Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

From Treasure Island (1950) all the way up through several recent and upcoming releases, the live-action fantasies and adventures produced by Walt Disney Pictures have often been just as memorable and magical as the company’s more iconic animated features. With the upcoming Beauty and the Beast (2017) release, the AE crew discuss their Top 5 live action Disney movies with very different operating definitions. Carrie commits a cardinal movie sin by seeing I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017) without Rob, meanwhile Tim and Rob share their thoughts the social thriller Get Out (2017).


Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Mary Poppins (1964)
TRON (1982)


Flight of the Navigator (1986)
The Rocketeer (1991)
White Fang (1991)
Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (1991)
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)


Mary Poppins (1964)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Treasure Island (1950)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)

10 Responses so far.

  1. Stevie says:

    Mary Poppins. Boom. Done.

    If hybrid movies don’t count for some reason (which will then disqualify virtually every live-action Disney movie produced in the 2010s), then The Muppet Christmas Carol. Boom. Just as done.

  2. Paul says:

    Mary Poppins is the only answer. Freaky Friday from 2004 would be my second choice.

  3. Not Fenimore says:

    I never really liked Mary Poppins so much as all that. I mean, it’s good, it just never stuck in my head as an all-time classic. I dunno.

    Going over wikipedia’s list of Disney movies, Tron and The Rocketeer are both great movies I’ve enjoyed as an adult, and I watched Honey I shrunk the Kids like 900 times as a child, but for the sake of honesty, I’m going to go with the movie that instantly popped into my head after seeing the title, before I even touched the list. Which means the greatest live-action Disney movie of all time is the 1961 film The Absent-Minded Professor.

    I regret nothing.

  4. Caleb says:

    The hybrid thing brings in some tough edge cases – Wikipedia lists Fantasia among them because of the live action sequences for instance, which, NO – but going with “predominantly” live action Disney films I’d say something like:

    1. Mary Poppins
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean
    3. The Muppet Christmas Carol
    4. The Jungle Book (1994)
    5. Enchanted

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    Hocus Pocus
    Honey, I Blew Up the Kids

    • Caleb says:

      I can’t believe I forgot about 2011’s The Muppets even while putting The Muppet Christmas Carol on there. That probably bumps takes #2 and bumps Enchanted off the list.

  5. Rocky says:

    As much as I additionally love Mary Poppins, please don’t forget Pollyanna as well. It’s not as sickly sweet as you’d expect, and is a fantastically shot little flick.

  6. Patrick Thatcher says:

    Mary Poppins wins pretty much automatically. Of course, The Rocketeer puts up a strong fight, as does Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Treasure Island. Just barely missing the top 5: Swiss Family Robinson and The Muppet Christmas Carol.

    …Yeah, I went there. Fight me IRL.

  7. WBTN says:

    I had to go to Wikipedia to even think of five (or at least, five that I like alright). Goes to show how absolutely unfamiliar I am with the majority of Disney’s output outside of animation. I desperately wanted to count Who Framed Roger Rabbit, if it weren’t for it being a Touchstone film rather than a fully-branded Disney joint (it’s also more of a hybrid film than live-action, but I would’ve broken that rule for it anyways)

    1. Mary Poppins (It’s a hybrid movie, right? Ah well, most of it’s live action anyways)
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
    3. The Straight Story (needs a rewatch, but I remember it being good-verging-on-great)
    4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    5. Freaky Friday (2003)

    With honorable mentions to The Rocketeer

  8. sting606 says:

    I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but Rick Moranis actually retired from Hollywood largely due to the death of his wife so he had to focus on raising his kids on his own and then yeah decided he didn’t miss acting. Glad he’s happy with his life, though.

    Great episode again, guys.

    • Robert Jarosinski Robert Jarosinski says:

      Thanks! That’s right, I remember reading that at one point. I’m with you that while I miss him onscreen, it’s good to see people with enough conviction to step away from the limelight when needed.

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