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Things Only Adults Notice In A Goofy Movie

When "A Goofy Movie" came out in 1995, Disney animation was enjoying a fantastic run of success. The studio was coming off the triumph of beloved films like "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast" and was poised to release the first computer-animated feature, "Toy Story." In comparison, "A Goofy Movie" seemed like a trifle. A spinoff of the TV series "Goof Troop," the film didn't make a huge splash at the box office and ultimately seemed destined to be forgotten. But then something unexpected happened — people found the movie on home video, and soon it grew into a cult hit that's still adored today. 

It's easy to understand why "A Goofy Movie," which centers on the relationship between Goofy (Bill Farmer) and his son, Max (Jason Marsden), resonates. When the story starts, Max wants nothing to do with his dad, but after Max gets into trouble at school, Goofy decides the pair need to reconnect by taking a cross-country road trip. The movie's full of catchy songs, zany scenarios, and a shocking number of cameos by nuns that both kids and adults will love. And both kids and adults will find plenty to relate to in the touching tale of a father who's terrified of losing his son and a teen who's growing up but still loves and needs his father. Still, there are several things in the film kids are likely to miss. Here are things only adults notice in "A Goofy Movie."

The movie's plot would have been unnecessary if Max and Goofy just talked

From their first interaction in "A Goofy Movie," it's clear Goofy and Max aren't on the same page. Goofy seems oblivious to the friction between them, telling his co-worker, Pete (Jim Cummings), that Max is a good kid, even as Pete loudly registers his skepticism. But after Max pulls a prank to woo his crush, Roxanne (Kellie Martin), at a school assembly and his principal (Wallace Shawn) calls Goofy to inform him that his son is a criminal in the making — a mild exaggeration to say the least — Goofy's fears about the division between him and Max come rushing to the surface.

Instead of talking to Max about what happened, though, Goofy decides to spring a road trip on him and insists on leaving immediately. Given Max had already scheduled a date with Roxanne, the move only alienates him further. Max does plenty of questionable things throughout the film, not the least of which is lying to Roxanne about why he can't keep their date and giving Goofy directions that will take them to Los Angeles instead of Goofy's planned destination. But while kids will notice both Goofy and Max aren't making the best choices, adults will notice the entire plot of the movie hinges on Goofy deciding to take Max on an impromptu vacation instead of the more mature parenting choice of being open and honest with his son.

Max's fear of becoming his father is highly relatable for adults

From the beginning of "A Goofy Movie," it's clear Max's biggest fear in life is becoming a carbon copy of his father. In the nightmare scenario that opens the film, Max imagines looking like Goofy, sounding like Goofy, and likely having his famously goofy personality too. And later, when Max lets out a laugh that sounds just like his father's, he quickly stops chuckling in horror. However, becoming their parents isn't a concern that will be at the top of most kids' lists. While parents have an outsized influence on their children, when kids envision their futures, the landscape is usually so wide open that they don't consider the possibility that they could end up being the second coming of their mother or father.

By adulthood, though, the ways in which people channel their parents become a lot more obvious to them. After all, while our parents had concerns we never thought about as children, by adulthood, we may catch ourselves reacting to various grown-up responsibilities just like they did. It's a sobering and surprising realization that makes Max's concern that he's fated to be just like his dad easy for adults to sympathize with.

Max's perspective on Roxanne is decidedly adult

Max's dream girl Roxanne is portrayed as attractive and sweet throughout "A Goofy Movie," and both kids and adults will notice that the movie goes out of its way to ensure the audience understands that Max has it bad for her. What kids may not notice but adults surely will is just how alluring Roxanne is in Max's mind. In fact, adults will recognize that in the first scene where Max meets with Roxanne in a field, she's been highly sexualized, complete with a revealing dress, a come-hither expression, and plenty of sexy poses.

And when it's revealed that the scene is part of Max's dream, adults will realize that it's Max doing the objectifying of his crush. This may be a kids' movie, but it portrays its protagonist as a hormonal teen boy who, despite being awkward and nervous when he talks to Roxanne, has feelings toward her that aren't that innocent. Even though adults may find this slightly bemusing, kids are unlikely to notice just how on the nose the film is about Max's adolescent urges.

