|(Photo source: Matt Ranzetta)|
During the week Record Store Day 2010 took place, I live-tweeted Empire Records, which is set at a record store and seems to turn up on cable at least once every week. The movie is at its best when it pokes fun at washed-up soap stars/pop singers and sticks to being a relaxed comedy about working at a record store. At its worst, Empire Records is like a lousy and overdramatic Canadian teen soap that wouldn't look out of place on TeenNick.
Today is Record Store Day 2011, so I'm reposting my tweets about Empire Records.
(If you're not reading this on Record Store Day, this live-tweet recap can function as textual commentary that you can refer to while Empire Records is playing on TV. Sometimes, a certain movie I like will turn up on TV, and I want to see what someone else wrote about the movie, so I'll open an article or Wikipedia entry or IMDb trivia page about the movie that I had saved onto my laptop.)
Frigging Rex Manning Day. In a few minutes, I'm live-tweeting the #EmpireRecords: Remix! Special Fan Edition DVD, which came out in 2003.
I'm a few minutes late. I'm on SuperStation TBS time.
The Warner logo means the #EmpireRecords: Remix! Special Fan Edition live-tweet starts now. Why live-tweet a DVD that dropped 7 years ago?
#EmpireRecords has things in it I like (particularly some of the songs and the fake Rex Manning music) and things I can't stand.
The things I can't stand during #EmpireRecords (or as I like to call the film, Car Wash for alt-rockers) make it worthy of a live-tweet.
When I started writing the webcomic The Palace, which is set at an indie theater, I told myself I must avoid the cliches of #EmpireRecords.
The movie is an example of fun premise/sloppy execution (all that shit happens to the staffers in one day?).
The movie flings dramatic crises at you with all the precision of a chimp flinging his poop at zoo-goers.
This is the kind of movie where dunking a teen's head in the sink will make her diet pill addiction magically disappear.
The midnight customer lady says, "Ugh, I couldn't look at Letterman's face for another second." Must be a fucking Leno fan.
"Ugh, I couldn't look at Letterman's face for another second." I bet she masturbates over Leno's freakish-looking chin.
Though he's much funnier than Leno, Letterman's no prize either. 11:35 network TV show hosting is for ugly rich people.
I like the soundtracks of Allan Moyle's movies more than the movies themselves.
"A Girl Like You" from the #EmpireRecords CD was my theme tune for when I tried to spit game at some hot UCSC neighbor chick in 1995.
I'm the Edwyn Collins of skirtchasing. I'm a one-hit wonder.
Rory Cochrane's Zen troublemaker Lucas is one of the few movie characters who can pull off a Spock haircut.
As the opening credits roll, I have no idea which scenes Warner Bros. added to the theatrical cut in 2003.
I think one of the added scenes is Lucas weeping for V'Ger as he would for a brother.
Hey, it's Carey Mulligan. Woops, nope, my bad. It's a young Ethan Embry.
Ethan Embry from Showtime's Brotherhood (back when he was known as Ethan Randall) plays Shaggy, uh, I mean, Mark.
Showtime's Brotherhood. I think I bought an EP release by that band once.
Showtime's Brotherhood sounds like some band that once opened for Jane's Addiction or... K's Choice or... Eve's Plum.
Hard to believe that Mark and the cop in Brotherhood were played by the same guy.
Liv Tyler's car scene is shot to look exactly like her Aerosmith video with Alicia Silverstone, in case we forget who Liv is.
I like how Anthony LaPaglia doesn't give a shit about A.J.'s problems. It's Jack Malone: The Record Store Years.
Jack Malone was an undercover Fed who posed as Joe, a Delaware record store owner, before he transferred to Missing Persons.
Agent Malone's assignment was to investigate why Delaware record store employees keep dancing and never seem to do any work.
A.J. shouts, "A little bit of focus would make me very happy!" That's also what I said about the 2nd half of this movie.
The narrative in #EmpireRecords is often interrupted by overlong footage of what Dave Chappelle would call "white people dancin'."
The writer of #EmpireRecords based it on a Tower Records she used to work at. I don't remember seeing the Tower clerks dance all the time.
