Deechelle Discusses: Empire Records

Posted: August 5, 2012 by Dee in Dee, Deechelle, General Media, Jach, Movies
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Empire Records came out in 1995 and while it may be forgotten by many people, to a certain age group it’s become something of a cult classic. Now coming-of-age teen stories are completely common place and forgettable, but there was something charming about this story set in a music shop. The employees are all attractive teenagers who love music and get to do whatever they want in the store because they have a cool boss. They’re witty and mature and all variety of personalities so you’re bound to like at least one of them. It’s got great music and catchy one liners, and we sort of love it. We watched it last time we were together and got crazy nostalgic and decided to do this look back at it.

Irresponsible employee Lucas is finally given the responsibility to close up the store, and he plans to honor that, until he sees the plans for his beloved store to be turned into a chain. He panics and goes to Atlantic City, where he loses all of the money they made that day. Store boss Joe spends the day trying to make up for his mistake while not wanting to turn Lucas in since he has a record. Meanwhile it’s Rex Manning day; Rex is an aging pop star who is trying to make a comeback. Smart driven Harvard-bound Corey wants to give him her virginity that day, and her friend Gina encourages her to do so. Gina’s a little slutty and they make an odd couple as best friends, but it works for them. The same day AJ wants to tell Corey he’s in love with her before she goes off to college. Also a coworker Deb is battling suicidal depression, the store is held up by teenage shoplifter, and there’s a lot of music and drama. It’s also hilarious. And silly. And maybe a little cheesy. Shut up we love it. You wanted to work at Empire Records and you wanted to yell DAMN THE MAN and that’s what matters.

First Memory of the Movie

Dee: I watched it when I was pretty young. I didn’t get half the jokes, but I knew it was cool. Lucas had my offbeat sense of humor so I giggled at everything he said. I was at a sleepover with my friends, we had to be in middle school or something. I knew Liv Tyler from a previous life (she went to school with us) so it was the first movie I saw her in.

Jachelle: I still remember the first time I watched this movie. I was in Junior High and was on a school sanctioned skiing trip. (I grew up in Utah. We do a lot of skiing there.) At any rate, I was crammed onto a bus with a bunch of other middle schoolers and the instructor heading up with us popped in this movie while we were driving up the canyon to get to the resort. The movie sucked me in so much that when we arrived at the resort before I could finish watching, I was completely annoyed. I needed to see how it ended! I was young and completely sheltered and didn’t understand huge portions of what was going on, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I loved it right off the bat. This movie was totally the inspiration behind all the applications I submitted at record stores when I started looking for my first job. (Side note; it wasn’t meant to be. My first job ended up slinging pizza at Papa Murphy’s.)

Opinion About the Movie Now

Dee: This is one of those movies that actually gets better with time, because I understand it more now. Obviously a lot of drug and sex humor went right over my head. Same with movies like Clueless. I loved them, but I didn’t always understand them. You’d think after time it would lose its charm, but not for me. I laugh more now than I did when I watched it the first time. Yeah the characters aren’t perfect and there’s a lot of tropes, but I enjoyed it. I love the music too! I had that soundtrack, one of the first movie soundtracks I had. I can watch it right now and still end up with a big smile on my face.

Jachelle: I agree in that I’ve come to enjoy this movie even more with time. I’ve been where all these kids have been now, so their stories mean that much more to me now. Of course, now I can also look back on them and see how silly the are too. But come on, we were all pretty silly and ridiculous at that age. It’s got a sense of nostalgia about it for me that I just love.

Favorite Character

Dee: Lucas, no doubt about it. I think he’s a fan favorite, and they gave him the majority of the best lines. He’s the catalyst of the movie and just this weird, funny, offbeat character. He probably goes through the most believable character development over the movie, and him talking about how Joe took him in was really well done. I think only Gina really came close to him in terms of funny snark, but he takes the cake without a doubt. So he’s the funniest and has great character stuff.  By the way, has anyone seen Rory Cochrane in recent time? He was a regular for awhile on CSI: Miami. So weird.

