7 Reasons Why ‘Empire Records' is Still Damn Good!

Though it wasn’t a huge hit when initially released, Empire Records has gone on to become a cult hit. I was really young when it was first released in theaters in 1995. I wasn’t even in high school yet. I remember seeing the previews on TV, and the news stories about how Robin Tunney cut all of her hair off completely in one take during the filming. Perhaps that was the only big buzz about it, as critics panned it. I happened to see it late one night on cable during my high school insomniac years.

Regardless of what the haters said, Empire Records was fun, adorable and has cheered me up when I needed it. I have become friends with people who happened to mention liking the movie! There are countless gifs and Tumblr pages dedicated to it. And yes, I can quote probably the whole film. “Lucas, what are you doing in here?” Here are my reasons why you should watch it, because it’s still damn good!

1. A.J. & Corey


This is the classic tale of girl and boy who are best friends and work in the same place. Boy falls for girl, girl’s in love with semi-famous washed-up singer and hilarity ensues. Corey tries to throw herself at said washed-up singer, Rex Manning, and is disgusted by him. A.J., who absolutely has terrible timing, tries to tell a crying Corey that he’s in love with her. Poor kid. She only thinks of him as a friend!

2. Happy Rex Manning Day!

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I can’t tell you how many times I thought about celebrating Rex Manning Day – not to celebrate the character of Rex Manning, because let’s face it, he was a total jerk! Still, the day that Rex Manning came to Empire Records to sign autographs is the day that A.J. finally told Corey that he loved her! It’s the day of Deb’s faux funeral! It was also the day that Eddie brought Mark some “special brownies”.


3. The Soundtrack

The movie takes place in a record store, so of course there’s music over almost every single scene! Remember when everyone loved the Gin Blossoms? “Til I Hear It From You” is featured predominantly. Also on the soundtrack, The Cranberries, Cracker, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You”. Okay, maybe you don’t 100% remember all of these bands, but trust me, the soundtrack really helped make the movie.

4. Damn the Man, Save the Empire!


The gang finds out the store is being turned into a MusicTown! Oh no! So goofy stoner Mark decides to throw a huge party and invite everyone in the area to come on down to save the empire! People start buying up everything in site, and Berko’s band, with Gina as the lead singer, performs on the roof.

5. Everyone learns a lesson… sort of

Gina learns that she doesn’t have to sleep with every guy to be taken seriously. I think that’s what she learned. Everyone learns that Corey is taking speed to stay awake and study and get good grades. She learns she shouldn’t be… well, that’s not exactly talked about after the big reveal. Deb learns to love herself… I think? And Corey learns what true love is. Okay, perhaps there are a few plot holes in there.


6. The Actors


Who didn’t fall in love with Ethan Embry as Mark? How cute was this clueless character? He started a band with the same name, only spelled Marc. Liv Tyler was adorable as the Harvard-bound Corey! Renee Zellweger was Gina, the boy-crazy clerk and Corey’s best friend! Robin Tunney, who’s awesome in everything (remember The Craft?!) is there, too. Johnny Whitworth is the lovable artist A.J. who just seems to be having a rough go of it. He’s brooding and smart and you can’t help but to feel sorry for him! Also in the cast, a young Tobey Maguire, or so I heard. I even looked in the “Fan Remix” DVD re-release and I still can’t find him! If you’ve seen him in this film, comment below please!

7. Poor Lucas


He wasn’t supposed to leave the couch. When he did, it was to chase after shoplifter Warren (whose real name we never found out). He thought he was doing a good thing by stealing money from the store and going to gamble it in Atlantic City. He thought he could stop Empire Records from becoming a MusicTown. If you haven’t seen the movie and want to know how it actually ends (did it become a Music Town?) then I’m not going to totally spoil it for you!


Gifs via Tumblr

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1341673895 Alicia Pierce

    According to Tobey Maguire’s Wikipedia, he was released from Empire Records and all his scenes were deleted for the final cut.

    • http://angiegracela.blogspot.com Angie Grace

      Wow! Thank you! I was unaware that would’ve been on Wikipedia!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25804758 Kristin Carnes

        There is a scene…..I’m trying to remember which one……I think when Corey goes outside behind the store to talk to AJ while he’s sketching a picture of her. I remember reading somewhere that you can spot TM skateboarding in the background. I don’t know for sure if that’s true.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000920807036 Angie Grace

          I’ll have to go watch that scene again!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636789225 Alycia Lourim

        and too bad I didn’t see this sooner before I posted my comment hahah thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1673770832 Jessica Wylie

    I haven’t seen this movie in a long time, I just remembered I found it largely unfinished.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=50102819 Jennie McKeon
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=50102819 Jennie McKeon
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25804758 Kristin Carnes

    This is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Thanks for the post!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25804758 Kristin Carnes

    This is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501414098 Tina Lynn

    THIS IS MY FAV THING EVER! I AM SO GLAD SOMEONE ELSE LOVES EMPIRE!!! I was 8 years old when this came out and LOVED IT. I aspired to work at a record store for almost all my teen life because of this here film!!!!!!! My fav character was Warren, the shoplifter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000920807036 Angie Grace

      I began working at a record store in Chicago because of this film! I’m glad so many others love this film too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636789225 Alycia Lourim

    I just went on imdbpro and tobey maguire’s character name is andre but then right next to his character name it says “(Deleted Scenes)” so unless they put those deleted scenes on one of the dvds as a special feature we will never know :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10034404 Sarah Rhea Reveles

    This is one of my top favorite movies (it’s a battle between it and Dirty Dancing). My favorite scene (if I had to choose) is when Berko’s band performs and Gina joins in. LOVE IT!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001577495731 Chelsea Walters

    I love reading about how others love my favorite movie! I can watch it any time and it never gets old!

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