Netflix’s XOXO Dazzles by Capturing Spirit of Rave Culture


XOXO Opening Night Dazzles by Capturing the Spirit of Rave Culture

A live review of a film might seem a misnomer, but that’s what attending the screening of XOXO last night felt like, a party. From the minute we arrived where every seat was given a giant glowstick, to the moment the credits started rolling and impromptu dance parties broke out in the aisles, this was unlike any movie screening I had been to.

The director Christopher Louie has made no secret that he grew up going to raves in Califnoria, and this movie feels like his tribute to that world. Where ‘We Are Your Friends’ felt contrived from the minute they cast Zac Effron, XOXO, comes across as sincere and heartfelt. You can see why he has likened it to ‘Dazed & Confused’ set at a rave, this is more a coming of age, feel good movie, than it is an ‘EDM’ film.

With that said dance music is clearly a huge part of this movie. I felt lucky to see it in a theater where you could really feel the music. This isn’t a movie to be watched at home alone with your laptop, as evidenced by a crowd of music and Hollywood professionals that couldn’t help but holler and cheer along last night. You could see people’s heads bobbing and feet tapping, XOXO is a celebratory, party movie, the sort of thing you could watch before or after a night out with friends. It might not win the critics like ‘Eden’, but it made me remember why I love working in this industry,

XOXO is set over 24 hours, and the basic premise of the film is that multiple sets of characters’ lives collide at XOXO, a fictitious EDC like movie festival. There is an arrogant money grabbing superstar DJ, a washed up bitter old raver, drugged up hippies, tank-topped bros, an aspiring YouTube producer, party girls in skimpy outfits, a festival impresario – in short all the characters you might see at a EDM festival. But XOXO portrays these characters in a fun and self-aware way, its not mean spirited but it makes you laugh, it reminds me of the way you and your friends might point out a crazy character out at a rave with a nod and a smile.

It’s features an all-star soundtrack, which really makes a difference, I guess we can thank Pete Tong for that. From icons like Fatboy Slim, to superstar DJs like Galantis and Skrillex, to a magical scene soundtracked by Odesza, they spent the money to get the music that is moving our scene. The break out song of the movie, the YouTube hit in XOXO, is Michael Brun’s ‘All I Ever Wanted’, and judging by the fact it has had over a million plays in two weeks on Spotify, we’ll be hearing more of that one in the coming months.

Will XOXO win an Oscar? No. But it’s not trying too. This isn’t a movie that takes itself too seriously. It’s a movie about fun, vibrancy, the frantic energy of a digitized youth culture (the pace of the editing is startling sometimes). XOXO is trying tap into a zeitgeist that compels hundreds of thousands of us all over the world to attend EDM festivals every year and if the party at last night’s screening is anything to go off, it’s done just that.