So I got the chance to Netflix and chill this weekend (sorry had to), and I watched the Netflix original film, XOXO. I went in completely blind, like old-school, no-picture, blind-date kind of blind with only a couple top line bullet points:
• Movie based on EDM Culture
• Netflix original
That's it. Believe it or not, I went into this thing open minded, even after that tampon of a flick We Are Your Friends universally killed the vibe. Anyway, I slammed down some small-batch bourbon, lined up some pints of good IPA and buckled up.
The movie unfolds with enough mild, cliché character development to make the passive observer give a shit and then proceeds to revolve around different stories tied to XOXO, which is a fictional festival that combines elements of millennial gatherings like EDC Las Vegas and Coachella. The acting is okay here and there; the story entertaining enough and the characters sadly believable at times.
You think to yourself, "I don't know anyone who would speak or act like that," and then you pause. "Wait... Fuck, I actually do know a ton of people like that."
That's kind of how the entire movie plays out: corny as fuck, like standing on a huge LED-covered stage, fireworks blasting, hand-heart-making corny, but yup, there are people like that. Maybe the current scene just needed a mirror held up to it?
So once you come to grips with the fact that this is just a goofy movie, you can unwind a little bit and become entertained, because if you take XOXO seriously, you will try to slice your wrists with the nearest piece of vinyl - or at the very least throw someone's CDJs out the window.
Yes, there are over-the-top characters like the slimy pervert manager and the overly excited hippy dude, but they keep things interesting. That's what kind of makes you stick with it; if XOXO were trying to be too serious, you would get something like We Are Your Friends.
Back to the story, characters, whatever...
There is the bedroom DJ/producer Ethan Shaw, who lives with his mom and has started to explode on YouTube, and his best buddy and part-time manager Tariq who works at the family restaurant but wants more out of life.
For comic relief and redemption, you get Neil, the jaded old raver guy (I liked him the most) who owns a failing record store and hates all millennials. Neil plays a bigger role here, so don't dismiss him too quickly.
Then there are the bros, which I have to say were pretty damn close to the clichéd mark as were the EDM/festival basic bitch posse. The cast of festival goers never seems too ludicrous; it's just all a bit hammed up for entertainment value I suppose.
The antagonists, one DJ Avilo, and his evil manager Chopper, are particularly entertaining with their backstage antics, cheeseball lines and evil plot to seduce poor Ethan to the dark side.
All the subplots end up colliding at the main stage of the festival as young Ethan saves the day - that's all I'm going to tell you, because I don't want to spoil this magic for your "Netflix and chill" night. Different plots listed below in my Cliffs Notes version for your convenience.
In conjunction with the Netflix debut of the movie, the official sountrack of XOXO came out by way of Big Beat Records. Featuring songs by the likes of Yotto, Disclosure, Dada Life and Jai Wolf, it makes for a somewhat more comprehensive cross-section of contemporary dance music than the the soundtrack to We Are Your Friends did.
So that's about it. XOXO is by no Human Traffic (scenes posted below) or GO!, but it has it's own type of entertainment value that I think will resonate with EDM fans in their late teens and early twenties.
The plot keeps it moving along; the characters are relatable, and the whole thing is a kind of a "so bad it's good" kind of a flick. Cuddle up with your bong, vaporizer, pint glass, or shot glass and get ready for a laugh out loud EDM spoof-a-thon.
XOXO Basics - No spoilers, so you can chill and Neflix
Ethan and Tariq - Noobs to the EDM hustle riding on Ethan's recent YouTube success get a lucky DJ slot at the legendary XOXO. This performance is their big break at becoming superstars, plenty of bumps along the way to keep it interesting.
The Couple - A guy and a girl are coming to grips that she is leaving for New York the next day, and their relationship is coming to an end. You barely care about these people.
DJ Avilo & Chopper - The dark side of the EDM force, they embody all the badness of being at the top of the DJ pyramid, and Chopper is just fucking awesomely devious and shady.
Neil - The jaded old raver dude/record store owner that finds redemption in the scene after his secret past is slowly revealed. He also is the organizer behind the clutch party bus operation that saves Ethan's ass... Kind of.
The Bros - Just a group of bros that kind of pop in and out of the story, they end up hugging it out. Yay, go EDM bros.
The EDM Basic Bitch Posse - They are a bunch of VIP backstage badass scantily clad chicks that have one mission: PARTY HARD.
The Deeper EDMBB - She wants something more, she is looking for love, and she is going to find it with someone... guess who?
The XOXO promoter - A reclusive mystery man that kind of ties it all together, you won't know who he is for a while even though he's right in front of you. Oooooohhhh Ewwww Ahhhhhh. So deep.
The Druggy Hippy - He just bounces around like a court jester annoying everyone.