I really denied this one for as long as I could. A couple of years ago I bought a cheap VHS copy of Groove the Rave Movie at a Blockbuster that was going out of business, and I told myself it was out of nostalgia for my college years and my rave days. But now I find myself watching Groove the Rave Movie at least twice a year. It’s my rainy-day movie, a guaranteed entertainment.
Here’s a story. In 2000 I was driving with some friends to see a movie, not Groove the Rave Movie, though I did end up seeing that in the theater eventually. Anyway, we were driving along and we had no weed. So we were smoking resin and we were stopped at a stoplight. Suddenly the guy in an SUV in front of us got out of his car and ran back to ours. He handed us a bud of really good weed and some flyers for his club night. We were like, “Thanks,” and he was like, “Come to my club night.”
That was sort of how it was in those days. Oh I know that I missed the “real” rave culture by years and years, but when I discovered it (and ecstasy) at the tail end of the nineties when I was in my early twenties, it certainly felt like something to me. The air of acceptance, of opening up (brought on by ecstasy, sure, but no less authentic), of casual intimacy with hundreds of strangers…it was intoxicating for lack of a better word. [Feel free to read a more cynical and depressing account of my rave days here]
So I’m not going to try to argue that Groove the Rave Movie is a great movie or even a good one. It’s a personal favorite because it reminds me of a certain time. And it has specific elements that always endear me to films: the whole “everything changes in one night” trope, the youth culture element, the drug element (okay, basically it’s a cheap facsimile of the far superior Dazed and Confused, another of my rainy-day movies).
But Groove the Rave Movie definitely does some things right. Sure, the acting is B-rate…everything in it is B-rate. But it captures those times perfectly, and the characters, broad as they are, feel recognizable to me. The morning after/comedown montage gets me every time – the candy ravers passed out in their dorm room, the anxious intellectual cruising down the highway with an E-afterglow. I was there. For real.
And yeah, I do love Go and I have seen Human Traffic but neither of those really hit me in the same way.