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Record shops in movies and TV shows

Record shops in movies and TV shows

Record shops might not be the most obvious choice of location for movies or TV shows but here is out list of some of the best.

High Fidelity (2000)

"FDSOS_ONESHT.indd" by Shing Yan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“FDSOS_ONESHT.indd” by Shing Yan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

From the book of the same name by Nick Hornby but transported to a North American record store. It features pugnacious and pedantic music geek Barry (Jack Black) and miserable, romantic audiophile Rob (John Cusack). (Photo: “16” by el frijole is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

(500) Days of Summer (2009)

Ringo Starr plays an unexpectedly central role in the relationship between Summer (Zooey Deschanel) and Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). At first, the Beatle is a playful discussion point during some post-coital record-shopping, as their bond falters, the drummer becomes a grinding point of contention. (Photo: “FDSOS_ONESHT.indd” by Shing Yan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Of the many hilarious moments that this mockumentary has given us, it’s easy to forget Spinal Tap’s Smell the Glove LP signing session, for which only two people turn up – one, a bespectacled man who goads them into signing a different album (of assorted train noises), and another who starts an argument because their marker pen won’t show up on the black cover sleeve (“Tilt it towards the light!”).

Pretty in Pink (1986)

Duckie (Jon Cryer) does a memorable rendition of Otis Redding’s soulful ballad Try a Little Tenderness – all energetic foot-stamping and floor-slapping – in an attempt to woo an employee at Santa Monica new wave record store TRAX, but all he receives are a pair of puzzled glares.

Good Vibrations (2012)

Ever the chaotic idealist, 1970s Belfast punk Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer) opens up a record shop on the most bombed half-mile in Europe, naming it Good Vibrations, and the local community respond by eschewing their hitherto tribalism.

Photo: "reality bites empire records" by Pink Cow Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo: “reality bites empire records” by Pink Cow Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Ghost World (2001)

“Why do we have to go in there? I hate this place,” says the leather-jacketed Enid (Thora Birch) to her partner in crime Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) – not because she despises record stores (Enid is an obsessive Bollywood music collector), but thanks to the narrow-minded store clerks (“Oh my god, did they tell you? Punk’s dead.”)

Empire Records (1995)

“Damn the man. Save the Empire”, goes the mantra of this critically-panned yet cult Nineties film, which spans 24 hours in the life of an independent New Jersey record store and stars Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger in the throes of their uninhibited youth. (Photo: “reality bites empire records” by Pink Cow Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 )

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Filmed in the real Chelsea Drug Store, the “disc-bootick” – a dazzling, neon-lit underground store – is a veritable playground for Alex (Malcolm McDowell), who prances around the room, before taking off with two lolly-licking ladies.

Before Sunrise (1995)

Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) find themselves packed like a pair of amorous sardines into an old-school music booth in Vienna, and inevitably exchange furtive, flirtatious glances as a romantic Kath Bloom record plays (“There’s a wind that blows in from the north/And it says that loving takes this course”).

Hairspray (1988)

In John Waters’ classical musical comedy, a peroxide blonde Queen Latifah stars as Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a 1960s Baltimore record store where revellers can happily jive to The Dutones’ The Bird unharassed.

Nowhere Boy (2009)

An ambitious, adolescent John Lennon (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is left with a hole to fill in his life, after surrogate father, his uncle George (David Threlfall) passes away, and fill it he does – with girls, and rockabilly music that he steals from record shops.

Happily Ever After (1990)

The expansive aisles of a bustling Virgin Megastore are where Gabrielle (Charlotte Gainsbourg) seemingly falls in love with a stranger (Johnny Depp), after the pair lock eyes listening to Radiohead’s melancholic track Creep at the same station, only for him disappear forever.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)Scott Pilgim vs The World

The other side of a record store relationship is seen in Edgar Wright’s indie flick, as Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) literally blows a cloud of love towards Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), only to be spurned by the latter, who suggests a break up.

Movie’s graphic designers / Public domain

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

One of the greatest scenes in Woody Allen’s films is when Mickey Sachs (Allen) attempts to pursue heartbreaker-in-waiting Holly (Dianne Wiest) among the surroundings of a Tower Records shop.

About a Boy (2002)

The grand tiles of Camden Town’s now-deceased HMV store feature in a montage about the life of cynical young man Will Freeman (Hugh Grant), who likes to divide his day into units: “Buying a CD: two units.”

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

In Anthony Minghella’s film, Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) and Freddie Miles (Philip Seymour Hoffman) share a set of headphones in a squashed listening booth, chatting animatedly, in a trendy store hidden away along a cobbled Roman street.

Last Shop Standing (2012)

Based on the book by Graham Jones, this is official Record Store Day film depicts the “rise, fall and rebirth” of independent record shops in the United Kingdom, including soundbites from dozens of shop owners, as well as cameos from the likes of Paul Weller Johnny Marr and Billy Bragg.

SoulBoy (2010)

It’s through pursuing a beautiful stranger into a 1974 Stoke-on-Trent record shop that Joe McCain (Martin Compston) first encounters the phenomenon that is Northern Soul – she explains that she adores soul music, and often dances at the Wigan Casino over weekends.

Sound it Out (2011)

This poignant documentary about the last Teesside record shop, in the remote reaches of the North East of England, is full of peculiar and eccentric regulars who – against the flow of the music industry – maintain a thriving local hub.

See Imdb or Rotten Tomatoes for more information about these films.

On Chesil Beach

Based on the 2007 Booker Prize-nominated novella On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, this is the story of disastrous wedding night bright young graduates Edward Mayhew  and Florence Ponting. Rock and Roll loving Edward ends up running a record shop in London which features in a very important scene at the end of the film.

TV Shows

TV shows are a little thinner on the ground but there is a new High Fidelity reboot on HuLu and an Australian drama Mint Condition.

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