Let's get the facts out of the way: Netflix is releasing a new original movie called XOXO on August 26th, and this is the trailer. It's an ensemble comedy about six strangers who all attend the "biggest EDM festival in America," the titular XOXO; I'd bet my life that these strangers are going to run into each other and change each other's lives in meaningful, unexpected ways. Legendary British DJ Pete Tong is the music supervisor, so it's probably chock-full of bangers and slappers.
Now that you know what's up, I'm going to invite you to join me in believing that XOXO is going to set a new standard for cinematic achievement when it premieres in a few weeks, at least in the hotly contested subcategory of "goofy EDM epics starring C-list pseudo-teens." I'm treating this designation with the utmost gravity, alright? I think We Are Your Friends is the best movie Zac Efron has ever made, I've voluntarily watched it multiple times, and I went out of my way to poke holes in Verizon's upcoming German EDM musical with the help of my colleague Kaitlyn Tiffany. I'm unhealthily invested in the production and release of coming-of-age dramedies that treat festival-stage electronic music like a religion and molly water like it's holy nectar. XOXO is going to deliver.
Let's break this trailer down scene by scene:
0:02: Graham Phillips (last seen crushing it on The Good Wife as Zach, Alicia Florrick's wooden teenage son) is playing our hero, Ethan Shaw, a bedroom producer who likes to twiddle knobs and play single chords on his keyboard. (In a press release, Netflix clarifies that "his tracks go viral online days before the festival." I love viral tracks!) He gets a call confirming that he's been booked last-minute at XOXO, a performance we can chalk up to said virality.
0:22: An unfamiliar actress with incredible eyebrows tells Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) she can't dress like a nun. After a few interstitial scenes, she emerges from her closet dressed like a deep house figure skater with a ducky fanny pack and a giant purple bang. Look approved! Let's go party!
0:35: Chris D'Elia can't believe he's going to XOXO. It's like he's making up for something he did in a past life. Don't be such a bummer, Chris! It's the biggest EDM festival in America!
0:42: A bunch of XOXO attendees, including our hero Ethan, are riding to the festival as passengers on the PLUR Bus. (If you don't know what PLUR stands for — peace, love, unity, respect — it's a miracle you've made it this far.) Someone in a full-body fuchsia morph suit asks Chris D'Elia if there's Wi-Fi on the PLUR Bus and Chris D'Elia tells him to kill himself. Chris D'Elia: still a bummer.
I just want a seat on the PLUR bus
0:46: An aggressive dude in a muscle shirt is apparently "the king of this kingdom." Sarah Hyland is walking around the XOXO grounds with a map. She tells us that "this is amazing." She locks eyes with Ethan before he descends into some kind of backstage dungeon. The aggressive dude in the muscle shirt gives Ethan career advice over shots of Day-Glo attendees making out and cheering.
1:00: We're a minute in, and some guy just zoomed from what looks like the general admissions area through the planet and into a private lounge. It's XOXO, baby! Anything goes!
1:08: "This music means everything to me," exclaims Ethan. "I'm in this because I love it." I'd like to take a minute to note that Alicia Florrick's stance on the legality and drug policy associated with EDM festivals is unclear, and it'll stay that way forever — The Good Wife ended earlier this year.
1:14: Chris D'Elia is fired up: "This is real music! It's not meant to be the soundtrack to getting wasted or the background to a car commercial!" I can't see the other people riding on the PLUR Bus, but they're radiating shame. They've been chastised by an ornery elder statesman.
1:23: Sarah Hyland's single bang is trembling with the force of her emotion, or perhaps the bass emanating from a nearby stage. "When you make that connection with somebody, it gets you outside yourself." She has a little crescent moon made out of rhinestones glued beneath her right eye. I assume the "connection" she's talking about involves the aux cord she's no doubt carrying in her ducky fanny pack.
It's XOXO, baby — anything goes
1:27: People are falling through magical, reddish EDM clouds. Ethan is walking down a deserted highway, and then he's telling some new face about how being in a crowd makes him feel like part of "something bigger." This is a little confusing: is this an origin story? Isn't he at XOXO to perform to the very "massive crowd" he's describing? I guess we'll all have to watch the movie to find out!
1:42: Things speed up here: Ethan is getting ready for his set, people are making out and fighting, Chris D'Elia is actually having fun. Ethan climbs a huge set of stairs, hugs someone behind the decks, and walks through the crowd high-fiving people.
I have questions, predictably: this looks like the biggest stage at the festival, and it's a prime evening slot. Were his viral tracks so viral they earned him a headlining slot just days before the festival? Are we supposed to believe the people running XOXO — clearly a huge endeavor — would just slot in some nobody off the strength of one or two hits? Why isn't this dude playing a tent at 2:00 in the afternoon? Does anyone else care about this? (Probably not.) We see him pumping up the crowd one last time, and then we're out of here.
I know it's going to be tough, but you'll have to wait a little longer to see what happens — XOXO doesn't premiere for another 22 days. Take one last look at the poster (it's just as magnificent as the trailer) and start waiting with bated breath. You know I'm doing the same thing.