Okay, so I managed to get through Reality Bites without vomiting and managed to bleach my brain free of images of Stephen Baldwin's naked ass. The next Gen-X film that I put to the test to see if it can survive my verbal beating is Empire Records.
Featuring the stereotypes of the Angsty Punk Chick, the Slutty Girl, the Overachieveing Bookworm, the Zen-Neo Wannabe, the Annoying Stoner, the Sensitive Douchey Artist, the Rockstar Wannabe, the Washed Up Pop Idol and the Frustrated but Lovable Store Manager who looks like he hit the catering table one time too many on the set in between takes.
I know what you're thinking, "Movie Bitch, this movie is shit! How can it be better than Reality Bites and Threesome?" Dear Reader, you are correct in saying that Empire Records is shit, but as I much as I hate to admit it, I actually like this movie. I will have to explain a little bit of the background workings of this film so that people can understand what I'm talking about.
This movie was actually meant to be 40 minutes longer and it was also severely edited in post-production, making the story of the film taking place in one day instead of two, which would've made more sense. Not only that, some of the more interesting scenes in the film were also cut out of the final version in Post-Editing. Essentially, this film had the potential to be a decent comedy at best if the 40 minutes had not been edited out and if the film was not severely edited and mismanaged by the studio.
So sit back, put on your headphones and have some of those special brownies ready because here is the Movie Bitch's take on Empire Records.
The movie starts out with Lucas (Rory Cochrane) closing the store for the first time. He goes into Joe's (Anthony LaPaglia) drawer to grab the money bag so that he can deposit the money when he notices the plans for Empire Records to be turned into a Music Town. Lucas, having the money in his hands decides that the only way he can save Empire Records if he goes to Atlantic City to make his fortune.
"I am the chosen one...whoa."
Okay, taking the store's deposit money to gamble in Atlantic City is not a bright idea at all. In fact it is very stupid. Couldn't he have just waited until the next morning to ask Joe about this and figured that they could throw a bake sale or something? Anyway, Lucas was doing well at the gambling table making more money than he had before until he loses it all.
"Oh shit, I should have taken the Blue Pill."
The next morning A.J. (Johnny Whitworth) and Mark (Ethan Embry) find Lucas passed out on his motorcycle. They both quickly realize that Lucas has fucked big time and when Joe asks them about the missing money, Mark and A.J. pretend like they know nothing about it. To make matters worse, it's Rex Manning Day at the store in which all of the employees in the record store are not excited to meet him except for Corey (Liv Tyler, the hot Elf from The Lord of the Rings franchise and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith's daughter). Of course Corey plans to lose her virginity to him and her BFF, Gina (a much hotter version of Renee Zewellger) encourages Corey in her pursuit.
Okay, here are a few things that are wrong in that sentence. Number 1, I would not advise anyone to lose their virginity to some douche they don't know very well, let alone being some washed up pop singer. I am looking at you Rick Astley. Number 2, Rex Manning is not that good looking. I mean if I were to lose my virginity to a musician or a band it would have to be these guys...
If possible, I would love to have sex with all four of them at the same time. The Movie Bitch can only dream.
Mitchell Beck (Ben Bode), the music store's owner, arrives to pick up the money, but Joe buys him and everyone else time by giving him the bag full of receipts. Deb (Robin Tunney), another employee arrives at the same time as this is occurring. She quickly walks into the bathroom and shaves off all of her hair.
To be fair, the Sinead O'Connor look was in at the time, the 90's were a very confusing decade apparently.
After Deb walks out of the bathroom, A.J. notices that she has bandages around her wrist and admits to him that she tried to kill herself. It's also revealed later on that Berko (Coyote Shivers) another employee and local (presumably crappy) musician has broken up with Deb, although she "claims" that her suicide attempt had nothing to do with the breakup. Great, this chick is the reason why we have a bunch of whiny emo kids making shitty music.
Also there is some kid named Warren (Brendon Sexton III) that was apprehended by Lucas for shoplifting some pretty shitty music, but he won't be important until later on.
