Hi Gasmii! P-Baby here with apologies for allowing her grown-up job come between her and her blogging. I realized coming home at 7PM Thursday night only to go back to work Friday until 9PM that my movie-recapping duties might have to wait until my mind was refreshed on the weekend. Good thing I waited too, as my inspiration for what movie to recap came from reading a blurb yesterday night on the internet about characters from the 90s who would still be stylish today. Featured along with Blossom, Angela Chase, and the Fresh Prince himself was the cast of Empire Records. I asked myself, “P-Baby, that’s such a good movie, why haven’t you watched that in ages?” to which I answered, “Good question. Let’s do this thing.”
Thus, I hauled out the Book O’ Crappy Movies and found my copy of Empire Records patiently laying in the E section between Elf and Encino Man. Empire Records‘s claim to fame can be that it was a member of my VHS collection prior to the DVD overhaul in the early 2000′s. Clueless can claim the same. OK, Gasmii…lace up your Doc Martens, it’s time for the show to begin.
Opening onto a closed Empire Records, responsible employee Lucas is finishing up counting the money for the day by way of drinking some booze and air drumming. Maybe not the best choice for handling the day’s intake, but closing any store sucks so maybe Lucas is being punished for his beatnik turtleneck and bangs. While putting the money away, Lucas finds a contract indicating the sale of Empire Records to an evil chain store (Hello, The Wall! Bet you assholes really hated life after the birth of iTunes, huh?) and decides to take matters into his own hands. Instead of locking the money up in the safe, he makes a midnight ride to Atlantic City in order to gamble it away, on the off chance of winning enough to prevent the buyout. I think we all know what actually happens.
The next day, Lucas is found outside asleep on his motorcycle by his fellow employees AJ and Mark and after seeing the casino change bucket and Lucas’s general appearance of a man that is completely fucked, they deduce that Lucas has done something really, really stupid with the store money. Instead of informing their boss, Joe, immediately that $9000 is missing, they decide to pretend they know nothing of it, allowing Joe to make the discovery himself. Hopefully Joe is a closet work drinker. No? Just me then?
Joe shows up for the day, already annoyed like bosses who employ a bunch of idiots usually are and Mark and AJ get ready to open the store. The bank and the owner of Empire Records both call within minutes of each other, wanting to know where the money from last night is and why it never made it to the bank. After hanging up, Joe storms into the back and opens the safe, figuring out very quickly that Lucas has fucked him with a capital F.
Meanwhile, other Empire employee Gina picks up Corey to head to work. Corey is one of those annoying chicks that is super sweet AND gorgeous AND smart so I already hate her, even though she is related to Aerosmith god Steven Tyler. Actually, I hate her even more for that. Anyway, she’s baked cupcakes in celebration of the fact that it is Rex Manning Day at the store, as she is a huge fan and has decided to offer her virginity to him. My girl Gina tells her she is a humongous loser. Corey asks if Gina thinks Rex is the right guy for her first time. Let’s have the masses decide this one.
AJ decides to seek love advice from Joe as Joe frantically paces around the break room looking for places that Lucas could have possibly stashed the money. Turns out AJ is in love with Corey and has decided today is the day to inform her of this fact. AJ, your place of employment is going under and $9000 is missing. You are probably not going to have a job in a week. Now is not the best time, so keep your whiny bullshit to yourself.
The girls finally arrive at work and AJ tells them about Lucas’s indiscretion from the night prior. The four get the store ready for customers, in a cleaning, coffee making, organizing, sing along montage. Is it just me or is Ethan Embry just adorable in this movie?
While we’re at it, I’m gonna go ahead and say the same about Renee. So cute and perky a short 15 years ago.
In a segue, Corey reminds Joe that it is Rex Manning day, which is the reason she is at work about four hours early. Finally, Rex Manning’s greatness is bestowed upon us in the form of his music video, “Say No More, Mon Amour” which I admittedly find to be extremely catchy. My taste in music may be up for criticism, however. Case and point: In the DVD video from the P-Baby wedding, Bret Michaels can be heard demanding I talk dirty to him as Mr. P-Baby and I cut the cake. Anyway, the music video is kind of like a cross between a color version of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game and Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love, which is already making my head spin with the amount of awesome that would be.
