Rex Manning Day: 5 Reasons To Watch Empire Records (1995)

Rex Manning Day: 5 Reasons To Watch Empire Records (1995)

All Things Film Blog The Blogs

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons, WHY it deserves your time!

 

The Plot: Empire Records is a 1995 American coming of age film that follows a group of record store employees over the course of one exceptional day. The employees try to stop the store from being sold to a large chain, and learn about each other along the way.

 

#1: Introducing…
…Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney, Renee Zellweger, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth (okay so I’m struggling a LITTLE bit at this point), Debi Mazar.  Okay maybe not all their first roles but certainly the one that broke big a lot of future stars.  Add a few veterans like LaPaglia & Caulfield and you have a grade A awesome cast, all in top form.

 

#2: Soundtrack
Empire Records lives on in my iPhone almost daily.  From American rock to Edwin Star, from GWAR (thankfully not on the OST release) to The Cranberries… the soundtrack just captured a time and a film almost perfectly.

 

#3: It’s Cool
I was 20 when I first saw this film.  I wanted give up University and go and work in a record shop.  I wanted to be AJ. I want dot have friends like those in Empire.  I wanted to get Liv Tyler’s heart and then perform on the roof top of my record shop. And if a film can make you want to do THAT it must be pretty special, right?

 

#4: We Love an Underdog…
Much like we do for the characters in Empire Records, we tend to find ourselves routing for the underdogs in real life. So whilst Empire Records film flopped on it’s cinematic release, making just quarter of a million dollars its two-week theatrical run, it quickly became a cult classic.  It just shows box office doesn’t mean everything…

 

#5: Rex Manning Day
Seriously Rex Manning day is now a thing.  8th April every year. Really.  #rexmanningday

 

The Trailer

 

Phil Hobden

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Chasing Amy (1997)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Chasing Amy (1997)

Other Cr*p

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!

The Plot: Holden and Banky are comic book artists. Everything’s going good for them until they meet Alyssa, also a comic book artist. Holden falls for her, but his hopes are crushed when he finds out she’s gay.

#1: Can you think of ANY other film that remakes the injury compression scene with Jaws with sex injuries? 

#2: It’s Kevin Smiths most Mature film
Okay yes so thats not saying much but still this was probably Kevin Smith’s most intellectual and well made work.

#3: Silent Bob
Yup Silent Bob, Smiths alter ago, smashes it out of the park with what is whats of the films best scenes.

#4: The Cast…
Yup Smith always had an eye for talent and here is no different.  Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams – they all shine.  It reminded you of just how good Afflect could be in-between a period of pretty poor films.  (Gigi I’m looking at you…)

#5: It’s REALLY funny.  And Rude. And Funny.
Smith, before poop monsters and his obsession with himself got in the way, used to write really funny films.  This is no different.  Chasing Amy is really funny.  

 

The Trailer

 

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: The Shield (TV)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: The Shield (TV)

Other Cr*p

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film TV show that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!

The Plot:
The Shield is the story of an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct where some of the cops aren’t above breaking the rules or working against their associates to both keep the streets safe and their self-interests intact.

 

#1: Vic Mackey
Simply put one of the best TV characters ever created and easily on par with Tony Soprano and  Walter White.  Layered, conflicted and uncompromising, Michael Chiklis central performance was frequently, and cruelly, overlooked by the Emmys and other award shows in the states.  It’s sublime.

#2: The Style…
The Shield had a style unlike most polished network shows of the time.  Mixing formats, handheld and raw – it was literally in your face Television.  The camera moved and chased it’s subjects, it was jerky, not always in the right place at the right time… it was unlike anything on TV at the time (or maybe even since).  It gave The Shield a style unique to its own that has never been bettered.

#3: Glen Close (and the cast in general)
Pretty much all the cast have gone on to other things but few will better their time on The Shield (with the exception of Walton Goggins who gets better and better with every performance).   But it was when season 4 introduced Glen Close for a season long arc that took the show to the next level.  Close was still an A-list movie actor at the time and it spoke highly that she’d committed to a TV show like this.  She knocks did out the park and her and Chiklis helped bring the show to a new level.

#4: It was screened on some Random Channel 5 Sub-Station…
Yup The Shield was buried in the UK on some random crappy Channel 5 station at some god awful time of the night which meant that no-one  saw it.  But then so were Sons Of Anarchy and Justified (two other bloody amazing shows that no one saw).  But what it means is you will be in a unique subset of people who have seen what I rate as my favourite TV show of all time.

 

#5: Those Twists…
The Shield was NEVER afford to throw you a curve ball and it did on several occasions, not least in the first and last episodes.  One of the few TV shows to ever make me scream “No” (well until the Red Wedding that is!).  Game Of Thrones made that kind of thing the norm, but The Shield was one of the first to do it and do it so well.

 

The Trailer

 

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Breakdown (1997)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Breakdown (1997)

Other Cr*p Top 5

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!


The Plot: 
A man (Kurt Russell) searches for his missing wife after his car breaks down in the middle of the desert.


#1: That Plot
Seriously they take a story that can be summed up in less thirty words and make one of the best, little seen thrillers of the 90’s. That takes some story telling skills and belies the directors later career as Temporary Killer Of The Terminator Franchise.