Not even the clerks at laid-back Streetlight Records here in the Bay Area are this peppy or fond of air-guitaring.
High Fidelity's Championship Vinyl is what a real indie record store looks like. #EmpireRecords is a record store straight outta Disneyland.
Where's the clerk who laughs at customers' music choices?
Where are the clerks who yak at length about how bitter they still are about Glenn Danzig not being cast as Wolverine?
Although Tower was the basis for #EmpireRecords, it's portrayed as the enemy and renamed Music Town. The facade is red/yellow like Tower's.
Tower is also a villain in Treme. Its pilot has a funny subplot in which Steve Zahn fights Tower to get his band's CDs back.
Maxwell Caulfield's character Rex Manning is like a white--and straight--Ricky Martin. Hey, they even got the same initials.
In #EmpireRecords' alternate universe, "Say No More" is like "Livin' La Vida Loca" in 1999. You can't hide your ears from the motherfucker!
Liv Tyler resembles Unhappily Ever After-era Nikki Cox during the scene when she's dancing to "Say No More."
All that's missing is the audience of drunken sailors who were bused in to the studio to holla at Nikki Cox.
Anthony LaPaglia says to Ethan Embry, "Mark, could you please not sing?" Mark, could you please try not to be funny?
Mark is the stoner version of the Martian comic relief from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians who tries too hard to be wacky.
Cochrane is the funniest actor in the movie. "Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear."
It's as if Cochrane came from a different, wittier movie. He's like the basketball coach who's too witty to be in Teen Wolf.
Lucas doesn't get fired for gambling away $9000 of #EmpireRecords' money. Good thing Joe doesn't fire Lucas. He's the only funny character.
Aw yeah, "Romeo & Juliet" by Dire Straits. Because this is #EmpireRecords, we're given only 30 seconds to savor the tune.
The ballet dancer customer who's getting checked out by Mark during the Dire Straits sequence looks like Maria McKee.
The Maria McKee/Lone Justice track "Ways to Be Wicked" is a great forgotten driving-with-the-top-down song from the '80s.
Lone Justice is also known for "Shelter." Let me be your shelter, shelter from the annoying Mark, Maria McKee lookalike.
Lone Justice's "Ways to Be Wicked" has nothing to do with #EmpireRecords, but it's a cool fucking song: http://bit.ly/KbZP3
The ballet dancer is played by Maxwell Caulfield's stepdaughter from his marriage to Juliet Mills.
I want the Devo hat lampshade that's behind Lucas when Joe tells him he should have come to him for help.
Robin Tunney, who plays Deb, cuts off her hair to the tune of "Free" by the Martinis. The #EmpireRecords song list: http://bit.ly/cneIj2
The Martinis was co-founded by TV composer Joey Santiago, the Pinoy member of the Pixies. "Free": http://bit.ly/DWE6O
The Pixies get mentioned in closing credits dialogue between Eddie the pizzaboy and Mark about bands they dig and hate.
One day, Britney Spears saw Robin Tunney shave off her hair, and a Cheetos-stained lightbulb popped up over her head.
Too bad Deb didn't lower that electric shaver and work on her armpits as well.
One of the lamest moments in #EmpireRecords is Liv Tyler's boring floppy-haired love interest referring to Mr. Miyagi as Chinese.
Miyagi is Japanese, you emo dipshit who told the barber, "Dude, make me look like a greasy, post-Eight Is Enough Adam Rich."
Because of his line about Miyagi, I got a kick out of seeing Johnny Whitworth get bitchslapped and killed in 3:10 to Yuma.
There are some pretty awful Gen-X hairdos in this flick (exhibit A: A.J.). Speaking of Gen-Xers: http://onion.com/9tDHch
That Simpsons episode that flashed back to Homer and Marge as Gen-Xers must have turned to this movie for fashion ideas.
See, kids, the thing that the pizzaboy handed to Mark is called a cassette. No, you can't plug it in to your MacBook, silly.
"Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first music video MTV played. I'm looking forward to "Internet Killed the Video Star."
