Jab’s Reviews: A Goofy Movie (Character Retrospective)

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Since my review of “A Goofy Movie” was getting a little long last week, I decided to split it up into two. Today’s article just deals with the characters in the movie. Again, you haven’t read my thoughts on the actual movie, I urge you to check out that previous entry!

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GOOFY

Goofy (the last name is implied to be Goofey on the intergenerational map, but most people just call Max “The Goof Boy” and the like, and other canon says it’s “Goof”) is one of Walt Disney’s longest-standing characters, that of the incompetent dumbass. He was a general clown in the old Disney shorts, but the 1950s saw different sides to him- that of a Family Man or a “How To” Guidesman, generally always getting hit in the ass on the way. It was in this tradition that Goof Troop was formed, making him the clownish dad to “Goofy Jr.”, now known as Max. And it’s funny how Goofy maintains a bit of dignity considering how common it is to see one of the original “Dopey Dad” archetypes (before that became the default father character in every piece of media, ever)- you can see that he genuinely loves his kid, and wants what’s best for him- he’s just a little “off”.

About the Performer: Bill Farmer has been playing Goofy since 1987, and otherwise works as a comedian. He, Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Wayne Allwine (Mickey) and Russi Taylor (Minnie) all started at around the same time, as I guess the old actors were getting old. Farmer is a fairly “old-school” Voice Actor, doing numerous characters that don’t sound alike, such as performing Yosemite Sam, Sylvester, and Foghorn Leghorn in “Space Jam”.

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MAX GOOF

Max was kind of a generic character in Goof Troop, doing a bit of the scheming and lying, but generally fitting a “normal kid” character archetype. In “A Goofy Movie”, he’s morphed into your typical bitter, cynical teen who thinks his dad is an idiot (okay, he’s pretty much right, there), obsesses over a girl, and gets picked on by the kids at school (he has his lunch taken, he’s threatened by another, and generally everyone disrespects him and laughs at him). So there’s a lot that any teenager could identify with here- he’s actually one of the few cartoon teens I’ve ever seen who so masters the “unbearable burden on any social occasion”-ness of teens- most are rebellious in a whiny way (Ariel), or more generally curious/naiive/weird. Max is a straight-up JERK sometimes, and closes off from his dad repeatedly.

It’s funny to think about how much could have been avoided in this film had Max not been an idiot. First off, he could have explained to his dad what happened at school, or that he had a date with a girl (to avoid going on the fishing trip). THEN, he could have basically told Roxanne the truth about the fishing trip, rather than making up a big story to impress her. Though generally, being a teenager, both are semi-believable plot turns, since teens are dicks. Though really, his lie was WAY over the top, even for something he came up with off the top of his head.

About the Performer: Jason Marsden (unrelated to James) was a Child Actor who played a few minor roles, like “General Hospital” and Eddie Munster in a “Munsters” remake, then got a lot of Disney work. He spent the ’90s on Fox’s “Peter Pan and the Pirates” as the voice of Peter, JT’s friend Rich on “Step By Step” (a minor rule that soon led to him dating the Dana character, but I don’t know that off the top of my head because I never watched that show every week, shut up I didn’t). He was also Kovu in “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride”, and does a lot of video game VA work, too. He’s actually really versatile and has had a hell of a career, looking at it, moving between TV and voice acting pretty frequently. And he appears to have never received a heroin habit, which puts him above MOST child stars!

As Marsen couldn’t sing, they had to get a more talented guy in Aaron Lohr to handle the handful of songs Max does. A very, very minor actor and singer, he’s mostly done bit parts and background things- he’s seen in “The Mighty Ducks” (as one of the Bash Brothers) and “Newsies” as a minor guy. He currently works as an addiction specialist and recovery counselor when not doing shows, so he’s not been overly lucky in his career… except he married IDINA MENZEL and is thus my arch-nemesis!! UP YOURS, AARON LOHR!!!

 

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Goofy: “Maybe Max isn’t all the things you think a son should be, but… he LOVES me.”
Pete: “Hey- my son RESPECTS me.”
“A Goofy Movie”, somehow getting nuance and thoughtfulness out of FRIGGIN’ GOOFY AND PETE.

PETE

Pete is one of the longest-standing Disney Villains, being a general prick who harassed Mickey Mouse back in the day, and often switched between being a straight-up villain (like Pistol Pete & Peg-Leg Pete, for whom his female family members in Goof Troop were named), or a general antagonist who becomes victimized by the Disney heroes via his own jackassery. Goof Troop turned him into more of the latter as Goofy’s old High School frenemy, where he was a money-grubbing, gruff loser and frequently disrespected the oblivious Goofy, who thought the two were pals.

There was the occasional light moment for him, but the show tended to make him rather nasty still. ESPECIALLY because it’s one of the most-obvious cases of “Ugly Guy, Hot Wife” around, because Peg was a prime piece of MILF who made it easy to forget she sorta had a dog nose (for the sake of argument, Dog-Noses don’t count as Furries. So you can find Peg hot and not be a Furry :)– Minerva Mink from Animaniacs also doesn’t count, despite being an obvious Furry, because IT’S MINERVA MINK AND YOU GET A PASS FOR HER!). I wasn’t kidding about DeviantArt and pictures of her, by the way.

