High Fidelity (2000)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Rob is an owner of a record store and a compulsive list enthusiast who decides to reminisce about his top five breakups, all while grappling with the ongoing dissolution of his current relationship.

‘High Fidelity’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
High Fidelity (2000)High Fidelity is the story of a failing Chicago record store owner of Championship Vinyl, who is living a fourth-wall-breaking mid-life crisis by losing his awesome professionally-upwardly mobile girlfriend, spends his lonely days with two opinionated, talentless losers in his edgy but increasingly irrelevant store, and lamenting his top five girlfriend breakups because that’s what you do when you’re depressed. Although this sounds like a terrible idea for a movie based on a best-selling book, you’d be shocked to realize how entertaining a film it is.
In honor of our podcast, let’s do a Top-Five reasons to watch this film…

One: John Cusack as Rob, the neurotic store owner. Rob may be a chain-smoking, motor-mouthed, vinyl-obsessed lunatic, but nobody plays that better than early-2000s Cusack. His unrestrained riffs on musicology, wasted love, and life in general are the reason this film works. By bringing the audience into his little slice of downtown Chicago hell by breaking the Fourth Wall ala Ferris Buehler, gives the film its purpose.

Two: Championshp Vinyl’s musical moron twins – Dick and Barry. Part of the reason Cusack is as neurotic and overwhelmed is due to the fact he works daily with two unpaid musical nerds who find nothing better in the world than proving their snobbish musical superiority on normal middle-aged customers looking for music they don’t understand for their teenage kids. Barry in particular is like watching a human can of Red Bull trying to dumb down his encyclopedic musical knowledge for no reason other than to sell records and make others listen to his unbridled musical insanity. His partner, Dick, may be mild-mannered and sweet, but even he feels umbrage when someone doesn’t know some obscure musical fact that nobody would know that wasn’t a Rolling Stone reporter from 1968. In the real world, they may be oil and water, but at Championship Vinyl, they’re the spin doctors we all wish we knew when appreciating good music.

Three: Laura. Not the depressing ‘70s song by Christopher Cross. Laura is the soul of the film. She’s Cusack’s ex who is everything good about the film that isn’t part of the musical Black Hole that is Cusack’s record store. She is lovely, vivacious, brilliant, loyal, and is finally realizing the love of her life has zero goals beyond waking up each day to do the same crap every day until it’s time to go to bed to wake up and do it all again tomorrow. Her leaving at the beginning of the movie is the exact reason we have a movie since Cusack’s character wouldn’t get the so-richly-deserved kick in the butt to jump start his search into his perpetual failure to grow up and become an adult. In any other film, Laura would be hand’s down the heroine of the entire picture. In “High Fidelity”, she’s just the reason our hero has a life at the end of the film.

Four: The supporting cast. All I gotta say is: Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Sara Gilbert, a young Drake Bell,… oh, and of course the unequaled Joan Cusack. That’s a compilation record every film should be so blessed to have.

And, Five: The music. You may not recognize eclectic band names like The Beta Band, Stereolab, Royal Trux, Apartment 26, or Prefab Sprout, but mix them all into the background – or even the foreground – of the film, and you’ll be tapping your foot like a bonafide audiophile by the end of the film. The sheer volume of obscure, any-decade goes brilliance of the “High Fidelity” soundtrack puts most films to shame.

Plus, the deleted scene with Beverly D’Angelo selling the rarest singles collection ever sold for $50 – including the Sex Pistols single for free – is worth the price of admission.

And that’s “High Fidelity”.

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Our Rating

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution released High Fidelity on March 31, 2000. Stephen Frears directed the film starring John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, and Todd Louiso.

User Rating: 3.95 ( 3 votes)
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