Everyone is dancing along and singing to Rex, just annoying Joe even more, which is just the perfect time for Lucas to show up to work. Joe questions Lucas where the money is and Lucas tells him that the money was lost in Atlantic City. Angered, Joe knocks Lucas’s change bucket to the floor, spilling quarters everywhere. Joe sentences him to sitting on the couch for the rest of the day, not to leave for any reason unless it is to get $9000. Lucas is lucky that Joe is a pretty cool guy. If it was Lucas’s other boss, he’d probably have been shot in the leg.
At the register, Corey receives a bouquet of flowers from her Dad, congratulating her on her upcoming graduation and heading off the Harvard in the fall. Well, color me surprised that a chick who considers deflowering with a douche like Rex Manning is smart enough to go to Harvard. This led to a googling of celebrity Harvard attendees. Surprising names on the list include Elisabeth Shue, Tatyana Ali, Ashley Judd, Rashida Jones, Steve Zahn, and Stockard Channing to name a few.
Another Empire employee, Deb, shows up for work. Deb is an unpleasant bitch who greets absolutely no one as she stalks in and gives Corey the finger. Deb is totally my girl though since she starred in three of my favorite 90′s movies, the aforementioned Encino Man, The Craft, and the one I’m currently in the middle of. Things kind of went downward for awhile, but supposedly The Mentalist is a good show, so cheers, Deb!
Joe asks Lucas if he is in any kind of trouble. AJ listens while gluing quarters to the floor. Apparently AJ has never been at the mercy of a quarters only laundry machine. Mr. P-Baby used to refer to me as the Quarter Hoarder but I’m not going to fuck around and cavalierly spend my quarters on a handful of Runts or a shitty Fanta soda when there’s laundry to be done.
In the bathroom, Deb is having some serious hair issues a la Brit Brit as she decides to chop off all her hair and shave her head. AJ keeps gluing those quarters to the floor and Deb comes out, prompting questions from both AJ and Lucas as to her new Kewpie Doll haircut and the bandages on her wrist. Deb tells him to fuck off and Lucas seconds that she is probably just fine since she at least showed up for work. She goes out to change places with Corey at the cash register but not before establishing that she hates Corey as well for being perfect.
Mark’s friend Eddie who may or may not be an employee as well shows up to give Mark a mix tape and some magic brownies. I guess we can count Mark out for the day. I think Eddie is probably an employee since he just busted in the back room and appears to know everyone. Gina throws on a remix of The Beatles’ Money playing a prank on Lucas, which is just enough to push Joe over the edge. He grabs a box of Musictown uniforms and hands out rules and conduct for Musictown employees, which is his way of telling them Empire Records is over. Everyone is all, “WTF Joe?” and he explains that he was saving up money to buy Empire Records to avoid the buyout from Musictown but since Lucas lost all the money, that shit is never going to happen now.
Mark reminds everyone that today is not the day to be upset as it is Rex Manning day. Preparation ensues in the form of banner hanging and a table set up for autographs. I need to jump off topic for a minute. Can we just discuss that the Empire Records soundtrack would be possibly the best compilation of jams from the 90′s if it wasn’t for the fact that it is missing half the songs that should be on it? This mini-rant was prompted by Video Killed The Radio Star playing in the background which is notably absent from the soundtrack. Moving on.
Women of all ages have begun lining up in the store to meet Rex Manning and with all the distractions going on in the store, a young juvenile delinquent has decided to help himself to some of the music. Lucas leaves the couch to go out and see the preparations and sees the shoplifter in action. He approaches and then chases him around the general vicinity of the store until he is finally caught after running into an open car door, courtesy of Lucas.
Just then, Rex shows up with his assistant Jane who apparently lost a bet as there is no other explanation for her haircut or color.
Joe calls the police to report the shoplifter who is awesomely named Warren Beatty. While all this is going on, Gina has decided to shirk workplace dress codes and generally acceptable public behavior by taking off her clothes and wearing just a Musictown apron.
