For a film that hardly made a splash during its truncated theatrical run in 1995, Empire Records has gone on to be quite the success. The comedy (with elements of melodrama) chronicles the lives and loves of a group of employees working at an independent record store, trying to keep the business afloat while dealing with their own individual crises. Despite being a box office dud, the film’s oh-so-’90s alt-rock soundtrack was a best-seller, and many members of the film’s stellar cast — including Liv Tyler, Renée Zellweger, and Anthony LaPaglia — went on to bigger and better things. Empire Records was directed by the great Allan Moyle, an underrated Hollywood helmer whose keen understanding of teen life flavored the equally unforgettable films Times Square and Pump Up the Volume.
The most beloved aspect of the film is the character of Rex Manning (Maxwell Caulfield), a pompous, aging teen idol whose in-store autograph appearance at Empire Records causes much excitement and derision among the staff. In the movie, Rex Manning Day is held on April 8th, and given what a cult sensation the film has become — a Broadway musical is currently in the works — it only makes sense that on this date every year fans celebrate the flick and the goofy grooviness of Manning himself. So today and always, may you live your life with swagger and purpose. Rex Manning would want it that way.
Say no more, mon amour.
This article originally ran last year and is being reprinted today in celebration of that eternal teen movie icon, the peerless Rex Manning.