This summer marked Disney Channel’s 100th Disney Channel Original Movie and in honor of the big milestone they had numerous marathons featuring DCOM classics. Looking back at some of these films, we realized there are a few things you might’ve missed the first time you watched them. This week, we’re dissecting The Thirteenth Year!
The 1999 film continues to hold up today (though, it might be a little cheesier than you remember it). The story follows Cody Griffin (Chez Starbuck), who was adopted after he was left on the back of a boat by his real mother, a mermaid. Yep, a mermaid!
Cody was always a great swimmer, who loved the water, but after his 13th birthday, he began to have more fish-like qualities including faster swim times, occasional scales on his body and eventually sprouting fins! While we love this movie – as we hope you do – re-watching it made us aware of some strange storylines and weird things we missed back in the day. Keep reading to see what you might’ve missed as a kid.
1. Pool Play
Something totally random that we noticed about The Thirteenth Year is that the pool facility has a viewing window. Underneath the pool during the State Championship meet, there is a room where you can watch the swimmers under water. This seems a little outrageous for a middle school swim meet facility don’t you think? It’s like an aquarium viewing room, but with people.
2. Sneaker Swim
Cody wasn’t always on time, but luckily he could swim like a fish (hence his mother being a mermaid). When he was running late for the middle school meet, he jumped into the bay and swam from one side of the island to the other. The thing you might not have noticed, however, is that he was wearing his sneakers the whole time. In reality, the footwear would’ve totally dragged him down.
3. Full House Father
Dave Coulier was the dad, Whit Griffin, in the merman movie. Okay, you probably didn’t miss this major casting choice, but we just wanted to point it out in case you forgot. Joey played Cody’s dad and he was hilarious, obviously.
3. Sharon Griffin Was a Vegan
Back in the ’90s, being a vegan or vegetarian wasn’t so mainstream so Cody’s mom’s (played by Lisa Stahl) food choices might’ve gone unnoticed. Seriously, she was a full-blown veggie lover, and even made Cody’s birthday cake out of beets!
4. Sandlot References
While Jess, played by Justin Jon Ross, isn’t the actor who played Squints in The Sandlot, he does look a LOT like him. On that note, Jess and Cody have back-and-forth banter about s’mores, which is one of the iconic Sandlot scenes, and it makes you do a double take of the actor. S’more of what?
5. Horn Mystery
The one thing that the movie never discloses is how Jess got his giant Sousaphone tuba horn out of the pool. Remember when he falls into the pool and Cody has to save him because he can’t swim? Well, his giant gold horn is still on the bottom of the pool, but he magically has it later in the film. So bizarre.
6. Electric Swimming
Apparently mermaids have electric static all the time. When Cody kisses his girlfriend, Sam, he shocks her and she loves it. Later in the movie, Cody swims and grabs onto the railing after winning and the whole scoreboard gets an electric shortage. It’s insane and makes us question whether or not having a high electric charge is something mermaids are supposed to have.
7. Twilight Cameo
In addition to the Full House star being a major cast member in The Thirteenth Year, there was a Twilight guest star, way before she was a big name. Kristen Stewart can be seen standing in line for the drinking fountain in the school hallway, as Cody guzzles down water like it’s his job. Plus, if you look closely, the back of her head is also in the biology classroom scene.
8. Nature vs. Nurture
Cody’s real mom never speaks, like ever, yet he can talk like any human boy, which begs the question, did he only talk because of the fact that he grew up in the human world? When he swims off at the end of the film for the summer, how did he communicate with his mermaid mom? Yet another unsolved mystery.
9. Location, Location, Location
Although the movie is set in a town off the East Coast, which they call Mahone Bay, it was actually filmed in Newport Beach, California. For all you California kids out there, or anyone who has ever been to the Southern California city, you should re-watch this movie ASAP!
The ferry Cody swims alongside in order to make his swim meet, is the real Balboa Island ferry, which still exits. The tour boat his family runs, is actually the Tiki Boat that docks on the Newport Peninsula – and you can still ride on it for party, school event, or just for fun!
Is there anything in The Thirteenth Year that you noticed the second time you watched the movie?