Thursday is Rex Manning Day. Who the heck is Rex Manning and why does every generation need one?

Rex Manning is a character, a pompous music idol in the movie "Empire Records". The movie was a major flop when it came out in 1995, but has become a cult classic. You can rent it from any number of streaming sites, or watch it for free on Tubi.

"'It's titled Rex Manning Day, but it might as well be called Empire Records Day'. Maxwell Caulfield told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. 'It initially eluded me because the film had been such a box office disappointment, so I didn't give it the credence that it has developed over the years. It just won't go away. It's one of those show biz oddities.'" - The Hollywood Reporter.

But that's not why I say every generation needs one. The movie is a typical underdog, love story type movie that appeals to teens and twenty-somethings at the time it came out. It's become a cult classic for the 90's kids, just like for my generation it was Rocky Horror Picture Show, which made Susan Sarandon a star.  About the same time, there was a small another cult movie, Between the Lines. A decade later, St. Elmo's Fire, with all the "Brat Pack" stars.

These movies were also launching pads for some big careers. In Empire Records (here's the trailer), there's Renee Zellweger, Liv Tyler, Debi Mazar and Anthony LaPaglia.

Later that same year, Tyler (Steve's daughter) and another actor in Empire Records, Ethan Embry, were in Tom Hanks' writing and directorial debut, That Thing You Do, a great movie. Tyler was barely 18 when she did these movies, but gave memorable performances.

From St. Elmo's Fire, look at this now all-star cast: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Andie MacDowell and Mare Winningham. One difference though with St. Elmo's Fire is it was a box office hit, not a cult classic.

The other movie I mentioned is Between the Lines from 1977. It had a very similar story line. In this case, rather than a record store, it's an underground newspaper in Boston about to be taken over by big business.

And leading that cast, the late John Heard, the late Bruno Kirby, Jeff Goldblum, and a pre-Taxi Marilu Henner.

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If you have a small little cult movie, enjoy it. In this CGI world, these are true gems. And happy Rex Manning Day to you, too.

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