A couple weeks ago I saw Lauren Galloway shared a GIF from Empire Records on Twitter and got into a brief conversation with her about the movie was a classic. In the last few years it’s been alternately hailed as a classic of 90s youth culture, one whose reputation has improved in the 20+ years since it came out, or one that’s actually a lousy movie that doesn’t make any sense.
I fall into the former line of thinking. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a great movie. In 1995 after seeing it in the theater I remarked “That’s what Clerks looks like from a major studio.” The characters were hip young people working a fun, go nowhere job who were trying to figure out their lives. It had a loose attitude that glossed over the story and character problems and kept you moving.
More than that, it has lines that are appropriate for a variety of life’s situations.
For When You’re Going to Have a Great Day No Matter What
“We mustn’t dwell… no, not today. We CAN’T. Not on Rex Manning day.”
Rex Manning Day isn’t an actual day. It’s a state of mind we should all aspire to.
For When You Just Walked Into an Uncomfortable Situation
“Who glued these quarters to the floor?”
It’s the perfect non-sequitur to break the tension in a moment you’d rather not be in.
For When Your Friends Don’t Appreciate Your GIF Skills
“I don’t feel that I need to explain my art to you, Warren.”
You can then either walk away triumphantly or stare them down menacingly.
For When You’re Encouraging Someone to Go Off-Brand
“Always play with their minds.”
You have to keep people guessing to maintain an aura of superiority and respect.
For When You Won’t Be Bound By Society’s Constraints
“Damn the man. Save the Empire.”
Then spend the next five minutes you weren’t talking about The Galactic Empire.
For When You’ve Been Over This Already, Dammit
“Empire Records, open ’til midnight, this is Mark. [beat] Midnight.”
Particularly galling in the age of Google. Who calls anymore, anyway?
For When You’re Introducing Someone New to the Group
“His name isn’t Warren.”
You can still call him Warren if you want to, though, that’s cool and he doesn’t mind.
For When Your Coworker Shows Up In Dress Clothes On a Random Tuesday
“What’s with you? Yesterday you were normal and today you’re like the Chinese guy from the Karate Kid. What’s with you today?”
Also appropriate for when that one burnout friend suddenly is the most insightful person in the room.
For When You Want Someone To Just Get to the Point Already
“What do you want Warren?”
Can we skip the subtext and make a decision? I have a dinner to get to.
For…Like…Every Moment of Every Day
“I don’t know. I’m either going to jail or hell I can’t decide.”
If you’re not living your life where this can be asked regularly, step up your game.
For When You’re Eating The Fish You Just Microwaved In the Office Break Room
“Isn’t it customary to leave the scene after committing the crime?”
Not cool, man.
For When Your Actual Social or Professional Status Becomes Too Real
“Let me explain it to you. Mitchell’s the man. I’m the idiot. You’re the screw-up. And we’re all losers. Welcome to Music Town”
It’s a harsh reality, but one we’ve all grappled with at one moment or another.
For Performance Review Time
“I wonder if I’ll be held responsible for this.”
You really didn’t think it was going to be that big a deal when it happened.
For When You’re Four Drinks In On Wednesday Afternoon
“I guess nobody really has it all together, huh?”
I mean look at that guy. How can *that* guy be so much more successful than I am?
For When You’re Quitting That Morning
“Welcome to MusicTown, may I service you?”
You’re all out of cares and have had enough of this job.
For When You Forget You’re 42 and Are Pondering an All-Nighter to Catch Up on Your To Do List
“My dad always said that there’s 24 usable hours in every day.”
It’s a bad idea, just take my word for it. Past the age of 20 this is never true.
For When Someone Questions Your Spotify Playlist Choices
“This music is the glue of the world Mark. It’s what holds it all together. Without this, life would be meaningless.”
You have your opinion of Genesis and I have mine, Doug.
For When You Feel Like Life Is Working Out Just Fine
“I am guided by a force much greater than luck.”
Everything is firing on all eight and you can’t lose. At least for the next 27 minutes.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.
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