Gort vs The Man: We review hipster classic Empire Records

Commander's Log, Stardate 05062013.2:
All was in readiness. Commander Manning was docking with the Mothership. It had been a tough week cleaning every corner of the ship after Commander Walter's latest coup attempt, but we had made it in time.

Oh Gorty, you're so sexy!
As Commander Manning stepped through the airlock and pulled off his helmet to allow his expertly coiffed perm flick across his head, Helen Cox of New Empress magazine, who had attended the inspection only to see the famous Commander Manning, screamed and fainted in hysteria.
Gort began to power up his disintegrator beam in pure rage, but I put a hand on his robotic shoulder to stay his wrath.
"Gort, we mustn't dwell... no, not today. We can't. Not on Commander Manning day."

Empire Records is about music... except that it's not.
On the surface, this is a film about the daily dramas of a group of 90s hipster music fanatics who care more about memorising the release dates of Pearl Jam's albums than sorting out their futures. It's about a time when, to buy music, you had to go to a shop and choose a CD from a rack. It's about a time when listening to an album was a way to escape an isolated little life and hear about something that mattered. It's about a time when lyrics comprised the philosophy of a generation, when the deepest spiritual connection you could form with a person was listening to their mix tape... except it's not.

Empire tells the story of the staff of a record store. Anthony LaPaglia is the manager who runs the shop as more of a reform school for dropout stoners than a business. The owner plans to sell the store to a chain, meaning no more employees' music choice, no more moshing in the aisles and no more teen drama. Rory Cochrane, LaPaglia's protege steals a day's takings and takes it to Atlantic City to try to gamble up enough money to save the store, but loses it all. Johnny Whitworth plans on confessing his love for neurotic over achiever Liv Tyler, but she's on the verge of an all-night study session-driven breakdown and planning on giving her virginity to visiting Hoff-style superstar singer Maxwell Caulfield. Tyler's best friend Renee Zellweger is jealous of her success and takes her revenge by out-slutting her. Robin Tunney fails a suicide attempt and shaves all her hair in the hope of finding meaning, while pothead Ethan Embry wolfs a brownie and hallucinates being on stage with Gwar.

Empire Records is about music... except that it's not

It all culminates in a mad race to throw together a fundraiser to save the store and tie up all the loose plot threads before the credits... but it's not about any of that, not really.
No, Empire Records is about having nothing in your life that means anything other than one meaningless thing that means everything to you. It's about queuing all night to get tickets to the first showing of your favourite director's new movie. It's about spending all your time in bookstores and all your money on novels because you just can't stop. It's about staying up all night playing video games because you care more about your high score than your job. It's a film about being a geek and who can't relate to that?
Damn the man, save the Empire.