Unikum’s Corner of Hidden Treasures is a column in which Unikum recommends pieces of media they believe more people should know and love.
Emo: The Musical
February is upon us, thus the slew of sappy, romantic movies are gonna swarm us like hungry hyenas, ready to prey on our loneliness and desperation, where we’re in such a catatonic state to not notice the absurd romcom scenario that is playing before us. Don’t worry, I’m here to save you from the mindlessness. No, not from a romcom, quite the contrary, I’m here to advertise a quote unquote “romantic” film: Emo: The Musical.
Firstly, the title itself may seem extremely absurd, ridiculous even. But make no mistake, this is per the dictionary standard of a musical, there are musical numbers woven into the narrative, and even driving the central plot forward. But what type of plot could possibly be the baseline for such a wacky titleholder?
Emos vs. Christians.
Yeah, if I would summarize the plot in three short words, that’s it. Imagine a Romeo and Juliet type of love story, only with an emo and a Christian girl. Initially, I thought it would be emos vs. jocks or some other clichéd popular high school group, but nope, the movie subverted my first expectations.
For how silly the concept sounds, what elevates the movie and highlights it as the absolute treasure it is, is how the entire movie is satirical. Almost none of the plotlines are treated as being uber-serious, and the movie is littered with jabs at itself and how ridiculous it is. Within the first 10 minutes, you see the main character attempt suicide and in the next moment meet the Christian group of the new school singing “Give Up” to their peers, as God will accept you no matter how big of a failure you are or how hideous you are. The movie spans an endless amount of jokes, some in your face while others subtle. There’s almost not a single thing not being made fun of in its 90 minute run time. There’s an insane amount of quotable quotes from it, some which I have adopted due to their ludicrous nature:
“This song doesn’t have a name cause I’m not into labels.”
“This is Jamali. We saved her from the Hindus in India.”
“I’m from Sri Lanka.”
“I have a disease.”
“Is it a sexy one or a not sexy one?”
“…Which one is a sexy?”
“Cholera.” (A disease which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration).
Just to name a few. I won’t spoil all the nuggets of comedy gold, but there is a musical number that simply is the peak of ridicule while also in fact having a fairly decent point. While still being a satirical film, making fun of stereotypes and sometimes the ludicrous restrains we impose on ourselves, it still uses a lot of clever tricks to enhance the experience like foreshadowing, music, and on occasion stuffing funny dialogue or scenarios in the background of the main event on screen. Yes, it might seem like a dumb “haha” movie, only made to have one-line zingers, however despite that, there are political themes underlining the movie, rearing its head from time to time, like the side plot of the funding of the school being reliant on a pharmaceutical company sponsoring the school with anti-depressants.
Since it is a musical, a few words should be dedicated to the soundtrack, however, I only need one: stellar. The music is simplistic, don’t expect a Les Miserable or a Hamilton level of lyrical writing, but for what the concept is, the songs are catchy, funny, and most important of all, enhances an already good time.
So for this Valentine’s, if you’re in the mood for something quite different, but still at its core, technically a love story, I cannot recommend Emo: The Musical enough. You must be warned that its humor might not be for everyone, but if one of the aforementioned quotes made you exhale some air from your nostrils or even got a chuckle, do not hesitate, watch the movie and you won’t regret it, trust me.