A Goofy Movie (1995)


It’s Only Powerline, Dad, The Biggest Rock Star on the Planet

Today’s review request sat my butt down in the Delgadoian and sent me back to my childhood.  Oh wait, I mean DeLorean.  How could I have made such a mistake?  Either way, this movie is a cartoon from my childhood that I’ve always been super fond of.  So much so that it lead me to purchase it the first time I saw it on DVD.  But then I never watched it.  There have been far too many things from my childhood that have been smashed by watching them in adulthood, and I didn’t want this to become one of those things.  But when my friend Christian posted a video to Facebook of two of the songs from this movie, it lead to it becoming a review request.  There’s a very real chance that Christian may have just shattered a beloved childhood memory of mine.  We’ll see, I guess, in my review of A Goofy Movie, written by Chris Matheson, Jymn Magon, and Brian Pimental, directed by Kevin Lima, and starring the voices of Jason Marsden, Aaron Lohr, Bill Farmer, Kellie Martin, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Pauly Shore, Jenna von Oy, Frank Welker, Wallace Shawn, Pat Buttram, Joey Lawrence, and Julie Brown.

Max Goof (Jason Marsden speaking, Aaron Lohr singing) is trying to make it through high school.  The combination of the clumsiness he’s inherited from his father, Goofy … Goof, I guess (Bill Farmer), and his own teen angst makes it kind of difficult.  His mega-crush on schoolmate Roxanne (Kellie Martin) doesn’t help things.  On the last day of school before summer Max, along with his friends Pete Junior, or PJ (Rob Paulsen), and Robert “Bobby” Zimmeruski (Pauly Shore), stage an elaborate concert, in tribute to everyone’s favorite “rock star” Powerline (Tevin Campbell), to interrupt an announcement by Principal Mazur (Wallace Shawn), with Max as Powerline.  The concert has the desired effect of making Max instantly popular and making Roxanne talk to him, but he also gets in trouble for it.  Worth it!  Max now has a date with Roxanne to watch the Powerline concert.  Unfortunately, the combination of the phone call from the principal and some bad advice from Goofy’s friend Pete (Jim Cummings) lead Goofy to think his son is in danger of going down a trouble-making path that will eventually lead him to the electric chair.  Goofy’s response is to take Max (against his will) on a trip to Lake Destiny, Idaho, on a family fishing vacation the likes of which Goofy himself went on with his father.  Max must tell Roxanne that he can’t go to his date with her because he’s been shanghaied and, not wanting to disappoint her, he fabricates a story about going across the country to dance onstage with Powerline.  Roxanne is now really excited to have Max wave to her from the stage, and Max is now in really deep shit.  Can he hijack his dad’s roadtrip in order to somehow get onstage and get the girl, and what will happen to his relationship with his dad if he does?  We’ll find out!