The movie's world of anthropomorphic dogs doesn't make sense

Initially, "A Goofy Movie" seems to be set in a world populated entirely by Goofy-like anthropomorphic dogs, which neither kids nor adults would question. Yet, as the movie goes on, adults are likely to find themselves wondering about the population of the film's universe. 

First, when Goofy mentions his best friend, Max assumes he means Donald Duck, confirming that other anthropomorphic animals exist in the movie's universe. Then, a little later, Donald and Mickey Mouse make cameos as hitchhikers. Also, Pete and his son, P.J. (Rob Paulsen), are technically supposed to be cats, although they're drawn in a way that ensures they could easily be mistaken for dogs –- and perhaps for the purposes of "A Goofy Movie" they are. However, all the other characters, including the background characters in the places Goofy and Max stop at on their road trip, appear to be anthropomorphic canines.

But if there are anthropomorphic ducks and mice in this world, why don't we see more of them? After all, Goofy and Max are driving across America. Shouldn't they encounter more diversity? Given there are plenty of animals in the movie who aren't anthropomorphized, it's hard to understand which species outside of dogs are included in the movie's civilization. Sure, it's a cartoon, but with so many well-considered creature-filled onscreen worlds today, adults may find it hard to ignore the lack of logic in the world of "A Goofy Movie."

Powerline looks more like a '70s rock star than one from the '90s

The pop star Powerline (Tevin Campbell) is a catalyst for many of Max's ill-advised actions in "A Goofy Movie." And in the climax of the film, Max and Goofy end up dancing with Powerline on stage at his Los Angeles concert. The movie's director Kevin Lima has said (via /Film) the inspiration for the pop star character came from noted musicians of the time, including Prince, Michael Jackson, and Bobby Brown. Today, kids may not even notice those influences when watching Powerline's scenes. Many adults, on the other hand, may find that Powerline reminds them of some popular rock stars of the '70s too.

In particular, Powerline has a very specific stage persona that seems to speak to a combination of '70s-era David Bowie and Devo. The singer wears a yellow jumpsuit reminiscent of a Hazmat suit, which is very similar to one of Devo's most well-known costumes from the 1970s. Moreover, the way David Bowie adopted and committed to on-stage personas in the 1970s, especially during his Iggy Stardust era, speaks to the persona Powerline embodies in the film. In fact, according to Lima, Bowie's commitment to alter egos for his performances was exactly where the idea for Powerline's theatrical identity, including the atom symbol that became his logo, came from

Goofy's co-worker Pete has a long villainous history in Disney cartoons

In "A Goofy Movie," Goofy's co-worker Pete is prone to jealousy and arrogance and believes the only way to parent is to keep strict control over his son, but he's not exactly a villain. Yet, while kids won't think much of his presence in the film, adults familiar with Walt Disney's career will know that Pete's been wreaking havoc in Disney productions for almost 100 years. Pete first appeared as an antagonist in 1925 in one of Disney's live action/animated hybrid "Alice Comedies." He went on to play the villain to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and when Disney lost the rights to that character, to Mickey Mouse.

Throughout the 1930s, Pete made numerous appearances in Mickey Mouse shorts. He was often a rival to Mickey for the affections of Minnie Mouse, who he tended to kidnap in a misguided attempt to win her over. At the time, Pete was frequently drawn with a wooden peg in place of one of his legs, leading to his nickname "Peg-leg Pete." The character went on to appear in shorts opposite other famous Disney characters, including Goofy, who made his first screen appearance in 1932. Pete continues to pop up in Disney projects to this day. So although his villainous tendencies are muted in "A Goofy Movie," he always has new opportunities to go bad in the company's latest movies, shows, video games, or other projects.

Some big '90s stars show up

There are many big names behind the voices of the characters in "A Goofy Movie," but kids and even many younger adults are unlikely to realize it. That's because the film's most noteworthy actors were at the height of their popularity 25 years ago when the film came out, including Jason Marsden, Kellie Martin, and Jenna Von Oÿ. Marsden continues to work as an in-demand voice actor today, but at the time, he also appeared in sitcoms like "Full House," "Boy Meets World," and "Step by Step." Meanwhile, although they still regularly star in movies and TV, in the '90s, Martin was known for her role in the drama "Life Goes On" and Van Oÿ for playing Mayim Bialik's best friend in the comedy "Blossom."

