What do you do when an EDM movie turns into one of the worst flop of all time? Simple: make an even worse EDM movie with even less experienced personnel. Because… um… millennials?

Netflix apparently wanted to make up for being the thing we’re all watching when we’re not making music, for showing Stranger Things, and for Stranger Things having one of the best music scores of the year. And so, they’re giving us this year’s unofficial follow-up to last year’s terrible EDM movie, We Are Your Friends. (Wow – the 90s really are back. Remember when Armageddon / Deep Impact, Bug’s Life / Antz, Twister / no I don’t remember the name of that made-for-tv tornado movie that came out the same time as Twister — all came out at once?)

And so, we get XOXO.

The trailer is probably proof enough, but dig into the movie’s producers, and you discover weird choices. For some reason, they thought, let’s hand a feature film about EDM to a guy who was an animator for Death Cab for Cutie and … did a documentary on the US lottery. Huh. Okay.

At the same time, the music supervisor is Pete Tong. Seriously – the actual Pete Tong. (Maybe this film is actually what the “it’s all gone Pete Tong” was trying to warn us about?)

Don’t assume that means you’re going to get any experience or skill though. Like, the key grip on this movie has way more experience than the director. Frankly, I would have just let the key grip direct and write the movie.

Or for that matter, the gaffer, who actually has directing experience (some of it quite good).

But here’s the thing: I have high hopes for XOXO. Not for it being good. No – for it being much, much, much worse than We Are Your Friends.

Seeing that film was fun in that, for once in my life, I was able to directly impact box office numbers. (We did some back-of-the-napkin calculations and realized that our small group of friends in Neukölln, Berlin may have outranked the entire box office sales for the country of Germany on the day we saw the movie. If you count the dub and original English-language version separately, that certainty rises.)

The problem with We Are Your Friends was it just wasn’t bad enough. It was just a limp film sliding into an 80s afterschool anti-drug special crawling into a feel-good teen movie ending about how life is special or something or you should really make all your drum samples out of field recordings or … I can’t even put together the words.

XOXO seems to look really beyond awful, like “play drinking games with your friends” or “see who just gets physically ill and has to stop first” bad. But that could make it somehow more watchable than the generally-just-boring mostly-awful We Are Your Friends.

Meanwhile, the trailer a trainwreck of misogyny and female objectification to boot. (Wait… I’ve just forgotten why I thought this would be fun. But the drinking games and friends may play into it somehow.)

In fact, just how depressing is this? It’s so bad that — and I can hardly believe my own eyes — deadmau5 isn’t trolling the filmmakers on his Twitter account. Seriously. Nothing. It’s almost heartbreaking. (I will ask him on Twitter, on behalf of CDM, to please keep up the good fight.)


(His take on last year’s disaster: “Let’s make an EDM movie, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.” I concur.)

This film is so bad that the downvotes on YouTube can’t keep up, because people don’t have the energy to lift their fingers.

Oh, well, let’s gear spot.

And memo to manufacturers: if you actually willingly loaned your gear to this production, please tell us in comments below, and we will SHAME YOU FOR ALL TIME.


Roland AIRA TR-8
AKAI MAX keyboard
Pioneer RMX-1000
Novation Launchpad (original model)
Lacie external hard drives
M-Audio audio interfaces (I think it’s an Audiosport and a 410?)
Pioneer CDJ-2000nexus

Strap in. Here we go.

“XOXO follows six strangers whose lives collide in one frenetic, dream-chasing, hopelessly romantic night.”

Funny story: that’s kind of what the Superbooth was like. You should have been there.

  • [Arthur Dent] I liked it.

  • Markus BreeCube Jogun

    The sub-bass-drops in the trailer gave me cancer.

  • dyscode

    So, this is going to be the actual successor of Xanadu, since WAYF wasn’t bad enough?

  • Polite Society

    I like to think, much like the musical maturity of a dedicated raver, each sequel will get more tasteful (not sure if that’s really the right word, though). waiting for the eventual sequel where a hawtin knockoff travels from america to berlin to play at a berghain analog.