One of the great parts of A Goofy Movie was the use of Pete as an example of the order-giving, nasty father who rules over his son, compared to Goofy’s more lax nature. It appears that Pete has a point- P.J. isn’t rebellious, does chores, and gives him much less grief, whereas Max is openly disrespectful to his father, lazy and a rulebreaker. But when you look at the movie as a whole, you see that P.J. is a wimpy coward who can’t do anything without worrying about how his dad will take it (“my dad is gonna NUKE my entire EXISTENCE!”), whereas Max is more free-spirited and open. Also, the look of utter sadness on P.J.’s face when Pete psyches him out of a high five is a picture-perfect example of what being PETE’s kid is like. In general, you can see a bit of the good side in both approaches, but it’s pretty unquestioned by the end that Goofy is the better father.

About the Peformer: Jim Cummings’s raspy, gravelly voice was used in pretty much everything Disney has done since 1989- he’s probably their most prolific actor ever at this point. Primarily he’s known for being the current voice of Pooh, Tigger, and others, but also lent his voice to Don Karnage in “TaleSpin”, Witterquick in “Visionaries”, and Leatherhaed in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1980s series), among other shows.

Notably, he performed “In the Dark Of The Night” in Fox’s “Anastasia” because Christopher Lloyd couldn’t sing, the latter half of “Be Prepared” when Jeremy Irons buggered his voice, as the voice of Pocahontas’s father in HIS song, since his actor wouldn’t sing, either. Despite playing numerous lead characters, he’s even more prolific as a “background voice guy”, as he’s versatile enough and easy enough to work with that he can just do the “filler” work as well. Short of Frank Welker and Rob Paulsen, you won’t find a more prolific actor in the game.

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P.J. (Peter Pete Junior)

P.J. was kind of a loser, and hung around with Max as his new best friend/next-door neighbor. A Goofy Movie portrays him as a pretty pathetic kid who repeatedly wants to back out of the “Powerline” stunt at school (since it was using Pete’s camera), then moping about how much trouble he’s going to get into. We see him later “loafing around” by doing all of the cleaning in Pete’s uber-trailer, getting bossed around by his dad again (Pete hollers P.J.’s name, getting him to run up to the roof of the trailer and knock down a bowling pin to give Pete a strike… it was a big trailer). In the later movie he’s more of a generic buddy, but actually gets the ranking hot chick of that film (since Max is oddly single the whole time)- hooking up with the character known as “Beret Girl”- a sexy poetry chick.

About the Performer: Reprising his role from Goof Troop is Voice Acting stalwart Rob Paulsen, known for… pretty much everything. He goes back far enough to be one of the original Ninja Turtles (Raphael), and continued on long enough to be… one of the Ninja Turtles again (Donatello). His distinct, nasal, high-pitches peaking voice is instantly recognizable, but can be twisted in enough ways to make different characters, so you’re left going “Oh YEAH” when you realize that Yakko Warner and Pinky the mouse were voiced by the same guy. Criminy, he’s an even bigger part of my childhood than I thought- he was both Saber Rider AND Jesse Blue on “Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs”! And Snow Job on “G.I. Joe”! Pretty much every cartoon going has him on the roster SOMEWHERE- you are gonna find very, VERY few people with as many notches on IMDB as this guy. He even has a podcast devoted to voice acting, in which he uses his regular speaking voice (fairly similar to his Raphael voice).

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“SMOKE-AGE!! OW-OW-OW-OW-OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH!”

 

BOBBY (Robert Zimmuruski)

Bobby could have been a DISASTROUS character- played by Pauly Shore (who was already going from “trendy comic actor” to “living joke” with record time- I have no memory of him ever being “cool”) in a case of Celebrity Stunt-Casting, he was played up in one of the trailer’s as Max’s best friend, and quoted a ton of hammy dialogue full of howling, adding “-age” to every word, etc. Basically, the chances of this coming across as anything other than horribly annoying and cloying were nil. But… Bobby was just a minor character. He’s in maybe the first ten minutes, has a handful of lines, and then disappears from the film as it switches to Max & Goofy’s story (Pete & P.J. get a couple other scenes). So Bobby never comes across as that bad. It’s actually kind of funny in retrospect, as I would bet money that he’s only in this to get some “Trailer Advertising” on the “Pauly Shore” brand, as he was ALL OVER the trailers, howling and saying “slurp-age” and stuff.

In An Extremely Goofy Movie, he has a bigger part, but is still used sparingly, and isn’t really treated as cool (he gets bullied, same as the others). Here, he has a buzzcut instead of a flowing mohawk (fitting more the time period), and generally says “Pauly Shore” stuff… to crickets, as both his friends and people they meet find him cloying and a bit of a nuisance. It’s actually a pretty clever use of what could have been an awful “Cool Guy” character. Plus, he gets the hilarious scene when he contemplates his hands (like a total stoner) and points out something that I always forget about: “Do you ever wonder, like… why we’re all wearing GLOVES?”.

