Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) from the early 2000s are, in my opinion, a million times better than the ones produced today. The throwback movies listed below actually have meaning behind them and are produced for proper reasons, other than to simply make money. The movies and shows you find on Disney Channel nowadays are cheesy, not humorous and try way too hard to be something special. Throwback DCOMs are so effortless, timeless and you could watch them over and over without getting sick of them. I haven’t turned on Disney Channel in years, and I think the last time I watched it was probably when Hannah Montana ended. I quickly began to see a shift in the content being produced on Disney Channel and wasn’t impressed. The shows weren’t well written and their concepts were sort of dumb. Soon, my love for DC quickly vanished. DCOMs from the early 2000s had meaning, they taught specific lessons and they didn’t rely so heavily on laughs.
Listed below are four of the best throwback Disney Channel original movies from the early 2000s.
1. “My Date with the President’s Daughter”
Oh boy, this movie brings back so many memories! “My Date with the President’s Daughter” was first released on April 19, 1998. Dabney Coleman, Will Friedle and Elisabeth Harnois are the main stars of this classic film. The title says it all, but the overall main plot of the movie is revolved around Coleman’s character, President Richmond. The President gets involved when his daughter Hallie, played by Harnois, goes on a crazy adventure with Duncan Fletcher, played by Friedle.
Duncan Fletcher asks Hallie Richmond out on a date, not knowing who she’s the daughter of. The pair runs amuck in Washington, DC, dodging secret service agents, spending tons of money on clothes, and fighting off bully Steve Ellinger, played by Grant Nickalls. It’s your classic rom-com movie from the 90s-early 2000s with its cheesy pick-up lines and traditional plot where boy meets girl, but with a twist. What makes this film different from others is its charming actors, quirky storyline about dating the president’s daughter and one insanely catchy theme song. This movie demonstrates the importance of taking a chance and breaking out of your shell.
2. “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century”
This movie gives me all the feels! “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century” was by far the coolest film ever produced by Disney Channel. This futuristic film was released on January 23, 1999 starring Kirsten Storms who plays Zenon Kar and Raven-Symoné as Nebula Wade. The film takes place in the year 2049, where we are introduced to Zenon Kar, who is a 13-year-old girl who lives on an Earth-orbiting space station with her family. After getting into trouble with the space station’s commander, Kar’s parents punish her by sending her to Earth to live with her Aunt Judy. While on Earth, Kar experiences trouble fitting in with normal kids, who consider everything about her to be strange. The plot thickens as Kar uncovers Parker Wyndham’s mastermind plot to crash Kar’s hometown space station.
The best part of this movie is the funky space slang like “Cetus-Lupeedus,” which literally only means “oh my god.” Although this movie was set in the year 2049, if you re-watch the movie you will notice how similar certain aspects of the movie are today. For example, Kar had a “Zap Pad” where she could video chat with people. Sound familiar? This hit movie predicted certain aspects that actually happened in the 21st century. Our world may not look identical to the futuristic setting of “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century,” but it’s a kickass film that has certain elements related to our generation, not to mention the unforgettable song Super Nova Girl sung by Proto Zoa.
One of my favorite DCOM is “Motocrossed” and I can’t even tell you the amount of times I have re-watched this film. “Motocrossed” was released on February 16, 2001 starring Alana Austin who plays Andrea ‘Andi’ Carson, Trever O’Brien who plays Andrew Carson, and Riley Smith who plays Dean Talon. In the film, the Carson family shares a love for motocross and even Andi’s twin brother Andrew competes in it. Although Andi loves motocross just as much as her brother, her father finds her unsuited for the sport, being that she is “just a girl.” When Andrew breaks his leg before a big race, their father goes to Europe to find a replacement rider. During this, Andi secretly races in Andrew’s place with her mother’s help.
Dean, a fellow motocross rider, met Andi during one of their races. Andi and Dean became really close while she was pretending to be Andrew because Andi promised to give Dean girl advice if Dean would help Andi prepare for a motocross race. Andi began to fall in love with Dean while she was pretending to be Andrew, and I’m sure half of the population of young girls who watched this movie also had a major crush on Dean, because I sure as hell did. “Motocrossed” breaks barriers and demonstrates an important message throughout the film. This movie was really inspiring not just as a young girl, but till this day it still inspires me to go out and achieve my dreams. Gender doesn’t matter when it comes to accomplishing your goals and you shouldn’t let it get in the way of your life.
4. “Stuck in the Suburbs”
Okay, this is totally one of my all-time favorite DCOMs. “Stuck in the Suburbs” was released on July 16, 2004 starring Danielle Panabaker who plays Brittany Aarons and Brenda Song who plays Natasha Kwon-Schwartz. “Stuck in the Suburbs” is about a normal middle school student from the suburbs who accidentally exchanges cell phones with pop singer Jordan Cahill, who is played by Taran Killam. Aarons and her friends have major crushes on Cahill and discover he is filming a video nearby. At the shoot, Aarons and Cahill’s assistant bump into each other and end up accidentally picking up each other’s phones. Aarons realizes this and Kwon-Schwartz convinces her to mess with Cahill, and change his image.
This movie takes the audience on a fun trip as two teenagers mess with a pop singer. Aarons was sick and tired of the suburbs and wanted to do something crazy and exciting. By the end of the movie, Aarons realizes she is happy living in the suburbs. This movie teaches the strong lesson of appreciating what you have and even if you live in a small town you can still make memorable memories. The soundtrack is also incredible and I was obsessed with every song off of it for years.
DCOMs from the 90s and early 2000s were so much more meaningful and well-crafted for their time. Disney Channel needs to produce content related more to their previous works rather than shifting and converting their focus to impressing a younger crowd. Heck, if Disney Channel produced a movie today that even slightly compared to the quality of the movies back in the day, I would watch it in a heartbeat. Disney Channel has always been known for their original movies and TV shows, and I think it’s about time for them to make a change. But for now, I’m going to continue to re-watch these hit throwbacks.