Release Date: 14 January 1994
Synopsis: When Will Stoneman’s father dies, he is left alone to take care of his mother and their land. Needing money to maintain it, he decides to join a cross country dogsled race. This race will require days of racing for long hours, through harsh weather and terrain. This young man will need a lot of courage and a strong will to complete this race. (From IMDb)
Opinion: This is an inspiring film about dog racing. I loved this film growing up and it holds a special spot in my fond movie memories. My brothers and I watched it a lot. What I like about the film is it emphasis the importance of hard work, dedication, goal setting, and perseverance. And none of the adults are portrayed as buffoons, which seems to be a recurring theme in recent Disney films.
2. The North Avenue Irregulars
Release Date: 9 February 1979
Synopsis: When crooks set up operations in a traditional town, a minister and a group of church ladies are willing to do anything, no matter how wacky, to get them out. (From IMDb)
Opinion: Japheth was a mighty man of God, we would do good to follow him. Amen. The shortest sermon in history. There is nothing deep or philosophical about this film. It is just a lot of wacky fun. A group of church ladies taking on organized crime is a ridiculous premise for a film, but the results are hilarious. All the actors clearly had a grand time making the film. If you ever think the suburbs are boring, just watch this movie. Who knows what kind of crime fighting skills your local church ladies possess.
3. The Parent Trap
Release Date: June 21, 1961
Synopsis: Teenage twin sisters swap places and scheme to reunite their divorced parents. (From IMDb)
Opinion: This movie is the only one where I like the remake just as much as the original. As a twin, I love movies exploring twin dynamics and relationships. Though this movie took it to the extreme with the twins being separated from birth. Hayley Mills does a great job portraying two unique but identical characters. This is also the first non-John Wayne movie I saw where Maureen O’Hara played a role.
4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Release Date: 23 December 1954
Synopsis: The oceans during the late 1860-92s are no longer safe; many ships have been lost. Sailors have returned to port with stories of a vicious narwhal which sinks their ships. A naturalist, Professor (Pierre) Aronnax, his assistant, Conseil, and a professional whaler, Ned Land, join an US expedition which attempts to unravel the mystery. (From IMDb)
Opinion: This was Walt Disney’s first live action feature and my introduction to Kirk Douglas. Originally Disney wanted to make this movie as an animated feature, but pre-production concept art convinced him to make it a live action. While it is not a completely faithful adaptation of Jules Verne novel, it is pretty accurate. Unlike modern action movies, the focus lies on character development and dialogue over action sequences. However, there are several iconic fight scenes, mainly the octopus fight during a fierce storm. This was the first adaptation of the novel that I saw and it remains it my favorite.
5. The Apple Dumpling Gang
Release Date: 1 July 1975
Synopsis: Three orphaned siblings are forced upon confirmed bachelor Donovan (Bixby) in a 19th century boom town of Quake City, CA. After an earthquake shakes the area, the children find a large gold nugget worth tens of thousands of dollars. But their newfound wealth is causing more problems than it’s solving, so they agree to “give” the gold to two bumbling outlaws. But they only way they can get the gold is to steal it from the bank vault where it’s being held for safe keeping. (From IMDb)
Opinion: When I was a kid, I never really knew what was going on screen. However, I always remember enjoying the action and Don Knotts exaggerated mannerisms. This is an enjoyable film about the strength of the sibling bond. Also, it is just a fun way to pass a few hours.