I recently made a list of the Disney Channel Original Movies that were my favorites growing up, and I also recently bit the bullet and got Disney Plus.
Now that I’m a bona fide adult, I need to know, are the DCOMs I loved as a kid still good? Do they hold up? Do they stand the test of time?
I’m going to be re-watching some, and will report back to you.
I’m starting with the one that was my favorite as a kid – Alley Cats Strike.
Alley Cats Strike was about a high school bowling team that… um… had bullies?
I honestly cannot remember the plot to this movie. I know they were in a big bowling tournament at the end. Maybe there were bad guys at their school? Maybe they got made fun of for dressing like middle aged bowling men? Crap. You’d think I would have cared about the details of my “favorite movie” more.
Okay, so what I’m going to do is list the things I for sure, 100 percent remember about this movie, then list the things I think I remember about it, then I’m going to watch it and see how right I was.
I’ll also let you know if it’s still a good movie, since that is the name of this blog and all.
Here we go!
Things I definitely remember:
– This was my favorite of all Disney Channel Original Movies
– This is the movie that made me a fan of Brian Setzer Orchestra. It was very “big band” and I liked that.
– The outfits in this movie were incredible. I was obsessed with bowling shirts for a very long time.
– The main guy in this was very cute (I can say this because the movie came out when I was 10).
– The big, climactic ending to this movie was when the nerdy girl with glasses and a ponytail gets a 7-10 split in the final round of the big bowling tournament. Everyone freaks out because like “OMG it’s a 7-10 split, we’re so gonna lose!” So the girl (I remember this shot frame-for-frame) gets on her knees, licks her finger and puts it in the air the see which direction the AC vents were blowing, looks down the lane, and spins the ball in place a bunch of times. Then, when everyone is holding their breath, she lightly pushes the ball down the lane, and it spins for like 5 minutes, slow motion, very dramatic and intense close ups on the ball. It finally hits the left pin, which kicks around on the ground a couple times, all you can hear is the pin tap, tap, tapping on the ground, and it spins just enough to tip the right pin to knock it down. CROWD GOES WILD! It was far and away the most dramatic ending to a sports movie of all time (Did I tell you this came out when I was 10?).
– Also, every kid in America for the next decade who ever went bowling tried that trick at least once.
– And every kid in the America didn’t push the ball hard enough and it went about three feet down the lane and straight into the gutter.
– Sometimes the ball wouldn’t even have enough momentum to go all the way down the gutter, and it would be stuck and you had to call a bowling alley employee who would get super annoyed about having to walk down and get the ball out for this stupid group of kids who could never just bowl normal.
– Basically what I’m saying is it looked way cooler in the movie.
Things I think I remember?
– This is really bugging me, but the main girl love interest was either the girl who played Zenon or the red-headed girl from Stepsister From Planet Weird and The Jersey. I can’t remember which.
– The brother from Cousin Skeeter (a fantastic and underrated Nickelodeon show) is also in this, I know, but I can’t remember if he was part of the good guys team or on the bad guys team. He was definitely a jock though. I know that.
– Something about saddle shoes? I feel like someone in this movie wore really cute saddle shoes that I really liked.
Yea that’s all I got. Okay, time for the movie to begin!
– OMG!! The main girl is neither the Zenon girl NOR the SFPW girl! It was Kaley Cuoco!! She wore a poodle skirt before it was cool to ironically wear poodle skirts!
– The main guy is named Alex, but for some reason all his bowling shirts he wears to school every day say names other than Alex. Also, now I know why I thought Alex was cute. Tat is some good hair, sir.
– Also nerdy girl doesn’t have glasses. Maybe I don’t remember that scene perfectly. She just talked about using “cosine” to shoot a basketball though so for sure nerdy.
– So the main group we’re following is Kaley Cuoco, Alex With the Good Hair, Nerdy Girl, and Nerdy Guy, who does wear glasses.
– First question – they would go bowling in the morning before school? Why does every TV and movie always make it seem like kids have a million hours to do things in the morning before school? No one does that. No teenager on earth would ever willingly get up more than 20 minutes before the bus comes. It’s an insane thing for media to pretend is real.
– Okay the brother from Cousin Skeeter is a jock in this. He’s the basketball star.
– The dad from Sister, Sister is also in this as Jock Guy’s dad who is someone very important but not really sure how. Seems like he’s kind of the Buddy Garrity in town I think. The thing I love about watching all the old Disney Channel things is seeing all the “wait, I know that person” moments.
– The kids in this movie greet themselves with “hey there cats” if you’re wondering where Carole Baskin got her catchphrase.
– All right, plot. So there are these two rival towns – East and West Appleton (creative, Disney Channel). And every year they set up a series of sporting events between the two high schools and the school with the most overall wins gets “The Mighty Apple” trophy, which apparently is a very big deal. Jock Guy won the basketball game on a last second shot for West Appleton (the good guys side) in the final matchup which tied the contest up. So what do they do if there’s a tie? Everyone is freaking out. Turns out the tiebreaker sport is… dun dun duhhhh scary music… (no seriously the movie really has scary music sound effects before the Principal Man tells Jock Guy and his friends)… the tiebreaker sport is BOWLING!
– The Jock Guy’s Dad offers the quote of the movie so far. “We’ll sue!” because why? Is bowling not a sport? Try telling that to Mookie Betts!
– Both schools have bowling clubs, but West Appleton gets home alley advantage, so they’re going to bowl at Alex With the Good Hair’s dad’s alley, which is where the main group always bowls (before school!). Also, they’re definitely setting this up as a thing where Alex With the Good Hair’s alley is struggling for money and is going to close.