"Internet Killed the Video Star" will then be followed by "Holobands Killed the Internet Star."
Is Rex Manning a jab at Richard Marx? The fans who show up for Rex Manning Day were probably also into Richard Marx.
I have no clue who Justin Bieber is, other than he's a trending topic and he has a Rex Manning-like future ahead of him.
I can't name any of Bieber's songs. Whenever he performed on SNL last week, I would change the channel to Austin City Limits.
I flicked to Austin City Limits and pretended Kings of Leon was Tina's musical guest. That's how interested I am in Bieber.
Shh! It's my favorite scene. Renee Zellweger dances around in nothing but a Music Town apron and black panties.
Dave Chappelle's Trading Spouses character said, "Who the hell is Renee Zell-weh-jer?" That the hell is Renee Zell-weh-jer.
Or rather WAS Renee Zell-weh-jer. She isn't aging as gracefully as Liv Tyler is.
I would love to see some chick turn the Renee Zellweger Music Town apron into a Halloween costume someday.
Great understated bit of comic acting by Cochrane as he reacts to Gina in the apron and covers Warren the shoplifter's eyes.
"Hey Rex, what happened to your hair?" Hey Debi Mazar, what happened to your hair?
With the red pixie cut, Debi Mazar looks like she's auditioning to be the white member of the Mary Jane Girls.
Debi Mazar plays a record label publicist who secretly hates Rex. Her publicist character on Entourage is far less timid.
I want to see Mazar's Entourage character get into a filthy insult duel with Peter Capaldi's spin doctor from In the Loop.
The #EmpireRecords cast includes 3 future stars of CBS procedurals: Without a Trace's Anthony LaPaglia, The Mentalist's Robin Tunney and...
... Rory Cochrane. He went on to briefly co-star with David Caruso's sunglasses on CSI: Miami.
I'm not sure what the amount of future CBS procedural actors in the cast says about #EmpireRecords. Maybe they were looking for a corpse...
... without realizing that the corpse was #EmpireRecords itself. The movie sat on Warner Bros.' shelf and then died at the box office.
I know, Without a Trace was a missing persons show, not a whodunit like Mentalist & CSI, but for the purposes of that joke...
Ethan Embry was also a regular on a procedural, but this one aired on ABC: Ed O'Neill's surprisingly not-so-crappy Dragnet.
I liked the O'Neill Dragnet more than the Dragnet everyone else grew up on because unlike Jack Webb, O'Neill can act.
I liked how nobody on Dick Wolf's Dragnet read their lines off cue cards like on the Jack Webb version.
Having O'Neill partner up with his Dutch co-star Embry was a nice touch. So was Mike Post's update of the Dragnet theme.
The quality of O'Neill's Dragnet didn't last though. It became unwatchable when it changed its title to L.A. Dragnet.
L.A. Dragnet? WTF, Dick Wolf? That's like if one day, he decided to change Law & Order's title to N.Y. Law & Order...
... or if CBS decided to change the title of its new Hawaii Five-0 remake to Hawaiian Hawaii Five-0.
A.J. weirds out Corey with "I love you." Michael Showalter's lovesick Wet Hot American Summer character was a parody of A.J.
Any scene between Johnny Whitworth's A.J. and Liv Tyler's Corey is always a good time for me to go clean out my e-mail.
Caring about the romance in #EmpireRecords is like watching Caddyshack just to see if Michael O'Keefe will win over the chick from Ireland.
#EmpireRecords director Allan Moyle also made Pump Up the Volume, which features an odd appearance by a Wonder Years babe-turned-porn star.
The most interesting thing about Pump Up the Volume is that the pregnant teen was played by future Tiger Woods penis cozy Holly Sampson.
My 2 favorite tracks from the #EmpireRecords album--"A Girl Like You" and the Cranberries' "Liar"--are back-to-back in the movie.
Edwyn Collins shot two "A Girl Like You" videos. They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh directed one of them: http://bit.ly/aZk7wV
The full version of the great fake pop song "Say No More": http://bit.ly/wuh6Z. "Say No More" wasn't included on the #EmpireRecords album.
