May 14, 2016

Top 5 Record Stores—in Films. {Plus Clips}

Flickr/Fred Rockwood

**Warning: Adult language/content in clips ahead!


“Record stores can’t save your life. But they can give you a better one.” ~ Nick Hornby


I love music and I love records—so naturally, I love movies that involve music and records.

I had the opportunity to visit a couple local record shops this week and pick up some new wax, and it got me thinking…about record stores in general. How much rarer they are to come by these days, even just music stores in general—records, CDs or otherwise.

I’m a child of the 80s. I grew up around vinyl and cassettes and mix-tapes. I “came of age” in the 90s and graduated to the land of the compact disc. (No really, my 8th grade graduation present was a bitchin’ Sony stereo with dual cassette recorders and a CD Player. State of the art and sh*t, circa 1993.)

I saw the Wherehouse come and go. I shed a tear when Tower Records shut its doors. And don’t even get me started on the indie shops, like Penny Lane.

Fortunately, it’s primarily the indie shops which survive and keep on keepin’ on…Sure, there’s Amoeba, which is actually pretty freakin’ huge—but the real treasure troves are the local hole-in-the-wall spots, that you know are still runnin’ purely on dedication and love. The love for music, and the love for having someplace to go…to get lost.

To get lost, flipping and fingering through stacks upon stacks of record sleeves (or maybe CDs)—never knowing what small gem you may run your fingers across—and the minutes simply getting sucked away into a vortex timelessness, tick tick tick.

Until the next thing you know, you’ve got to go—and you’re really effin’ annoyed because you didn’t even get around to flipping though the  two-dollar 7-inch bin yet.

Damn the man.

I love record stores. But they’re becoming fewer and far between. Yet, record stores had a vital role to play in music history, and the essence of that is so authentically captured in a handful of films that offer a peek into the musical haven of a record shop.


Now what would Rob Gordon say? Name your Top Five films with record stores:

Well, 5th place is gonna be a tie, between Half-Baked (a funny, stoner favorite) and Zebrahead (a lesser known Michael Rapaport flick about a “white, hip-hop loving teen, who falls in love with a black girl.”)

The “Flip-Out” scene from Half-Baked: 

“Saul’s Medley Land” from Zebrahead:

4th place goes to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. For having such a psychedelic, badass UK record shop, coupled with a young Malcolm McDowell in a royal purple frock, accompanied by the sounds of Beethoven’s Ninth. This bizarre, yet erotic, scene ends with a little of the old “in-out-in-out” with a portrait of Ludwig Van in the background…

{***Warning: graphic/nudity.}

3rd place goes to a film that holds a very special place in my heart—John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink.

This clip is Molly Ringwald’s character, Andi, flirting with Blaine, aka Andrew McCarthy, at Trax—the record store where Andi works—while “Bring on the Dancing Horses” plays in the background. 

{**Bonus: James Spader with a feathered-haircut!} 

But—really, here’s the one ya’ll are really waitin’ for: Duckie Dale (and adorable, young Jon Cryer) doing his own heartfelt, lip-sync  rendition of Otis Redding’s “Try a little Tenderness.”

“This is Otis—I love Otis.”

This brings us to #2—Empire Records.  Gawd, I effing love this flick. Great cast, great soundtrack—teen angst, love, music, records, rebellion—all the things. If you’ve never seen this movie—just watch it. You will feel good after.

So many quotables: “Oh Rexy, you’re so sexy!”  “Always play with their minds.”  “Damn the man! Save the Empire!”


Which brings us to—drum roll please…

#1—High Fidelity. “Championship Vinyl” is the record shop in this film, which is based on the book “High Fidelity” by Nick Hornby.

This clip is “Saturday at the Record Store,” and features the comedic stylings of Jack Black:

And here is another classic scene from the film, featuring the one-and-only John Cusack, portraying “Rob Gordon” music elitist—aka music snob:



Your Baby Doesn’t Love You, Anymore.


Author: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Fred RockwoodFlickr/Sam Howzit

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