Yet the most well-known member of the cast was Pauly Shore, an actor and stand-up comedian who was a mega-star in the '90s due to a hit MTV show and films like "Encino Man" and "Bio-Dome." In fact, Shore was so popular when "A Goofy Movie" was made that his work as the voice of Cheez Whiz-loving slacker Bobby Zimuruski went uncredited. While those who grew up in the '90s are still likely to recognize his distinct delivery as Bobby, anyone younger probably won't realize that Shore is the actor behind the character's stylized voice.

None of the main teen characters seem to have mothers

One of the oddest things about "A Goofy Movie" is that none of the main teen characters — Max, P.J., and Roxanne — appear to have mothers. Stranger still is that no one comments on the fact that all three kids are being raised by single fathers. Given how little attention the movie gives it, many kids may miss this strange coincidence. However, adults are likely to find themselves wondering what happened to the characters' moms. 

Of course, it's possible Roxanne has a mother that simply doesn't appear in the film. After all, we only see her overprotective father when he opens the door for Max. On the other hand, starting with "Goof Troop" and continuing into "A Goofy Movie," Goofy is known to be a single father and Max's mother is never mentioned, sparking plenty of fan speculation over the years.

Also sparking fan speculation is the absence of P.J.'s mom, Peg, whose disappearance is especially puzzling because Peg and P.J.'s little sister, Pistol, were regular characters on "Goof Troop." In "A Goofy Movie," no one mentions either character, and Pete's cross-country trip with P.J. appears to be solely a father-son outing. After 25 years of fans theorizing, director Kevin Lima clarified on Twitter that while Peg and Pistol appeared in early drafts of the film, they were eliminated to emphasize the differences between Pete and P.J. and Goofy and Max.

The movie is full of Disney Easter eggs

"A Goofy Movie" tends to get very meta very often, with Disney Easter eggs popping up throughout the film. Given how well known all things Disney are to kids and adults, both are likely to catch many of these moments. Kids will have no problem noticing Max's Mickey Mouse phone, when Goofy guesses "Walt Disney" as the answer during a car game between him and Max, or the times when the character Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" shows up on a piece of theater scenery early in the film or as a lamp at the hotel Goofy and Max stop at later. But the movie also includes some more subtle Easter eggs that only adults are likely to notice.

For instance, adults will probably realize that the "D" that appears on Goofy's keychain uses the font of the Disney logo and that Goofy uses a Bambi stuffed animal to get a little girl to laugh for a photo. Plus, adults who are familiar with Goofy from before "Goof Troop" are likely to recognize that his terrible demonstration of how to make the perfect cast when teaching Max how to fish is reminiscent of the character's hilarious "How to..." shorts. The series, which started in the 1940s and is periodically added to into the present day, features Goofy doing an extremely poor job of showing viewers how to execute various tasks.

Goofy should be pulled over for his terrible driving

"A Goofy Movie" centers on a road trip, so it's no surprise that Goofy and Max spend a great deal of time in their car during the film. Unfortunately, it's Goofy doing the driving, which means he's always one moment away from a terrible accident. While kids won't miss Goofy's antics at the wheel, including steering with his feet while looking at his map, they're likely to find his many near-misses hilarious. After all, no matter how terrifying Max finds it, the movie plays Goofy's awful driving for laughs.

However, adults who have their licenses are likely to be less amused. After all, anyone who's had to slam on the breaks or swerve unexpectedly to dodge another car erratically drifting around the road will know the experience is no laughing matter. And given how astonishingly bad Goofy's driving is throughout the film, the fact that he's never even ticketed will make adults cringe, especially given at one point he's shown cruising right past a police car. Sure, the laws of physics don't exactly apply to Goofy, but still, many adults will find Goofy's horrible driving anxiety-inducing, leaving them hoping he gets his license taken away.

