Mike K Watches Every Movie He Owns On DVD

Mike K

Empire Records

Year Of Release: 1995

My Estimated Age When I First Saw It: 15

Every time I revisit this, it seems more like a silly, forced attempt at putting together a gen x touchstone, and the dramatic subplots seem more very-special-episode-ish. Oh, and for some reason, as a music geek, it bothers me that the characters will namecheck The Pixies or The Residents, yet the soundtrack is more along the lines of The Gin Blossoms and Toad The Wet Sprocket - okay, Gwar, Suicidal Tendencies, and Daniel Johnston are in there too, but the point is that the film makes a lot of hip musical references, but plays it pretty safe with it's actual soundtrack.

I'd actually kind of hazard a guess that the main audience for this movie would actually skew slightly younger than it's high school senior characters: I was a fan as a 15 year old, and to me a big part of the draw was "wouldn't it be cool to work at a record store with a bunch of funny, dysfunctional music geek friends?"*, but I think if I had been exposed to the film a little bit later I probably would have found it corny.

Still, there must be something that still draws me to it once in a while, other than nostalgia - I guess a lot of it is the fairly clever dialogue, largely likeable performances, and the repeated digressions into odd little character moments - I've realized many of my favorite scenes do absolutely nothing to further the plot, like say, the montage of Marc trying to flirt with a nameless customer with headphones on while supposedly dusting, or Rex Manning deciding to join in on Warren's mugshots. Overall, I still enjoy this from time to time, but it's the kind of film where if you didn't see it at a certain age it's probably too late.