How about now?
Gina dances while Warren drools on and AJ snaps so polaroids so Joe is basically about to have a mental breakdown due to the fucktards he pays to work at the store. Rex and Jane pop in while all this tomfoolery is going on and introduce themselves to Joe. Joe then introduces himself to everyone in the breakroom and Corey wets her panties.
So did you all know that the actor who plays Rex Manning is named Maxwell Caulfield? And that he is best known for starring in Grease 2? AND at the age of 21 he married the Emmy award winning actress Juliet Mills who is 18 years his senior and they’ve been married for over three decades? This is exactly why these recaps take me so long. I get distracted on Wikipedia and twenty minutes later I know more about the actor who plays Rex Manning than I ever cared to.
The lined up crowd goes wild for Rex who finally makes his debut at the autograph table. Rex is a diva, demanding a new chair and finally sits to sign autographs. The rest of the crowd sit in the back contemplating the awesomeness of Axel Rose, which is a conversation I’d like to participate in, though I am a Steve Perry/Bret Michaels fan myself. Warren Beatty also wants to know who the hell glued the quarters to the floor.
Jane asks AJ, Warren, and Lucas if any of them actually like Rex to which they all laugh in her face. I’m just going to mute the TV and pretend they are actually laughing at her hair. Yet another employee and cause of Deb’s suicidal tendencies, Berko, shows up for work. Apparently Berko dropped Deb like a hot potato, pushing her over the edge.
After getting a dose of reality from the Empire guys, Jane grows a pair and decides to quit her job as Rex’s assistant. Cue montage backed by Joe’s rage filled drum playing to Empire patrons enjoying the store and a bunch of knuckleheads dancing around. Mitchell, the owner, shows up to shit on everyone’s parade. He’s come by to pick up the deposit and take it to the bank, since Joe has covered for Lucas and said he still has it at the store. Joe stuffs a bunch of paper into a money bag, ensuring that he will be fired before the day’s end.
Berko seeks out Deb and asks if she is doing OK. Deb tells him it’s not all about him and to quit with the mopey, 90′s crap. More lover drama as AJ practices the way he’s going to say “I love you” to Corey on the roof.
The cops show up to take Warren away. Joe scopes out the music listening booths to ensure no hanky panky is going on and I totally remember going to the music store and throwing on some head phones to listen to whatever album has recently been put out. I also remember always getting pissed when the idiot that listened before me jacked the volume up to 50 because they decided having the ability to hear isn’t an important part of life. Now I can do that all from the privacy of my own home with the 30 second song previews on iTunes and I only have myself to blame when the volume on my computer is jacked up the whole way from watching 48 Hours Mystery episodes online while Mr. P-Baby watches sports.
Anyway, Joe finds Deb hiding out in one of the booths and lets her know that he is always there for her to talk to. Got it, Joe cares about these idiots probably more than he should, but that’s a good trait to have as a boss.
Corey takes on the task of preparing lunch for Rex and I totally thought it was already like 7 at night. How much shit has happened in one day already? Maybe Empire Records is located in Alaska during one of those 24 hours of sunlight days, but that would have made Lucas’s motorcycle ride to Atlantic City not only impossible but really, really cold. Oh well, whatever. Rex settles in for his meal while Corey eye fucks the shit out of him. She undresses provocatively, taking off her sweater and skirt while Rex asks how old she is and once she deems herself old enough he tells her to rock and roll.
I guess Corey mistook Rex for the caring, sensitive, has-been celebrity instead of the typical run of the mill poon slayer that anyone with a little bit of fame always becomes for at least a portion of their famous years. She rushes out of the room and onto the roof as The Cranberries croon along in the background. No 90′s movie is complete without at least one appearance from The Cranberries on its soundtrack.
