These 5 Movies Will Get You in the Record Store Day Mood
Happy Record Store Day to those who celebrate!
The annual event drawing music lovers to their independent, locally owned record shops for special deals and exclusive releases returns on Saturday, April 22.
Before the days of Napster, the MP3, iTunes, the iPod, YouTube and Spotify, people had to purchase actual physical media to play music on the hi-fi stereo. Driven by nostalgic collectors and hipsters, sales of vinyl records outsold CDs for the first time since 1987.
While I don’t miss the obsolete formats and the insane ’90s CD prices, do I miss perusing the tapes and records at our local Musicland at our long-since-demolished shopping mall.
So in that spirit, here are five movies to get you in the mood to actually leave the house, go to a brick-and-mortar retail store and seek out the latest releases by Bread.
5. Last Shop Standing: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Independent Record Shop (2008)
Director Pip Piper traveled the U.K. to meet with the owners, employees and customers who continue to preserve the niche culture of independent record stores. It explores the history of and place of the record store in the music industry and popular culture, and the ever-evolving relationships among the artists, producers, retailers and consumers that ultimately caused a booming mass-media business to become a specialized enterprise for a segmented customer base.
4. I Need That Record!: The Death (Or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store (2008)
In this documentary from director Brendan Toller, great musicians from the past and present comment on the independent record shop as “a space where the transforming power of music brought everyone together. Ideas, opinions and histories were shared. Bands and friendships were formed.” Toller also visits some of his local shops as they are literally packing up and going out of business, and talks with insiders who explain how greed, corruption and mismanagement plagued the music industry for decades.
3. Pretty in Pink (1986)
John Hughes wrote this quintessential ’80s teen rom com starring Molly Ringwald as high schooler and TRAX record store employee Andie Walsh, Jon Cryer as her pal “Duckie” and Andrew McCarthy as her preppy paramour Blane. Aside from its record store scenes, this film had a killer soundtrack (with classics by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, INXS, the Psychedelic Furs, New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen and The Smiths) that resulted in a lot of visits to record stores in the mid ’80s.
2. High Fidelity (2000)
John Cusack starred as hopeless romantic, audiophile and Championship Vinyl employee Rob Gordon in this adaptation of the 1995 Nick Hornby novel. Rob and his coworkers Barry (Jack Black) and Dick (Todd Louiso) spend their workdays being snarky about customers’ music preferences and compiling esoteric top 5 lists. Did High Fidelity create resentment for snooty record store employees and make people think twice about visiting their shops? Maybe. The movie did inspire me to put my CD collection in biographical order. So there’s that.
1. Empire Records (1995)
Maybe it’s because we recently observed Rex Manning Day, but we’ll put this ’90s cult gem at the top of the list. Writer Carol Heikkinen based the script on her time working on a Tower Records, and while the film was not well received by critics and was a flop at the box office, it’s become a nostalgic favorite for Gen X in the decades since. And what captures the spirit of Record Store Day more than a ragtag bunch of misfits trying to keep their independent record shop from getting swallowed up by a national chain?