1. Jett Jackson The Movie
The Famous Jett Jackson was one of Disney’s most original television concepts, so to see a full length film of what we normally got in small portions was awesome. When you’re only used to having a piece of cake, it’s pretty magnificent to digest the entire confection, Bruce Boggtrotter style. This is like a PG-Mission Impossible for the young action lover’s viewing pleasure.
2. Cadet Kelly
I know a lot of of you saw this because it debuted with 7.8 million viewers, which was a pretty hefty number for a Disney original flick. It was the most successful one of its kind (before the High School Musical era), probably because it featured two of the channels biggest female stars at the time — Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire) and Christy Carlson Romano (Even Stevens). Speaking of which, where in the world is CCR? I would’ve bet the house on her being a future A-Lister.
3. Get A Clue
Aside from Mean Girls, nothing makes you miss a non-drugged-out Lindsay like Get A Clue…. Except for The Parent Trap… And Life-Size… Oh and Freaky Friday… K, Get A Clue ranks like 5th on the feel-bad-for-Lindsay meter, but in reality it’s a pretty awful movie. Let’s face it, it’s one of those lovable pieces of trash that we have a soft spot for mostly because it’s from our childhood. The wardrobe was atrocious, the story was meh, the acting was awful — at least it was consistently bad.
4. Up, Up, And Away!
Ah, mediocrity at its finest! The appeal of this film lied within its main story of an average kid (who we were) and his family of superheroes (who we wanted to be). It’s a solid kid’s film and it features Kevin Connolly from Entourage as the main villain, which is super random.
5. The Other Me
Here’s the gist: Average teenager clones himself. Clone is a genius. Average intelligence teen uses genius clone to his advantage – hijinks ensue. I won’t spoil anything because it’s a real doozy, but this was a favorite amongst Disney and Lawrence Brother fans alike.
6. Luck Of The Irish
Have you ever had a tasty burger that you were thoroughly enjoying, when on the final bite you chomped down on one of those really hard little pieces of gristle or bone, or whatever the hell it is that occasionally appears in hamburger meat – thus, tainting all of the previous bites? That was this movie — good stuff (in Disney Channel Movie terms) for a large portion, but disappointing ending that kind of polluted the previous 98% of filmage.
7. ‘Twas The Night
If Breaking Bad fans want to see Walter White in a different scenario, this is worth a look. He plays a starring role as an immature, irresponsible uncle who the kids look up to. This wasn’t the only option for kids seeking Disney original, Christmas flicks to put ‘em in the holiday spirit….
8. The Ultimate Christmas Present
The second option for Disney produced Christmas movies was The Ultimate Christmas Present. Its plot centers around Santa’s lost weather machine and a couple of teenage girls who’ve found it. What it lacks in story it makes up for in colorful, Christmas-themed stuff. Take it for what it’s worth. And since it was free and on TV instead of in theaters, you can’t really complain.
9. Tru Confessions
This is probably the only Disney Channel Movie capable of making a person cry as an adult. Or should I say cry because it’s heartfelt, not because it’s so bad. It covers a fairly touchy subject in mental disability, starring Shia LaBeouf in a strong performance that should, at the very least make you cringe occasionally. This injects a heavy dose of nostalgia, mixed with additional emotion from sentimental storytelling.
10. The Color Of Friendship
This was another kid’s movie that touched on a real issue – race. It was set in 1977 and told the story of a white South African girl (Mahree) who lived in a mansion, and black girl from DC (Piper). Piper knows that she’s hosting an African exchange student but has a Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner moment when she comes face to face with Mahree. Good story, good message, and very powerful for a Disney Channel original.
11. Double Teamed
Based on the true stories of the professional basketball playing Burge sisters. Now they’re supposed to be teenage twins, but aside from height and blonde hair, their faces differ greatly and they look no younger than 25-26ish. Also it’s title sounds like an adult movie series. That all being said, it was a nice motivational family movie.
BONUS: My Date With The President’s Daughter
Okay, so it came out in 1998 and originally aired on ABC as part of a Disney special thing, but it was played repeatedly in the early 2000s and never failed to entertain. We got to see Will Friedle’s likeable personality in a role other than big bro on Boy Meets World. If you start playing this, good luck stopping it.