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Empire Records: Brat Pack Films, Cult Teen Flicks and Antony LaPaglia!

Updated on November 26, 2016

Old Vinyl!

Creative Commons licence
Creative Commons licence | Source

Do you have a guilty weakness for the kind of teen flick that you might have thought died out along with the last John Hughes film of the nineties? Do you love a ragin’ pseudo-indie commercial pap soundtrack, played loud? Can you tolerate any flick as long as it contains sufficient pretty teen/twentysomething actors dancing and snarking at each other? (Let me guess. You wore out multiple VHS copes of The Breakfast Club. I'll bet you did, too. You're reading this, aren't you?)

In Empire Records, a record store is managed by a (very young, not very Australian at all) Antony LaPaglia, and staffed by a bunch of the aforementioned hot young teens and twentysomethings. So far, so ‘High Fidelity’, except not very, and before the time of High Fidelity in any case. The viability of the store is threatened, terrifyingly, by the unwise gambling habit of one of the young staffers. (This character is played by Speedle out of CSI Miami. Yeah, that’s right, you heard me. Speedle.) Why has anyone let a teenage staffer with a gambling habit near the petty cash? Your guess is as good as mine.

Buy Liv Tyler DVDs On Amazon

Perhaps for the sake of all interested parties I should mention at this point that one of the staffers in the Empire Records film is played by Liv Tyler. And another by Renee Zellweger (although this may not be of such pressing interest.)

Is this film about much more than saving the day regarding the fate of one small independent record store and blasting out a whole lotta mediocre pop music? Uhh. I don’t really want to commit myself on that issue. You may enjoy it in any case, so why worry? There is lots of relationship angst, heavily featuring Mrs Sean Penn AKA Robin Tunney, precious few real problems, and yes, you pretty much know how the flick’s going to end before you actually get anywhere near the end.

Is the Empire Records movie worth buying or hiring, then? Well, if you check it out for the soundtrack, and you like that kind of thing., then it’s entirely probably that it is. Gin Blossoms, Evan Dando, the Cranberries, Cracker – do these set off any Pavlovian reactions for you in terms of semi-indie sub-rockin' 90s alterna-whining? Hey, go to it! And if you've got a crush on any of the actors involved then you probably already own it. My personal opinion: if you're going to buy it, it won't be for the plot, the dancing, the writing or the acting...

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