Movie Mondays ~ Monday, September 30, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, September 30, 2019


Welcome back to #MovieMondays, and the last one for the month. I certainly hope to see many more films in October than I managed to squeeze into September. This week, I had another slim movie viewing window, so I only sneaked in a 24-year-old flick that I had heard of before but never gotten a chance to see. I’m a huge music fan. I was in my mid-20s when this came out, so I was the target audience at the time. And I’ve always looooooved record stores! So I’ve been told that if I enjoyed REALITY BITES (1994), surely, I’d love this one. The verdict? Meh. Maybe I’m partial to any film that stars Ben Stiller, Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Janeane Garofalo, or maybe the ’94 flick was just better (Bingo!) Read on to learn a little more about the ’95 one I watched this past week, but not to worry, I won’t spill too much. I never spoil. As always, thank you for reading. ~ Chris K.



FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 09/23/2019 – 09/29/2019

(click on images to enlarge on the screen!)



98. Empire Records

Comedy, Drama, Music (1995)
Anthony LaPaglia, Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, Maxwell Caulfield, Rory Cochrane


The film is set in either NJ or NY (a trip is made to Atlantic City and it doesn’t appear to take all that long to get there and back). LaPaglia plays the owner of an old record store that has been a legendary fixture in the community since 1959. But despite its grand history, the store is facing buyout from a music store chain. As LaPaglia’s character struggles to keep the business open, his young team of store managers and staffers seem more preoccupied with making out, dancing in the aisles, lopping off their hair, drawing and eating pot brownies. (Just another day in the record store, I guess…)  A big-time performer is set to show up for a special day in his honor (played to the hilt of cheesiness so wonderfully by Maxwell Caulfield – remember him, GREASE 2 (1982) fans?) That’s when all hell breaks loose in the record store, because every member of the team appears to have their own agenda during this major shop event.

I was attracted to the record store setting, the time period and music and a cast that includes a lot of familiar faces, many who have gone on to other things like Tyler, Zellweger, LaPaglia, Debi Mazar, Robin Tunney and if you’re a fellow “Grace and Frankie” fan, look for Frankie’s/Tomlin’s TV son “Coyote” 24 years younger (that’s Ethan Embry as Mark in this film with a lot more hair, so you may not spot him). The problem is this… the plot is truly thin, the dialogue is not all that memorable (this is where REALITY BITES leaves the film in its dust), and the characters are marginally interesting. If a film lacks much in the way of action, I can still be swayed by engaging characters or performers, and while Tyler and Zellweger can be quite captivating onscreen, they are usually at their most engaging when the materials is good such as when Tyler stars in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (2001-2003) or Zellweger steals scenes repeatedly in both the original BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (2001) and JERRY MAGUIRE (1996).


I can see a lot of potential here for it to be a good movie, and I know that although it was an absolute bomb at the box office when it was released, it has gained a cult following over the years from those younger than the group of actors being portrayed, like it actually skipped a generation or something. But it has garnered enough attention that earlier this year, there was talk about a Broadway version of this mediocre film set to release sometime next year, so perhaps onstage they can capture some of the magic that the film did not. Maybe this calls for a live, more theatrical adaptation. Hey, have they done a Broadway version of REALITY BITES yet?  I’d buy tickets to that!  Anyone else???


Score: 75







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