It’s been 14 years since I was a sophomore in high school. I have a hard time remembering what that was like, whether because too much time has passed or most of us generally end up subconciously blocking out that part of our lives.

The mid-1990s were a time when our most fashionable clothes and boots came from Le Ch√Ęteau, our Sony Walkmans echoed the likes of Counting Crows, the Gin Blossoms and the Cranberries, and the biggest worry my girlfriends and I had on a Friday night was whether someone else had snagged our film-du-jour on VHS from the video store before we managed to get there.

At 14-years-old, I was awkward, goofy, entirely uncomfortable with my looks and didn’t know a thing or two about a thing or two. As a teenager, I liked the music I liked because the singers were cute and I watched the movies I watched because I had crushes on the actors. In junior high, my film of choice was Dazed and Confused, even though I was too naive and confused to understand most of the social relevance. I would spend hours fantasizing that I, too, could party at the Emporium with Slater, Jodi, Randall “Pink” Floyd and Mitch Kramer.

“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man…”
Photo: Universal Studios

In high school, I shifted from being stuck in the 70s to modern-day New Jersey. I can’t tell you how many times I watched Empire Records and how much of that film I can still quote to this day. However, like any other movie I obsessed over as a juvenile, it was just entertainment to me.

Last night Empire Records aired on KVOS, so I decided to forego my nightly ritual of Law & Order: SVU for a trip down memory lane. What surprised me more than how much I still loved the film was the understanding I gained from watching it as an adult. What I realized was why movies such as this, Dazed and even Singles were films I loved so much as a hopeful youth.

I was too young to be jaded, too inexperienced to be cynical. I believe that, as a young girl, I fell in love with the ideal that all the characters I grew up with, despite their shortcomings and marred relationships with each other, found a way to overcome. Every story had a resolution, every dispute found an answer. While that may not always be an accurate portrayal of real life, the characters we grew up with can give us a sense of optimism and remind us that there are still people in our lives that possess a little bit of true “human spirit,” whatever that may be.

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  1. There are some movies I could watch over and over again…and every time learn something new that we originally didn’t ‘see’.

  2. i love love love love LOVE both those movies. but empire records is my favourite. i’m always quoting it but i don’t know a lot of people who have seen it. i love the 90’s.

  3. That’s too funny. Well not “funny” but you know what I mean.. Dazed and Confused is the movie I’ve seen in the theater the most times (14). I would drag anyone that I could talk into going, I went at least 3 times by myself, and I bought both soundtracks. I of course now own the DVD, and watch it at least twice a year.

  4. Those are two of my all-time favorite movies. Cannot get enough of either. And I still love the Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms and the Cranberries.

  5. Hi.

    (off topic) I love your blog.

    (on topic) “Say, man, you got a joint?” “It’d be a lot cooler if you did”

  6. I love that movie still, just reminds me of the essence i was at the time ( free and music crazy), and when that movie ” was”, all I wanted to be was Liv Tyler, ha. Loved Dazed and Confused too;)

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