Of course, AJ is up there too, making this a sign from God. He starts babbling to her about some horrible day at the store and Corey doesn’t want to hear anything as she is still upset about Rex. He finally manages to get the words out that he loves her and she tells him now is not a good time; that she just got done throwing herself at Rex Manning. That’s probably not the response he was looking for. Gina tries to console Corey over lunch and Corey in so many words calls Gina a big whore. Gina rightfully gets pissed and leaves.
With revenge in her eyes, Gina seduces Rex at his autograph table by being able to guess the color and type of underwear he is wearing. To see if she is correct, they rendezvous in the office for an in depth conversation about the AIDS epidemic and poverty in America. They also bang pretty feverishly. Somewhere while all this is going on, we are let in on Corey’s little secret. Bitch is a total speed freak.
In the store, AJ lashes out passive aggressively by putting on Rex’s music and dancing with Deb, sparking the rest of the shoppers into an impromptu dance party. Joe is again pissed at everyone else having fun except him, turning the music off and telling everyone to enjoy their time now because next week brings Musictown. Lucas mouths off to Joe finally pushing him to the brink. He beats the shit out of Lucas in the back, deservedly so. With everyone in the back, they realize both Rex and Gina are missing, and they all hear their antics in the office.
Corey comes and and sees whats going on. She gets pissed and in a fit of rage for wronging his fair princess, AJ attacks him. Joe pulls him off and kicks Rex out of the store. They tell Rex he is a washed up has been whose music sucks with a shitty haircut. Rex takes it all pretty well and tells them all to fade away. The rest of the employees shun Gina for sleeping with such a greasy loser.
Corey and Gina start going at it again, yelling at each other about Gina being a slut and Corey being a speed junkie. Corey goes absolute batshit crazy and starts destroying the Rex Manning display in the store, stabbing it with scissors and shrieking like a banshee. No wonder we switched to iTunes, to keep all the emo teens from gathering in one place and freaking out over loser musicians. Except now they’ve found another outlet.
Deb comforts Corey after she’s calmed down and they realize they aren’t so different after all in the form of both of them being fucked up emotionally with better careers in the 90′s than the 2000′s. Though Corey had Armageddon and a veneer wearing Affleck so I guess she probably wins.
Jane comes back and peaks in on Joe, asking if he’d be interested in having dinner with her, which is kind of cool of her. AJ is still being a pouty Dawson over Corey while Eddie tells him it’s not worth being upset over.
In a scene that kind of doesn’t really fit in that well and is creepy, they give a funeral to Deb so she can hear all the nice things people have to say about her. Meanwhile, Mark is trying to handle running the store as everyone is fucking around in the back. Corey starts talking about how much she misses Gina as she coincidentally pops back in during the funeral. The two sluts make up and it seems like we are probably close to the end of the movie.
Warren Beatty comes back with a gun because he pissed and starts shooting up the store. Deb confuses Warren with some psycho babble about God and tells him to put the gun down. Turns out all Warren really wants is to work at the store. Warren’s not really a bad kid since he put blanks in the gun so he’s gonna come back after he gets let out of Juvy.
All the employees start pooling their money after selling some of their stuff and come up with about $3000. Why didn’t they just do this shit at the beginning? Could have saved Joe a lot of heartache. Anyway, Mark comes up with a plan and runs out to jump on the newscast going on outside the store due to Warren’s hold up. Mark invites the viewing public to come down to the store for a getogether. Hell yeah! Party on the roof bitches!
As predicted, a bunch of people come and they raise a bunch of money. In a little twist though, Joe quits his job at Empire Records, avoiding working for the man of Musictown and using the money as capital to open his own store. It looks like a totally rocking party from the 90s, with flannel and torn shirts, Docs, and stringy hair.
Well shit, it’s not over yet. Mitch decides he hates the store and sells it to Joe for $9000 that was just raised. Corey finds AJ on the roof and basically tells him that she loves him and he is special. Guess it’s good that AJ quit the store and is going to attend art school in Boston so he can be near Corey at Harvard. And in the final cue of a 90′s movie, the familiar chords of the Gin Blossoms’ Hear It From You chime in to bring the movie to a close as everyone dances on the roof as I sit here and pout that I’m not there with them and the 90′s are never coming back. Damn it.