‘The Ultimate Playlist of Noise’ doesn’t make enough noise

The Ultimate Playlist of Noise is available on Hulu.

Image Courtesy of Hulu

The Ultimate Playlist of Noise is available on Hulu.

Story by Sarah Short, Reporter

The sound of a dog barking or the crunch of a fresh fall leave can be seen as something we will always experience. So when these everyday delights could soon be taken away, what should one do? “The Ultimate Playlist of Noise” answers precisely that. The TV-MA film was released Jan. 15 on Hulu. The movie has since reached 42 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The predictable plot was written by Mitchell Winkie, writer and director of the short films “15cc,” “The First & Last Dates,” “Bighorn Sheep,” and “Trolley.” Along with “The Ultimate Playlist of Noise,” Bennett Lasseter has directed five other short films: “Stealth,” “Son of a Barman,” Written in Stone,” “Brother ‘til the End,” and “Milton & Me.”

The story begins with a 2000s like narration from our main character, Lucas (Keean Johnson). We are immediately introduced to his nurturing parents and his obsession with sound. We follow him to school and witness his popular ability to create playlists for any occasion. As a series of events unfolds, Lucas and his parents, Alyssa (Rya Kihlstedt) and Dominic (Ian Gomez) find out that Lucas will need surgery. Unfortunately, it will cause him to lose his hearing. And just like that, the viewers are introduced to the drive behind his actions. Lucas goes on to create a list of 50 things he would like to hear before going deaf. Following him on his journey to New York is a singer-songwriter, Wendy (Madeline Brewer). Other supporting characters include Lucas’s friends, Laura (Emily Skeggs), and Sarah (Ariela Barer), Lucas’s brother, Alex (Gordon Winarick), and a New York producer, Dennis (Oliver Cooper). As the journey progresses we see both Lucas and Wendy reveal a few secrets, and enjoy the sounds they had come to hear.

There were few things I liked about the movie. One of which was a scene. A scene between Lucas and his mother, talking about a long-held secret. Keean Johnson portrayed the anger of a son who had felt betrayed for his whole life. The scene had felt raw and personal due to his acting. One sentence stood out for me the most.“How could you live with yourself?” Lucas said.

Other than Lucas, the other characters felt underwritten, like characters one would see in every other film. On their road trip, the duo comes across an abandoned bowling alley filled with moldy food and standing pins, a roller rink where the duo purposely allow the sprinkler system to flood the rink so they may skate alone, and a farm filled with upsettingly quiet cows. The end of the adventure stops in New York. The viewers are given a brief close up shot of the duo standing in Times Square as the camera circles around them to soak up the colors and personalities New York has to offer. In New York, we come across Trolley Studios and a cassette recorded song. One could sense how the writers wanted there to be a bit of humor every now and then to lighten the mood but lines were rather dull.

To begin with what I did not like, we have one of the main characters, Wendy. It is not instantly noticeable but the viewers soon realize the only purpose she has in the movie is to make Lucas happy. Even after Lucas leaves New York, everything she did was to make Lucas happy. She was not much of a character. I also wished they would have delved deeper into the topic of suicide. The scene where suicide is first discussed was a little underwhelming. The writers had a character accidentally mention it and briefly explain what happened. There was no emotional punch to the scene. There wasn’t much emotion that the actor gave to the scene. The characters talked about the sickness the deceased character had. They mentioned how the character and the sickness were different. They also discussed how at times the character was normal and then suddenly they weren’t. There was not much focus on the subject. It felt as though the deeply serious subject was thrown in to add a spin to the plot. 

Overall, the movie was average. The color scheme throughout the film was dark. Even when there were bright colors in Times Square, they still somehow seemed dulled down. The acting was average as well, however, a few of Lucas’ scenes were pleasing to watch. The screenwriting was average and could have had the movie move a bit smoother at times. I will most likely forget about it a week from now.