Disney+ Cult Classic Captures The Spirit Of The 90s

By April Ryder | Updated

Leaping into the realm of awesome, Disney+ (via its Hulu extension) has granted subscribers access to one of the best 90s cult classics ever to hit the big screen. Empire Records was released in 1995 and is an iconic coming-of-age comedy directed by Allan Moyle. 

A Who’s Who Of 90s Stars

The cast of Empire Records made the real magic in the film. Starring Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace), Maxwell Caulfield (Grease 2), Rory Cochrane (Dazed and Confused), Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait), Robin Tunney (The Craft), Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones’s Diary), and Liv Tyler (Armageddon), many of the cast went on to have very successful careers on-screen. 

A Day In The Life

Empire Records is a movie that occurs all in one spectacular day. It follows a group of young people who work at a privately owned, independent record store as they plot together to stop the store from being sold to a large commercial chain. 

A Plan To Save The Store

When employee Lucas (Rory Cochrane) is told to close down the store for the first time, he discovers that Empire Records will soon be sold to a large national music store chain. Setting his mind on saving the independence of the store, Lucas crafts a plan to take the store’s daily earnings ($9,000) to a casino in Atlantic City. 

He plans to quadruple his investment at the casino and save the store from being sold, all in one fell swoop. However, after doubling his money on the first roll in Atlantic City, Lucas loses everything on the second roll. 

The Breakfast Club For A New Generation

When the store manager, Joe (Anthony LaPagila), finds out what happened to the money, Lucas has some explaining. The movie goes on to introduce all of the various zany characters of the record store, including Corey (Liv Tyler), the overachieving high school girl, her best friend Gina (Renee Zellweger), and the hostile and suicidal employee Deb (Robin Tunney), who immediately goes into the store’s bathroom to shave her head. 

A Classic Plot With A Slacker Twist

Ultimately, Lucas finds out that Joe has already formed a plan to save the store. Joe had enough money saved to buy into ownership of Empire Records and keep it from being sold to the large chain. Now that Lucas gambled away $9,000 of his buy-in, the whole crew must figure out how to recoup the dough before the day’s end. 

From Flop To Cult Classic

The whole movie is just one big adventure this motley crew of record store employees experiences in the matter of one day’s shift. It’s fun, and it bleeds 90s movie culture. If you’re looking for nostalgia, Empire Records will take you there. 

Another beautiful element of the film is that when Empire Records was first released, it was met with terrible reviews. The movie was a stupendous flop at the box office as well; a financial nightmare, one might say. It grossed just over $300,000 against a $10 million budget. 

Re-Live The 90s With Empire Records

However, the cult classic falls into a category of 90s flicks that includes titles such as Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dazed and Confused. Empire Records carries the zeitgeist of the 90s with ease, and Disney+ (via the Hulu add-on) is now streaming the movie for those with a subscription to the channel. Don’t miss out!