Marcus (affable every guy Keean Johnson) is obsessed with his departed musician brother’s old records, and the vitality of sound itself. With Pavement and Los Campesinos as the soundtrack to his life, he weaves need-based personal playlists for lovelorn faculty members and fellow high school students. (The burnout space case wrestler gets a set featuring Animal Collective and Brian Eno.)
But just when Marcus and his friends are looking forward to checking out even more music, he takes a shot to the dome in the pit at a rock show, has a seizure, and is told by the doctor (played by a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Bonnie Hunt) that, in order to remove the tumours in his skull, “the auditory area will be compromised.” Marcus has a month before he’s made deaf. And so impending handicap becomes the setup for Ultimate Playlist to launch itself into a teen movie road trip, with signposts signalling coming-of-age seasoning, romantic comedy happenstance, and the revelations of family secrets before Marcus finds a means of embracing his new life on mute.
Are you ready for some montages? With his brother’s old tape recorder and mic setup in tow, Marcus steals his parents’ minivan and sets out to record his playlist of iconic sounds. “No B-sides,” he says precociously. “This is a greatest hits album.” Dogs running on the hardwood. A swish, nothing but net. Wind chimes. Fireworks. Fresh popcorn. Pinball. Auctioneers. A sizzling Chinese food lunch. You get the idea.
Every teen on a quest needs a partner, and for Marcus, it’s unlikely, yet oh-so-convenient Wendy (Madeline Brewer, doing the best she can as a by-the-numbers rebel girl in a trenchcoat), a musician chasing her dream to New York City. Together, Wendy and Marcus live a little, learn a lot, and largely avoid the Very Serious Surgery that looms in the distance.
Memorable Dialogue: “Sound is my escape into something bigger than myself,” Marcus tells us in voiceover early on. “Some people play video games, some watch movies. I listen to Sonic Youth while pretending I’m walking through a thunderstorm.” This is all in the course of introducing Marcus’ penchant for wearing two pairs of headphones, one set to crank the jams and the other to play “ambiance.”
Download THE ULTIMATE PLAYLIST OF NOISE From These Movies Website
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