The Brave Little Toaster Is a Late 80s Classic That Deserves a Blu-Ray Release

The Brave Little Toaster cover
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

The Brave Little Toaster, released in 1987 as a Disney independent production and directed by Jerry Rees, sadly hasn’t gotten much love since the 90s. Based on Thomas M. Disch’s 1980 popular science fiction novel of the same name, The Brave Little Toaster tells the story of an animated toaster, radio, vacuum, lamp, and blanket, and their adventure to the city to find their master Rob. While the film opened at the Sundance Film Festival, it never secured an actual theater run, only later showing in a few arthouse facilities. Most viewers experienced The Brave Little Toaster through its broadcast on the Disney Channel in 1988. This would continue into the 90s. 

The Brave Little Toaster DVD cover

The Brave Little Toaster was also released on VHS and LaserDisc beginning in 1991 by Buena Vista Home Video, and later re-released multiple times throughout the 90s. In 2003, the first and only DVD edition was released to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the film, but we have yet to see a Blu-ray edition, even after its 20th anniversary in 2007, or even its 30th anniversary in 2017. 

While many other Disney films have enjoyed a release on Blu-ray in recent years, like Saludos Amigos/The Three Caballeros and A Goofy Movie/An Extremely Goofy Movie, The Brave Little Toaster hasn’t gotten the upgrade. We think its a classic that deserves this honor—so here are our top reasons why The Brave Little Toaster deserves a Blu-ray release. 

Animating the Inanimate
The gang lost in the woods
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

While Toy Story has often been praised for bringing toys to life through computer animation since 1995, The Brave Little Toaster was hand-drawing objects that originally had no faces and bared little resemblance to any humans or animals in the late 80s. The skill needed to bring these completely lifeless objects to life cannot be understated, as it was a massive leap of the imagination. Putting this into practice through animation must have been some feat, and really showcases the skill of the animators working on the film, especially when considering the crushing financial and time constraints they faced in completing it. 

Lampy, Radio, Toaster, and Blanky in the cabin
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

The animation is just one side of the story—someone had to give a voice to these characters. Various exemplary actors and actresses stepped up to the plate to literally breathe life into these characters such as Phil Hartman and Deanna Oliver. In a great show of virtuosity, Jon Lovitz performed the voice acting for the radio, channeling a transatlantic accent, but also switching his tone and accent throughout the film to resemble a radio changing channels. Without the skill of the animators and the virtuosity of the voice actors and actresses, the inanimate in The Brave Little Toaster would not be believably lifelike.

Great Music
Radio on the nightstand in the cabin
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

The Brave Little Toaster is filled with classic tunes of the past such as “Tutti Frutti” (1955) by Little Richard and “My Mammy” (1918) sung by Al Jonson from The Jazz Singer (1927), the first motion picture with audible speech and singing. These classic tunes connect viewers with the past, and open their minds to some of the history of music and film. As a small child in the 90s, I watched The Brave Little Toaster on The Disney Channel many times, and remember hearing some of these songs of the 50s for the first time through this film. I now have a love and appreciation for the music of the past.

A recorder
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

There are also many nostalgic loveable original numbers throughout The Brave Little Toaster such as “City of Light” and “It’s a ‘B’ Movie.” At the climax of the film, the cars in the junkyard sing the melancholic tune “Worthless” as they stare down the metal crusher and realize they have lost their purpose and are no longer worth anything to society. These original tunes really brings emotion and mood to what the appliances and electronics are facing as they strive to be useful to (but also appreciated by) their masters. 

A Tale of Sacrifice

Lastly, The Brave Little Toaster is a tale of sacrifice. When the gang stops to sleep in the wilderness on their way to the city, they awaken in the middle of the night to a thunderstorm. While Blanky is blown up into a tree, the gang attempts to find it but runs out of battery. Lampy, in a moment of sheer selflessness, decides to jump on top of the battery on the chair and attempt to attract the lightning by stretching its neck out pin-straight. Lampy is then electrocuted and badly damaged through the rest of the film.

Later, when the rest of the gang falls down a waterfall, Kirby decides to leap off of the edge as well, potentially sacrificing its own life to save the others.

Finally, at the end of the film, Toaster, after seeing the Master about to be crushed in the junkyard crusher, resolves to sacrifice its own life by jumping into the cogs of the crusher’s machinery, earning his title as the “brave” little toaster. While darker than most animated films geared towards children, The Brave Little Toaster goes deeper than the surface, and decides not to tell a superficial story, but one filled with raw emotion, loss, sacrifice, and redemption. 

The gang in the back of the Master's car
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

These are our top reasons why The Brave Little Toaster is a classic that deserves a re-release. Though we may never see a Blu-ray release, you can still buy the DVD edition, as well as the digital copy on Vudu.  Until next time!

