of making today's trash into tomorrow's nostalgic classics.
You know all those stupid kids movies that everyone is complaining about nowadays?  Twilight, and The Emoji Movie and Peter Rabbit?  In 20 years they'll all be fondly remembered as classics by the generation that grew up with them.
(I'm given to understand that the same thing has happened with the Star Wars prequels.  People who were 5 years old when they came out are now full-grown adults now, and many of them don't understand what the problem with the prequels are.)

Anyways...where was I again?  Oh right, A Goofy Movie

Why I Watched This Movie
In spite of what The Nostalgia Critic said about this movie having become a cult classic, I felt no particular desire to watch the whole thing through from beginning to end.  (The Nostalgia Critic's summary of the movie more than satiated any curiosity I might have had).  If left to my own devices, I would never have watched this movie.
But, I ended up watching this movie because I my class voted to watch it.
I've been doing a lot of movie worksheets in my classes the past couple years.
I used to just pick the movies myself.  (My general philosophy is to never let the students pick the movie).  But over the past year my students have gotten increasingly picky about the movie, so I've had to do compromise more and more.  I've started providing them with a list of 6 movies, and they vote on which one they want to do.
The last time around, I decided to include A Goofy Movie as one of the choices.  Even though I had never seen it myself, I was influenced by the Nostalgia Critics video, and how this movie had become such a classic with the generation that grew up with it.  There must be something in it that would appeal to the target audience, right?
Well, my class voted to do this movie.  So over the past couple months we watched it in class (about 5 minutes per class with a worksheet).  And now that we're all finished with the whole thing, here's my movie review.

The Review
So... with apologies to the fans of this movie, I didn't think it was anything special.
I mean, I get the "being nostalgic for the movies of your childhood" thing.  I really do.  But for me, watching this movie for the first time at 39, it didn't have quite the same impact.

Which is not to say it's a bad movie.  It's a perfectly serviceable as a cartoon.  It's about everything you'd expect A Goofy Movie to be.
There are a few good laughs, some decent slapstick, and a suitable wacky ending with a careening out-of-control car.

But, the movie never really feels like a real movie.  It feels like an hour long version of the TV show.
It works great as a home video, but I would sure have felt cheated if I had driven to the theater during it's initial theatrical release.

This movie was produced by DisneyToons Studios, which you may remember, was responsible for a plague of Disney sequels during the late 1990s.
As, as Lindsay Ellis says in her video essay on Disney Sequels. the big problem with all of these movies was that they were produced by TV people, and they all had the pacing of a TV show and the stakes of a TV episode.

And boy is that ever true of A Goofy Movie.  The animation quality is a bit better than the Goof Troop  TV show, but the plot, pacing, and stakes are geared much more for the small screen than for the big screen.

In fact, the plot is so thin that it can barely cover the 78 minute running time.
The plot is about Goofy's attempt to reconnect with his teenage son over the course of a road trip.  But it's one of those movies where (in order to pad the run-time) the relationship keeps going up and down.  They start out on horrible terms.  Then they come to appreciate each other.  Then, something will happen to reset the relationship, and they'll be back to being on horrible terms again.  (By my count, the relationship went from bad to good and then reset again 3 times over the course of the movie).

But, my students (8-10 years old) loved it.  They laughed at all the gags.  They kept commenting throughout the movie: "Teacher, it's so funny!"  And they broke into applause at the end.  So the film does seem to hit all the right notes with its target audience.

Other Notes
* Pauly Shore is in this movie.  (He plays Max's friend Bobby).  And he's doing his typical drugged-out-surfer voice shtick.
I absolutely hated Pauly Shore in the 1990s, when he was everywhere.  I thought he was the most annoying thing ever.
But... he's actually alright in this movie.
After watching this movie, I've decided that the key to Pauly Shore is that he works best in small doses.  He should never have starred in any of his own movies, but he works fine as a side character.  A little bit of his shtick goes a long ways.

Rating :
5 out of 10 Stars (Absolutely nothing wrong with this movie--it hits all the notes you'd expect it to hit--but nothing great about it either.  A solid 5 for being average).

Video Review
Video Review HERE and embedded below:

Link of the Day
Chris Hedges (Feb 27, 2018) - Interviews Noam Chomsky


Whisky Prajer said...

I recall Roger Ebert recommending it -- kinda.

Joel Swagman said...

Thanks for the link. I've never seen that one before.

I don't suppose you ever saw this movie--with raising two kids and all?

Whisky Prajer said...

I did (on VHS!). I thought it was charming, got a few laughs from me which surprised me (I wasn't expecting much). It never caught on with my kids, though -- I doubt they watched it more than once.