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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

07.26.2001

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flick pick | Empire Records 1995
Directed by: Allan Moyle
Written by: Carol Heikkinen
Starring: Anthony LaPaglia, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth, Robin Tunney, Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, Ethan Embry, Brendan Sexton III

Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
comedy
Watch it when youíre in the mood for something:
 
dumb but fun
The critic says: Ĺ/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: / 5 

Plot synopsis In the little microcosm of independent record store Empire Records, the young employees wrestle with the usual teenage dilemmas and life crises. AJ contemplates going to art school, and finding a way to tell beautiful, brainy Corey that heís in love with her. Corey, meanwhile, is too stressed out by the pressure she feels to be perpetually perfect that sheís completely oblivious to AJís feeble attempts at asking her out. Her best friend Gina, meanwhile, canít decide whether to fight or embrace her reputation as nothing more than the town slut. Then thereís suicidal outcast Debra, flaky Mark, and aloof oddball Lucas. Overseeing them all is the owner of the store, a hip, middle-aged, wannabe drummer named Joe. What Joe hasnít told his kids, however, is that the storeís in big financial trouble, and at the end of the day, he may be forced to sell it off to an evil music chain.

Review I miss the eighties. Granted, I donít really remember them all that clearly, not in their full brat-pack glory anyway, but boy does high school look fun in those John Hughes movies. So why doesnít anyone make movies like those anymore Ė teenybopper flicks filled with fun music, pretty people, and enough adolescent hyper-angst to make you yearn for the days when you were blissfully deluded in your conviction that the world revolved around you, you, you? Ah, but they do! Empire Records may have been made in 1995, but it follows the exact same formula that makes those eighties-style teen ensemble cast flicks such a guilty viewing pleasure. True, it has absolutely no plot to speak of, and when you realize that the movie takes place in a single day in the life of these characters, you realize how preposterous it is that: 1) this one little record store is as hopping and happening a place as the film would lead us to believe, and 2) each and every character undergoes a major life revelation by movieís end. But despite itís 100% fluffiness, the movie has an indisputable charm that comes largely from the quirky characters that inhabit its world -- from Rory Cochraneís deadpan funny, pseudo-philosophical, turtleneck-clad Lucas, to Ethan Embryís very lovable Mark, whose daydreams prominently feature GWAR, to Brendan Sexton IIIís hilariously misguided Warren Beatty, a juvenile delinquent who shoplifts rap and Mariah Carey CDs. Filled with quotable lines galore, Empire Records is one of those movies that transcends plot. Besides, unrealistic as it truly is, Empire Records looks like a damn fun place to work. óreviewed by Y. Sun   

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