I’ve made it no secret that I love We Are Your Friends, Max from Catfish’s EDM movie that was so conceptual he actually envisioned Zac Efron as a techno nerd. It was tedious and wanting, and so absurd that I reveled in every second of it, particularly as a person who spends every spring in anticipation of the Electric Daisy Carnivals and Electric Zoos and other corporate “rave” festivals that I will spend my summer frequenting, enjoying and, after the third day, vowing never to attend again.
There were a handful of these types of genre films in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, to varying degrees of success. It’s All Gone Pete Tong remains a personal stupid fave, as does Groove, which struck a wonderful balance between terrible and hilarious; Party Monster was a pretty good/macabre time but not as good as Party Girl, probably the best movie ever made. Or, you know, you could just go documentary-style and watch old videos of NASA parties on YouTube.
As these movies have cropped up again, a little too late to coincide with the peak wave of EDM, they’ve reflected the shift in rave culture, which is that everything’s gone obsessively corporate, and the music can at times suck beyond our wildest dreams. And now we have XOXO, Netflix’s entry into the corporate rave genre, cannily music-supervised by Pete Tong himself and shot to look near-identical to Electric Daisy Carnival, with a plotline that seems... not unlike the plotline from We Are Your Friends.
This looks like a car commercial with the dumbest fairy tale and, as a person who was potentially going to run away to a permanent rave with Jia Tolentino to write EDM-based Young Adult Romance novels (it was an idea we had), I can’t wait to see it. It’s ironic that, just a year ago, Tong wrote an op-ed lamenting the lack of a “Saturday Night Fever for EDM” that didn’t portray electronic music as some new thing with a lack of history—“many in the United States believe it all began with the current boom in Las Vegas,” he wrote—and is now doing this jawn. The acting looks really bad! Maybe, though, there’s a Seth Troxler cameo, or some kind of reference to non-EDM London club XOYO. Maybe it will be deeper than it looks. Honestly, I hope not!