STUDIO:  Lionsgate
MSRP: $27.98
RUNNING TIME:  100 minutes
• Audio Commentary
• Deleted Scenes

The Pitch

Like Rent with more AIDS.

The Humans

Jake Moreno, H.P. Mendoza, L.A. Renigen

I know exactly how you feel.

The Nutshell

Colma is a town right neighborly to San Francisco, known best (if at all, I guess) for having its population outnumbered by the amount of people buried in cemeteries through the city. It’s here where three kids, freshly graduated from high school are looking to make that ever-so-narratively-intriguing next step into adulthood. They’re adrift in a small town where dance is banned – no wait, wrong movie – where it’s like, boring and stuff, so they have to get out. But they’re going to pummel your face with song first. And then alternately bore and annoy the piss out of you.

Worst used car dealership ever.

The Lowdown

Full disclaimer upfront: I’m a huge fan of musicals. I love the way they take full advantage of cinema’s strong suits, and there’s something deliciously earnest about a movie that will break into song without winking at you that I find extremely appealing in an age where everything has to be delivered in a tone that puts one above the material. And there’s a precedent for independent musicals working magnificently (Cannibal: The Musical is shamefully underrated as an early showcase for the songwriting capabilities of both Parker and Stone), so I was more than willing to give Colma: The Musical the benefit of the doubt; hell, they’re trying to make a musical here, so let’s sit back and enjoy what they have to offer.

The filmmakers, in an attempt to up the ante, were the first ever to utilize the new split-shit-screen method.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much of anything positive to say about Colma: The Musical other than it ended at some point and my face is still fully intact* after having viewed it. It fails both as a movie and as a musical, and despite the can-do attitude of the production and acting; I can safely say it was a complete chore to sit through. Usually, the worst-case scenario with a musical is that either the songs aren’t great or the story pales in comparison to them. Here, you get a double barrel dosage of suck: the songs are terrible (I couldn’t remember the lyrics or melody to any of them the day after I watched it) and the story and characters make the viewing experience equivalent to staring into the sun for an hour and a half. Someone should’ve mentioned to the filmmakers that a quality song has to be memorable and at least partially comprehensible. Utilizing phrases like “nary a”, “amorphous” and “polygons” in your songs only serve to obfuscate (See? I can do big words too!) what should be kept simple and reasonably clear. I know grade-A quality singing talent isn’t just going to be available for most indie productions, but some of the singing itself on these songs is particularly weak. One of the lead characters propensity for singing through his nose became grating after about thirty seconds.

The hill was the perfect location for their performance art piece slash intervention.

What’s worse is that these characters are both intensely unlikable and uninteresting. I’m more than willing to make the journey with some unsavory sorts if the story or the characters are at least interesting; but the conflict and characters here come off as nothing more than petulant whiners. They have nothing new to say on the “transitioning into early adulthood is hard and stuff!” front, and the characters seem to think they’re funnier and more witty than they are (in particular, the gay best friend’s habit of writing down the terrible shitty ideas he thinks of on paper is infuriating on the basis of him having nothing funny or interesting to say at any point in the entire movie).  Behavior that is being played off as humorous or edgy is in reality rude and coarse and makes the characters even further unlikable. And even worse, the film commits the cardinal sin of having characters deliver speeches that feel as though they were freshly typed and handed to them instead of feeling like natural dialogue that those specific characters would deliver (one speech by the female lead near the end is wholly laughable because of this) which just further compounds a movie that is inert and lifeless from frame one. Colma is an appropriate title, considering the Schiavo-esque state you’ll find yourself in if you’re so unfortunate as to get eye-fucked by this travesty of justice. Mildly unreccommended. 

"Jewish?  No, why do you ask?"

The Package

The cover art successfully masks the somewhat meager origins of this picture, so kudos to them on that. The disc looks merely okay and the sound is alright (whenever it kicks into the musical numbers it gets slightly dicey), but this isn’t an A-grade transfer by any means.  In terms of extras you get an audio commentary and some deleted scenes, but even the exact price you would pay to rent or purchase this DVD wouldn’t be a sufficient enough extra for me to recommend giving this a chance. It’s the lemon party of indie musicals.

2.8 out of 10

Now we know who to blame for The Fog.

*Bell’s palsy could set in at any moment the further I reflect on it, though.