Reel Words: The History of Empire Records and the Future of Rom-Coms

A roundup of the best movie writing of the week


The Essential Labor Films by Ella Taylor at Fandor
Labor Day may seem like the least likely holiday to build a themed article around, but Taylor stepped up to the challenge. In one way or another, all of these films provide an important look at some aspect of working, holding a job, and/or the nature of enterprise. It’s a terrific collection of movies, all of which are worth seeing.

Movie Guide Memories by Leonard Maltin at Indiewire
The latest edition of Maltin’s annual Movie Guide series will be the last. To mark the occasion, the venerated critic looks back at the 45 years he spent on the series, from its humble origins through all its changes over the decades. It’s a must read if you’re one of the people who grew up using his guides as vital references.

The Great 2014 Celebrity Nude Photos Leak is Only the Beginning by Roxane Gay at The Guardian
The mass theft of naked celebrity pictures is this week’s biggest entertainment story. Gay examines how we feel entitled not just to the bodies of celebrities, but of those of marginalized groups in general, and especially those of women. Leaks like this, she argues, are another form of oppression by dominant cultural forces.

Love Isn’t Dead: How Indie Films Became the Future of Rom-Coms by Kate Erbland at Vanity Fair
The romantic comedy, popular wisdom has said, is dead. But romance at the movies lives on, argues Erbland. Several disparate love stories have found success in theaters this year, and all of them came out in limited release. Erbland examines how the new crop differs from what we’ve traditionally come to expect from the genre.

How ‘Empire Records’ Became the Unlikely Film of a Generation by Anne Helen Peterson at BuzzFeed
Empire Records was a studio-engineered attempt to appeal to young people. The film flopped when it came out in 1995, but did manage to eventually find an audience… after about a decade. Peterson talks with the film’s makers about its production, tribulations, and delayed success.

Sugar, Spice and Guts by Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott at The New York Times
The Times’ preeminent movie critics discuss the way cinema depicts girls and women. Their thesis: things are improving, although of course there’s a ways to go. The article is split into various categories of female “types,” each section examining a few movies that exemplify them.