Soundtrack albums that don't contain many of the songs I liked hearing in the movie are annoying (#EmpireRecords, GoodFellas).
"Say No More" is a dead-on parody of washed-up soap actors-turned-pop singers, right down to Rex's puffy shirt.
#EmpireRecords must've been temp-tracked with Beastie Boys joints. Rex Manning gets thrown out to the tune of a "Johnny Ryall" soundalike.
#EmpireRecords is one caffeine pill away from turning into a very special Saved by the Bell.
Aw Christ, the Renee Zellweger/Liv Tyler screaming match is more OTT than Elizabeth Berkley's "I'm So Excited" meltdown.
If Liv Tyler performed her screaming match with Zellweger in Elvish, the Elvish still wouldn't save the scene from sucking.
#EmpireRecords is an incredibly bipolar movie. Many of its characters act like it too.
Amazon.com's #EmpireRecords review is spot-on: the film "screeches with the sound of teenagers falling apart emotionally every 5 minutes."
From Google Health's page on bipolar disorder: "Periods of excitability (mania) alternating with periods of depression"?
"The 'mood swings' between mania and depression can be very abrupt"? Yep, that describes #EmpireRecords to a tee.
Perhaps bipolar isn't even the right word to describe #EmpireRecords' constant changes in tone. It's more like quintupolar.
By the way, what the hell is up with that expression "describes it to a tee"? That expression makes no sense.
Robin Tunney's delivery of "Oh Rexy, stop that! You're so sexy!" is amusing. Funniest bald chick since Shorty Robe Ilia.
"You are the Kirk Unit." How does an actress say that with a straight face?
The no-longer-bald stand-up comic Rene Hicks was a pretty funny bald lady too.
Tracy Morgan does a dead-on Chewbacca. He also recently did a hilarious impression of Dr. Zaius on Letterman.
I don't know if Tracy Morgan's ever seen Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but...
... I'd like to see Tracy Morgan add the Ilia probe to his repertoire of '60s/'70s sci-fi character impressions.
Mark wolfs down Eddie's pot brownies and laughs it up as he imagines himself jamming on TV with GWAR.
Pot brownies can help make unfunny things funnier, like this GWAR/brownies sequence. Or According to Jim. Or Mind of Mencia.
Or Glenn Beck comedy tours. On second thought, maybe not even pot brownies could help make them entertaining.
Eddie the Henry Rollins-hating pizzaboy is one of the few #EmpireRecords characters who's not recycled from an '80s teen flick.
Most of the #EmpireRecords characters don't discuss their musical tastes, so it's a relief to hear Eddie drop knowledge about Eric Clapton.
Eddie, who's played by James "Kimo" Wills, actually sounds like someone I'd find working in an indie record store.
There's a funny @The_AV_Club article about movie and TV characters with unconvincing musical tastes: http://bit.ly/aZi4KO
One good thing about #EmpireRecords is that it doesn't have Eddie express some out-of-nowhere love for Hootie & the Blowfish or something.
#EmpireRecords was originally written to take place over 2 days, but they got squished into one. No wonder this movie makes little sense.
#EmpireRecords is like the chick in the Elvis Costello song "Episode of Blonde." It has the attention span of warm cellophane.
As #EmpireRecords squeezes in dramatic crisis after dramatic crisis, I feel like Mel Brooks at the start of High Anxiety.
Instead of "What a dramatic airport!," it's "What a dramatic independent record store!"
An #EmpireRecords dramatic scene that's actually not terrible is Deb at her "funeral," quietly deciding not to try to kill herself anymore.
The mock funeral is clearly a shout-out to Robert Altman's M*A*S*H.
Speaking of Altman, Liv Tyler went on to give what's perhaps her best performance so far in Cookie's Fortune.
The fake funeral in the middle of the day makes no sense. I thought Rex Manning Day's supposed to the busiest day of the yr.
Despite making no sense, Deb's fake funeral is genuinely amusing. Deb gets annoyed by how self-absorbed her "mourners" are.
Tyra from Friday Night Lights has a lot in common with Gina. Both are trampy blondes who don't want to turn into their moms.
