Friday, August 28, 2015
Tinsel & Tine would like to introduce a new contributor - my neighbor, Connor Bartholomew, a relatively new blogger with two sites. I really love the natural rhythm to her writing. Check out her review and bio below :)
Movie Review - We Are Your Friends
By Contributor, Connor Bartholomew
Some moments stick with you. Maybe they’re no fun at all—like sitting next to a crying baby on a plane or missing the El (Philly Subway) by that much—or maybe they’re the good sort, like hitting every green light on Chestnut Street or a wildly fun night out with friends; the best sort of moments stick with you as much as the bad ones. But the best moment for Squirrel (Alex Shaffer), at least, is this: the moment before it starts.
I walked into We Are Your Friends without any idea what I would be watching. I knew it starred Zac Efron as young DJ Cole Carter. I knew it was directed by Max Joseph. I knew it took place in and around Los Angeles, a place I visited for the first time in June. That was about it. I didn’t know Wes Bentley would show up as a relatively famous DJ, James Reed. I didn’t even know exactly where the San Fernando valley was. (East Coast problems. Sorry, friends.) On top of all of this, I had little to no knowledge about electronic dance music. In all honesty, I would probably be one of the girls asking the DJ to play “Drunk in Love.” … Okay, maybe not “Drunk in Love.” I’m more of a “Flawless Remix (ft. Nicki Minaj)” or “Run the World (Girls)” sort of person myself.
Beyoncé preferences aside, I was not expecting the film I saw. The use of various graphics was a complete surprise. Joseph blends Cole and Reed’s first meeting, for example, with an odd, Warhol-esque animation that’s all bright colors and twisted realities as the two partake in hallucinogenic drugs before attending a party at an art gallery after meeting outside of the club Cole and his friends promote. When Cole works his first non-side-room gig (a pool party at Reed’s house), he explains to Reed’s assistant/girlfriend Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) how he likes to play a crowd, slowly working their hearts into the beat of the music.
We hear his explanation, but the screen cuts to different texts and images of what he describes: a history of music textbook, a diagram of the human body, an animation that translates Cole’s words into rhythmic sound waves racing through the listeners, hurtling through veins to end up in their thumping hearts before distributing his rhythm out to every inch of their bodies.
After Cole succeeds in getting a crowd of people who “don’t dance before midnight” on their feet and moving to the music, Reed brings him into the studio and listens carefully to Cole’s track. When the song ends, he tells Cole to make his music honest. Cole argues that all EDM is, by nature, electronic and computer-generated “But you can make it organic,” Reed tells him. Those lines haunt Cole for the rest of the film, through a festival in Las Vegas and long runs in the Valley. Cole begins to study not just rhythms, but sounds.
The silences of this film speak louder than any of the music, and the silence is always loudest when the music stops. Shortly after moving into their own space, an unexpected twist forces the friends to handle some rather grisly consequences of their choices as the bottom drops out of their partying lifestyle and they’re left struggling to breathe.
Cole deals with the fallout by turning back towards his music. On the stage of his first big gig, we see him bring the crowd through the stages he explained so carefully at the pool party—the beating hearts starting to sync with the beats of the music. He uses everything that brought him here: Squirrel spinning a coin, Mason using a nail gun on the pool house roof, a voicemail from Sophie, wind chimes from Cole’s own long runs. Everywhere we’ve seen him go, everyone we’ve seen him talk to, every moment we’ve seen him experience has brought him to this moment, this gig, this track. He wraps all of himself into this track, hoping to bring the crowd to the best moment. Not the moment before it starts, as Squirrel would have it—but the moment it finally begins.
Connor is a twenty-three year old college grad who spends most of her free time reading too many books at once, and can be found at pimpernels.wordpress.com.
She is also the co-founder and co-editor at Femini feminiproject.wordpress.com, a new blog project tackling reviews of everything from favorite Philly ice cream shops to comic books and television shows. She has a tendency to speak in hyperbole and make really bad puns.
T &T's (Connors) LAMB Score: 3.5 outta 5
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog