It all starts when Lucas (Rory Cochrane), an employee of Empire Records, music shop, is assigned to close the story that night and accidentally finds out that the Music City chain is planning to buy it; he wants to save the store so he takes the money they had made -about $9,000- and goes to Atlantic City to try to earn some. Unfortunately, he fails, and now the store is in trouble. Now the other employees and the manager are trying to think of a way to save Empire Records, since they hate Music City and all their rules, which include not allowing tattoos or clothes that 'reveal' too much of the girls, so basically all the employees would have to go.
This particular day also has something unusual, it's "the Rex Manning day". Rex Manning is some sort of teen idol, a handsome singer that will take some time to be at Empire Records and sign some autographs. Corey (Liv Tyler) has a huge crush on Manning and can't wait to be alone with him. Gina (Renée Zellweger) is the kind of girl who likes sex a bit more than 'saints' like Corey. Debra (Robin Tunney) tried to kill herself the day before this, now she shaved her head and just doesn't really care about anything. A.J. (Johnny Whitworth) likes arts and is willing to confess Corey how much he loves her in this day. Mark (Ethan Embry) is crazy about heavy music. And there is also a kid who tried to steal some CDs and then called himself Warren Beatty (Brendan Sexton), who will later confess why he was doing that. Of course there is Joe (Anthony LaPaglia), the store manager, who despite being a little less crazy than the young employees, likes music and really loves Empire.
Empire Records is one of those stores that has a world of their own, it's sort of a perfect world for most of the characters, they all seem like happy people who have a great time working there. Of course, this has to change in order to make the film more interesting, so a few of the characters turn out to have more problems than you would have guessed. Of course, by the end you know it can't finish anywhere near tragically, they all find unique ways to solve their problems, even if it involves faking a funeral or having a party in the very same store.
Every character is different in this film, and I must say all the actors did a great job. Mark certainly looked like an interesting fellow, Joe and Debra seemed even more complex, but my personal favourite was Rory Cochrane's Lucas, he had this unique way of talking and expressing his feelings, I really liked it. You wouldn't believe the stuff that comes out of his mouth, and he doesn't even look like he's joking.
"Empire Records" is not a film for everyone, or at least I think so; through most of it you get to know the characters and their situations, but you also listen to a lot of music and find yourself stuck in the middle of lots of teen-situations. So if you're the kind of the people who only likes 'serious' films, this isn't for you. But if you're looking forward to having some fun, then this you shouldn't miss.
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