I’ve signed up to a multiplex chain loyalty monthly scheme, because 1) there’s not a great deal to do on the island 2) the bad/good film ratio tends to even out making the monthly cost worthwhile. So, I went to see We Are Your Friends. My verdict before we bought tickets; ‘the soundtrack will be better than the film. Verdict after the credits rolled, ‘the soundtrack is better than the film’.
We Are Your Friends is about Cole and his attempt to make it as a top DJ (sorry, every time I say that I always think of Kevin and Perry Go Large British movie fans – which incidentally, is probably a better film about dance music than We Are Your Friends but I digress) he lives in the unspeakably beautiful valleys in LA (despite the fact the movie makes a point of them not being beautiful) with his friends who I can’t even be bothered to look their names up, but there’s three of them and they look like they’ve stepped out of an Abercrombie catalogue, anyway, they’re not really important. During a night at work as a promoter, Cole meets James, an older DJ who the filmmakers have put on a pedestal as ‘Oracle of EDM’, despite the fact he’s constantly off his tits on drugs and booze. Cole then meets James’ inexplicably attractive girlfriend Sophie, who is as vapid and shallow as you’d expect (I suspect this isn’t on purpose, more due to poor character development). In this abysmal relationship, I’m not sure who I feel more sorry for, James who has to put up with his clearly fame hungry girlfriend, or Sophie who has to experience looking after a man who’s obviously about twice her age whilst he comes off ‘a hard night partying on PCP bruhhh‘. They’re both just as terrible as each other. Neither of them can prop up the exceptionally dull Cole, who’s going on a ‘coming of DJ’ life story, which based on all the #instagramgoal montages is incredibly important and not at all mundane and self-indulgent, obviously. Cole’s music at the beginning of the movie is ‘all over the place’ according to James, which Cole answers ‘I want it to be that way, I want to cover all styles’. As we all know, music doesn’t really succeed if it’s Jazz Punk EDM Rock Indie Lounge, but you know, Cole knows EDM, so I’m sure he’ll work it out.
As the story goes along, we experience drugs (Spring Breakers style sneaking in here), a death (I can’t even remember the name, one of the friends – anyway, the death was irrelevant and about as meaningful as a 4am drunk text) and Cole gets it on with Sophie (nothing really ever comes of this – apart from the fact that Cole uses one of her ‘I’m off my trolley on PCP’ voicemails in his big finale). Ultimately, the story is so bland, so cliched, it’s bum-numbingly tedious. There is virtually nothing in the film that is new, experimental (even the experimental ‘elements’ – the scenes where Cole takes drugs, are so old-hat and boring, it’s honestly embarrassing). Almost every element of the film is a cliche, including the destination of our rather small story arc, Cole; the music is all around you, it’s inside you. Crikey. Who knew that the best music comes from your soul and personality? It’s astonishing that Cole could even come up with a reasonable piece of music considering his presence on screen is the equivalent of white noise. There is a slightly more interesting sub plot, of working at a call centre to fund the ‘DJ Pad’ or ‘man cave’ or whatever a big house full of drugged up boys is called nowadays. Now I’m slightly biased, in that I love Jon Bernthal, yes, I’m aware that some of his movies post-The Walking Dead are below average, yes. But I have a soft spot for him. He provided the only dynamic character role in the film as a ruthless money hungry foreclosure agent (I am aware that his ‘dynamic’ performance is quite possibly average in the ‘good-to-bad scale of acting’ but when you’re surrounded by the most boring people on the planet, it can’t be too hard to be dynamic). And they touch on issues such as exploitation of working class people and people with little or no income, but that’s it. It’s merely there to provide Cole a reason to not work at the call centre anymore. ‘Damn it, stop taking advantage of those pesky poor people threatened with homelessness, but now I don’t have to work here anymore! Can I get a wasssuppp?!’ It’s a bit sickening really, the only real show of emotion in the entire film is nothing more than a convenient plot point for our ‘Basic Bro’ to climb higher on the slippery slimy ladder to EDM heaven.
I’m so scathing about We Are Your Friends because it reads like a novelty student film. It’s horribly cliched, has virtually nothing important to say, unimaginative, bland, flat and worst of all, it’s glossy and well produced. There’s almost nothing wrong with the way the film has been created, technically. It’s beautiful to look at, some parts, particularly when they go to Coachella, are visually quite impressive, but that’s it. The Instagram aesthetic cannot save this woefully plotted film. It’s borderline insulting to the viewer, hoping that pretty visuals will make us all forget just how dreadful the characters are on screen. And the finale, is the biggest final nail in the coffin, Cole finally realises that music is something quite personal. Shocking stuff. Perhaps if Cole wasn’t so stupid, he might have become a DJ without having to sell his soul to the foreclosure business.
However, the one positive thing, is that if you do like your EDM, and I’m quite partial to it, mainly in a gym environment, then you’ll love the soundtrack. The soundtrack was pretty good, and made the unwatchable and boring scenes happen a little faster. But unfortunately, overall, We Are Your Friends isn’t even worth the paper the terrible reviews are written on. I’d absolutely avoid it, but I’m not here to tell you if you should or shouldn’t watch a film, I’m merely a guide! But there are much better films about music, not necessarily EDM and dance, but I’m sure if you looked hard enough, then you might find some. I’d even go as far to say Spring Breakers is a better film than this, at least it’s a bit arty, a bit edgy, if a little odd and chaotic.
Bombs and Blockbusters – review
The Watcher – review
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