NNWIJ: Empire Records (1995)

Director: Allan Moyle

Notable Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Liv Tyler, Johnny Whitworth, Renée Zellweger, Ethan Embry, Debi Mazar

Rating: PG-13

Review:  Damn the man.  Empire Records makes me feel sorry for my generation, missing out on little specialty boutiques like this.  In today’s world, bland chains like FYE and Walmart dominate every entertainment industry, but there’s no heart, no atmosphere, and certainly no love.  Try returning a pre-scratched DVD to Walmart…I dare you.  The business major in me could rant about this all day, but it’s for that same reason Empire Records possesses a magical charm that lets us into the enjoyment of working at one of these places.  As an avid music lover as well as film fanatic, this would have been the ideal high school job for me.  Selling people what you love, and embodying it in your work.  No stupid FYE uniform or working with lifeless drones, just real people and real personalities.  But because I missed out on this, I’ve got this gem to show me what it would have been like.  Empire Records itself is about a record store that is currently at risk of being turned into the equivalent of a FYE, and it’s up to the rag-tag group of employees to stop it.  There’s the typical workplace drama and hi-jinx to get us through, but the movie is a testament to why we still need places like Empire Records today.  The film screams 90’s culture, found through styles and soundtrack, which I can vaguely  remember because I didn’t come into my own until the 2000’s.  It’s still a source of nostalgia though, sure to transport teenagers of the 90’s right back to their weekly hangout.  I love the cast because it’s made up of “that guy” actors/actresses, except Zellweger and Tyler who are household names, and shows them at such a young age.  It’s through satire and pleasantry that Empire Records will make you smile and laugh throughout though, being nothing more than a feel-good story.  Sure, it gets serious for a little because every film has to have a conflict, but the heart is never lost.  Admit it, every once in a while, isn’t that good feeling what we need?  I can only see so many depressing dramas, gory horrors, and god awful romantic comedies before I just need something I can watch with nothing but joy.  Nine times out of ten, It’s Empire Records.

Netflix Rating: 5/5


About Matt Donato

I love all things film. I'll watch any genre, any actor, at any time. This whole film critic thing is a passionate hobby for now which I'm balancing with working in the business world, but hey, someday, who knows?
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