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  • Writer's pictureCollin Souter

Week # 43: "A Goofy Movie"

(Originally published on 10/23/22)


A Goofy Movie

Run time: 78 min.

Release Date: April 7, 1994.

Where/when I first saw it: Probably on video.

How I watched it today: Blu-ray, Saturday morning

During this time of great resurgence and newfound energy for Disney studios, while hit after hit kept coming, the studio started doubling up on their output by simultaneously working on second-tier work for the off months while we waited for the next big film to open in the summer or holiday season. “A Goofy Movie” was a spring release that showcased a Disney stock character that hadn’t been seen in a major theatrical release in decades. Would anyone care? Well, the Disney artists did their best to make them care by setting the story in modern (the ‘90s) times and giving it a hip sensibility that couldn’t be more opposite of what people had expected from them. Having the main character be the teenage son of Goofy whose best friend would be voiced by an uncredited Pauley Shore would be a way in to bring in young people who otherwise might have shrugged it off.

The result was probably less than the studio had hoped for in terms of box office dollars, but “A Goofy Movie,” while a bit shrill and eye-rolling in its opening scenes, is a film that sneaks up on you. It is, of course, a musical, but the 78 minute runtime restricts it to about four or five numbers at most, a few of which have real wit and invention. The relationship between Goofy and his son, Max, gradually earns our interest and becomes something genuine that many fathers and sons can relate to. The emotional pull of something as seemingly wrong-headed as Goofy being the father to a 14-year-old is something that still rewards, even decades later.

The animators also have a lot of fun with the backgrounds and the odd little characters who come into the frame. Why we have a recurring pack of nuns during this roadtrip is anyone’s guess, but it’s the kind of weird choice that delights, along with everything in the possum town they visit where a broken down animatronic show feels like a dig at the old-school Disney showcases at its theme parks. It is bizarre and very funny.

“A Goofy Movie” probably shouldn’t work, but it does, thanks to the heart that has clearly been put into the writing and the fast-paced action and humor. It may not seem like a significant part of Disney’s growing iconography during this time, but it has grown into a surprisingly poignant and satisfying film, one that the studio should be a little more proud of.


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