Empire Records

Empire Records (1995)

“I am guided by a force much greater than luck.”

Today’s Saturday Replay came out when I was in High School, though I’m pretty sure I never saw it until I was in college. It’s essentially what you’d get if you mashed up High Fidelity, and Dazed and Confused with The Breakfast Club, it’s 1995’s Empire Records.

The film presents one (unusual) day in the life of the young staff at an independent record store in Delaware. Typical teenage archetypes abound; there’s the over-achieving virgin (Liv Tyler), the artistic boy with a secret crush on her (Johnny Whitworth), her party-girl best friend (Renée Zellweger) and a host of others, all led by cool-boss/father-figure Joe (Anthony LaPaglia).

Of course, the store is in imminent danger, in this case it’s in danger of being turned into a the franchise of a faceless national music chain. The danger is exacerbated because deep-thinking night manager Lucas (Rory Cochrane, who I just saw in Argo), loses the day’s receipts in Atlantic City convinced destiny will allow him to win and save the store. This sets everything in motion for a dramatic day where everyone’s issues are exposed, and they all learn something about themselves and each other.

It’s a fun little movie, with a decent mid-nineties soundtrack, (emphasized through musical interludes whenever things get too serious,) a decent cast and some modestly memorable characters. It isn’t particularly great, and it does feel a little bit dated, now, eighteen years after it was released. However, it’s still an enjoyable piece of cinema. It’s probably not worth going out of your way to find, but if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted movie with a note of teenage drama, Empire Records is Worth Seeing.

[Empire Records (1995) – Director: Allan Moyle – Rated PG-13 for sexual situations, language and a drug issue]

OM|ED Rating: Worth Seeing