Lester's Possum Park is a parody of Disney parks

The first stop Goofy makes on his road trip with Max in "A Goofy Movie" is Lester's Possum Park, an opossum-themed amusement park he stopped at when he was a kid. Although Goofy has fond memories of the place, Max is understandably taken aback by the dilapidated, rundown roadside attraction. While kids will understand why Max wouldn't want to spend time there, adults are likely to notice that the filmmakers are using the opportunity to parody Disney theme parks, particularly the Old West-inspired Frontierland area of Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in Disney World.

Not only is the movie's use of a rodent-like mammal as the park's mascot a clear nod to Mickey Mouse, Lester's Possum Park also offers meet-and-greets with employees dressed as Lester the Possum and souvenirs that include a hat that looks like the character, which will remind adults of both the costumed cast members and souvenir Mickey ears available at Disney parks. Plus, the one attraction Max and Goofy take in — a depressing, barely working animatronic revue called Possum Posse Jamboree — definitely feels like take on the animatronic attraction Country Bear Jamboree, which used to be part of Disneyland and is still running at Disney World. Adults will realize the movie is essentially showing what Disneyland could become if it ever fell into disrepair — and it's scary!

Max and Goofy are recognizable teenager and parent archetypes

Max and Goofy may be anthropomorphic dogs, but in "A Goofy Movie," they're also perfect representations of a teenager and parent, respectively. Kids, especially those who have yet to hit puberty, are unlikely to realize the many ways the pair represent these archetypes, but adults will pick up on how the characters' motivations and reactions approximate the concerns of real-life parents and teens. 

Goofy's inherent silliness and good nature may obscure some of his care and concern for Max early in the movie. But as the story unfolds, his disappointment in and fear for Max and his strong desire to bond with him are familiar to anyone wondering what's happening as their kid hits their teen years and starts spending more time with their friends than their parents. 

Meanwhile, Max is pretty awful to Goofy throughout most of the film but in a way that will be familiar to anyone who's ever been a teenager. And although he doesn't make the best choices, he's a good kid at heart, even as his struggle to carve out an identity of his own sometimes clouds his judgment. For adults, this will all be awfully familiar, especially as they're likely to remember feeling like Max when they were younger and are perhaps feeling like Goofy now.

A Goofy Movie features a lot of outdated technology

When "A Goofy Movie" was released in 1995, it featured plenty of technology, but while much of it was current for the time, only adults are likely to recognize a lot of it today. The camera Goofy and Pete use to take pictures at a photo studio in a big box store was outdated even by 1995 standards, but the cassette tape and video camera that are a big part of Goofy and Max's road trip were still somewhat current in 1995. Today, however, kids may not be able to identify the tape deck in Goofy's car, the cassette he shoves into it, or the tape that shoots out as the cassette unravels. And although they'll recognize the video camera, even adults may think it's strange that it appears to only record in black and white.

What may spark the most nostalgia from adults of a certain age is the car cigarette lighter Goofy uses to heat up a can of soup for Max when they're trapped in their vehicle by a rampaging Bigfoot. Lighters used to come standard in cars when cigarette smoking was common, and they remained that way even after the public started to realize the heath risks. However, today, lighters are no longer found in vehicles, and the casual way Goofy uses his is likely to confuse anyone who isn't old enough to remember when they were as common in cars as cup holders.

How'd they get the car back on the road?

The clash between Goofy and Max reaches its apex after Goofy realizes Max is planning to guide them to Los Angeles instead of Idaho. As a test of his son, Goofy asks Max to choose between the two destinations as they approach a junction in the road. When Max chooses Los Angeles, an angry and disappointed Goofy pulls the car over and storms off to think. However, he forgets to put the car in park, leading it to slowly roll away. Max and Goofy chase after the vehicle only to wind up riding on top of it down a river.

Fortunately, this is the point where they actually start talking. Unfortunately, the river eventually turns into a waterfall, and both Goofy and Max have to do everything in their power to save one another ... but not before the car goes over the edge. While just the trip down the river would be enough to make the car a lost cause, the plunge over the waterfall should've left it smashed to pieces. Yet after Goofy and Max somehow make it to L.A. and the Powerline concert, the next scene shows them driving their very banged-up but somehow still intact vehicle up the street in their hometown. While kids may not think too hard about this detail, adults are likely to recognize this as the plot hole it is.