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Jewish World Review
April 21, 2009
/ 27 Nissan 5769
A current pop-culture dad who is a guiding light for kids
Disney's new "Hannah Montana: The Movie" set a record for opening day at the box office for a G-rated live action film, according to the Associated Press: more than $17 million. (It took in $34 million for the weekend.)
I helped contribute to the "take" when I took my four kids, including three girls 12 and under, to see the film on opening day.
In the "Hannah Montana" series and now the movie based on Miley Cyrus' character, dad (Billy Ray Cyrus) is portrayed as loving, wise and able to help his kids make sound decisions.
Surveying the long lines of young teen girls literally panting with anticipation to get into the movie, I soon realized that this was the "Sex and City" for the tween set. But we were able to sail past them for the most part, as I had pre-bought our tickets. Why? Because I love the "Hannah Montana" series, the hit Disney show that spawned the movie.
For the uninitiated, in the hit show, Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) is a teenager who lives two lives one as an ordinary school kid while in the other she secretly doubles as superstar teen phenomena Hannah Montana. That's how she gets to live the "Best of Both Worlds," the title of her signature hit.
It's not just that the show is so wholesome, and by the way the movie literally could not have been cleaner. (Note to Hollywood: I hope this hit shows that families want more of that kind of fare.)
It's not just that its premise is delightfully impossible what teen superstar could hide her true identity? It's not that "Miley Stewart" has a great sense of humor, with more than a little edge of sweet sarcasm, which I confess I like. And yes, somehow I am able to put aside moral concerns about the fact she is, well, living a double life.
What I really love about it all is her dad. Miley Cyrus' real life father, Billy Ray Cyrus of "Achy Breaky Heart" fame, plays widowed on-screen dad Robby Ray Stewart. No, I don't have a crush on the man. I just appreciate that he plays the all too rare on-screen role of a father who is gasp! not just crazy about his kids Miley and on-screen brother Jackson, but also is wiser than his children. A dad whose kids really need him to guide them, lead them to right thinking on various dilemmas, or quite often just rein them in.
Typically in our modern pop culture, dads are depicted as bumbling fools, at best to be gotten around. It's not just Homer Simpson. Super-popular children's books The Beranstain Bears feature a loving but silly dad who always is being saved by super-smart mom. And that's if dads are there at all. Often, it's "super single mom" handling things after dad has left the scene.
Another movie we watched over the weekend, "Bedtime Stories," involves yet another mom left by her husband. It's not that this doesn't happen in real life it happened to me I just don't like the sense of, "that's what dads do if they decide not to hang around and be the family dunderhead," which seems to permeate much of the popular culture.
I let my kids know I hate that unfair characterization of fathers.
So a show like Hannah Montana that features a loving, strong, wise dad who for all his imperfections, and the times his kids occasionally get around him, is so encouraging. That's why I bought those tickets to "Hannah Montana: The Movie" early. A fun, clean film that features a loving and needed dad.
It's the best of all worlds.
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