High School Musical – Disneycember

It’s the DCOM that took the world, but was it really that great to begin with? Doug looks and sees if High School Musical is worth all the fuss.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. YES! CHILDHOOD! This also is where my love for musicals started. After this, I found out about Grease, then Rocky Horror Picture Show, then Mamma Mia, etc. While I’m surprised you found it slow moving, at least you didn’t hate it like Cheetah Girls and I’m thankful for that.

  2. Totally with you on the “boring” label. We watched this with the Rifftrax, and it still felt like it was taking forever.

  3. Really, Doug. I thought you were smarter than this. Considering what you do, you should know a bad movie when you see one. And yes, this one IS bad.

    This is what you should have said:

    High School Musical is by far the most trite, nauseatingly unrealistic entry in the musical losers’ club yet, with absolutely no substance. The film’s “positive message” that you should follow your dreams regardless of what others think is not only recycled from other Disney films, but also deprived of any true meaning it may have had by the fact that the characters in this atrocity never do anything that risky in pursuit of their dreams.

    The plot of “High School Musical” seems like something which Disney scavengers dragged out of a literary landfill. Jock Troy meets smart-yet-hot Gabriella at a karaoke party, where the two act as singing partners. The magical experience of singing off-key to a bland pop soundtrack is apparently romantic enough to induce the two teens to exchange phone numbers.

    Flash forward to the start of school at East High. Troy, who is the captain of the East High Wildcats Basketball Team, is stunned to discover that Gabriella’s parents have moved to his hometown and have enrolled her at his high school, making them classmates (Grease anyone?!?). Also, Gabriella is an intelligent math geek who is somehow magically free of any nerdy characteristics whatsoever and her gift for academics serves to be nothing more than a plot convenience.

    We then meet the annoying, obnoxious Sharpay and her ambiguously gay brother Ryan (because all male actors are gay), the co-presidents of the Drama club. When Gabriella and Troy show up to audition for the musical and somehow magically get call-backs despite the fact that neither one can sing on key, Sharpay and Ryan suddenly feel the need to sabotage the possibility of both Troy and Gabriella ever showing up for auditions again.

    And then there is the “Stick to the Status Quo” scene. This is the most horribly done, infuriating, I-wanted-to-throw-my-shoe at-the-TV scene I have ever watched in any movie. This was the scene that propelled me from thinking “this movie is awful” to “this movie pisses me the hell off.” In reality, no one cares if you’re a jock and want to audition for a play, or do anything besides play sports.

    To make a long, convoluted story short, after Troy and Gabriella’s stereotypical friends sabotage their relationship then mysteriously feel remorse, after Sharpay and Ryan go through an extremely drawn- out scheme to keep Troy and Gabriella away from the callbacks, which fails in perhaps the most blatantly unrealistic plot twist of the musical, Troy and Gabriella are given the lead roles in the school musical despite their utter lack of talent/experience/seniority, all of which would conspire to keep them from such luck in a REAL high school!

    Zac Efron was laughably bad. Efron lacked the swagger, the brashness, the arrogance and the blatant lack of sensitivity frequently displayed by basketball stars and besides, he’s only 5’10”. That’s too short for any legitimate basketball star. If you put Zac Efron on a real court, he’d be asking the players “how’s the weather up there?”

    Vanessa Anne Hudgens was the true victim of this film’s low quality. Her performance (both vocally and acting-wise) was half-decent, though it suffered from the same curse as Natalie Portman’s in “Star Wars.” That is, the script and music were so terrible that it’s a wonder she could keep a straight face performing either. Meanwhile, Ashley Tisdale managed to be suitably irritating as Sharpay not because of any real talent on her part, but rather because of her LACK of real talent. She won’t be making the list of best musical villains anytime soon with that performance.

    My final point of criticism refers to the musical’s depiction of high school life. My biggest problem with East High is its idealistic social dynamics. This problem manifests itself in three ways:

    1. Everybody is nice (with the possible exception of Sharpay): In any high school, you will find that this is patently untrue. High school is quite possibly the most Machiavellian, socially difficult portion of anybody’s educational career. I will give an example and contrast that with reality. Example: Gabriella and Troy start to develop a crush on each other. In the world of High School Musical, nobody looks down on this and the two get to sing as many love duets as they want. In the real world, Troy’s status on the basketball court would have made him such a chick magnet that a “nerd” like Gabriella would have virtually no chance with him. And even if she did manage to secure his attention, every jealous girl in the school would spread malicious rumors about her behind her back until she had to break up with Troy just so people wouldn’t mutter “Slut” under their breath whenever she walked past.

    2. Nobody kisses in this movie: this is one of the film’s most absurd elements. In real life, Troy and Gabriella would have made out by the end of the film, if not had victory sex to celebrate triumph over Ryan and Sharpay.

    3. This ties in with the clichéd mess of the whole movie. The bitch simply does not act buddy-buddy with the protagonists unless they have a trick up their sleeve. If there is no ulterior motive, then there is a major plot hole as to why Sharpay automatically turned nice, especially after Troy and Gabriella just upstaged her!

    In conclusion, High School Musical may not have been the first bad movie the Disney Channel has produced, but it’s definitely contributed to the downfall that is still current today. This film has no redeeming qualities to it at all. What’s even worse than this travesty’s existence itself is the fact that it spawned two more sequels AND a spin off, and made millions upon millions of dollars from merchandise.

  4. Also Doug, since when were you one to care if you were the “target audience?” That’s never stopped you from coming down VERY hard on movies aimed at a much younger age group than this movie (especially if those said movies rightly deserved your treatment).

    I mean fuck, you yourself went out of your way on multiple occasions to say things like “it doesn’t give the people making this movie the right not to try” when people say “Oh, it’s just for kids.” Hell, in your Mamma Mia review you REFUSED to let that movie slide because it was a chick flick, and rightfully so! Yet for what is to me, the worst movie I’ve ever seen, you use that stupid excuse yourself to give this movie a free pass???

    I really hate shit like that, you fucking hypocrite.

  5. Did you see the YouTube video of you reviewing this? It’s like the most viewed Nostalgia Critic fan video on the entire Internet! I’m surprised you haven’t seen it. I saw this too. I think it’s bad, but not one of the worst. Obviously, I’m not the demographic. It could have been worse.

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