By: Sydney Phillips
With the talk of Debby Ryan and some of her former roles recently, I figured we should bring back one of her most popular Disney Channel original movies: Radio Rebel. In addition to Ryan, this movie stars Adam DiMarco, Merritt Patterson, and Serena Parmar. Taking place in a high school, this movie provides something for everyone as a drama, family and teen movie.
In the movie, we meet Tara Adams, a shy high school girl who has her own radio show as a secret radio personality, Radio Rebel. She encourages students all over to stand up for themselves and to do what is right, fitting the rebel part of her secret name. Things become troublesome for her while arguing with the school bully, Stacey DeBane, and having a crush on Stacey’s ex boyfriend. On top of that, her principal threatens to expel the person behind Radio Rebel. While being Radio Rebel, she not only helps others, but slowly starts to take her own advice in her life.
This film was directed by Peter Howitt, an English film actor and director who has won awards such as the European Film Award for “Best Screenwriter”, and the Empire Award for “Best Director.” The producer of this movie was Kim Arnott, who is known for producing other movies such as “Extraterrestrial” and a Disney XD movie titled, “Pants on Fire.” She has won an Emmy for “Outstanding Children’s Series” for RL Stine’s “The Haunting Hour”. With the work of these two, along with the acting of Debby Ryan, who was an up-and-coming daytime actress known on Disney Channel, a popular DCOM was created.
Most of the scenes for the movie were shot in Vancouver, Canada in the summer of 2011. All of the scenes at SlamFM, the radio station in which Tara does her show, were filmed at a school in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. The plot itself was actually based on a book called “Shrinking Violet” by Danielle Joseph. They are both set up the same, a shy girl at her high school is actually a very popular radio host and she slowly begins to take her own advice from her radio personality to become a confident person while facing several dilemmas in school. The term “shrinking violet” actually means “an exaggeratedly shy person,” which is fitting for both of the characters’ personalities in the beginning.
Overall, Radio Rebel is a very good family movie, as it provides multiple valuable lessons within the story. However, some aspects of the movie are not very realistic, such as having such a popular radio show starting in your bedroom. If we were to compare this to today, in 2020, someone could become popular by creating a YouTube channel in which they do not reveal their identity.
Although I would not say this movie is worthy of a multitude of awards, it is definitely a feel-good movie, like other Disney Channel Original Movies such as “16 Wishes,” which also stars Debby Ryan, and “Frenemies.” You can watch this movie on Netflix, or on TubiTV for those who don’t have a Netflix subscription.