WARNING: Warren the shoplifter's Johnny Rotten-like screechy voice may frighten canine viewers.
On the couch, Renee Zellweger is sitting on Liv Tyler's lap. Is this heading towards a lingerie pillow fight? I hope so.
This movie would be shorter if the townspeople used Twitter to spread the word about the store-saving midnight concert.
#EmpireRecords was my 1st exposure to Renee Zellweger. When Jerry Maguire dropped, I was like, "It's the apron chick from #EmpireRecords."
I've actually never seen Jerry Maguire, even though I bought a widescreen VHS of Jerry Maguire 11 years ago.
VHS was where #EmpireRecords found its cult after a theatrical run that shouldn't even be called a release. It was more like a silent fart.
Hal Sparks-ish Evil Corporate Exec from Music Town says one of the movie's best lines: "Doesn't anybody work in this store?"
Zellweger's performance of "Sugar High" on the rooftop is another highlight of #EmpireRecords. No lip-synching-to-Marni Nixon shit here.
Coyote Shivers is best known for "Sugar High" and getting slapped with restraining orders by his ex--Abby from NCIS.
Coyote Shivers' douchey treatment of Pauley Perrette is diminishing my enjoyment of "Sugar High."
Abusing and stalking Abby from NCIS is like clubbing a baby seal. A Gothy, studded dog collar-wearing baby seal.
Wow. @smush21 of @GraceNMichelle recreates Renee Zellweger's outfit and sings "Sugar High": http://bit.ly/9utUo0
Tobey Maguire, who's listed in the credits but was deleted from #EmpireRecords' theatrical cut, isn't found in this 2003 "Remix" either.
This 2003 version of #EmpireRecords is 17 minutes longer than the 1995 version, yet they weren't able to squeeze in Spider-Man?
Maybe Maguire had a crying scene that's as awful as his Spider-Man 3 crying scenes. Maybe that's why he remains deleted from #EmpireRecords.
The Tobey Maguire footage that we all want to see isn't even included in the DVD's deleted scenes.
The deleted scenes contain more of Maxwell Caulfield as Rex and establish that he once was like the Coyote Shivers character.
In the deleted footage, Rex redeems himself and gets his street cred back by jamming with Coyote Shivers.
I'll now describe Rex's regained street cred in rap history terms without sounding like a dumbass like Michael Steele.
Rex is LL Cool J, and his deleted midnight concert scene is his Mama Said Knock You Out moment after losing his street cred.
The Gin Blossoms' "Til I Hear It from You" was co-written by Marshall Crenshaw? I did not know that. That's weird wild stuff.
For some reason, I thought Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne co-wrote "Til I Hear It from You."
"Til I Hear It from You" is a pop song I'm kind of ashamed to admit I like.
My text commentary continues for a few minutes after the credits ended. I guess this is like the Fast Times DVD commentrak.
It looks like #EmpireRecords director Allan Moyle was trying to make a freewheeling Altman flick for Gen-Xers...
... but the different sections (ooh, it's an Afterschool Special about drugs... ooh, now it's on suicide) don't gel together.
There's a much better Altman-esque flick for Gen-Xers that also starred Rory Cochrane. It's called Dazed and Confused.
Even though Dazed and Confused is set in the '70s, it's very much a Gen-Xer film.
The dramatic conflicts in Dazed and Confused feel much less forced. I almost forgot that Renee Zellweger is also in D&C.
As a shout-out to Cochrane and Zellweger's earlier film, a store register had a Dazed and Confused bumper sticker on it.
The register with the Dazed and Confused sticker was behind Warren the shoplifter while he waved his gun around.
Rent Dazed and Confused instead of #EmpireRecords if you haven't seen either film. The drinking games you can play during D&C are the shit.
After the "Drink when Wiley Wiggins touches his nose" game during Dazed and Confused, you'll be dead from alcohol poisoning.
End of #EmpireRecords live-tweet. Damn the man. Drop by afistfulofsoundtracks.blogspot.com for the live-tweet recap.
(Empire Records photo sources: Fanpop, SEMI)