Jachelle: Lucas is absolutely my favorite character. And I’d like to mention that when CSI: Miami first started airing, I actually made a point to watch it SPECIFICALLY because I knew Rory was going to be in the cast. That lasted about four episodes before I couldn’t take it anymore. BUT I TRIED. I love Lucas, I love his arc, I love his lines. I love his everything. Runner up goes to Warren. Oh my god, I love that kid. What a little punk.

Least Favorite Character

Dee: I think if you’re going to have random characters like Berko and Eddie, you either have to give them more to do or don’t bother with them. Most if not all of their stuff could have been done by someone else, or cut out completely and it wouldn’t have made a big difference. They had plenty of characters already, so if it was up to me, I’d just cut them from the movie. I think the only reason Berko was in it was for the music at the end, which I guess I can accept, but I would’ve liked more from him then.

Jachelle: Probably Jane. She just felt a little too far removed from the central characters and their storylines. Sure, she served her purpose within the film, but she was kind of boring. At least Berko could sing and Eddie was funny. Jane always felt more like a plot device to get Joe in the right frame of mind than an actual character. I would have liked to have seen more from her.

Favorite Quote

Dee: This sequence:

Warren: Stop calling me Warren! My name isn’t FUCKING WARREN!
Eddie: His name isn’t Warren.
Corey: His name isn’t Warren.
Berko: His name isn’t Warren.
Mark: I thought his name was Warren?

Jachelle: Mark: We mustn’t dwell… no, not today. We CAN’T. Not on Rex Manning day!

Favorite Scene

Dee: Definitely Warren getting run down by Lucas. This is one of the scenes I remember the most from the movie, from Lucas messing with his head to tracking the kid down throughout the store and outside too. Just makes me laugh from beginning to end, especially with Gina telling all the customers to watch him.

Jachelle: The shoplifting scene is my favorite too. But in the interest of covering more ground here, I also really loved Deb’s funeral scene. It’s in that moment where you can see how really tied together this group of people is, and they’re all open and honest with each other. I think it’s the perfect set up for the last leg of the movie when they all come together to save the store that they love. Aww. And an Honorable Mention needs to go to the “If You Want Blood” scene with Joe playing the guitar and the boys dancing. It was a really brief moment, but one that I think represented why it would be so much fun to work at a place like Empire.

Least Favorite Scene

Dee: Actually this bothered me again on re-watch, and that’s Joe beating up Lucas. I guess as a kid I got used to people being able to knock one another around without any real consequences in movies, but I remember not really liking that scene either. I don’t care if Lucas stole and “deserved” it. I think that behavior is inappropriate and the fact Joe was never called out on it, and he did it where a bunch of teenagers and young people could see, is actually really bad. Add to that he’s technically Lucas’ foster father, and I get all kinds of bad feelings about it now. Lucas kept yelling no Joe no, and he’s getting the snot kicked out of him, and everyone’s listening. And no one seems all that surprised or making any moves to stop it? And Joe’s not even treated as if it was a wrong action, I don’t know, it rubs me the wrong way. I don’t think we were meant to be disturbed by it or anything, but I know it made me frown once I was an adult.

Jachelle: You know. I never even stopped to consider how completely inappropriate the scene Dee just mentioned is. And now I can’t think anything else. So, I’m just going to say Ditto here.

Is Rexy So Sexy?

Dee: Of course he is. He’s Rex Manning.

Jachelle: lol no.

Who would you be if you worked at a music store?

Dee: I wouldn’t work there since I’m not a huge music fan. BUT I’d probably end up doing the finances and closing, be the responsible one Joe could count on. I would definitely not serve myself up to an aging pop star. Unless it’s David Bowie. Or the Backstreet Boys.

Jachelle: I think if I worked at the music store, I’d end up being the closest to AJ. He’s sort of the straight man of the group. He’s dependable and steps up when Joe needs his help. But he’s still sweet and funny and cares about his co-workers. And yes, I’d be the one completely in love with a co-worker who had no idea.

  1. David G says:

    Loved this movie. Discovered it while working at Blockbuster Video and it came highly recommended. Still own it on VHS! Such a great movie.


  2. […] seeing him as Mark in Empire Records (one of our favorite movies of all time! Read our review of it here.) I loved Ruby this week. (More on that below) The Rumbelle setbacks broke my heart to watch. But […]


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