Empire Records [1995]

This story about a day in the life of an independent record store, truly a threatened species, screeches with the sound of teenagers falling apart emotionally every five minutes. The script, which feels like an old guy's idea of how kids talk and think, concerns the young employees of a Delaware music shop faced with imminent extinction. While the ship is sinking, the staff indulge in tantrums, depressions, and run-ins with low self-esteem. There's a lot of noise in this thing, but not a lot is really said. Rory Cochrane has the best part as a secretive guy who loses the store's proceeds one night while gambling, Anthony LaPaglia is the adult boss and unofficial dad to the others, Renée Zellweger plays a promiscuous girl, and Liv Tyler is OK as a lovestruck sweet thing trying to get up the nerve to express her feelings to a fellow employee. --Tom Keogh

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