#2: J T Walsh
Now if you weren’t a child of the 80’s or 90’s you probably have no idea who JT Walsh is as he sadly passed away around the release of Breakdown.  Walsh was a top notch character actor and plays Breakdown’s antagonist. And he’s brilliant, a perfect foil to Kurt Russell – cold, calculating and mean.  Walsh was a great actor and sadly missed.  Check out his performances in films like Sling Blade, A Few Good Men, Red Rock West, Good Morning Vietnam and many more

 

#3: It’s 93 Minutes…
In a era of film where everything has to be over two hours long, bloated and  frankly overblown, Breakdown represents the pinnacle of tight, lean, explosive genre story telling.  And is all the better for it…


#4: Stunts… Mad Max Style
George Miller got props for his stunt work on Mad Max Fury Road and whilst this isn’t to that level, the films practice FX and stunt work hark back to a time when CGI was still expensive and sparingly used.


#5: Kurt Russell
Yup.  THE genre star of the 80’s and 90’s…

 

The Trailer

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Boiler Room (2000)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Boiler Room (2000)

Other Cr*p Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!

 

The Plot: Welcome to the infamous “boiler room” — where twenty something millionaires are made overnight. Here, in the inner sanctum of a fly-by-night brokerage firm, hyper-aggressive young stock jocks peddle to unsuspecting buyers over the phone — and are rewarded with mansions, Ferraris and more luxury toys than they know what to do with. In this unassuming Long Island enclave, Gen Xers chase the green at breakneck speeds, sometimes one step ahead of the law.

 

#1: The Cast
Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck, Scott Caan, Tom Everett Scott and Jamie Kennedy.  Yup all in various early stages of their careers, Boiler Room delivers A-List before they were A-list.   And everyone shines… 

#2: THIS Scene…

#3: You want More Wolf Of Wall Street…
Okay so it’s like the Wolf’s younger cousin, much smaller scale and intimate, but if Wolf turn you on to financial crime films or anti heroes then this one is for sure right up your street!

#4: It Still Holds Up
16 years on this film is still relevant. Damn it’s still good. Even Roger Ebert liked it. In fact critically it was really well received, it just never got seen by that many people.

 

#5: Did I mention THIS Scene…


The Trailer


Phil Hobden

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Empire Records (1995)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Empire Records (1995)

Other Cr*p Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons, WHY it deserves your time!

The Plot: Empire Records is a 1995 American coming of age film that follows a group of record store employees over the course of one exceptional day. The employees try to stop the store from being sold to a large chain, and learn about each other along the way.

 

#1: Introducing…
…Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney, Renee Zellweger, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth (okay so I’m struggling a LITTLE bit at this point), Debi Mazar.  Okay maybe not all their first roles but certainly the one that broke big a lot of future stars.  Add a few veterans like LaPaglia & Caulfield and you have a grade A awesome cast, all in top form.

 

#2: Soundtrack
Empire Records lives on in my iPhone almost daily.  From American rock to Edwin Star, from GWAR (thankfully not on the OST release) to The Cranberries… the soundtrack just captured a time and a film almost perfectly.

 

#3: It’s Cool
I was 20 when I first saw this film.  I wanted give up University and go and work in a record shop.  I wanted to be AJ. I want dot have friends like those in Empire.  I wanted to get Liv Tyler’s heart and then perform on the roof top of my record shop. And if a film can make you want to do THAT it must be pretty special, right?

 

#4: We Love an Underdog…
Much like we do for the characters in Empire Records, we tend to find ourselves routing for the underdogs in real life. So whilst Empire Records film flopped on it’s cinematic release, making just quarter of a million dollars its two-week theatrical run, it quickly became a cult classic.  It just shows box office doesn’t mean everything…

 

#5: Rex Manning Day
Seriously Rex Manning day is now a thing.  8th April every year. Really.  #rexmanningday

 

The Trailer

 

Phil Hobden

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Shooting Fish (1997)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Shooting Fish (1997)

Other Cr*p Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!

The Plot: In their mid-twenties, Dylan (Dan Futterman) and Jez (Stuart Townsend) are two orphans who are over qualified and under employed. Dylan is a fast talking Yank. Jez is a tongue-tied technical genius with a bad haircut.  Tired of the “rich get richer” syndrome, they decide to exploit it. Their aim is to make a million pounds each and London is their oyster. They use every coupon, enter every free prize draw, and scam anyone who can afford it. But into their lives comes Georgia (Kate Beckinsale) who has her own mission, just as driving, just as inventive, but far more altruistic. She needs money – a lot of money…and in Jex and Dylan she’s struck gold!

 

#1:  It’s the One Of the best British films you’ve never seen
Seriously.  It’s funny, smart and well written and was a real gem of the booming Film4 generation of British films (before Film4 went American and overblown).

 

#2: It introduced the world to Kate Beckinsale 
Okay so it wasn’t her first film but it certainly was the film that started her trajectory to becoming one of the UK’s biggest female actresses.

 

#3: It’s got a great soundtrack!
Taking on the music of the day and following very much in the footsteps of Transpotting, Shooting Fish featured a soundtrack mixture of Brit pop and 60’s classics.  I still play it today!

 

#4: It also launched the career of director Stefan Schwartz
Who I hear you say?  Quite.  But since Shooting Fish Schwartz has worked on some of the best thing on TV – Luther, House, Walking Dead, The Bridge, Dexter, Spooks and Hustle

 

#5: It’s charming
Genuine charm is something rare in films but Shooting Fish and it’s young cast have it in spades. It’s also short, snappy and doesn’t hang around.

 

The Trailer

Phil Hobden