About the Performer: It’s hard to imagine an era in which Pauly Shore WASN’T a punchline to “lame humor”, but apparently there was. Shore was a comedian who got hired as an MTV “VJ”, becoming an iconic part of early ’90s youth, using topical “surfer slang” (what would later be referred to as “Dudespeak” or “Dudebro” stuff) and numerous catchphrases, like “Hey, BUUUUUUU-DDY”, often “in character” as “the Weasel”. Starring on MTV between 1989 and 1994, he even had his own show (Canada got none of this), and he even got his own FILMS, starring in 1992’s “Encino Man” (with a young Brendon Fraser). The relative success of this film led to a SLEW of other work… but disastrous reviews and falling audiences soon murdered his career. What was popular and funny in 1992 turned out to be “LOL, why are we watching this shit?” in 1995, with bombs like “Jury Duty” and “Bio-Dome” making Pauly Shore the mid-90s equivalent of Rob Schneider today.

The backlash against Shore was very pronounced- dreadful reviews and poor box office, combined with a failed 1997 sitcom, made him a laughing stock. Basically… like Schneider without any powerful friends. To the point where jokes about Shore became common, and people would later treat him like some especially dated part of the ’90s (like “Futurama” pointed out). “A Goofy Movie”, which banked a lot of trailer time on his Bobby character (as I pointed out; he certainly wasn’t FEATURED much in it), was no doubt attempting to capitalize on his EARLY ’90s success, but was largely stricken by the MIDDLE ’90s backlash instead. Despite that, “An Extremely Goofy Movie” might be the last successful thing he was in- his post-90s work consists of a lot of Reality Shows and attempts at poking fun at himself.

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ROXANNE

Roxanne was a really wonderful design all this considered- most High School things go with the tall, busty archetypes for “The Ranking Babe In School” characters, but Roxanne actually looks and feels like a real teenager (minus the dog-nose). She’s short, nervous, innocent and cutesy, and is curvy instead of chesty, with big thighs and thick limbs overall, giving her a much younger and less sexpot-ish appearance. I loved her short scenes with Max, where she’s constantly playing with her hair and looking nervous, or her going ga-ga over his Powerline routine. She’s just as awkward and adorkable as Max is, which is why you not only INSTANTLY like her, but why she feels more real than any other “Geeky Guy Gets The Girl” cliched flick out there- you actually WANT to cheer for both of them.

A really memorable character, which is why it sucked that she wasn’t in the sequel. She DID, however, get an appearance in a single House of Mouse episode, going on a date with Max while the rest of the gang accidentally embarrasses him. Ironically, he’d brought them in to prevent GOOFY from doing so, and of course it’s GOOFY who realizes what’s going on and ensures they have a nice, proper date without the clumsy interference of Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Daisy. Unfortunately, they couldn’t use the nice voice Kellie Martin had, and went with the more high-pitched squeak of… Grey DeLisle? Princess freakin’ AZULA was also Roxanne?

About the Performer: I have no idea who Kellie Martin is, and have never seen any of her stuff. She played a lot of minor roles in the ’80s, I guess, and even got her own series in 1994, called “Christy” (??). She was on “ER” for a couple of years, but her career has mostly been bit parts and, currently, Hallmark & Lifetime movie roles. She is currently playing the title role in “The Hailey Dean Mysteries”.

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POWERLINE

One of the most famous aspects of this movie is the HELLACIOUSLY catchy set of tunes given by “Powerline”, established early on as a rock star that basically every teen on the planet is obsessed with. The ENTIRE SCHOOL freaks out when Max imitates his music video, and Max more or less openly worships him (how many teen boys have 900 pictures of a MALE in their room?). It’s a bit funny, because Powerline doesn’t really look like a “1995 Rock Star”- he’s more or less an early ’90s version of Michael Jackson’s ’80s self, throwing on a neon yellow outfit with an atomic logo and some wild, impossible hair. Powerline actually gets no speaking role in this movie- he just SINGS.

The film’s climax sees Max & Goofy infiltrate his big concert in LA (big enough to be shown live on Pay-Per-View), both simply falling onto the stage for the final number. Powerline thus establishes some Vanilla Ice-caliber “rolling with it”, being impressed with Goofy’s dance (The Perfect Cast, but without rod & reel), mimicking it after seeing it exactly once, and finishing the number with only a couple of surprised looks to show for TWO RANDOM IDIOTS JUST DIVE-BOMBING THE STAGE.

About the Performer: Powerline was portrayed by lesser-known musician Tevin Campbell, who actually has FIVE Grammy nominations from the early ’90s, which probably explains why I have no idea who he is. He’d worked with Babyface and other “known only to R&B fans” artists, and largely disappeared from the public eye by the time “A Goofy Movie” came out. He was in “Hairspray” from 2005-2011 on various stages, including Broadway, keeping him busy, but his comebacks have turned out to be nothing.

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