2006 provided us with a handful of cinematic treasures. A few of my favorites would include the reboot of Pink Panther with Steve Martin providing us with Inspector Clouseau’s memorable “I would like to buy a hamburger.” The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith and introducing us to his son Jaden – a wonderful movie. And I did enjoy Jack Black’s comedic portrayal of Ignacio (his friends called him Nacho), a Mexican priest who spent time moonlighting as a lucha libre wrestler to raise money for his orphanage.
My favorite movie of 2006? Okay, so I kind of tricked you on this one. My favorite was not a theater movie but rather made its debut on television with 7.7 million viewers watching its premiere broadcast in the US alone. I’m talking about Disney channel’s High School Musical starring Zach Efron and choreographed by Kenny Ortega who also choreographed St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing and Newsies.
I know. Some of you are thinking, “Really Steve Hinkle. You were almost 40 years old! High School Musical!?” Yep and I am not ashamed to admit it. The film included your stereotypical nerds, jocks, cheerleaders, and artists who eventually leave behind their self-consciousness and social roles to collaborate TOGETHER in the name of music. High School Musical’s central character (Troy) decides to swallow his pride and admit that he likes theatre and when he gets cast in the school’s play, we find out that his basketball friends, dad, and many of the other students are less than accepting. He receives a lot of pressure to stay with basketball because it’s the right and more “masculine” thing to do. Troy ends up going against the societal norm and in the end he is accepted as still masculine and for being who he really is.
I am a Christian married man who in times past wondered if there was something wrong with my own “masculinity” because of societal and religious stereotyping. However; the more and more I delve into the Bible narrative and study its many male personalities and even the central character of Christ, I am finding that Scripture and religion should actually be freeing to those of us who may struggle with the societal “ideals” of masculinity. In fact, the Bible calls us to leave behind our self-consciousness, punctuates our imago dei, and celebrates our need to collaborate TOGETHER for the good of others in our world.
So . . . in no way am I embarrassed to say that I have watched High School Musical more than once, cheered Troy on through his struggle of acceptance, and strained my vocal chords to belt out the anthem for those of us who are tired of cowering behind the false standards of masculinity: “Soarin’ Flyin’ There’s not a star in heaven that we can’t reach – if we’re trying. Yeah we’re breaking free!”