8 Things You Might Have Missed in Disney’s A Goofy Movie (1995)

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Disney’s A Goofy Movie is a highly underrated classic that often gets shoved aside in favor of other more well-known Disney Renaissance films. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great movie and a fun, nostalgic watch. Unlike some other Disney films, A Goofy Movie isn’t afraid to sometimes break the fourth wall or make cheeky references to other characters or films in the Disney universe and is chalked full of little Easter eggs that you might have missed.

In honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the first movie in 2020, as well as the recent rerelease of A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie for the first time on Blu-Ray disc, here’s our list of eight things you might have missed while watching A Goofy Movie.

1. References to Goofy’s Old Pals

A Goofy Movie (1995)

At the beginning of the movie, we see a Mickey Mouse telephone on Max’s nightstand. Later, when Goofy says he’s taking his best bud on a fishing trip, Max replies, “Donald Duck?” A little later, during the song, “On the Open Road”, we see a brief clip of Mickey and Donald hitchhiking. (This is neither his first, nor last appearance in the film, but more on that later.)

2. The Little Mermaid

In the “Stand Out” scene at the beginning of the film, Max, P.J., and Bobby are backstage readying Max’s performance. It seems like the stage is set up for some kind of pirate play, perhaps a nod to Peter Pan. (You can even see a crocodile in the background!) Either way, the mermaid perched on a rock in the background looks a lot like Ariel, so we’ll call this a reference to The Little Mermaid. Later, when Max and Goofy stop at the Neptune Inn, an underwater sea themed roadside motel, Max plays with a light switch lighting up a wall lamp depicting another red-haired mermaid.

3. A Disneyland/Disney World Reference

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Did you notice the Mickey-shaped balloon at the end of the “On the Open Road” number? Neither did we the first few times. Perhaps looking for hidden Mickeys at the parks (and on Kingdom Hearts III) has sharpened our skill at pointing out all things shaped like Mickey.

4. A Familiar Couple

Remember this couple during the “On the Open Road” number? Well it’s not the only time you see them. The man appears at the Powerline concert moving stage equipment, while the woman is backstage in a dressing room. Spoiler: She was wearing a wig!

5. Partying Nuns!

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Remember the nuns driving next to Max and Goofy’s car at the beginning of the road trip? Well apparently they were headed to Los Angeles for the Powerline concert, too!

6. A Disney Keychain

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Did you notice this Disney keychain on Goofy’s keyring? Disneyception!

7. Powerline…or?

Did Powerline ever remind you of anyone, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it? Turns out Powerline was inspired by the mid-80’s, early 90’s singer sensation Bobby Brown. From the hair to the yellow outfit and dance moves, we can totally see the resemblance.

8. Mickey: Powerline’s Number One Fan

Not only does Mickey make a cameo in the “Open Road” segment, as mentioned above, but he also appears in the crowd during the “Stand Out” scene, as well as at the Powerline concert at the end of the film. Mickey sure does know how to party!

A Goofy Movie (1995)

You may have noticed some of these already, but we hope you learned something new from this list of Disney Easter eggs. Until next time!

A Goofy Movie (1995) is available on DVD and Blu-ray video. (paid links)

Why Disney’s A Goofy Movie (1995) is a Perfect Snapshot of the 90’s

A Goofy Movie Title Screen
A Goofy Movie (1995)

In honor of A Goofy Movie’s upcoming 25th anniversary in 2020, as well as the recent release of A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie on Blu-ray for the first time exclusively through the Disney Movie Club, we Disney geeks at A Bright Little Lamp wanted to revisit the classic and explore why this highly underrated animated film is a perfect little snapshot of the 1990’s.

Forgotten Technology
Goofy pressing play on a cassette player in his car.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

The 90’s was the end of the analog age, and this is painfully obvious watching A Goofy Movie today. There is little-to-no digital technology throughout the film, and instead we see various relics of the 80’s and 90’s like corded phones, tube TVs, and cassette tapes.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

From analog cameras to the portable TV cart wheeled around by Max and P.J.’s friend Bobby, A Goofy Movie delivers a serious blast of nostalgia for many older viewers, and will surely spark various questions about all of this analog technology by younger viewers.

Saved by the Bell
Goths on the School Bus.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

At the beginning of the film, we see Max heading off to his last day of school before summer break, and through a catchy song, we are introduced to various high school cliques that were popularized in the media throughout the 90’s. The “nerds” wearing Star Trek outfits and reading comics, the goths wearing all black and black lipstick, and of course the jocks and cheerleaders (often called “preps”). No 90’s high school was complete, however, without the tough-guy bullies seen shoving around and tormenting Max on his way to school.

