Over the past few years, it has become a tradition in my family to watch Disney movies every week on Sunday night.
At first, we started out with the animated Disney movies -- with the princesses and the talking animals and musical numbers -- but lately, we've been getting kind of bored with watching the same movies over and over again. So we decided that maybe it would be fun to watch an old-fashioned, live-action Disney movie every other week or so. And quite honestly, I have liked those more than the cartoons.
I know, I know. Crazy, right? I mean, how can you not love those Disney movies you grew up with? And don't get me wrong, I do. And those musical numbers, such as "Zero to Hero" in Hercules, or "Be a Man" from Mulan, can be addicting, I will agree, but the live-action movies are hilarious. And given the fact that I'm old enough to understand all of the jokes in them makes them even better.
One of my absolute favorites that we have watched so far is called "North Avenue Irregulars" from 1979. I was laughing the whole way through, and then a couple of days later I had to go back and watch it again because even thinking about the movie made me laugh. It's about Rev. Michael Hill (Edward Hermann), who has just moved into a small town, when he discovers that the town is "plagued" with secret gambling organizations.
When Rev. Hill loses a church fund to one of these organizations and attempts to tell the police about it, they don't believe him. He becomes determined to uncover the organization with the help of several women that attend his church. The movie follows them around as, somehow, in the women's dysfunctional way, they get closer and closer to catching the leader of the secret gambling organization. It involves lots of car chasing scenes and plenty of wacky characters.
"Follow Me, Boys!" (1966) was another favorite. It has to do with a man named Lem Siddons (Fred McMurray) moving into town intent on "growing some roots someplace." To impress a girl he likes (Vera Miles), he volunteers to become a Scout master, because the boys in the town are very rowdy and have nothing else to do. You spend the most time in the movie with his first Scout troop, but later on you meet others. At the end, there is a very happy reunion with Lem and his original troop, and my favorite part was getting to see what they had become career-wise since they had left the troop. It isn't quite as funny as "North Avenue Irregulars," but it has its moments and it was really entertaining.
A more serious and adventurous film we watched was "Third Man on the Mountain." The 1959 movie followed a young Swiss man named Rudi Matt (James MacArthur), who loved to hike and rock climb, and who dreamed of someday being a guide up the Citadel Mountain in Switzerland, like his father had been. Climbing the Citadel is supposedly impossible because of one area that no one can get past, but Rudi believes that his father had found a passageway through the mountain to the top, and it's up to him to discover it again.
This movie was actually pretty intense. But who wouldn't be nervous while watching someone scale a nearly flat piece of mountainside thousands of feet in the air? Not to mention there was a good mix of drama between Rudi and his family, and a little bit of romance that came in the form of his girlfriend, Lizbeth (Janet Munro). And, as an interesting little fact, the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland was based on the Citadel.
And, finally, I have to mention the Shaggy Dog movies. I'm not talking about the one with Tim Allen in it; I'm talking about the originals. "The Shaggy Dog" (1959) and "The Shaggy D.A." (1976) are, to say the least, absolutely ridiculous, but that's what makes them funny. Especially "The Shaggy D.A.," which is the continuing story about Wilby Daniels (Dean Jones), the boy who turned into the shaggy dog when he was younger.
Now Wilby is grown up, and after being robbed by thieves but not supported by the judge when he tries to take this case to court, he decides to run for the town's defense attorney. However, as expected, things start to go wrong when he begins to turn back into the shaggy dog whenever he's expected to be somewhere important. Like I said before, it's absolutely ridiculous, but also absolutely hilarious along the way.
So, the next time you decide to have a "me party" on a Friday night, pop in an old-fashioned live-action Disney movie, and give a couple of those a try. I know that's what I'll be doing.
Olivia Andrus will be a junior Ogden High School this fall. She enjoys traveling, playing the piano and king-sized Kit-Kats. Email her at email@example.com.