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Film / Sunday School Musical

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It's actually your pretty typical high school...

Sunday School Musical is a 2008 film by The Asylum, meant as a mockbuster for the popular High School Musical film.

Zachary is a mixed-race youth who sings for the choir of Hawthorne, a largely mixed-race choir that mixes jazzy tunes with their hymns. They're slated to go up against two other choirs for a chance for two of the choirs to go to the state competition, with one of the other choirs being Crossroads, an entirely white church choir who sings traditional hymns badly while standing in place. The third choir never shows up due to a food poisoning incident, meaning that both choirs will be going to state. Then, Zachary learns that his mother has lost her job and they'll be moving to the other side of town to stay with his aunt. Unsurprisingly, the school he's now attending is Crossroads and, despite his best intentions to keep his head down, he's pulled into helping out their choir by teaching them to loosen up and enjoy themselves, and soon finds that his friends in Hawthorne see him as a traitor as a result.

When it's revealed that Hawthorne lacks the funds to travel to the state competition and will in fact close within the month, the two teams decide to band together as one large choir and compete together for the prize, hoping to save Hawthorne.

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Ain't No Rule: Hawthorne and Crossroads try to pull this off, claiming that there's no rule saying that the two choirs can't join together as one group. A judge shuts them down, saying that the resultant pooling of talent is unfair to other choirs. He eventually relents, and allows them to perform, but not to compete.
  • Artistic License – Religion: The term "Sunday school" refers to Christian education programs held prior to or during church services. However, the film's setting appears to be a normal Christian high school.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: How Crossroads qualified for State. Three teams were competing for two slots and, despite a dismal performance by Crossroads, the third team was unable to compete, meaning that Crossroads qualified.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: Something involving egg salad took the entirety of the third choir out of commission.
  • Missing Mom: Savannah, the preacher's daughter, lost her mother a few months before the events of the play.
  • The Mockbuster: It's obviously patterned after High School Musical, from the name of the film to the movie poster to the plotline, which follows the third film's plot.
  • The Moral Substitute: The film was conceived as this to the High School Musical films.
    "That was our first attempt at a family film," Bales says. "We went to a seminar for marketing to a Christian audience, and the guy said that the perfect film would be a Christian version of High School Musical."
  • Noodle Incident: What happened to the third choir in competition for going to State is never explained, but from the facial expressions of the pastor taking the call, apparently the egg salad turned really bad, resulting in the entire choir being taken out by food poisoning.
  • One Judge to Rule Them All: There are three judges at the state competition, but only one of them makes any sort of ruling.
  • Quarreling Song: Both Zachary and Aundrea, and Miles and Savannah, get one of these - first "In My Shows" between Zachary and Aundrea and then "You're Not the Boss" between Miles and Savannah.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: The UK DVD release is rated 15 despite the film itself being rated U. This is due to The Asylum thinking it would be a good idea to place trailers for their horror movies in front of a squeaky-clean movie.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Par for the course in the musical numbers. Even for the performance number, there's little chance they taught all of the white kids (who'd previously been shown to be hopeless) to dance in a synchronized number in the week that they had.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Zachary's father is in the military, and keeps having his tour extended. He appears at the end, apparently on medical discharge.