  • Andy

    Why does a site on the internet, with the integrity that yours have, Peter, have to publish a long post about how bad someone else’s work is?

    I get that you and many others don’t like what Netflix wants to do here. But why the need to be so vocal about it? Why not just let it be what it is, and continue report on things that matter within music and art, without having a go at something that you really had nothing to do with?

    I know it’s the way of the internet, that anyone can say anything and get away with it, but I was expecting more from the main editor of one of the most respected musical sites on the internet. Let the commenters and feeders go at it if they like, but editorial material shouldn’t make a point out of attacking and slandering work that he didn’t contribute to or had nothing to do with. Unless this was intended as a proper review, I think you’re better than this. If you’re handing out shame, keep some for yourself and consider the point of your post here and what you achieved with this.

    • Telling a writer that he is “better than this” (because he had the audacity to express a negative opinion) is a non-starter and a conversation killer. I’d remind you that criticism is a huge component of creative commercial projects. You don’t have to like the criticism, but what Kirn wrote was hardly slanderous. In fact, I thought we has being generous, considering what we have on the table thus far.

      • Andy

        I agree with you on all of this. I perceived this post more like professional bullying, less like actual critisism. So I think you are right, but that Peter’s post fell outside actual critisism and more into him just having a go at people who did something he didn’t like. And also, offering critique on the critics is as necessary and relevant as allowing them to express themselves.

      • foljs

        “””Telling a writer that he is “better than this” (because he had the audacity to express a negative opinion) is a non-starter and a conversation killer. “””

        Whereas “the director is inexperienced, look at his credits” is not?

  • bub ruckz

    I’d say this is only annoying because it’s accurate. Tween’d raver love story, I’d think with all the techno worship around here that would go over well. Also, no berghain mention in this post? weird.

  • VideoClub

    As bad as We Are Your Friends was (Probably, I didn’t see it obviously), an even more formulaic and tired plot that screens for free and comes up on the welcome screen of your preferred movie watching app when you sign in probably has a much higher chance for success than the boring movie that costs $12 per person to see once.

    Also, you mentioned all the brands that sponsored this that should be embarrassed, but it seems like Netflix practically already paid for the movie before even one person saw it. Overall this seems like a win-win for netflix and a lose-lose for anyone who actually plans on paying attention after they press play. Either way it’s been almost two decades since “Go” and I think that made at least a little money.

  • You mean it’s basically on par with this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0S6b7_Z404

  • foljs

    The thing is, a bad review for a movie by a guy who likes people dancing around the stage with glove MIDI controllers cannot be trusted. I mean, despite the review, the movie might ACTUALLY be bad…

  • itchy

    don’t like it don’t watch it. and especially don’t make an article about it..

    • dyscode

      If the critisised object wants money from you for a substandard product than they have to be called out for it. Simple as that.

      Applying your logic, I could also say, if you don’t like someone’s article (or opinion) don’t read it an make negative comments.

      So we can all just stop talking to each other forever, so ‘nobody’s feelings get hurt’ – that would be the consequence of your comment.

      • itchy

        no feelings hurt here…. now the stopping of internet chatting sounds brilliant to me. i think your on to something.

        • itchy

          like making an article about it on this site, is justifying that it somehow connected to this community. it dosent . don’t give it the time of day, is what i was getting at. don’t feed it buy making shedding light on it.

          • dyscode

            Yeah, that worked so well with the Nazies, too.

            Or the rape culture that is associated with the Springbreak-party-style, too (to stay on topic).

            Not talking about cultural deficits never helped one bit to overcome them.

          • itchy

            i hear ya but if i didn’t see it on this site i wouldn’t have known about it and if i did see it scrolling through netflix i would have passed it faster than a fart in the wind. 😉 . i mean it doesn’t apply to nazis or rape but for this topic it would work

        • dyscode

          I give you that point.

  • FS

    i just want a t-shirt that says “you’re gonna play the perfect set and i am going to be there” haha.

  • Ty

    Did you channel your inner angsty elitist teenager to write this shit? Get your head out of your ass