When it comes to Disney Channel Original Movies, or DCOMs for short, many have a preference for which one is their favorite. So, for today’s post, I will be sharing what is the BEST DCOM EVER in my opinion! Please note that all the movies Disney has made are fantastic either way and there are no wrong answers to which is the best Disney Channel Original Movie out there!
So, are you ready for it? The best Disney Channel Original Movie of all time is……
Not a lot of people know about this movie, which is a shame because it is such a good movie, especially because I can relate to the main character in so many ways, which I will explain later. This is from 2004, so it doesn’t play on Disney Channel anymore. But luckily I recorded the movie a few years back and I was able to watch it again to relive all the glorious moments this movie has to offer! Going to the Mat is on Disney Plus, I believe, if you want to check it out after this post!
Going to the Mat is about a blind teenager named Jace, who moves from New York City to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he decides to join his high school wrestling team in order to fit in with his classmates and be accepted. Along the way, Jace learns some very valuable lessons about friendship, acceptance, and overcoming your fears. I can go on and on about why I love this movie. But to start it off, despite being a sports movie, this movie has some music elements in it. Jace can play drums and guitar, and Mr. Wyatt, a blind music teacher that becomes Jace’s go-to for advice and played by Wayne Brady, is really talented on the piano. I especially love how the drums added to the intensity of the story. For example, whenever Jace was upset about school or an upcoming wrestling meet, he would play drums and the camera did something cool during those scenes to make it more dramatic, to the point where I thought, “OMG, is he going to pass out?”
I thought the character development was on point too, as Jace overcame so much throughout the movie, physically and mentally. At the start of it, he kind of had a cocky attitude, tended to joke around a lot, and was really rude to people. But then towards the middle of the film, he starts to lose the attitude and learns what it’s like to be a good friend and a good person through his friendships with Vincent “Fly,” Mary Beth, and John. Not only that, but he had to learn to accept himself for who he was and to not feel sorry for himself anymore because of his disability. Through that, he was able to take that weight off his shoulder and find his true potential as a wrestler!
Jace wasn’t the only one who overcame struggles, as “Fly” lacked confidence in sports because of his small size. I’d like to point out that Jace kind of forced “Fly” to try out for the wrestling team with him. Through Jace’s help though, “Fly” improved on his wrestling skills and started believing in himself more. John, on the other hand, was seen as the stereotypical jock and Jace’s bully from the start. But, later he was shown to have a strong passion for wrestling and dedicated his life to that because he felt like he didn’t have anything else, since he wasn’t good at academics.
Wrestling hurt him in some ways and the audience started to see him in a different light eventually. Although, he and Jace never saw eye-to-eye at first, they were able to make peace, as Jace helped him with his Spanish and John helped Jace with his weight training. John was able to see Jace in a more positive way, as more than just a blind guy, and grew to like him. John also learned that there’s more to life than just wrestling and it’s all about being a part of a team!
On a personal level, I can relate to Jace because of my disability. I have nerve damage on my right side, and in addition to that, I can’t see or hear well on my right side. I always had this fear of what people would think of me and Jace struggled with this as well, he was worried that people would pity him because of his disability. He also had this toughness and bad attitude because he thought that was the way to fit in with his classmates, which wasn’t the case. To some extent, this is true for me, but for Jace, he acted like a jerk to fit in with people, while I did this to keep away from people. I am not proud of this, but I’m working to change this bad habit.
What I hate about my disability is having the fear of people looking at me and treating me differently from those without disabilities. I hate having people feel sorry for me, so I understood where Jace was coming from when he said he didn’t want people to pity him. So, I was happy when Jace overcame that fear in the end because it gives me something to look forward to, that things would get better for me too!
My favorite quote from Going to the Mat was when Jace was trying to convince his parents to let him take up wrestling, he said, “My whole life is dangerous, just walking out the front door is dangerous, it doesn’t mean I should sit in my room and hide!” This shook me up SO MUCH because of how true it is, yes, there is a lot of fear in the world, but we cannot hide from it because how can we grow if we don’t face difficulty in our lives?!?!
This movie is just filled with music, joy, sadness, life lessons, and hope. But there are so many great Disney Channel Original Movies out there, so I want to know what your favorite DCOM is or was growing up? Let me know in the comments below!
See ya real soon!