10 .“Groove” (2000)
Ever wondered what the underground rave scene in San Francisco might be like? If you don’t have the means to get there for the weekend, the 2000 movie Groove is as close as you can get to a SF night of raving. Groove starts out with the overall excitement behind planning the actual party in an abandoned warehouse. The neighborhood is studied carefully, making sure that ravers will be left to dance in peace, without unwanted interruptions from nosy, irritated residents or worse yet, cops. But as Ernie (Steve van Wormer) rightfully points out: “There are no obstacles, only challenges.” With one single email and a cryptic voicemail message, the shindig is set in motion, and the warehouse transforms into an orgy of laser lights and shiny, happy people.
9. “Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy” (2011)
You know those DJ sets where the artist in the booth is throwing down a lot of decent tunes, but the programming flow just isn’t quite right? That’s what Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy feels like, with time-lapse sequences thrown down in place of interminable kick-drum outros and intros. There’s another drug-dealing, club-owning super villain, this one with late-20s clubber and occasional drug mule Lloyd under his thumb for unpaid debts. Beautifully shot in Edinburgh, its failings as a film are papered over by the way it perfectly captures two facets of club culture: the seediness of a kick-on when the sun comes up and you come down, and the magic of falling in love on the dancefloor – tempered by the struggle of making things work once the night wears off. Also features a star turn from Billy Boyd, aka Frodo’s mate Pippin, as a trance DJ who double-drops one too many times, plus another Digweed cameo.
8. “Go” (1999)
Not a classic clubbing film. The three story threads revolve around a drug deal gone wrong (is there any other kind?), a trip to Vegas, and a Los Angeles warehouse rave where Sarah Polley and one of Tom Cruise’s ex-wives make a packet selling aspirin to naive kiddie ravers (“I think I feel something!” “It’s really smooth, isn’t it.”).
Go is a fast-paced black comedy that couldn’t have been made any better. Yes, even Katie Holmes rocked her role as—surprise, surprise—Ronna’s (Sarah Polley) naïve and wide-eyed side-kick/co-worker Claire. Following a 24-hour timeline, we follow the respective adventures of Ronna, Simon (Desmond Askew) and soap opera actors Adam (Scott Wolf) and Zack (Jay Mohr) who, in hindsight, kind of started this crazy road trip in the first place.
7. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998)
Directed by Terry Gilliam. Based on a book by Hunter S. Thompson.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro.
The movie version of Hunter S. Thompson’s psychedelic classic book about his road trip across Western America as he and his Samoan lawyer searched desperately for the American dream with the help of a lot of mind altering substances is a rare example of a movie that does a great book justice. Johnny Depp does a wonderful job as Thompson, a true legendary character, and there are times when you just feel that reality melts around you while watching. Beyond that the film also supplies a real introspective and critical look on the 60s and its psychedelic culture, though many viewers tend to miss that.
6. “It’s All Gone Pete Tong “(2004)
What was supposedly based on a true story turned out to be more of an urban myth, but we liked it all the same: It’s All Gone Pete Tong tells the story of notorious DJ Frankie Wilde who is starting to lose his hearing. Despite his doctor’s orders to stay clear of the drugs and not expose himself to loud noise, Frankie goes on doing exactly that, until he loses his hearing completely. Falling into a downward spiral of drugs, depression and angry badgers, things aren’t looking too good for Frankie. At a pivotal moment, just as it seems there’s no more hope for the guy, Frankie decides to make some changes in his life. As he slowly gets back on his feet, he realizes that there are other ways to pick up sounds and make music. In resting his bare feet on the booming speakers and watching changing voltages on the oscilloscope he was able to record an entire album that went down a bloody treat!
There are some rollicking club scenes, cameos from plenty of DJ stars of the time including Pete Tong and Carl Cox & a surreal encounter with a giant badger, who looks like a mutation of the rabbit from Donnie Darko, but peddling cocaine instead of doomsday prophesies. It’s dark & twisted
5. “Human traffic” (1999)
There’re a lot of reasons why “Human Traffic” is one of the best club movies of all time. It doesn’t need to shoehorn evil drug dealers and shootouts into the plot to make it cinematic. It doesn’t need to moralize why people like to party. “Human Traffic” understands a night out with friends has thrills, drama and heartbreak enough.
Cardiff, Wales. The club scene in the ‘90s. Jip (John Simm) and his close-knit group of friends shake off the chains of dead-end jobs and family pressures to dance the weekend away. They blag their way into a club owned by Carl Cox, discuss the intricacies of Jabba the Hutt’s criminal empire, and determine if ecstasy really does give guys a case of Mr. Floppy.
It portrays the chemical generation and all its unwritten rituals and experiences in such a beautifully well-rounded manner it makes you laugh and feel kind of special. Because this is a language only you and your chosen family will understand.
With classic tunes from Orbital, A Guy Called Gerald, and Fatboy Slim, “Human Traffic” is uplifting, life affirming, and honest. See if you can recognize Walking Dead’s Sheriff Rick as one of Jip’s mates, back when he was young and English.
What goes up must come down. But when this movie gets up, it gets up. Fly on the wall footage captures banging outdoor festivals, subterranean Berlin clubs, and 2 p.m. “after parties” along sun-drenched rivers, all taking place under the techno spell of DJ Ickarus (real life DJ Paul Kalkbrenner).
But when Ickarus pushes his recreational partying too far, he ends up in the psychiatric ward. Cue his girlfriend leaving him, his record company dumping him, and his sanity starting to slip away. Will Ickarus get his head on straight and rise to rock the club one more time?
If you’re into the stark minimalism of German techno, the soundtrack recorded exclusively by Paul Kalkbrenner puts you on a dark, relentless train. Don’t expect to pop on this movie during a casual hangout with friends. It’s an uncomfortable, unflinching look at what happens when drugs take control of your life.
3. The Acid House (1999)
Three twisted tales of abuse, drugs, displaced personalities and insect life by Irvine Welsh. A trilogy of short films from Welsh’s collection. All three sections are independent, but are linked by setting and by the reappearance of incidental characters. another disturbing movie from Welsh.
2. “24-Hour Party People” (2002)
So you want to start your own club. Here’s a piece of advice: don’t hire the “24-Hour Party People” band of mad idiots to run it, especially when they’re led by TV personality turned club promoter Tony Wilson (the never-been-better Steve Coogan).
The movie’s based on the rise and fall of the Hacienda, the legendary Manchester club that birthed rave culture in the late ‘80s. Fresh off the success of managing Joy Division and New Order, Tony invests everything in the club, and for a brief instance, it seems he can change the world. But scummy E dealers, mismanaged books, and one very expensive table lead to the shut down of the place in hilarious style.
Dance classics from A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State , Moby, and Mantronix combined with tracks by Happy Mondays and A Certain Ratio – from the UK’s Baggy movement – make this a fun ride down club history lane.
1. Trainspotting (1996)
“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?”