High FidelityMarch. 17,2000 R
Prime Video Movies
When record store owner Rob Gordon gets dumped by his girlfriend, Laura, because he hasn't changed since they met, he revisits his top five breakups of all time in an attempt to figure out what went wrong. As Rob seeks out his former lovers to find out why they left, he keeps up his efforts to win Laura back.
This has generally positive reviews and in fact it's not bad. More than anything else it brings Woody Allen's work to mind. Not his early flat-out comedies and not his late erratica but his midstream features like "Manhattan." John Cusack runs a Chicago shop full of old vinyl records and more recent CDs. He knows his way around pop music. Unfortunately he can't figure out a relational calculus when girls are involved. What we do is follow him through a series of full and partial affairs, all of which seem to puzzle, frustrate, and anger him.The style is really Woody Allen's. When a former lover tells Cusack that she's slept with her new boyfriend but they haven't "done it" yet, he agonizes over the particular meaning of the word "yet." He pummels his friends with questions about it. Does "yet" mean you haven't done it but you intend to do it in the future? In a Woody Allen movie this would be done in narration but the director here has Cusack breaking the fourth wall, directly addressing the camera and leaping with excitement or slumping with depression as he describes one contretemps after another.I could allow myself to be drawn in by some of his feelings -- that the girl is too classy, too good looking, for a schlub like me, even though I myself closely resemble the youthful Robert Redford. Why, just the other day a toothsome blond in the supermarket looked at me and swooned. At least I think it was a swoon. Can swoons follow an expression of utter horror? My understanding of his obsessions with post-Beatles pop music was a little forced because I think most of it stinks. True that one of Miles Davis' better albums is on display, but then some numbskull makes a sarcastic crack about Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.On the whole, if you've enjoyed mid-stream Woody Allen, you should get a kick out of this character-driven story.
Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is broken up after his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) leaves him. He's in his 30s and owns a specialty record store in a bad neighborhood. Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black) are his weird snobbish employees. Rob recalls the list of his great loves lost. He has to grow up if he's to get Laura back.Along with their encyclopedic knowledge of music, these are some crazy characters. Director Stephen Frears is able to infuse them with likability. It's slyly humorous. Jack Black almost steals the movie with Todd Louiso as his perfect foil. Iben Hjejle has a maturity with a hint of a wild youth. It's also imminently rewatchable.
It's a great movie! Lots of great music and great characters. But, it is pretty difficult to sympathize with John Cusack's character. He is definitely self-centered and thoroughly self absorbed. Cusack's character mellows enough by the ending to make him certainly more tolerable than he was at the beginning.But, everything else works great. The script is by four screenwriters, including Cusack. Regardless, it all clicks, which you wouldn't expect from a screen writing-by-committee production.The big discovery in this film was Jack Black. And, it's great to see what Black was like when he was full of boundless energy, instead of his more-subdued self today. The rest of the cast is very good too!The original novel was based in England, and was transplanted to Chicago for the film. It works well, and you have to love the talk of vinyl between all the characters, especially since vinyl is currently making the resurgence it is.Recommended for those who love a good movie, and can put up with Cusack's character while he grows up during the film!********* (9 Out of 10 Stars)
"Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"Stephen Frear's High Fidelity breaks the fourth wall from the very opening scene as Rob Gordon (John Cusack) begins sharing with us about his top 5 breakups right at the time his girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), is moving out of his apartment and leaving him. It is evident he is hurt, but he brushes it off by saying she doesn't even rank in his list of the most hurtful breakups. That is when he begins listing who each one of them were while we get flashbacks of those memories intertwined with the present in which we are introduced to his job, friends, and his passion for music. Rob is a vintage record store owner and his two employees, Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), are as much music snobs as he is, and they too enjoy making lists of their favorite things usually involving music. The more we get to know Rob, we realize that he isn't the typical romantic character we'd find in a film like this. He is deeply flawed, he has cheated on his girlfriend, he doesn't seem to be going anywhere with his life, and he is afraid of commitment. Somehow he always believes to be the victim in the break-ups, but from what he says we know that he has never been boyfriend of the year material. It is hard to root for a character like Rob, but John Cusack delivers such a charismatic and engaging performance that we accept his flaws and want him to get over the heartbreak. Along the way he realizes that Laura really belongs on the list and decides to revisit some of his past flames to discover what he has been doing wrong. Frears has directed some great films (The Queen, Philomena), along with not so good ones that feel like direct to TV movies, but High Fidelity belongs in his top list of best films. It is a romantic comedy that has an entertaining script, some great performances, and of course a wonderful soundtrack. The screenplay was adapted from Nick Horny's book but instead of setting the story in London they bring it to Chicago and it absolutely works. Jack Black and Todd Louiso give strong supporting performances and you believe they actually are these snobs who are living music encyclopedias. They complement Cusack's performance and deliver most of the comedic moments. As for John Cusack I believe this is one of his best performances although I still need to see a couple more of his films to solidify that claim. The romance in High Fidelity is also incredibly believable and relatable which is hard to come across by in most rom-coms. Neither Cusack nor Hjejle are portrayed as these perfect role models in a relationship, they are both flawed characters who have made some poor decisions.Even though my music knowledge is very limited, I was able to relate to these characters because of their shared passion. I may not have that same passion for music, but I do for movies or sports so I understood where these characters were coming from and believed the culture this film created surrounding music. The screenwriters knew what they were writing about and each one of the actors delivered, and that is what has made High Fidelity such a cult favorite for many teens. It manages to be smart and funny at the same time. It is also one of the best examples of a film successfully being able to break the fourth wall and including the audience in the genius of the movie and its charm. http://estebueno10.blogspot.com/