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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2000!
HIGH FIDELITY, 2000
Starring: John Cusack, Jack Black, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Todd Louiso, Lisa Bonet, Iben Hjejle, Lili Taylor, Tim Robbins, Natasha Gregson Wagner
Rob, record storeowner and professional cynic, has just been dumped by his long-term girlfriend. This prompts him to go back over his extensive love life, with the help of a lot of music, and compile a list of the top 5 break ups, to see if he can figure out the cause of all this heartache.
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If you were a boy and you were into music, chances are at some point you wanted to be a rock star; equally good are the chances that you didnít become a rock star. Whatís the next logical step then? Owning a record shop of course! It allows you to indulge your love of music while looking down on others with less knowledge than yourself. Thatís pretty much what happened to Rob Gordon- a popular role model amongst the modern music-loving male.
This is an adaptation of Nick Hornbyís book of the same name about a record storeowner in London, and the book translates well from continent to continent. Mainly because in all corners of the commercial world there all small independent stores, run by people who are just a little too obsessed with the source material.
We are introduced to Rob and Laura as she is departing his apartment, and possibly his life, for the last time. Embittered by this Rob makes a list of the top five break-ups so far in his life to try and get over Laura. He is helped along this path of self-loathing by his thousands of records and his store employees, Ďthe musical moron twinsí Dick (Louiso) and Barry (Black, in his best performance).
The trip through Robís relationship past goes right from his first kiss as a small boy, up to a late twenties foray in desperation sex with another recently dumped lover; complete with all the bad haircuts and fashions as we travel through the decades. The girls range from shy schoolgirls to selfish yuppies and up to film reviewers- as Rob says, an exceptionally cool career. There seems to be no tangible link between them and their break ups with Rob. So he chases them down in the present day to find what went wrong and he starts to resolve the issues within himself. Unfortunately as he realises just how important Laura is to him, she has taken up residence with the antithesis of Rob, ĎRayí.
Like films such as Almost famous, the film is all about love. Not just love between two people, but the love between people and their interests. High Fidelity accurately states that what is most important in a relationship are the little things; favourite movies, songs and books define modern relationships and how you meet people. Stephen Frears and Nick Hornby suggest that when it comes to true relationships, happiness doesnít happen like it does in the films. There is no grand special one and no slow motion movie moments, you have to work at it and find someone above all you can be comfortable with.
In that respect itís quite an old style film, and the morals and virtues it extols are as old as storytelling itself. It manages to tell the story in a modern and fresh way though, and it also manages to steer clear of a lot of the clich» traps that romantic comedies so often fall into. Rather than being about beautiful go-getting young professionals with so much money and so little happiness, the characters in this story are ordinary and eminently likeable (helped in no small part by John Cusack).
High Fidelity looks at love in a more down to earth way and shows whatís often overlooked in stories where the characters fall deeply in love, even though they have nothing in common besides being exceedingly handsome. The characters in this film are normal, angst ridden, angry and hilarious; they get on so well because of what they have in common, and what they have in common is a love of great music and the ability to mess up monumentally.
That may be why so many people connect with Rob Gordon- heís just like everyone else and he struggles with the same problems as the rest of the world. This is why the novel was able to transport itself across the Atlantic to become such a classic film; the comedy and situations are universal.
As much of a meditation on the state of modern romance it also looks, as the book did, quite expertly at the problem of getting old and keeping in touch with the things that were important in our youth. The three record shop characters are all in a state of arrested development, and in Robís case itís destroying his relationships, itís stopping Dick from entering a relationship and itís making Barry join a death metal band.
The problem is that growing up is often seen more as giving up and stopping doing all the things you used to enjoy. What is shown as the film progresses, is that you donít have to be a massive success to be happy, you can achieve it doing what you want and being happy with it, whether it means growing up or not.
Above all else itís laugh-out-loud funny, the music is exceptional and by the end of it you wonít feel so bad about being a music geek, youíll probably just want to open a record shop.