I can tell you right now that the marketing team behind We Are Your Friends is actually really good at their job. The EDM community has been up in arms about the movie since its first trailer, and that free promotion for the film basically hasn’t stopped since – with DJ/producers, fans, critics and more weighing in nonstop. Even better, the film is infinitely better than the ‘laptop, some talent, and one track’ quote that seemingly defined the film from its inception. That doesn’t mean that it’s an Academy Award contender, but at least it’s not as bad as you might have hoped.
Now, I actually love bad movies, so perhaps my analytical ability isn’t the most appropriate here. But what I can tell you is that behind all of the theatrics, all of the typical, horrible Hollywood clichés is a story about a DJ/producer who’s struggling to make it, and I think we can all empathize with him a little bit.
Living in Los Angeles definitely puts a lot more personal investment into the film, as regular allusions to North Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, and the San Fernando Valley (where I live) permeate the dialogue. Small quips like “North Hollywood? Is that even a real place?” had my theater in uproarious laughter, while desires to move out of the valley and into Hollywood had be contemplating my own goals and desires. So there’s definitely a very human element to the film that will touch some people, others less so.
The film obviously has its faults too, portraying the EDM scene as absolutely drug fueled. One of the first scenes in the film is an unwanted PCP trip that looks more like really good acid. Furthermore, before the characters get their first “real” job, their main source of income is slinging pills at clubs and festivals – not a good look. Someone important also dies.
Though while I don’t appreciate the scene and the way it’s portrayed, I have to accept the reality of what they’re showing and how accurately it actually reflects the industry when you’re starting out.
Other low points are the odd directorial style, the forced love interest (and first kiss while rolling, no less), and the almost laughable way that Cole finally learns to “listen to the world around him.”
The final moments of the film are uplifting and inspirational, a moment that all producers look forward to: playing their first festival. Though Cole’s audience is a bit larger than you would expect for an opening set in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, the feeling stays the same.
Overall, it was actually fun to watch. The acting was good, the story was good, though some of the cinematic and directorial decisions were odd. Cameos from Dillon Francis and Alesso were unexpected and added a bit of veiled realism to the whole ordeal.
And to answer your most burning question: No. He doesn’t wear the headphones the whole film. Only about 30%.
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