Triple Feature: EMPIRE RECORDS [1995] / HIGH FIDELITY [2000] / (500) DAYS OF SUMMER [2009]

This week's Triple Feature was intended to be three films based in and around "wrecka stows" but as HERC was researching this post he realized two things:

1) Pretty In Pink had already been featured here on The Hideaway and

B) There are more than 100 titles listed in ye olde IMDb with "record store" as a keyword

So HERC decided on House Party 2 to fill in the void left by Pretty In Pink and upon watching the first 20 minutes of that movie, a movie he had seen maybe twice before, decided it wasn't a film he wanted to spotlight.  Even HERC has his standards.  (The original House Party, however, is another story and will be featured soon.)  The third choice turned out to be a winner although it isn't as much of a record store movie per se as the other two films are but in HERC's defense, there is a record store scene and a strong music element running through (500) Days Of Summer.

Taking place in and around a day in the life of employees at a record store, Empire Records is manic fun yet a little depressing and cyncical at times.  The cast  is somewhat engaging, all the cliched characters are represented and it is interesting to look back on the film now, knowing the roles some of the actors and actresses have gone on to portray.  It starts off like this:

Empire Records is a well-intentioned movie but it is a little rough and jittery story-wise to recommend without some reservations although it has earned cult-status with a generation who never got the chance to set foot into a record store.  In 2003, the Remix: Special Fan Edition of the film was released on DVD including previously cut scenes and character Rex Manning's entire music video.  It's rated PG-13 for sex, drugs and rock'n'roll language. The final scene below almost makes it all worth while though the song included on the soundtrack album is not this version:

The soundtrack album doesn't do justice to the music featured in the film but HERC's favorite track from the album is "A Girl Like You" by Edwyn Collins.  Mitchell Lieb is credited as the film's music supervisor.  When HERC sat out to make a playlist of music from the movie he found the playlist below from Spotify user Rhonda Greene which has all the tracks HERC was going to use so enjoy it.

Today's second feature is High Fidelity, one of HERC's Top 10 Favorite Films of All-Time and, as such, really should have it's own entry instead of being lumped in with two other movies.  Maybe another time.  Based on Nick Hornby's terrific 1995 book of the same name, John Cusack and his writing partners, fresh off their work on Grosse Pointe Blank, moved the story from jolly olde England to Chicago, Cusack's home turf, while also changing the name of the lead character from "Rob Fleming" to "Rob Gordon".  Both the film and the book are about music, life and love - the book just does it with a British accent and Brit-centric references. HERC would pay money for a well-done British filmed version as well.

The film's genre is listed as Comdey-Drama but overall it definitely leans towards the funny side of life.  Not to say the drama doesn't rear its ugly little head because it does but after the tears are shed, the story is a positive, uplifting romance plainly written by members of the male persuasion - as opposed to those romantic comedies written by women folk that are often dismissed as "chick flicks."  It is rated R for language and sexuality.  For those of you who don't know HERC as well as you'd like to, watch the scene (above) from the film and then imagine all three of those characters rolled into one and sprinkled with some Texas - that is HERC.

The deleted scene (above) is indicative of the obsessive attention to music minutiae that permeates the book and film.  Cusack and his writing partners each get music supervisor credit on the film as does Kathy Nelson, the Buena Vista/Disney exec who served in a similar capacity on previous Friday Film Fest favorites Grosse Pointe Blank and last week's Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion.  HERC counted in excess of fifty tracks played during the movie while only twelve of them were featured on the officially released soundtrack album.  In an interview with the New York Times at the time of the film's release in 2000, Cusack says they listened to over two-thousand songs before settling on the 70 used in the film.  There are simply too many great songs in this movie not to make a playlist and while there are several fine playlists to be found on Spotify vying to represent the film's complete soundtrack.  HERC felt none of them caught his ear so he humbly tosses his effort into the fray.  Check it out below following this musical interlude from Sonic Death Monkey Barry Jive an dthe Uptown 5:

"You should know up front - this is not a love story."

But yet (500) Days Of Summer kind of is.  It has all the giddy joy of that first meeting, the sweet getting to know them period, those times you take for granted and then all the fighting, the bitterness, the inevitable break-up and the moving on, later learning that every relationship is merely preparation for the next.  If you are a fan of either of the leads in this movie, you should like this movie.  If you ever had a bad break-up, you should like this movie.  In the broadest terms, it is a chick flick for men, written by men who have lived the tale and survived to spread the word about how love hurts and we should be willing to go through it again and again (and again) because that's all we homo sapiens are: creatures of love.  Oh and we like music.  Here's that record store scene:

The non-linear narrative seems to drive certain people bonkers and almost everyone HERC knows claims they saw the ending coming but the truth lies between them and their maker. (500) Days Of Summer is a great little independent PG-13 (sex and language) film with a great supporting cast and a wonderful soundtrack album including this Hall & Oates gem:

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