All Things Must Pass: Colin Hanks Documents The Rise And Fall Of Tower Records
by Pete Crigler
Anyone who knows me knows that I love record stores. Always have and probably always will, even though all the great ones really don’t exist anymore. Director/Actor/Tom Hanks’ son Colin, whom many might remember from Orange County or season 1 of Fargo has done a great job with this loving documentary about Tower Records. Tower was the behemoth of record stores when I was growing up and its demise in the mid 2000s hurt a lot of people, including myself.
The closest Tower I had was somewhere in Richmond near a hospital, and every time I went there, I was overwhelmed by how much product was there. This film is a lot like that. Stories about the history of the store and why it meant so much to so many people is really the crux of the film.
Interviews with the store’s founder Russ Solomon, luminaries like Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen, as well as behind the scenes staff really help shine the light on the family atmosphere that made the store work so well for so long. In many ways, this is a lot like Grohl’s Sound City documentary, but ultimately a lot more fun and overall enjoyable.
In the end, the store went under as a result of downsizing, downloading, and people buying less and less physical product, and I still think that’s a damn shame. Ultimately, the store’s demise was devastating and upsetting to record collecting geeks like myself, but this film serves as a beautiful memorial for a store that was always for the music fans. But what really makes the film exciting is knowing that there are still 85 different locations throughout Japan that are thriving and keeping the company’s name and legacy alive.As for the film as a whole, it serves as one of the coolest and most exciting music documentaries of the last couple of years. People just don’t make films about record stores, and hopefully, this might be the beginning of a small indie trend of films about other stores such as Peaches, Record Town, and Plan 9.