Fashion in film: Empire Records

9/18/2012



I admit it, I'm a total 90s kid. I remember lusting over Doc Martens and buying fluffy pens so I could be like Cher in Clueless. By the way that trick works, with 9 year olds at least. My first crush did pick up the fluffy pen I must have moronically and conspicuously dropped. Thanks Decio. Yeah I have issues, I also used to pretend I was walking in slow motion past guys I liked...Anyway, Empire Records is a fun Generation X flick that is not to be missed. The year is 1995 and we spend one day with of a bunch of teens working together at Empire Records, a music store in New Jersey.

Lucas is an intellectual guy who has begun spouting philosophical quotes today, Gina is an attention-seeking and promiscuous firecracker, Corey is a type-A goodie two shoes, Mark is a music-obsessed goofball, AJ is a lovesick artist and Deb is a cynical and depressed bad ass. This movie is a perfect slice of the 90s, a bit of nostalgia for the people born before and a glimpse of the times for those born after. Empire Records inspired me to work at a music store (I'm sure you can tell I was very impressionable) and for a few days I got to experience a little bit of Empire. There really are all sorts of people working at a place like that, coming up with lists of cult movies to submit to the higher ups, killing time around music before band practice or championing an under-appreciated genre that they loved when they were young. In my week there, I'd gotten a marriage proposal from a co-worker, spilled soda everywhere after coming to work with one of my first hangovers, laughed at a strange album someone found by a French child singer named Jordi and played CDs for teenagers plugged into huge headphones before they would walk away without buying anything.

Alas, it was at the time when CD Warehouse was just taken over by their very own "Music Town" and I started around the same time that the lifers were leaving. The contract I had to sign was not my cup of tea and my discipline was lacking on my gap year after travels fell through so I quit. Everyone told me it used to be a great place to work before the big takeover. Years later I found marriage proposal guy working at a bookstore while my good friend Carmen pulled an AJ and went to art school. So don't let anyone tell you that you watch too many movies or that things only happen in the movies, just tell them that they're on the wrong side of the screen. After all is said and done, we can always re-visit Empire Records where one day seems like it's enough to really change things. This movie leaves me feeling young and hopeful. Damn the man, save the empire!

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