"We mustn't dwell. No, not today. We can't. Not on Rex Manning Day!"
Don't know what Rex Manning Day is? Say no more, mon amour. This fictitious celebration, which is acknowledged on April 8, is rooted in the 1995 film Empire Records, a movie that dates itself as much by its setting as by its glorious soundtrack. The film follows a group of young record store employees as they go about their work and prepare the store for the arrival of a once-popular pop star Rex Manning, while also tackling their own personal drama. There's a bigger plot involving the store's financial troubles and the staff's determination to keep it open, but for the sake of today's date, we'll focus on Manning (Maxwell Caulfield). He's arrogant, his hair sucks and he's unwilling to fully accept the fact that the best years of his career are in the past. But he still gets a special day at Empire Records, when he arrives to sign autographs and get a bit too close with some of the staff.
Why is "Rex Manning Day" celebrated today? Apparently, the date is confirmed on a poster glimpsed in a scene in the film, which makes April 8 the perfect time to celebrate this gem of a film, in all its 90s glory.
Huff Post choose to acknowledge the day by recasting the movie with today's actors. I love their picks - particularly Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Lawrence as Corey and Gina. But the thought of fantasy-casting comes a bit too close to imagining a remake, and frankly, that horrifies me. A remake of a film set in a record store would never work, but I could picture an attempt made if they re-set the story in a coffee shop or a book store or some other retail establishment that was still sort of relevant. Still, bad idea. Don't do it!
The fantasy casting idea is fun, but here are five other ways you can celebrate Rex Manning day!
Celebrate the work of Maxwell CaulfieldWhile Rex Manning may be Maxwell Caulfield's more memorable role for many of us, the British actor has actually appeared in some other notable films. Ok, "notable" may be a relative term, but honestly, Caulfield is attached to some great guilty-pleasure projects, the first of which is Grease 2. A follow-up to the popular musical, Caulfield stars opposite Michelle Pfiefer in the musical, playing the polite British outsider and new kid at Rydell, Michael Carrington. Grease 2 puts the guy in the Sandy role, as Caulfield's character attempts to transform himself into the "cool rider" that Pfiefer's Stephanie Zanoni wants. The 1982 musical also includes a bowling alley musical number, which is not to be missed or forgotten.
Next up, the 1984 film Electric Dreams, which is about a computer that becomes self aware and ends up meddling in its owners life. Caulfield plays competing love interest to Virginia Madsen's cello-playing character Madeline. If you can't get your hands on a copy of this movie, skip to the end and watch the great musical conclusion. And then, of course, there's the pilot episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, in which Caulfield plays Jason, the older man Brenda meets at a club and lies to, leading her to pretend she's a college student so she can date him and hang out with his cool older friends. It doesn't work out, as you might have surmised. All of these roles (plus some other ones) came before Caulfield wowed us with his style and dance moves in Empire Records.