Classic Pick O’ the Day — December 2

High Fidelity (2000)
Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.
Director: Stephen Frears. Cast: John Cusack, Jack Black, Iben Hjejle, Joan Cusack, Lisa Bonet, Tim Robbins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lili Taylor. TV-PG. 10:00 PM EST. Sundance Channel.

With a few exceptions (Serendipity, 1408, Identity, and Hot Tub Time Machine), John Cusack has become intolerable since Hollywood went all hands on deck whacko after 9-11. In some ways this movie is the pinnacle of his career. His Rob (and Jack Black’s Barry) are the quintessential nerds — endlessly making lists and trying to outduel each other in trivia (very trivial) knowledge. Yes kids before there was The Big Bang Theory and everyone had a chubby for Comic Con and graphic novels there were these things called record stores — and music nerds had better luck with wimmins than comic book/video game nerds did. Cusack’s obsessive nature in the movie can be off-putting to some, but I’ve known a lot of guys like him over the years and found it spot on. I haven’t seen it in a few years so a DVR is called for. Also on Sundance tomorrow is prior CPOD 24-Hour Party People (12:00 AM). In addition check out Oliver Stone’s W. (3:45 PM) and definitely check out Bend It Like Beckham (6:00 PM).

4 comments to Classic Pick O’ the Day — December 2

  • JimmyC

    Cusack’s retarded politics aside, this is a fantastic film. It’s one of the few movies about relationships and heartbreak that’s actually fun to watch (because it’s so funny and cleverly written), and guys can get as much out of it as girls, maybe more. The scenes with Tim Robbins as an obnoxious hippy with a gray ponytail are the highlight of the movie (and a reminder that Robbins is one of the few Hollywood lefties who doesn’t take himself too seriously). And it’s got one of my favorite movie lines of all time: “Now get your patchouli stink out of my store!”

  • If I had a dollar for everyone who told me I’m Rob … I could buy another copy of the DVD, which I can’t recall I gave away in a fit over Cusack’s loony politics, or let someone borrow who hasn’t returned it. Guessing the latter as I still own Better Off Dead, Say Anything and The Sure Thing.

    Nick Hornby’s book and Todd DeLuiso’s understated performance phenomenal as well.

  • goozer

    High Fidelity is that rare event where the movie doesn’t completely change (read: screw up) the novel. It wonderfully compliments the book, with the screenplay retaining the sharp wit and the actors’ performances note perfect. However, it did get a few things wrong (presented in list form):

    1) The protagonists’ names were Mike Knobel, Charles Darden and Yers Trooley, with strong supporting roles by Lee Smith, Mike Satterly, Terry Gee, Jay Parra, and a few women who were glorified extras.

    2) It wasn’t a struggling indie record shop; it was a Sound Whorehouse Warehouse in a mixed college/urban neighborhood.

    3) Yers Trooley got married halfway through the story.

    4) We (Mike, Charles and Yers) got no farther than forming the concept of a band: a rap group called Scratch, Whistle & Bark — our first single was to be titled “We Can Do that Stuff, Too!” Charles was key to the project, as he was black and would give us the ‘street cred’ we needed.

    5) No happy ending — Yers Trooley was let go during a management change at the store. And then let go by X1 a few years down the road.

    Plus, Elvis Costello’s “High Fidelity” should have opened the film instead of the 13th Floor Elevators “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. But that’s just me.


  • One of my Top 20 all-time. Love this film.

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