|Stephen Frears Director||previously directed The Hi-Lo Country|
High Fidelity is a film based on a novel of the same name written by Nick Hornby. A compulsive list maker, record store owner, and music lover, Rob reflects on his top five break ups. Including the one he just happens to be going through.
23 More Quotes
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. 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?
|John Cusack||Rob Gordon|
|Tim Robbins||Ian 'Ray' Raymond|
|Catherine Zeta-Jones||Charlie Nicholson|
|Lisa Bonet||Marie De Salle|
|Lili Taylor||Sarah Kendrew|
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This flim's focal point is Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a smart alecky
good guy music junkie who is having trouble trying to understand women. Rob owns his own record store named Championship Vinyl, this is where he critiques the musical choices of the citizens that pass through. Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), are employed by Rob and have an extensive knowledge in all things musical. Rob, Dick, and Barry submerge themselves in discussions and arguments about musical preferences and great records, while they make up top five list for almost every occasion. Barry makes fun of customers right to their faces, insulting their lack of knowledge in music. Dick trys to sell records, but rambles on to patrons about little nuances and facts about whatever record they intend to purchase. This happens with Barry and Dick so often that Rob
calls them "the musical moron twins" and that they "just keep showing up everyday." Vince (Chris Rehmann) and Justin (Ben Carr), are a couple of skateboarding shoplifters, that Rob has to kick out frequently. One day, he listens to a recording that they did and offers them a record deal, starting his own label called "Top 5 Records".
After having an epiphany, Rob complies his own top five list of break-ups. He purposely excludes his most recent girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), from it. As he is trying to deal with her leaving him for a
strange, world music-listening, earthy-crunchy, freak named who he remembers mostly due to his "horrible cooking smells", Ian ("Ray to his friends", Rob snarls), (Tim Robbins). Rob, Dick and Barry meet Marie DeSalle (Lisa Bonet), a established folk singer, one evening at a nightclub after catching her show. Later she surprises them by showing up at Championship Vinyl, and her and Rob seem to hit it off awkwardly.
The news about Ian shakes Rob up so, he decides to look up all of his old girlfriends, and in the process finds out a lot about himself. He calls
one of them, and he makes an effort to actually go see the other ones. Rob has dinner with Penny Hardwick (Joelle Carter), and finds out he forgot that he actually broke up with her, because Penny was "tight" and wouldn't give it up. She tells him that his cruelty was responsible for her near date-rape by the next guy she went with and Rob (with nary a wince) says, angels singing metaphorically, "She gave ME up!" It sends him on a quest of self-justification. Perhaps he is NOT the "dumpee", "doomed to be rejected", after all.
He visits Sarah Kendrew (Lili Taylor), the rebounding fling, who is desperate to get back together, but Rob doesn't have the heart to tell her he's not interested. He calls Charlie Nicholson (Catherine Zeta-Jones) , the hot sexy babe who was definitely way out of his league, but gets the answering machine.
Laura meets Rob outside of his record store and follows him to his
apartment so she can pick up a few things. The two have a conversation about her staying with Ian, and Rob can't restrain himself from asking her if Ian is a better lover. Laura tells him she doesn't know because they haven't slept together......"yet." This makes Rob feel good. It makes him feel so good in fact, that he goes right out that night, and sleeps with Marie DeSalle. A few days pass and Rob worries about the meaning of Laura saying "yet." He asks her to meet him for a drink. She tells Rob that she has slept with Ian by now and Rob spirals into a depression.
Dick meets a girl named Anna (Sara Gilbert), at the record store and they hit it off after talking about Green Day and The Clash. Shortly after these events, Ian comes into the store to "talk things over," and inspires fantasies in which Rob, Dick and Barry dream of kicking him senseless. Robbins is hilarious in this scene and quite willing to play the buffoon as Dick nails him with phone and then an air conditioner he yanks out of the wall. "Conflict resolution is my job," Ian had told Laura, but it does him no good with Rob. Whether Ian is nice or not is of no importance to the beleaguered Romeo; he simply wants Laura back.
Charlie returns Rob's phone call and invites him to a dinner party. After the party Rob goes into the who spiel about the break ups and Charlie belittles and makes fun of him. He realizes even before that how shallow Charlie is and "full of it". He feels catharsis. "How did I manage to edit all this out?" he asks.
soon hears that Laura's father, who liked Rob, has passed away, and
attends his funeral with Laura. Shortly after the reception, Rob realizes he never committed to Laura and always had one foot out the door. This made him realize he neglected his own future in the process. He confesses these feelings to her, and afterwards he and Laura move back in together. During this time Barry forms a band when a long hair stranger responds to an ancient want ad Barry has had
posted on the Championship Vinyl door for years. Laura surprises Rob by organizing a celebration of the recently released single by the two skateboarding delinquents. She invites Barry's new band "Sonic Death Monkey," to play. Rob is paranoid the release party will be a disaster and tries to convince Barry, not to play. Barry tells him "Too bad! If Laura's bourgeois friends don't like it, they can riot!"
Rob then meets a reporter named Caroline (Natasha Gregson Wagner) while watching the cash register at Championship Vinyl. She turns out to be looking for Rob, because she wants to do a story about him. Caroline and Rob make a connection and he offers to make her a mix tape. Later, he tries to make the tape and questions himself about his recovered relationship with Laura. Eventually, he decides to blow Caroline off, shouting to himself, "When will it END?" meaning his connecting to women through music, and the obsession itself. Having lunch with Laura, Rob asks her to marry
him, in a round about way. He tells her that all the other girls were "just fantasies" and so they had no real life problems. But conversely, that made them less appealing than Laura is. Oddly, she tells him she it's "the most romantic thing she's ever heard! She then thanks him for asking, which seems to be enough for the present. At the release party, Barry's band sings "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye and is delightful (to everyone's surprise). In the final scene, Rob finishes his advice about making the perfect mix tape, and says that he is now making one for Laura.
Peter Travers, of Rolling Stone,"It hits all the laugh bases, from grins to guffaws. Cusack and his Chicago friends — D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink — have rewritten Scott Rosenberg's script to catch Hornby's spirit without losing the sick comic twists they gave 1997's Grosse Point Blank."
Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars, "Watching High Fidelity, I had the feeling I could walk out of the theater and meet the same people on the street — and want to, which is an even higher compliment".
The Washington Post's, Desson Howe praised Jack Black as "a bundle of verbally ferocious energy. Frankly, whenever he's in the scene, he shoplifts this movie from Cusack."
The New York Times, Stephen Holden praised Cusack's performance, writing that he was "a master at projecting easygoing camaraderie, he navigates the transitions with such an astonishing naturalness and fluency that you're almost unaware of them"
In his review for Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman gave the film a "B-" rating and wrote, "In High Fidelity, Rob's music fixation is a signpost of his arrested adolescence; he needs to get past records to find true love. If the movie had had a richer romantic spirit, he might have embraced both in one swooning gesture."
The Guardian's, Philip French, "High Fidelity is an extraordinarily funny film, full of verbal and visual wit. And it is assembled with immense skill."