The Disney Marathon: ‘A Goofy Movie’


In the year 1995 I was a cynical 14 year old who listened to The Offspring and thought I was pretty darn edgy. When A Goofy Movie was being promoted I bravely called it out as a cynical attempt to tap into teen culture. Now, I may not have been wrong on that count but I wouldn’t have guessed that it would be fondly remembered as a nostalgic classic.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 30s blogger), my son Josh (stoic 9 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 7 year old princess wannabe) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Film: A Goofy Movie

Released: 1995

Director: Kevin Lima

Cast: Bill Farmer, Jason Marsden, Jim Cummings, Kellie Martin, Rob Paulson, Pauly Shore, Wallace Shawn

Plot: Max is embarrassed by his clumsy, oddball father Goofy. In order to cover his embarrassment about going on a roadtrip with his Dad, Max lies about performing on stage with superstar Powerline.

Review: As mentioned above for those who skip past the introduction, as a teen I considered this a lame attempt to become part of the zeitgeist and made a point of not seeing it. As a result I ended up seeing this movie for the first time as a father of children who are, on occasion, embarrassed by my antics.

One aspect of the movie that convinced me that this was a lame movie for my cool 14 year old self was the character obviously modelled on comedy actor Pauly Shore. We were smart, we could tell they were just ripping off Shore’s schtick and it wasn’t going to work on us. Today I learned that actually was Pauly Shore in an uncredited role. A Goofy Movie has since become a cult classic, being held up as a snapshot of mid-90s culture in everything from the music and fashion right down to the choice of font on the poster. It certainly is something of a time capsule in that regard, even including the attitudes of the disaffected youths of the 90s.

Now here’s the biggest problem I have with the movie: Max (Marsden) is such an obnoxious little shit that I don’t want to see him succeed. I have a strong dislike for people who lie easily, and that’s at the root of Max’s problems. At the beginning of the movie we learn that Max is crushing on Roxanne (Martin) through a weird Gladiator themed dream and he’s embarrassed by his father. He does, through an equally weird performance piece at a hijacked assembly, manage to impress Roxanne and set up a date. This is when the trouble starts, as Goofy (Farmer) is desperate to connect with Max and has organised a surprise vacation that will clash with the date.

Max, being the levelled headed little shit that he is, doesn’t explain the situation to Roxanne, considering his father (who she hasn’t met) so shameful that he lies to her. He claims that his father is driving him to LA so he can perform with the famous Powerline during a big concert. I don’t know why he thought ‘my father surprised me with a vacation’ would upset her so much. For that matter, why didn’t Max explain this to Goofy? He never says anything about Roxanne, instead sulking and flipping radio channels to his music to spite his father. Over the course of the trip Max ups the ante by sabotaging the road trip by altering Goofy’s map to get them to the concert in LA.

I have no investment in seeing Max fulfil his goals. I also don’t want to see Goofy connect with Max and have him appreciate him as a father, as Goofy deserves a better son. Every teen goes through a difficult search for identity and often resent their parents, but you’d hope they’d have some basic decency. Max even clobbers a mascot at a fairground, which is a weird thing for Disney to include in one of their movies. Messing with the cast members at Disneyland is something they take very seriously.

Outside of Max being a lump of sputum, there’s plenty of fun to be had on this road trip across the USA. There’s some fun meta in-jokes about Disney, and the encounters with Big Foot, an opossum carnival and run-ins with Pete keep the pace lively. Goofy is a charming character and it’s hard to disregard his pure earnestness. There’s a clear argument for Goofy being the only cool character in the movie since he’s the only one comfortable being himself.

Unsurprisingly this is a big screen adaptation of the TV series Goof Troop, and it wasn’t initially intended to be a cinema release. It doesn’t feel like the big, momentous event movie you expect with Disney as a result of this. On the plus side, they bring the excellent voice cast with this, such as Farmer, Cummings and Paulson. It’s bright, colourful and sometimes chuckle-worthy movie that would be much better if Max wasn’t a Chicken Little level annoying brat.

Weirdest Trivia: This seems to be the movie most rooted in the real world (aside from all the weird animal people). Goofy and Max know who Walt Disney is, they have a keychain with the Disney logo and there’s a Mickey shaped balloon seen during the road trip musical number.

Rating: FIVE out of TEN

THE RANKING

ME

Click on those titles if you want to know what we said about the other films we’ve watched so far. A Goofy Movie didn’t rate all that highly for me due to the crummy main character.

  1. Robin Hood
  2. Aladdin
  3. Big Hero 6
  4. The Sword in the Stone
  5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  6. Emperor’s New Groove
  7. Fantasia
  8. The Aristocats
  9. A Goofy Movie
  10. Treasure Planet
  11. Chicken Little

AMELIA

Amelia has shuffled her top spots again. We’ve seen that she’ll feel strongly about the most recent movie she’s seen and sometimes needs to cool off on it. It seems certain that goofy comedy will always rate highly though.

  1. Emperor’s New Groove
  2. A Goofy Movie
  3. Robin Hood
  4. The Aristocats
  5. The Sword in the Stone
  6. Aladdin
  7. Treasure Planet
  8. Big Hero 6
  9. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  10. Chicken Little
  11. Fantasia

JOSHUA

I was surprised by Joshua’s ranking lower on the list, as he enjoyed the humour in this movie quite a lot. He preferred the gentle humour and characters in Sword in the Stone though, surprising as Amelia tends to prefer animation history over the modern styles.

  1. Big Hero 6
  2. Aladdin
  3. Emperor’s New Groove
  4. Treasure Planet
  5. Robin Hood
  6. The Sword in the Stone
  7. A Goofy Movie
  8. The Aristocats
  9. Fantasia
  10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  11. Chicken Little