I rewatched Empire Records, after not having seen it since I was a teen, and it did not hold up well. I found the plot thin and flimsy (an employee gambles and loses 9 grand of the indie record store's money, and they have a day to save their store from being turned into a chain store and losing its uniqueness), and a lot of the performances were weak and forgettable (the exceptions being Robin Tunney as an angsty shaved-head misanthrope; Maxwell Caulfield as a vain and sleazy has-been pop star; and Ethan Embry as a cheery and goofy dork).
The movie had a decent soundtrack, and some quotable lines that seemed funnier when I saw it at 15. I could see why it bombed, because it didn't have a stronger story than "teens using music to rebel against authority." The director also did Pump Up the Volume, which had similar themes, but was much stronger, with more drama at stake (a teen suicide and a school expelling students deemed as "problems"). This movie got by on a talented cast (though a lot of the performances were weak, they did have future stars like Liv Tyler, Anthony LaPaglia, and Renee Zellweger in the cast) and some sweet pop songs by The Gin Blossoms and The Lemonheads. I think the movie is good for teens and 90's nostalgia, but not much else