ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

This isn't the best movie ever, but don't listen to the haters.

1. Every generation has movies about a kid who dreams of being a famous musician. We’ve had rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, among others. This latest one is about electronic music.

2. It stars Zac Efron as a young man named Cole who dreams of being an EDM artist and DJ. He has three friends that try to help him get booked. Or at least, try to sell drugs where he does get booked. Cole finds James, who is an older, more established EDM local star. James takes Cole under his wing, teaching him some of the tricks of the trade… until a girl gets in the way.

3. The movie does a decent job of teaching the basics of making an electronic music track. And it does a great job of explaining why people get so hyped and mesmerised by EDM. It’s part art, part math, and part biology.

4. The movie is also pretty honest about the drugs that come along with the parties. The part where Cole experiences PCP is classic - as well as a great use of trippy animation.

5. Wes Bentley plays James. I’ve loved Bentley ever since American Beauty, and while he doesn’t always pick the best movies to star in, he does a good job here as the artist who both admires and dismisses Cole.

6. Zac Efron is Cole. Efron proved he’s a great actor with 2012’s The Paperboy, so he had nothing to prove to me. He’s better than his role in this movie, and he could have handled a more complicated character. This is good, because he's in almost every single scene.

7. The movie was directed by Max Joseph. This is his first feature film. His regular job is co-host and camera guy for MTV's "Catfish: The Series".

8. The movie makes the cynical (but not untrue) claim that you only need one good track to be famous. But it also shows the delicate artistry that goes into making that one good track. It’s not as brainless as the haters say. And I’m not gonna lie - the track Cole makes at the end of the movie was great (surely that doesn't count as a spoiler). I even rewound it and watched that scene over again.

9. This is not a complicated movie; it follows the plotlines of most other “I’m gonna make music” stories. But while it’s not original, it has a charismatic cast, a decent story, and a great soundtrack. It’s an entertaining 90 minutes.

Does Efron make it work? Is it a good representation of the EDM scene? Add some more points below!


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