Anyway, Rex "Douchebag" Manning comes in to the store and pretty much treats everyone like shit. Corey demands that she serves Rex his lunch and gets to since Joe is afraid of her banshee yell. So Corey decides to seduce Rex as she is giving him lunch by taking off her top.
This is the kind of thing LOTR Fanboys have been waiting for. Peter Jackson is such as cocktease.
Of course Rex makes a crude pass at her and Corey runs away crying in embarrassment.
Once again, she would have had a much better time with Depeche Mode...wait, what the fuck am I saying! Fuck Corey! These guys are my Happy Ending!
While Corey is depressed, A.J. who has the worst timing in the world, tells Corey that he loves her though Corey is unable to process the information because she is forever mentally scarred by Douchebag Manning.
Later on, Corey confronts Gina and tells her that she is nothing like her and she doesn't need to be sexual to attract guys. Offended and hurt, Gina sets out to hurt Corey by seducing Douchebag Manning.
By singing a song from Chicago as Roxy Hart!
Gina finally seduces Rex to the horror of all of her friends and the viewer because seriously, that guy must have like what Crabs or Syphilis or something or maybe Gonorrhea. Anyway, A.J. punches Douchebag (finally) but Douchebag hits him back. Then some more Gen-X melodrama bullshit goes down as Gina reveals that Corey has a speed habit and Corey calls Gina a slut and has a mental breakdown. Of course Joe sends Gina home to calm down and Deb surprisingly actually comforts and takes pity on Corey, while she's pissing on a toilet...real classy Deb.
In order to repay Deb's kindness, Corey decides to hold a mock funeral for Deb (yep, Deb is the one responsible for the emo shit that's going around). Everyone says nice things about Deb and Lucas reveals that Joe rescued him from the orphanage as a teenager and to repay Joe he took a job at the record store. Deb then says that she tried to kill herself using a disposable razor with a moisture strip, typical emo kid.
Then Warren, (remember him) comes in with a gun to hold up the store and Deb stops him by distracting him.
With great baldness, comes great responsibility.
Joe then tells Warren that the reason why he came back was identified with everyone in the store and felt a kinship with them. Joe offers Warren a job, only if temporary as Lucas and Joe are ready to admit defeat until Mark gets a bright idea. He runs outside to the news reporter that is covering the robbery live and announces that there will be a benefit party to help save the store.
Mark's idea of a party involves Special Brownies, screaming like a maniac and acting just plain fucking awesome.
So the block party goes off without a hitch, the gang raise enough money to save the store and A.J. and Corey finally get together and everyone else pretty much gets laid. The fucking End.
So how does this movie fare compared to Threesome and Reality Bites? The movie still sucks, but it is incredibly endearing and charming in it's own right. I mean this film had the potential to be a decent comedy, but because the studios intervened and edited the crap out of this film, the film became an example of wasted potential, meaning that it could have been a great film if you let the director have more control of the editing process.
Of course the plot was predictable and pretty hard to follow considering that there were so many fucking storylines tossed in together that had to be resolved in one day which made the film seemed rushed and poorly put together. If it had spanned to two days as opposed to one, the film would have been more plausible and would've made more sense.
The acting in this film was a hit or miss. The young actors in the film were great, but I couldn't say the same thing for LaPaglia's performance. He seemed to be doing it just for the paycheck. Of course some of the actors, notably Cochrane, Tunney, Embry, Tyler, Zellwegger and LaPaglia went on to achieve greater fame and success.
The music in this film is fan-fucking-tastic and could easily rival Singles and most other films any day of the week. In fact, the soundtrack and the music in the film is actually the only thing that saved Empire Records from receiving a more verbal ass beating from me.
Still, this movie could have been great and we would have seen a small glimpse of future emo whiny bitch in training Spiderman Tobey Maguire, had his scene had not been cut out along with the rest of the 40 minutes of the film. Ladies and Gentlemen this is what happens when a somewhat decent premise for a teen comedy gets in the hands of idiot studio heads, this is an example of Wasted Potential.
My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm the Movie Bitch...Because somebody has to be.
Stay Sassy Planet Earth!
By the way, what the fuck is up with Renee Zellwegger's arms in this scene?