It’s very easy to make a millennial nostalgic. Just mention things in pop culture like the Spice Girls, Nickelodeon’s All That and Disney Channel Original Movies. Every generation will tell you something isn’t as good as it used to be, and for millennials, it’s the DCOM. “They just don’t make them like they used to” is an annoying sentiment until you have to say it about something from your childhood.
Thus, when Disney announced in December 2013 it would premiere a new DCOM called Descendants, a live action adventure-comedy about the teenage children of famed fairytale heroes and villains, skepticism grew with the anticipation. Do we really need a story about the teenage children of the characters who have been reimagined time and time again? Will this movie finally revive the DCOM? Will this be the material that gets Disney Channel out of its rut? I’m very excited to see Kristen Chenoweth as Maleficent and Kathy Najimy as the Evil Queen, even if I’m not too thrilled to see their kids Mal and Evvie, respectively. As we wait to see what will come, let’s look back on the ones that make us nostalgic and wish it were 2000 again.
10. Full Court Miracle
Has there ever been another movie about a Jewish basketball team? Disney Channel had great Christmas movies (e.g. The Ultimate Christmas Present), and this was a great way to diversify the programming without resorting to an overused trope about Hanukkah.
9. Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off
A baseball star just wants to cook. It encompassed the classic Disney message of following your heart and fulfilling your dreams, despite what your parents may wish. It was also the film that made you want to learn how to crack open an egg with one hand and got you to recognize Bobby Flay as a preteen.
8. Double Teamed
Despite the fact the actors playing twins didn’t really look alike, this was a great film about the real-life story of WNBA twin sisters Heather and Heidi Burge. It was one of the more grown-up films Disney produced, and it’s definitely memorable. Disney also gets points for the positive portrayal of female athletes whose talent was never questioned and instead sibling rivalry, social lives and injuries challenged the twins.
7. Phantom of the Megaplex
Based on The Phantom of the Opera, this classic DCOM was a staple in October. It was the movie that introduced you to Mickey Rooney and the magic of the movies and made you want to hang out in a movie theater for the better part of an evening.
6. Cadet Kelly
This film paired two Disney giants: Hilary Duff of Lizzie McGuire and Christy Carlson Romano of Even Stevens. It also used the standard DCOM storyline of the main character moving to a new place and struggling to fit in with the locals (see: Johnny Tsunami, Rip Girls). It had physical comedy, a love triangle and an amazing drill team routine at the end. What more could you ask for?
5. The Color of Friendship
Remember when Disney Channel material won awards? This amazing DCOM won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program in 2000. That’s right. An Emmy! It’s safe to say this was the most racially charged piece Disney ever produced. Sure it’s a bit campy at times, but it was a great drama that taught children acceptance.
And this was the DCOM that made everyone want to be a skater. Totally ‘90s, right? It’s the traditional set up: bad guys versus good guys (in this case, sponsored skaters versus freedom skaters), a son trying to help his family, the good guys getting everything because that’s totally how the world works and some sweet skating moves. It’s a classic DCOM. Plus, Erik von Detten was a total heartthrob.
3. Smart House
No one was ever satisfied with his or her own home after seeing this movie. Why doesn’t my house project music videos on my bedroom wall? Why won’t it clean up my messes? It was such a unique idea and was executed to perfection, especially with Katey Sagal as the eventually overbearing home. Sagal does no wrong.
There’s the classic DCOM, and then there’s Halloweentown. Everything about this movie is amazing: classic Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds plus DCOM “it girl” Kimberly J. Brown, a town that is Halloween 24/7 and a good scary story (none of that overly sensitized material they put out now).
1. Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century
When people talk about the good DCOMs, they usually are talking about Zenon and it usually follows with a chanting of “Zetus lapetus!” and “Supernova girl.” Zoom zoom zoom, you make my heart go boom boom, old DCOMs. It needs no explanation because it’s the ultimate DCOM.
These are the movies that give you the inexplicable surge of nostalgia whenever they are mentioned. You haven’t seen them since they used to air repeatedly on TV and now all you want to do is watch them. Hopefully in the future, the next generation will be saying this about the DCOMs coming out now. But let’s face it. Nothing will ever top our supernova girl.