High Fidelity (7/15/12)

High FidelityMovie One Hundred Sixty Eight

In High Fidelity, a record store owner details his “top 5 breakups of all time” after the end of his most recent relationship.

Rob Gordon (John Cusack) gets dumped by his girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), and recounts his previous relationships and, more importantly, breakups leading up to this one. The owner of a small record store in Chicago, Rob’s life revolves around music and top five *whatever* lists. As Rob commiserates with his employees Dick (Todd Louis0) and Barry (Jack Black), he discovers that his lack of commitment to Laura was really the problem and decides to rectify that in the form of the perfect mixtape.

In many ways, High Fidelity is a fairly typical John Cusack movie where he plays a broken-hearted, kind of dopey but lovable guy.  That may sound like a knock against both High Fidelity and John Cusack, but I assure you, it’s meant sincerely. One key difference here is that the film is from 2000, not the 1980s. This means Cusack is a bit older but playing the same roles as before and it works flawlessly. Rob is a guy stuck in his early 20s that laments days gone by. It could almost play as a sequel to an 80s Cusack movie where the lead character gets stuck in a rut after high school and has to get his act together.

Other than Cusack, the rest of the cast really delivers High Fidelity above average. Jack Black, who was still relatively unknown for a supporting role, brings his specific comedy sense to the film and has some of the best scenes in the movie. The biggest draw to High Fidelity may very well be the soundtrack which is diverse and colorful. The music follows the film and a song never feels out of place or forced in for marketing purposes.

High Fidelity is a film that is just a good watch if you enjoy John Cusack’s early work. While I don’t think anything will top Say Anything, High Fidelity ranks high on my list.

I give it 4 Jack Black “dancing”s out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


31 responses to “High Fidelity (7/15/12)

  1. Ugh. I can’t stand this movie, and I think being forced to watch it (and read the book) in a college English class is to blame.

  2. There’s something going on here… Cusack plays so many similar type roles… His career is certainly… interesting. When he was younger he played the John-Cusack-as-a-high-schooler type roles. When he grew up a bit, he played the John-Cusack-as-a-high-schooler-grown-up type roles. Like if you wanted to know what the high school John did afterward, you watched HIGH FIDELITY or GROSSE POINTE BLANK.

    This was a good movie. John Cusack is great when he’s playing John Cusack type roles. Plus, Jack Black wasn’t that annoying as an actor yet. But anyone who’s seen GROSSE POINTE BLANK knows John Cusack, the dorky high schooler, grew up to be dorky hitman. Nice soundtracks on both films, too…

    • I haven’t seen Grosse Pointe Blank in ages but I loved that when it came out.
      I used to come up with fake movie continuity (e.g. the bomb in Dr. Strangelove creates Godzilla) and it would be all too easy to have fake Cusack movie continuity creations. I should do some posts about my continuity fiction.

  3. I thought this was a decently crafted story (I guess because it was a book first – which I didn’t know). What bugs me is that, in essence, this is just one more “loveable” loser, kind of a screw up, not very attractive or interesting getting a REALLY HOT GIRL. I know movies are fantasies, but c’mon. It’s a tired storyline.

  4. I showed this movie to my 11 grade HS English class. They said, “That’s you, Mr K!”
    I have judged and disliked patchouli and everyone who wears it ever since I saw it. I have collected vinyl more feverishly ever since. I mean, The Boss gives him love advice, how subtly fuckin awesome!
    The whole list thing, basically making us mixtapes (lost art) for us the whole time.

  5. Solid points about a really good film and Cusack makes it all look so easy. He’s one of those rare character actors that doesn’t come across like he’s playing the only card he’s got in his pocket like some actors – you know so many have resorted to the one-trick pony, phone it in and get the check and make the payment on the whatever. Personally I’m waiting for Sam Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Johnny Depp, Ed Norton and even Walhberg – though admittedly Marky hasn’t really got any more cards it’s the way the directors get him to show it that makes all the difference. Glad to stumble around the place, looking forward to more. cheers->

  6. The novel is a lot better than the film, but they do get plenty of moments right in this adaptation and I honestly couldn’t think of anybody else better to play then Cusack. He’s a great actor and always likable no matter what. Good review Andy.

  7. If you enjoyed this movie, Andy, you might enjoy an earlier film based on another Nick Hornby novel – “Fever Pitch”.

    I enjoyed it and I dislike football, middle-class British Bloke angst and Nick Hornby equally, so that probably says something for its quality.

    As for “High Fidelity”, it comes from that glorious period when just about anything with John Cusack was worth watching (Yes, “2012”, I’m looking at you and silently judging).

  8. Pingback: My July Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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