Machine Gun Kelly’s “Downfalls High” is an emotional rollercoaster

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Emily Dvareckas / The Hawks' Herald

“Downfalls High” is a musical film created by Machine Gun Kelly and Mod Sun and can be viewed on YouTube.

Adam Zerman, Business Manager

Colson Baker, better known as Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), released his first “musical film” called “Downfalls High” with the help of musician Mod Sun last month. As of late, it has amassed almost eight million views.

This film is the first of its kind and is redefining the typical music video. The entirety of the film plays like a short movie with Baker performing his entire album “Tickets to My Downfall” while each song matches what’s happening within the story. The film follows two high school kids named Fenix and Scarlett. Fenix is played by TikTok star Chase Hudson while his counterpart and love interest Scarlett is played by Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney. The film also features Travis Barker, Iann Dior, Trippie Redd and Blackbear.

When talking about the movie, Baker explained he wanted to break the mold of happy, fairytale endings that we are so used to seeing in movies. In an interview with James Corden on “The Late Late Show,” Baker said, “To me, love is kind of helpless… without it, it feels almost like death.” This movie is centered around the lead character never truly getting over the tragedies he’s faced even when met with fame.

In movies, there is typically a happy ending. In this particular musical film, it never comes. In an interview with Jess Cagle, Baker said, “I just wanted to highlight themes that aren’t made in movies.”

In various interviews, including the one with Corden, Baker also said the film was not autobiographical and had nothing to do with true life stories. Baker, whose music (especially lyrically) is usually very personal, talked about how the film gave the album a whole new life.

Baker also said in a video with Sweeney that two of his favorite scenes were actually improvised. The first features the song “Bloody Valentine” while a plane flies overhead. The music cut and Fenix asked Scarlett if she liked planes and she responded by saying “I f****** hate airplanes,” to which Fenix said “same.” The music then cut to Baker saying “what the f***.”  Another favorite scene he claims was improvised was when Scarlett asked Fenix what he wanted to be when he grew up while lying in a field. Fenix says “dead” to which she responded, “Well, I can’t be with you if you die.”

*SPOILERS*

“Downfalls High” opens with a flashback and a short narration from Baker that reads, “Sometimes you can love somebody or something so much that people will think you’re crazy. The thing is, most people love the wrong things. In a world where everyone wants millions of dollars and likes on the internet, there was a boy who gave up everything, because all he wanted was her.” The movie then shows the main character, Fenix, in a straight jacket and wheelchair, being pushed around a mental hospital with a bandage over his ear as the title track of the album plays. The film then cuts to eight months earlier.

The film then follows Fenix, who is known as the unpopular emo kid, and Scarlett who is known as one of the popular “mean girls” of Downfalls High. The video depicts a quick montage of their everyday life with Fenix being bullied and spending time alone and Scarlett hanging around and gossiping with her friends. As the montage ends, the camera shows Scarlett and her friends playing spin the bottle with a knife when it lands on Fenix who is sitting alone on the bleachers. Scarlett admits to him and her friends that she thinks he’s cute and they begin hanging out. The two immediately have noticeable chemistry and as Baker’s song “Bloody Valentine” begins playing, Fenix asks Scarlett to be his girlfriend.

Their romance quickly unfolds and before Scarlett knows it, she’s pregnant. Meanwhile, the two begin fighting and once they make up Scarlett buys Fenix a guitar. She brings it to his house, gives it to him and tells him they need to talk later. As she is driving home, however, Scarlett gets into a bad car accident and Fenix gets a call from her friend saying she died. At this time, “Lonely” begins playing as the audience sees clips of the couple together and Fenix at the memorial service.

Through the next chunk of the film, things begin to go south for Fenix. The next scene begins with another narration from Baker as Fenix is standing motionless in the hallway of the school. The narration states, “And now the minutes become moments when the high runs out. The downfall is inevitable, I hope you find a soft place to land.” When the narration ends, a bully comes over to Fenix and pushes him, only this time he fights back and punches the bully.

Fenix ultimately ends up being arrested for punching the classmate. When he is bailed out by his friend Jimmy, Fenix admits the last thing he got from Scarlett before she died was a guitar and that she always wanted him to start a band. He decides to start a band with Jimmy and a drummer he knows (played by Travis Barker’s son), but as the film goes on, Fenix continues to feel worse about the situation.

In one of the final scenes, Fenix and his friend Jimmy spot one of Scarlett’s old friends who is wearing her purse and he steals it from her. When he looks inside, he finds the knife and her notebook with a note from the day she died. It reads “Dear Diary, I just found out I’m pregnant with Fenix’s baby. I’m so nervous to tell him. We’re meeting up tonight to talk. Wish me luck.” Fenix drops the book in disbelief as Baker begins to narrate again saying, “Why do people believe in happy endings? Our TVs sold us fairytales. The biggest love songs come from heartbreak.” A song begins that appears to be a message from someone to a loved one before dying. The film then shows a scene of Fenix graduating high school but instead of taking his diploma, he goes up in front of the whole school and using the knife from Scarlett’s purse, cuts off his ear in the film’s dramatic ending.