All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records


Action / Documentary / History / Music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 2179


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January 29, 2016 at 01:03 PM

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707.98 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 34 min
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1.47 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 34 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jake_fantom 2 / 10

A sleeper — literally

Here's an essentially fraudulent history of Tower Records, one of the most successful music businesses in history — until it wasn't. We get the usual endless interviews with employees, plus a few now-doddering celebrities babbling on about the wonderful times they all had. The employees from management on down were apparently loaded on booze and who knows what else day in and day out. What a party they all had! (Somehow, this doesn't jibe with my own recollections of Tower, where sullen clerks with nails pounded into their faces couldn't find their own behinds with both hands, but maybe that's just grumpy old me.) Anyway, the fascinating (not) interviews about the glory days take up most of this pseudo-documentary. Then comes the big reveal. What killed Tower's business was — wait for it — digitized music and its subsequent piracy. Gosh, I never would have guessed. And when you stop to think about it for a minute, there's a big lie at the heart of this revelation. What killed Tower Records and the CD business in general was their own greed. To get the one decent song you wanted, you had to shell out 20 smackers for a CD filled with more bloat tracks than Samsung packs crappy apps into their phones. It was a colossal rip-off. So when Steve Jobs came along with iTunes and let you go back to the grand old days of the 45 rpm single, and you could buy the one track you wanted for 99¢, it was time for all the record store pirates to say goodnight. In any case, I fell asleep four times trying to watch this train wreck to the end, so for its narcotizing properties, I am awarding this turkey two stars instead of one star.

Reviewed by berkrecout 5 / 10

First Half, Interesting. Second Half, Infuriating

The "Rise" portion was nostalgic and interesting. The second half was a load of self-serving baloney: Russ Solomon admitting he made a few mistakes but, if the banks had only continued lending him money without telling him what to do, all would have been well. A bunch of longtime employees kvetching about losing their jobs, but not ONE SINGLE WORD about all the labels and distributors who got royally screwed and are still trying to cope with their losses to this day. I started out as a specialty music retailer in 1974 and, thankfully, am still going strong. I well remember Tower's predatory greediness, demanding ridiculous terms from labels and distributors: six months dating, 100% return privileges. Finally, the labels and distributors had to say 'no' to getting in any deeper. The fact that this painful fact wasn't even mentioned, reminds me of the 'ServPro' motto, "Like it Never Even Happened".

Reviewed by mdroel20 9 / 10

No Music, No Life

Liberation. That is what music is all about. Always has been, always will be. It brings people together, it creates a community, a family. It changes, it evolves, and never dies. This is the central message, the heart, of Colin Hank's tremendous documentary, "All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records." Founded in 1960 by Russ Solomon, Tower Records grew to become one of the most monumental record franchises in the history of the industry. From its very humble beginnings, as an extension of Solomon's father's drugstore, to its international expansion, Tower Records was a cornerstone of the musical world for half a century.

Load video Hank's explored the history of Tower Records through interviews with those in Soloman's inner circle's of 30 plus years, some from the inception to accounts from music industry giants such as, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Dave Grohl. The store's lax attitude and nonchalant way of business proved pivotal to its success, a business strategy that would sink any business today. Elton John recounts Tower Records being his primary record provider, while Grohl worked at a Tower Records in Washington D.C. before his music career took off and recognized its significance in his musical journey. One particular anecdote that highlighted Tower Record's influence was that when it opened in a particularly desolate neighborhood in Manhattan, the streets flourished and became revitalized in the years following its opening. It is hard to imagine any store, particularly any record store having that power today.

The demise of Tower Records also speaks volumes about the last decade of decline in the music industry. Though Napster and the rise of pirating music is notorious for the music industries steady decline, truly the rise in record prices was the downfall of record stores in general, as is touched on in the film. Though not entirely the reason for Tower Records ultimate demise, it was a crucial shift in business. The slow death of the industry staple was an emotional climax of the film, as it truly captured the importance of Tower Records to many individuals who invested their life to be apart of this journey, and family.

No music, no life.

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