August 13, 2018
Issue 9 2018

I watched We Are Your Friends 60 times for an experiment

I have seen the film We Are Your Friends exactly 60 times.

In between mid-2016 and 2017, I watched We Are Your Friends once a week for 52 weeks. And inspired by my own idiocy, I recently celebrated roughly a year since I last watched it by watching it eight more times within a week to bring the total amount of viewings to 60, or put in a more regretful way - 96 hours wasted.

In all honesty, I have no good reason to justify why I did this. I just wanted to see what it would be like and if I could do it. The Worst Idea of All Time is a podcast I have been following since its creation in 2014 and it inspired this experiment and journey of self-discovery. Hosted by Auckland comedians Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt, the podcast began when they both embarked on their own journey to review Grown Ups 2 once a week for a year. They then did it again the following year with Sex and the City 2. So when they announced the final year of the podcast would consist of them watching We Are Your Friends 52 times, it certainly sparked my interest. Listening to how emotionally drained these guys were for two years in a row made me think, would watching the same movie once a week for a year really be that bad? So, I set off to discover the answer to this question myself, and after watching along with them, I come to you all now saying that the answer is 100 per cent YES, obviously, it really is that bad.

Movies aren’t made to be rewatched this many times under such a short time frame and that instantly became clear when I embarked on my experiment. And in this scenario, We Are Your Friends was made to be watched once, at most. It set records for being a complete commercial failure when it was released in 2015, having the worst box office opening OF ALL TIME for a Hollywood studio title released in 2,000 or more theatres. But did it deserve this response?

I feel like my personal opinions have evened out and I can focus purely on the quality of the film to give an honest review. People usually review something after experiencing it once which is pretty unfair as many outside factors can alter an experience, which then may affect the review. In reality, you need to experience something multiple times to give an unbiased and ‘on-average’ review. I have experienced this movie with many differing factors. I’ve seen it with different people, in different places, with different states of mind and even with different audio and visual qualities, so I feel like I am now qualified to review it truthfully. To keep things consistent and to keep me truly concentrated, I couldn’t use my cellphone or any other devices during the watch (which was just additional torture).

The culmination of my efforts and self-torture has resulted in this. An honest, unbiased and overwhelmingly pointless review of a film you’ve probably never heard of.

Realistically, We Are Your Friends is absolutely fine. I guarantee this is no one in the world’s favourite movie, but I doubt it’s anyone’s least favourite either. To be fair, what were you expecting when the plot is an amateur DJ (Zac Efron) falls in love with his washed-up mentor’s girlfriend? Go in expecting just that, and you probably won’t be disappointed. Efron puts in a very good performance, confirming that he can act and probably should’ve been nominated for an MTV Movie Award or some other low-status movie award. Director Max Joseph (creator of MTV’s Catfish) also puts in a good effort, with decent looking cinematography and direction, but a lack of a good script and terrible, terrible pacing brings the quality down. The pacing makes the experience feel like a party if you go too hard on the pre-drinks. The start is exciting and fast paced, but the film stumbles at the midway point and comes to a sudden halt, slowing down and never coming close to recovering up until the end credits. Considering the film is about a DJ, the EDM soundtrack also isn’t great, and the film wastes the titular We Are Your Friends song by Justice within the opening scene. But again, it’s really hard to outright hate or even dislike. There are notable highlights in the film, with Shane from the best and worst seasons of The Walking Dead showing up for a screen time of five minutes. There’s also a lady who gives fun facts about sushi and a half-assed group effort at singing Santeria which are both relatively fun while they last.

The fourth viewing had the strongest emotional impact for me; perhaps it was due to the death of ‘beloved’ character [redacted], or the reality of my situation was setting in. Other than that, this film sadly has no other emotional attachment. It gives you no reason to care at all which really made each additional viewing a chore. Watching it in a room with ten of my best friends for my thirteenth viewing was probably my favourite watch out of the 60, but even then it wasn’t that enjoyable. But I mean, how enjoyable could watching the same movie for the thirteenth time in thirteen weeks be under any circumstance?

Overall, We Are Your Friends is a perfectly fine movie but suffers drastically from terrible pacing, the lack of a meaningful message and more unforgivably; a complete waste of Zac Efron. Despite its flaws however, you realistically won’t regret spending 90 minutes of your life watching it. I’d even watch it again over many other films I’ve only seen once, which is probably the biggest compliment I could give it in this situation.

I am looking forward to drunkenly watching it for a sixty-first time

Two and a half stars

PS

We Are Your Friends also has a Marvel-like end credits scene, but unlike the Marvel movies, this one is not worth sticking around for. Unless you live for pointless and unearned positive character development as a conclusion to a film.