Friday, March 6, 2020

5 Underrated Disney Movies

That's right - 5 Fandom Friday is back!!!! This geeky blog series is probably what helped me the most with maintaining a semi-decent blog schedule over the past few years since geeky female bloggers The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick created this link-up series to bring other female geek bloggers together, and I am so excited that it's been brought back! Thanks to the lovely team at The Sartorial Geek, we've been given a whole year of new nerdy prompts to write about, and I'll be getting to share my fandom favourites with all of you each week!

This month, March 2020, is all about Disney! And to kick things off, today I've compiled a list of my top 5 favourite "underrated" Disney movies. Let me tell you, coming up with my list this week was not easy, because it's harder than you might think to find anything put out by Disney as being "underrated" by most standards - what it made at the box office, overall popularity or public opinion, etc. With the help of scrolling through the numerous films available through Disney+ (in Canada at least), I decided that the best way to go about this would be focusing on a few of my favourite live-action films created by Disney over the years. And yes, a lot of these titles will be Disney Channel original films, but I chose them for this list because they each hold a special place in my heart as a movie I watched over and over while growing up.

So not only will many of you not have heard of at least a few of these films, but it gives me the chance to give you some recommendations that are outside the norm, and for me to tell you why these underrated films are greater than the sum of their parts. And a quick note, every movie mentioned below is now available to stream on Disney+.

#5: Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off (2003)
Re-watching this as an adult was more of a thrill than I expected, and I hope that any first-time viewers of this Disney Channel Original film will agree, no matter how old you are. This film tells the story of 14 year-old Eddie who is the star of his baseball team, coached by his father and where he plays alongside his best friends. He's known among his friends for making his famous 'Eddie Dogs' - essentially a hot dog loaded with every possible condiment and topping that you could think of. He discovers his passion and enjoyment for creating something out of nothing, and after signing up himself and his friends for Home Economics class, he learns about a competition titled the 'Million Dollar Cook-Off.'

For the record, the contest doesn't actually award a million dollars - it awards a small cash prize along with a million dollars in scholarships to various culinary programs across the country. He becomes obsessed with the contest, but he begins creating his original recipe for the contest entry in secret because he fears that his father won't understand his passion for cooking when he has pushed him so hard to play baseball his entire life.

Granted, this movie (as well as most Disney Channel films) are targeted towards a younger audience; Some parts are a little silly, and the level of bullying that Eddie receives for being a boy who is interested in cooking is highly exaggerated, both by today's standards and for the time that the film was released. Even so, it's a well-told story with plenty of funny moments, and for those who grew up watching this film, it's a nostalgic joy to revisit years later.

#4: Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
I adored this movie so much as a kid that, as an adult, I decided to purchase the novel by Kate DiCamillo to re-visit the world of Opal and her troublesome yet charming dog that she meets shortly after she and her father move to Naomi, Florida. I liked the story line of this film for the same reasons that Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli was one of my favourite books for many years; A girl (and in this case, a dog) meet the various people in their community that come from all walks of life, and it's through meeting Opal and Winn-Dixie and interacting with them that their lives, or at least their general outlooks, begin to improve. It's a heart-warming film for the entire family that will make you smile and feel warm inside, as well as having its touching and deeper moments that will make you think.