TV Movie: “Jett Jackson: The Movie”

Movies you love as a kid should stay just that, movies you love as a kid. It may seem like a good idea to revisit one of these films, that you watched time and time again, but there’s very little upside to doing so. More often than not, you’ll probably scratch your head and wonder what on earth you were thinking. If you’re lucky, you’ll pick the one movie from your childhood that holds up well over time.

The Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) “Jett Jackson: The Movie”, is a painful example of why watching childhood favorites might not be such a good idea.

This comedy TV movie stars Lee Thompson Young (“Rizzoli & Isles”, “The Famous Jett Jackson”), Lindy Booth (“The Librarians”, “Supernatural”), Nigel Shawn Williams (“Heroes: Reborn”, “Saving Hope”), Ryan Sommers Baum (“Bad Haircut”, “The Famous Jett Jackson”), Kerry Duff (“Zac & Penny”, “Instant Star”), Montrose Hagins (“Bringing Down the House” “Presidio Med”), Gordon Greene (“Henry Danger”, “Stitchers”), Melanie Nicholls-King (upcoming series “Falling Water”, “Rookie Blue”), and Michael Ironside (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TV series)”, “Synchronicity”).

The film is directed by Shawn Levy (upcoming series “Stranger Things”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and written by Bruce Kalish (“Aaron Stone”, “Power Rangers Jungle Fury”). It is based on the TV series “The Famous Jett Jackson” created by Fracaswell Hyman.

The TV movie originally aired on June 8, 2001 on Disney Channel.

Somehow, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to rewatch TV movie’s from my childhood, mainly DCOM’s. I don’t know if it was fully for nostalgia, like so many others, but I wanted too, and now I think I may regret this decision. After this one, which comes some time after watching “The Cheetah Girls”, I’m not sure why I’m surprised by my reactions. I’m also wondering if I want to continue to watch these movies. The sole reason for my even watching this one is that Disney Channel is in the midst of celebrating, and gearing up for, its 100th DCOM! Yeah, I get it, that’s exciting, but apparently that doesn’t mean revising old childhood favorites is a good idea. I’m quite certain that after watching all the ones I have left, not to mention the few I’ve already rewatched, I’ll have destroyed the image I’ve had about them and thus my childhood! God help me.

I wish I had something better to say, but I don’t. I never will. Whatever it was that I once liked about this movie has long since been forgotten, and now tarnished. It was a very painful 100 minutes, well, actually less when you take out the commercials, which I basically did as I fast forwarded through them. Still, it was much too long.

While it is absolutely evident that they tried to make this movie one that’s fun and continues the dramatic stories of Young’s character, not to mention his friends, I’m no longer the target audience. Most definitely not the target audience. The drama that surrounds Young isn’t at all interesting. It’s not as obnoxious as the high school drama that I saw in “The Cheetah Girls” or to the annoying level that “Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century” has achieved thus far, but it’s certainly not wroth my attention. I tried, I really did, but eventually all the mundane crap that he and his friends and family went through, just bored me. I guess life in some small town isn’t truly that exciting, even for a famous actor.

Then you throw in the actual main story, and you’ve got one strange and slow moving film, that may be exciting and interesting for an 11 year old, but not for me. Somehow, I don’t think it was ever fully explained, or I missed it because I was that bored and the information leaked out of my mind, Young finds himself switching places with his real life alter ego, Silverstone. One electrical mishap, which caused no other damage, but opening some sort of portal through something that looks like it was a rejected design for the Stargate, and Young has switched places with himself. Thus we’re forced to spend time in an alternate world, where Silverstone and Booth’s Hawk fight bad guys. Some other things happen with them, and Silverstone being where Young’s Jett Jackson lives (the real world), but it was apparently too dull for me to even remember. I can say, that though Kalish tried to incorporate humor into this movie, it doesn’t hold up well. Young’s characters, and rightly so, are each adjusting to their new situations, but after awhile, you start hoping that the horse fights back and starts using the stick on them. And so I’m pulled even further out of this movie. I didn’t think that was possible.

But all is not lost, for this film is a quasi-action movie! There’s the decent opening scene, where Young and Booth are fighting some bad guy, but in the end must evacuate the building or get blown up. They even take the time to save the bad guys from such a horrible fate. In the end, we witness Young running alongside the building that’s strategically blowing up behind him, trying to make it seem like he’s still in danger, even though it’s clearly poorly executed, that even some 11 year old could notice it’s utterly fake. Later, after much boredom, there’s some fight on a playground? I think it was a playground. Whatever. It’s semi-exciting as you get to see Young doing his own stunts! However, at the same time, it’s badly choreographed to the point where it’s actually a bit embarrassing. I guess I’ve had it in my mind for the last 15 years, that this movie was infinitely more exciting, and that that’s part of the reason why I remember it so well. I can’t say I was fond of it or believe it was the best thing on Disney, but I liked it enough. Apparently I was clinging to something that could no longer hold true as I’m no longer some adolescent not yet exposed to better action, which could only be found in PG-13 or R rated theatrical releases. So, with mediocre action, lame storylines, and nothing overly enjoyable, I find myself hating me. Why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone?

It seems, that as you get older, and your childhood gets further and further away from you, your memory is all that’s needed to know just how much you enjoyed being a kid. It doesn’t matter what event or thing it is, because it shows that there was enough of an impression made that you remember it fondly. When it comes to revisiting old movies and television you grew up with, it can clearly be a dangerous gamble you instantly regret. It’s one thing to get excited about showing a young cousin, nephew or niece, or even your own child, an old film that you know you enjoyed, and another when you yourself watch it again. I guess this may explain why my parents so often dislike watching children’s films with my nephews. Or it just shows that writers, directors and studio people know exactly how to entertain children, but annoy adults to no end.


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