SIFF Says:Tower Records was the biggest success story in record store history. Over forty years, founder Russ Solomon transformed it from a few modest shelves inside a Sacramento drugstore into a global chain that spanned 14 countries. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. Five years later, the company filed for bankruptcy. To find how this happened, first-time director (and Sacramento native) Colin Hanks starts by exploring what made the store a success in the first place. He discovers a fun-loving company that maintained a tight-knit family atmosphere and promoted from inside, filling its executive ranks with former store clerks and managers. Solomon and his boisterous clan are happy to regale us with tales of their heady rise— and even headier parties— as well as those of their heartbreaking end. Hanks intersperses these employee interviews with rare archival footage and testimonials from celebrity insiders, ranging from Elton John and David Geffen to Bruce Springsteen and ex-Tower clerk Dave Grohl. But the real star of this disarmingly affectionate tribute is Russ Solomon himself. With a raconteur’s gift for detail, he and Hanks spin a story of dreams and drive that just happens to be the story of the record industry itself.
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