Portrait Studios and the Golden Years of Big Box Department Stores

In A Goofy Movie both Pete and Goofy work at a portrait studio at a big box department store. These portrait studios were notorious in the 80’s and 90’s, and often featured strange gradient solid color backdrops and awkward family photos. While these types of photo studios have all but disappeared over the years, many folks from the 80’s and 90’s remember them all too well, and still have embarrassing family photos buried deep in a scrapbook album.

Goofy mesmerized by a blue light special of a stack of figurines of a dog fishing.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

Even more loaded with nostalgia is the big box department store Pete and Goofy work in. It’s clearly supposed to be Kmart, since there’s even a scene with Goofy stopping to check a Bluelight Special, made popular in Kmart stores across the nation. Many folks remember rushing to these Bluelight Specials in the store, since they would only be announced via the intercom while you were shopping. Sadly, Kmart, along with many other big box retailers, are on their way out with the increasing popularity of online shopping.

This setting for Pete and Goofy’s employment, along with the photo studio they work at, serves to really date the film, and might be a bit confusing to especially young viewers. For us older folks who lived through the 80’s and/or 90’s, it’s a complete blast to the past.

A 90’s Road Trip
Goofy looks at a paper map while driving.
A Goofy Movie (1995)

The road trip Goofy and Max take to the fictional Lake Destiny, Idaho, is straight out of the 90’s. From the cassette tape in the car that eventually gets jammed to the paper map used throughout the trip in place of a cellphone or car-mounted GPS, this road trip would have looked a lot different in the digital age.

A sign that reads, "Route 66 Junction Ahead".
A Goofy Movie (1995)

Consider the Route 66 that Goofy and Max travel to reach the west coast. What was once a staple in cross-country travel has largely been decommissioned. Once called, “The Main Street of America,” Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles and served as a popular route for dust bowl migrants in the 1930’s and long-haul truckers in later decades due to the relatively flat drive.

The Neptune Inn.
A Goofy Movie (1995)

As traffic increased, gas stations, motels, diners, and other mom-and-pop establishments lined the route, offering quick access to amenities for travelers. While the route was officially decommissioned in 1985, it would still have been fresh in the minds of the creators and part of the history and culture of cross-country road trips into the 90’s.

Max being served eggs and bacon at a mom-and-pop diner.
A Goofy Movie (1995)

While various interstate bypasses have been constructed over the years, the historic Route 66 still exists today, and many local establishments have taken advantage of the historic designation to embrace nostalgic tourism. This is exemplified in A Goofy Movie as the backdrop of the road trip becomes not just a highway, but later a mom-and-pop diner and an underwater-themed inn.

Closely connected to Route 66 and highways like it were roadside attractions. These mom-and-pop small attractions cropped up along the highway systems to take advantage of increased traffic. They were sometimes bizarre or strange and meant to be eye-catching. The scene where Max and Goofy stop at Lester’s Possum Park seems to be a nod to these roadside tourist attractions of the past.

ShowBiz Pizza Vintage Advertisement

The animatronic critters of the Possum Posse Jamboree seem to be reminiscent of ShowBiz Pizza Place or Chuck E. Cheese, both staples of 90’s birthday parties and nightmare fuel for small children. I speak from experience when I say those animatronic animals were truly frightening!

Big Foot

The mythical ape-like creature known as Big Foot or Sasquatch really had its heyday in the 90’s. From the 1987 movie and later 1991 TV series Harry and the Hendersons to the limited-run of Bigfoot Pizza at Pizza Hut, Big Foot seemed to be everywhere in the 90’s—except, you know, in real life. A Goofy Movie was no exception. The addition of this character was hilarious to me and my sister watching this movie as kids, and while it may seem random to the younger generations, Big Foot was something of a pop culture phenomenon in the 90’s. 

90’s Jams
A Goofy Movie (1995)

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the fictional pop star Powerline, who was based on the real-life musician Bobby Brown. Fitting perfectly in the genre that had come to be called, “new jack swing” or “swingbeat”, these hits by Powerline (sung by a real life R&B star of the early 90’s Tevin Campbell), are super nostalgic in the present times, and remind listeners of old hits by Bobby Brown himself, Janet Jackson, and New Edition.

Powerline performing on stage.
A Goofy Movie (1995)

While Powerline’s appearance is influenced by Bobby Brown’s signature look of the late 80’s/early 90’s, Tevin’s voice has reminded viewers of the late Prince or king of pop Michael Jackson. Either way, the hodgepodge of influences is straight out of the early 90’s.

Final Remarks

Overall, A Goofy Movie is a fun watch even today, and becomes ever more nostalgic as time passes. If you want to relive the magic yourself, it’s available on digital platforms like iTunes and Movies Anywhere, as well as on DVD. The 2019 Blu-Ray (paid links) release of both the first and second movies are Disney Movie Club exclusives.

I hope this article brought back some good memories. Until next time!