– The main squad will bowl in the tiebreaker, but Jock Guy also signed up for bowling club at the beginning of the year so he’s also on the team, so they have to teach him to bowl. Jock Guy is very cocky.
– Bully kid “what’s with his clothes? I heard he found them in the back of a bowling alley.” Oooo burn!
– AWTGH “The way I hear it you’re Mark McGuire, John Elway, and Michael Jordan all rolled into one.” Jock Guy “You forgot Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretsky.” Ugh Jock Guy sucks. Also no teen has the time for that many sports. Do your homework jerkface.
“But you’re no Guppy Troup” who apparently was a hall of fame bowler. If you told me a guy was named Guppy Troup and asked me to give his profession I would 100% guess hall of fame bowler in my first five guesses.
– Babe alert.
– AWTGH “It’s a lie that I found my clothes in the back of the bowling alley. I got them from a catalog I found in the back of the bowling alley.” GOT EM! Alex With the Good Hair don’t take no crap I like him.
– Also I just heard a girl in this movie say “aboot” and wouldn’t you know it it was filmed in Canada!
– East Appleton is cheating. Also none of their guys are wearing bowling shirts. Losers.
– Jock Guy’s dad made a bet with the East mayor – if West wins East has to declare it “West Appleton Day” and hold a parade in their honor. This is obviously the kind of high stakes bet that sets off major alarms for AWTGH’s dad, who thinks the thought of a parade would be “too much pressure” for the bowlers. Imagine if an NFL or MLB team didn’t want to play in the Super Bowl or World Series because the thought of a parade would be too much pressure. Man up kids! You’re in the bowling big leagues now! What would Guppy What’s His Name think?
– But Jock Guy’s dad sucks. Real stage dad. He also suspiciously didn’t tell the kids the other half of the bet if they lose. I hate him.
– Costume people did a good job of making the East Appleton team look like douches.
– I mean, come on, I watched Degrassi. No one in Canada dressed like this.
– Oh snap, East Appleton hired a big shot pro bowler guy to coach them. He’s no Guppy though, I can tell you that!
– listen, Jock Guy, you can make fun of AWTGH all you want but you left the house in those pants so I don’t wanna hear it.
– Dance break!
– As expected, the bowling alley is going to close so Jock Guy and AWTGH devise a plan to make bowling cool and get all the cool kids to come for… wait for it… the BOWLING BALL!
– ooo Jock Guy can’t seem the master the 7-10 split. Foreshadowing!
– uh oh trouble in paradise! Kaley and the Nerds are mad cause AWTGH is hanging out with the popular people.
– What can he say? He has good hair.
– A funny thing in teen movies is when a formerly nerdy kid gets popular and all his friends are all angry because he’s popular now, but, like, maybe if yall weren’t so angry and gave fun a chance you could be friends with them too (am I saying this more as a message to 14 year old me? Probably.)
– Oh, welp, nevermind. Popular kids just said they won’t hang out with AWTGH anymore once the big bowling tournament is done. Popular kids suck. Ignore my previous statement.
– Poor Alex. Poor hair.
– Oh no, now AWTGH can’t bowl! He stinks! If he can’t bowl he’s just a kid with good hair and you can’t get a college scholarship with that alone!
– Jock Guy’s dad and another guy show up with “new uniforms”? Come on! Those are t-shirts!
– “Doesn’t it make you proud to wear the school colors?” No! Not school colors with iron on letters. There is a trophy and a parade riding on this bowling match, Jock Guy’s dad! Didn’t you see East Appleton’s sweatsuits?? You could have at least sprung for something silk.
– My thoughts exactly Kaley and nerdy girl. (However “Fashion Emergency” is rich coming from the girl who wears her dad’s bowling shirt to school every day.)
– Oh snap! Oh snap, oh snap, oh snap! Jock Guy just revealed the other side of the bet – since the two schools are merging (and this is the final Mighty Apple competition) the losing school gets renamed the winning school’s name! Well, AWTGH is BIG MAD. He has a voiceover. He storms off. He’s donezo. Not even gonna compete.
– You said it nerdy girl!
– Now it’s time for the “sports are too serious, let’s just have fun” speech. This is far less dramatic than the same speech in High School Musical. Very Canadian if you ask me.
– Now THAT is a quality uniform.
– Just realized AWTGH’s dad is the dad in Passport to Paris.
– Also, I truly cannot believe this kid wasn’t more famous in real life. That hair and face was begging to be the “good guy gone bad” in a CW teen drama.
– Just looked it up, he’s hot now and still has good hair.
– AWTGH’s mom shows up for the big event. Apparently she’s been at his grandfather’s house helping him recover from a leg injury. Seems like a lot for Disney to say “we thought at the last minute a movie about a son living with just his dad was too sad.”
– It’s the big bowling event! East Appleton has a lead, but Todd can win it with at least a spare.
– Game face.
– Oh no! Oh snap! Oh no, oh no, oh no they’re doomed!!
– Dear Mr. Announcer Man, are you saying this because of the bowling match or are you admitting a drinking problem?
– Jock Guy is letting Nerd Girl bowl for him. She is CON.FI.DENT.
– Here we go.
– GREATEST SCENE IN CINEMATIC HISTORY! GIVE IT THE OSCAR! The spin, the confident strut back to her seat before the ball was even halfway down the lane, the announcer who was probably projecting a bit too much, THE VOICEOVER! It’s… ugh amazing. Chills. CHILLS!
– AWTGH “Admit it, you didn’t see it coming either.” Well it’s Disney Channel, so we did.
Conclusion – Still a great movie. All time classic. It was just the perfect amount of Canadian. Congratulations Kaley Cuoco.