Trash or Treasure: Volume 18 – Emo the Musical
We exit out of Nic Cage month, and I finally get to start making real choices about what to watch for Trash or Treasure. This week, I followed a line from devoted Skill Viewer Mutiny Teddie and decided to watch Emo the Musical. The 2016 film stars no one of note (including some “page does not exists” on Wikipedia), and is supposedly about an emo kid who gets caught in between two worlds at a new school: emo kids and Christian kids. It sounds stupid as fuck and not only does it have a TV-14 rating (a good sign), I should remind you that it is a musical. Let’s forge onward into darkness.
Actually before we forge, this movie does contain some pretty dark and potentially triggering themes, and if you’re not about that, feel free to read a different Trash or Treasure to satisfy your bad movie needs.
The film opens with an emo looking kid playing guitar and another, larger kid walking by and smashing it. Ironically, this starts the first song of the movie. The main character is fairly British, and it makes me think of The End of the F***ing World, except lamer and songier. Doubly lucky, the song ends when the main character and singer (Ethan) get expelled for trying to kill himself in the courtyard of his prep school. Not only does the plot already not make sense, but it’s incredibly insensitive to actual people who attempt suicide. I feel the need to blame some part of this film for being hugely insensitive.
I’ll blame this insensitivity on Britain, I guess.
USA! USA! USA!
Ethan ends up at his new school and is no longer dressed like an emo person. I guess it was all an act, which to be fair, was well laid out in the terrible opening song. We get some exposition from some exposition-y characters (who have names I guess) and we learn about this public high school’s biggest monument: the chapel. Ignoring the violation of church and state, we get to see the school’s emo band. Now we start to see the rift between the emos and the other kids, which is strangely hateful. I’m saved from thinking through the story too far by the next song called “It’s Okay to Give Up”. Luckily this song includes insulting people with disablities, and is bizarrely cult-like.
Am I watching a musical or Kevin Smith’s Red State?
Despite the atypical hatred for emos, the future love interest (ayy welcome) introduces herself by talking about the Bible. This is followed by some weird stuff involving sex pamphlets, the same teacher teaching every class, and some comparisons of gym class to Hitler Youth. The movie decides to quickly glaze over this by having another music interlude. I’m going to throw this out there – if your movie is only 90 minutes long, it’s too short to be a musical. On top of this, there’s a painful amount of stereotyping that goes on in this movie.
Stereotyping? In this movie?
Anyways, the bass player of the emo band that Ethan joins up with,and Ethan start dating, which really threw my future love interest thing out the door (for now). The music teacher then throws out the new work assignments where pairs will be writing love songs together, and Ethan gets paired with Trinity (actual future love interest and religious fanatic (y’know, like holy Trinity (subtle))). Did I just triple paranthasize? Fuck it, I do what I want. The movie also starts to drop seratonin advertisements in the middle of the plot, because there needs to be some sort of conflict against emos.
Y’know, other than the conflict with the religious zealots.
We jump cut straight to Ethan and Trinity writing their song, and they vomit exposition for a while, including a weird story about LSD biscuits, before singing a song. On the upside, Trinity is a halfway decent singer, and on the downside, you can cut the romantic tension with an axe. Tension that is then whisked away by some overly homoerotic lyrics with just a pinch of incest. Oh good, I thought this movie would just stop at stereotyping emos and religious people. Then, without fail, there’s another song about love and kisses and some other shit.
This movie has more songs per minute than The Rolling Stones
realizing they’re running low on money
There’s some further seratonin advertisements, and there’s a big conflict where the emo band joins a famous state competition or some shit and then the religious fanatics have a band too and they start competing. It seems like a silly conflict, but for this movie, I guess there it is. Trinity arranges to secretly meet Ethan in the library, but I want to talk about the brilliant entrance to this scene where Ethan walks past one student in the library rocking back and forth, and one student jerking it in a corner. This has been the first part of the movie to genuinely make me laugh.
Laughing at how shitty it is not included, of course.
The movie throws all the horror away as we learn about one of the religious kids with a home shock kit, and another one of them hints at being pregnant. I’m very concerned about this movie’s decisions about what plot points to use. It’s like the writers picked a whole bunch of plots they thought they could use and then decided to use all of them. It explains why there’s so many characters without names, but with some serious plots. While I contemplate this, we learn that Ethan faked his suicide attempt, every one of them, and really amps the offensiveness of the movie up to 11.
Yeah I…I had no idea.