I’m slightly embarrassed to say this, but I still really like this movie.  I don’t doubt that my own reminiscences are kicking it up a notch or two in my brain, but I found this movie to be really charming with a good message and some pretty catchy songs.  The premise of the movie is pretty ridiculous, but then again, it IS A Goofy Movie.  The first thing that struck me about the story in this movie was that it was probably the reason I was always so excited for summer.  I can recall at least three animated movies that I loved back then that started with everyone in school being so excited for summer, thus getting me very excited for summer too.  Unfortunately for me, I never went on adventures in my summers.  In fact, I barely went outside, but I was still excited for the IDEA of summer.  After that, I got a little confused about why Max was thinking he was a loser after the song in the auditorium.  You just impressed the entire school AND got in trouble for it.  Neither of those things point you towards “loser” status in high school.  You’d be the bad boy that is a pretty awesome dancer!  But that got thrown back in my face when he actually WAS made popular AND got the girl as a result of his actions.  I found it a little weird that this was clearly a kid’s movie but the biggest motivating fear that Goofy had was that his son would end up in the electric chair.  I understand that is motivating and all, but isn’t that a little dark for a kid’s movie?  The thing I didn’t understand even more was that Max ramped up his lies to Roxanne so much.  It didn’t work to just say “I really want to go on this date with you, but my dad is forcing me to go fishing with him”, but you don’t need to take it to “He’s taking me on a trip … to LA … to dance on stage with his old buddy Powerline … and I’ll wave to you from stage … but only after Jesus comes out … and only if I can defeat Albert Einstein in a boxing match on stage … I’m going to shut up now.”  For the remainder of the short movie, they fill it with ridiculous situations, over the top goofiness and slapstick while Max is being a buzzkill and we’re just feeling really bad for Goofy.  Goofy was trying so hard to connect with his kid, who was in turn not having any of it.  I felt bad for the guy.  And it gets worse for Goofy when Max changes the trip on Goofy’s map in order to get him to LA, but I feel like Max was harshly judged for it.  First of all, fate was CLEARLY telling Max to do it when the map pops out of the glove compartment on it’s own and the pencil rolls out and stops, pointing to LA.  God clearly wanted him to change this thing!  Secondly, Goofy gives him the map to navigate and tells him he can pick any stop on the way to Lake Destiny he wants, but then gets all butt hurt when Max takes them to LA.  You told him he could pick ANY stop he wanted!  He just chose LA.  It’s still on the way!  The movie ends with a nice little message about how your parents might not be your cup of tea, but they love you and just want to connect with you, so you should stop being a douche about it all the time.  I definitely didn’t listen to this message when I was a kid, but I’m pretty sure I took another message that messed me up.  I feel like I’ve avoided getting into any relationships because of this movie, because it is so hard to find out what a girl’s favorite artist is and get on stage with them at a concert just to impress them.

The characters mostly worked in this movie, but they were also just well known Disney characters for the most part.  Max was the main star of the movie and was pretty easy to relate to when I was that age.  We all know what it’s like to be embarrassed by our parents and think they’re the worst, but most of us grow up to at least realize that they were trying their best for us, even if it wasn’t what we wanted.  I hope my mom doesn’t read this and come at me all gushy and huggy over this.  I felt really bad for Goofy through the movie.  His heart was in the right place.  Pete, as he was supposed to be, was an asshole.  Most of the bad situations Goofy ended up with Max in was because of bad advice from Pete, who was no great father to begin with.  I feel like most kids nowadays could probably count themselves lucky that they don’t know who Pauly Shore is, but this movie reminded me.  His character was pretty obviously just trying to capitalize on his inexplicable fame at the time because it was just Pauly Shore as a dog … thing … or whatever the hell Goofy and Max are.  Speaking of which, Roxanne was pretty attractive for a … whatever they are.  She had the classic hair in front of one eye and the little Marilyn Monroe beauty mark on her cheek.  I don’t know, this is probably an attraction I should not be having.  I didn’t get how Max was calling Powerline a “rock star” when he was OBVIOUSLY  a “pop star”.  Tevin Campbell supplied the singing voice for Powerline, but I really enjoyed the songs in this movie, particularly his songs “Stand Out” and “I2I”.  And this movie is REALLY a musical, having two songs in a mere 10 minutes of movie, but the songs were all enjoyable to me.  But the star of this movie for me is Frank Welker as Bigfoot.  That Bigfoot character still makes me laugh today.  He’s somewhat intimidating when he needs to be, but most of the time he’s kind of adorable.  I still laughed when the headphones landed on his head and he started getting into “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees.  The part that made me laugh was when Goofy and Max were having a serious conversation in the car and, through the back window, you could see Bigfoot dancing in the background.

Sure, this movie is goofy, clearly for kids, and really cheesy in parts, but it charmed me.  I loved the animation, the songs, the characters, and even the cheesy message of the movie.  I even laughed during this movie, and that is completely left of the ordinary for a kid’s movie.  But it’s a fun, charming little movie to me.  I grant that there is a very strong chance that people won’t like this movie if they didn’t see it when they were 12 as I did, but it’s worth taking a look at, especially if you have kids.  I still enjoyed this movie.  A Goofy Movie gets “It’s the Leaning Tower of Cheesa!” out of “It’s been handed down from Goof to Goof to Goof … and now, it’s yours, son.”

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Evil Alien Conquerors (2002)


I Had No Dream!

