Smells like Teen Angst- but with Rhythm!

Welcome back to my little world of bad films and strange creatures. Here at Slick’s Dungeon, I try to find the worst of films and review them. It’s a long haul and sometimes there is not much joy in it. But occasionally a real oddball pops up and I can’t help but kinda thinking something is so awful it’s good. That’s Emo the Musical in a nutshell for you. It’s bad, but it’s also good. Be forewarned, spoilers abound below.

Ahh.. breathe it in, the bittersweet smell of teenage angst. No, I’m not talking about a song by Nirvana. This is the smell propelling itself off of Ethan, the main character in Emo the Musical. All he wants is to be a tortured soul who can join the coolest band in the school so he can win a recording contract in an upcoming battle of the bands style competition. To do that he has to be an “Emo”. For those of you who are three thousand years old and don’t know the term, it’s the type of kid who wears mascara, dresses in all black clothing, talks about death and speaks up when he sees injustice in the world. At least, that’s the way the movie defines it. The problem for Ethan? He’s sometimes actually happy.

Also, this is a musical. If you don’t like people randomly breaking out in song at the strangest of times, remove this from your Netflix queue immediately. The weirdest thing to me about this movie is that the music all kind of sounds the same, whether it’s the “Emo” clique or the hyper Christian music, or the sweet duets between Ethan and his love interest, Trinity. Yet, somehow all the music is both catchy and forgettable.

To sum up the movie, Ethan is kicked out of his high school for attempting to commit suicide six times (although he didn’t really mean it he says) and he gets transferred to a new school. This is Ethan’s big chance to re-brand himself a true Emo, join the band and become, I dunno… liked I guess? On the way to accomplishing this he falls for one of the majorly Christian girls at school. Trinity, quickly figures out that Ethan can be happy. Also they are very attracted to each other. This is a problem for Ethan because he can’t be seen around Trinity or his friends will lose respect for him. Trinity can’t be with Ethan because he’s a heathen. But that all works out cause, you know, hormones.

The film basically defines people as fitting into one of about four categories. You can be an Emo, or a Christian, you can play sports, or be an adult. That’s pretty much the sum total of choices. If you are Christian, it’s old school fundamentalist Christian. The type that still has the truly messed up idea that conversion therapy is a good idea for anyone. Being a student who plays sports seems to be, uncool kind of, but not that big of an issue unless you are an Emo cause you are not allowed to be both things at once.

It’s pretty apparent right from the beginning that the guy who leads the Emo band is really a jerk and sort of psychotic. And that the church group doesn’t actually accept anyone. Yet Ethan doesn’t see that Bradley (the band leader) is a complete jerkwad until he is glad a kid goes to conversion therapy because then the church group loses a guitarist. This is after Bradley makes Ethan break up with Trinity, destroy a bunch of musical equipment and light a crucifix on fire. For being a character that is supposed to be empathetic, Ethan, sure takes his sweet time about it. Trinity, on the other hand, accepts people even if they have committed terrible sins like pre-marital sex. She also makes a solid singing argument that “Jesus might have been an Emo”. That was my favorite line and lyric in this whole dang movie.

I’m just going to highlight some of the best parts of this thing. I have no idea how they decided to come together with this stuff but here it is.

  1. Ethan joins the band by singing a song about how he doesn’t want to join the band.
  2. Trinity hilariously tries to baptize Ethan on the sly.
  3. The school has basically one teacher because every other teacher has been fired due to scandals of one kind or another. (That is a solid strategy to keeping casting costs down and I super respect this decision)
  4. The school is more or less run by a drug company trying to prescribe serotonin enhancers.
  5. The side plot with Violet wanting to play basketball is the literal reverse of High School Musical.
  6. There is a battle of the bands competition at the end and Ethan somehow gets to play in two different bands.
  7. The guy awarding the recording contract is asked why people call him “Doug Skeleton” and he answers, “Because it’s my name.” Major dad jokes in a musical about emotionally troubled teenagers? Sign me up!
  8. Things end relatively happy for everyone (although I think they do lose the thread of the conversion therapy character and that’s a real shame)
  9. Ethan proves he is an Emo to Trinity by slightly parting his hair differently.
  10. Although there is a lot of singing there is very little dancing. Mad respect for that.

I don’t want to give away everything in this movie because I do recommend you watch it. It’s really odd and totally worth the view. I can’t entirely define it unless you have seen it. But, it’s like High School Musical because there is singing and it takes place in a high school. But unlike the Disney channel anti-masterpiece, this one is kind of fun and re-watchable. I would watch Emo the Musical a thousand more times before I watched High School Musical again even once.

Now let me see what I have on my shelf of awful projected images to watch next time. Of course, should have known… High School the Musical.

Grief Strickenly yours,

Slick Dungeon

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