Trinity’s parents come home while they’re expositioning and they hide in the closet: the perfect place for the next song. All the songs are kind of dopey, but this one’s lyrics made me chuckle with lines like “I watch porn for the acting” and “sex sounds a lot like exercise”, so this one gets a pass. They decide they like each other, Ethan borrow’s Trinity’s bible, and then we get some more plot about other stuff or something where we learn that the bass player is surprisingly athletic and the lead emo and drummer of the band discover Trinity’s Bible in Ethan’s bag.
Plot! Intrigue! Or some shit.
Ethan then attempts to break up with the bass player, but fails because she sings a song about how clingy she is. The song is stopped when lead emo and drummer guy interrupt to confront Ethan about the Bible, which then includes them burning the Bible, and Ethan sitting in a small pool with Trinity to tell her about the Bible burning. Trinity attempts to baptize Ethan without his knowledge, and whole silly conflict happens and Trinity and Ethan break up I guess. This whole movie is filled with ridiculous scenarios, but I guess that’s what happens when you stereotype people, BRITAIN.
USA! USA! USA!
Ethan and Trinity are both all torn up, and we learn more about bass player’s longing for athletics, closeted gay dude’s closeted gayness, and other religious people’s future out-of-wedlock baby. I’m glad they brought all these plot points forwards, I was starting to worry about all three of those side stories that mean nothing in this 90 minute musical would be shrouded in obscurity. We move past this for another musical interlude where the emo band plays a show at some house, I guess, and lead emo starts to get jealous of Ethan because Ethan is objectively better at music.
It’s one of many things he’s objectively better at.
Then we get a hard cut to Trinity at a bizarre religious sexual deviance support group. This includes our loveable side stories like closeted gay dude and pregnant couple, as expected. We also get Trinity giving away Ethan’s secret about his fake suicide attempts, and more importantly, the nun saying “emos encourage sexual deviance”. Too bad I don’t have time to process anything because there’s another lame-ass song. However I learn quickly that the song is called “Was Jesus an Emo” and wow holy shit. This movie is really just pushing all the limits.
Or maybe Trinity found one of those LSD biscuits…
The song gets Trinity excommunicated by the nun, which is not really how the Catholic church works, but let’s ignore that because half of pregnant couple starts to snoop about Ethan and his past fake suicide attempts. He then plasters the information he gets all across the school, because he has nothing better to do, and decides to ruin everything Ethan has got. Instead of losing everything though, they realize it was the religious kids and trash their stuff, including leader emo going to far and setting all their shit on fire, which reasonably then sets the building on fire.
I’d like to restate how weird it is that this public high school
Has religious studies and a chapel.
The movie then goes full 1984 and bans a whole lot of sad stuff, because of the seratonin and shit. Leader emo goes batshit crazy and storms out of their band rehearsal, and it really starts to become apparent that the band doesn’t really like him anymore (well, apparent to me at least, maybe not the movie). The movie decides to pad its run time by giving us a song about the forbidden homsexual romance between closeted gay dude and the football player that’s been developing offensively under the rest of the movie. The song is actually pretty sweet as a gay love song, so the song gets a pass. Until, of course, the emo kids decide to use this as retaliation ammo against the religious kids.
Aaaand nice moment ruined.
Things come to a head when the religious kids discover what’s happened, and decide to give more conversion therapy to closeted gay dude, and Ethan, smartly, decides that that’s not okay. Ethan leaves the band because leader emo has no problem with the conversion therapy because it means the religious band won’t compete anymore. Having lost Trinity and his band friends now, Ethan decides to actually try and kill himself by plunging a plugged in stereo into the bathtub he’s in, which, accurately, fails to end his life.
Honestly surprised there’s accuracy of any kind in this film.
The stereo then comically decides to play the silly romantic song that Trinity and Ethan bonded over, which prompts him to abandon his emo ways. We go to the apex of the movie band competition. Ethan has decided to join with the religious group and the bass player has decided to follow her heart about basketball. Supreme leader emo is going absolutely crazy at this point, which is just about as crazy as the fact that Ethan gets baptized (if you can call it a baptism). Ethan becomes more like the religious kids, Trinity becomes more like the emo kids, and there’s some music and shit that tells all of this. The movie takes a turn when leader emo threatens half of pregnant couple with a knife. Ethan comes forwards and tells everyone about how terrible he was and everything wraps up nicely and shit.
And they make up some songs on the spot
Like it’s a musical or some shit.
This was a wild ride of a musical. The songs were mostly unremarkable, the plot was over-stimulating, and it was genuinely just really strange. It was exactly what you think of when imagine “TV-14” as a rating. The nice moments in the film are overshadowed greatly by the bizarre plot and the bizarre devices driving said plot, and the fact that they have to spend the entire end of the film wrapping up their countless plot lines. When it comes down to it though, it’s hard to look past the over-the-top stereotyping.
USA! USA! US…ah fuck it.