Another request of a movie I had never heard of, but this time it came from my friend Gristle.  With no clue what I was getting myself into, I first went to Netflix and was happy to find this movie available for Netflix streaming, keeping me from having to get out of my chair to find it.  And when I started watching it, I found myself even more delighted to find out this movie stars a great many people that I find hilarious, but who have not necessarily made it in the mainstream.  I was excited to see what the combination of a large number of funny people might bring me.  What they brought me was Evil Alien Conquerors, written and directed by Chris Matheson, and starring Diedrich Bader, Chris Parnell, Mike McShane, Tyler Labine, Michael Weston, Tori Spelling, Nicole Robinson, Elden Henson, Beth Grant, Phil LaMarr, and Martin Spanjers.

It may surprise you to find out that this movie is about two aliens who are evil and are attempting to conquer Earth.  These two aliens, My-ik (Diedrich Bader) and Du-ug (Chris Parnell), are sent to Earth by their leader, the mighty Rabirr (Mike McShane), and his emissary Vel-Dan (Phil LaMarr) and ordered to behead all of the Earthlings in two days, in preparation for the coming of the 100 foot tall Croker (Tyler Labine).  They are the second group to be sent to Earth, since the first group disappeared after a teleporter failure.  But that has been fixed … mostly … probably.  They’re sent to Earth, but their powerful swords are accidentally turned into swords the size of toothpicks by the teleporter.  This does not matter, because they are so much more powerful than the weak Earthlings.  They quickly meet Kenny (Michael Weston), who takes them in and offers them shelter and help in taking over the world.  But the two aliens quickly find that they are pretty ineffectual when it comes to conquering planets.  Can they accomplish their mission in time, or will they too face the wrath of the mighty Croker?

This movie takes a potentially funny premise and some usually funny actors and make a fairly lackluster film.  It’s a comedy, but it seems to just take a fairly thin premise and stretch it very thin, without actually doing that much funny stuff in between.  I’m sure we’ve all seen a film or two about aliens coming to Earth, and the hilarious contrast between the two cultures.  The aliens in this movie introduce themselves as evil alien conquerors and quickly decide what manner of death that person will meet.  They also quickly become infatuated with Smirnoff Ice, Sun Chips, and the band Supertramp.  Take these jokes, rince and repeat, and keep doing so for about 50 minutes.  When at that point you decide the audience is bored, reintroduce the giant Croker, but have him be shrunk down to regular human size, but have him refuse to admit that he’s now smaller.  That will fill the rest of the movie.  They try to get a lot of mileage out of absurdity and quirkiness, but none of it ever reached a point that made me laugh.  I didn’t hate watching it, I just didn’t laugh.

I like the greater majority of the actors in this movie, but I feel like they just didn’t have that much to work with.  Either that, or most of them were just let off the leash and needed to be corralled into funniness a little better.  I’m a huge Diedrich Bader fan.  He’s made a misstep or two (Meet the Spartans), but I generally at least like him in everything I see him in.  Office Space, Jay and Silent Bob Stirke Back, even the Beverly Hillbillies movie.  In this movie, he didn’t do much for me.  Chris Parnell suffers from the same perception from me as does Bader: I’m just not convinced that they should be leads in a movie.  Both are awesome as background comic relief.  Remember Parnell in Anchorman?  Hilarious!  I first fell in love with Tyler Labine when I saw him in Zack and Miri Make a Porno as the drunk guy that walks into the middle of a porno shoot.  I liked that whole movie, but that one small part sticks in my mind as the funniest part.  In this movie, however, he was just way over the top as Croker, which can work sometimes, but in this instance just worked on my nerves.  Sadly, the same stuff can be said about most of the cast.  I thought they were hilarious in other things.  What happened here?

I don’t mean to beat up on this movie too much.  It’s not a horrible movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it did not connect with my sense of humor at all.  I thought it was quirky, but a little boring and they stretched the premise way too thin.  It’s available on Netflix streaming, so you can give it a shot yourself if you like.  My friend Jesse generally has a good sense of humor, and I assume he liked this movie if he recommended it to me, so maybe it will connect with you better than it did with me.  A lot of people liked Napoleon Dynamite, after all, but I despise that movie.  Give it a go sometime, see if you like it.  But, for me, Evil Alien Conquerors gets “You will die painlessly!” out of “They are imbued with Kabijjian magnificence!”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!