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8/10
Cusack continues winning streak with this film
SKG-25 April 2000
I read the novel when it first came out because the title intrigued me, and I found it quite good. When I heard John Cusack was adapting it and moving the action to Chicago(from London in the novel), I was a little worried, because I worry about changing things during adaptations for arbitrary reasons, but I needn't have worried; though I have a few quibbles, which we'll get to later, Cusack and Co. have done a fine job adapting the novel.

First off, I've read one comment which claims it stereotypes "music geeks." The type of people Hornby, Cusack, his co-writers(D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink, who also co-wrote GROSSE POINT BLANK, and Scott Rosenberg), and director Stephen Frears are portraying is a very particular type of "music geek"; the type who is a snob about music. Almost all of us, I would say, are aggressive about our likes and dislikes when it comes to music, but not many, I agree, compare liking Marvin Gaye and Art Garfunkel to "agreeing with both the Israelis and the Palestinians." And probably not many of us would be so cut off from feelings that, when hearing about a person's death, would find no better way of expressing their sorrow than listing their top 5 songs about death. Yet we do like these people as characters because we see even if they have some snotty attitudes, they do have a genuine love for their music, and they're in a low-paying job because they love what they do. And who among us hasn't turned to music when we've felt sad(or happy), like Rob does, or wished that Bruce Springsteen(and a pox on the person who, in their comments, implied he was passe. Bruce will NEVER be passe) would talk to us directly like he talks to us through his music? The novel and the movie captures all of that.

Another strength, of course, is Cusack's performance. Woody Allen once said that while American actors were very good at playing virile men of action, there weren't many who could play more "normal," regular people. Cusack, on the other hand, has carved out a niche for himself playing regular guys. He doesn't look like The Boy Next Door, and he's neither stereotypically sensitive or hip, but comes across as a guy who feels both at ease and yet still longs for something more. At his best, like in movies such as THE SURE THING, SAY ANYTHING, THE GRIFTERS, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, GROSSE POINT BLANK, and this, he plays people on the cusp of growing up, who are able to if they want to, but aren't sure if they want to, and yet he's made each of them different. Rob's condition may be a little more conventional - he's not sure if he wants to settle down yet - but Cusack, while unafraid to show his unlikable qualities, makes us like Rob anyway.

The rest of the cast is also quite good. The well-known names only get short takes(Lisa Bonet, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones), but they make the most of their time. I've never seen Iben Hjejle before(I haven't seen MIFUNE), but she does well as the most grown-up person in the movie. But the real stars, besides Cusack and the music, are Jack Black and Todd Louiso as Rob's co-workers. Black especially reminds me of people I knew.

As I said, I do have some quibbles. There are a couple of incidents in the book which don't make it to the film which I would have liked to see(the Sid James Experience, and the lady who wanted to sell Rob a ton of valuable records for a ridiculously low price). I'm getting tired of movies which use rain as an expression of sorrow, and this is an example of overuse. And the character of Laura isn't developed as well in the movie as she was in the novel. Nevertheless, this is well worth checking out.
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8/10
One of the best of all comedies but also a very poignant study of male life
MovieAddict201613 December 2004
Having read the very good Nick Hornby novel of the same name I looked forward to "High Fidelity" quite a bit, but I never expected it to be as good as it is. This is easily one of the best comedies of all time for its laughs alone - but what separates it from other comedies (particularly new-age ones) is that it's a very poignant multi-layered tale that focuses, primarily, on males - and why we are as we are. Love, life, relationships, music, movies, hobbies, jobs, ticks, ups, downs - everything is here.

It's to John Cusack's credit that he took a "classic" contemporary novel set in London and transposed it to Chicago - and it works just as well (if not better) than the British version. It shows what a universal story this actually is, if so many people from all over the world can appreciate it, no matter where it is set. What we lose here are the abbreviations such as "mate," "cos" and other British expressions - but essentially the story is exactly the same, as is the character of Rob Gordon.

Cusack proves his worth here and there isn't a single bad performance in this film, except perhaps for the love interest who tries to sport an American accent and it's quite uneven at times.

Jack Black is fantastically funny and reveals once again why he's leagues ahead of other obese comedians like Chris Farley who merely relied on OTT acts and weight for laughs - Black, like John Candy, actually acts and so far in his career has turned out some really good films which is more than can be said for many of his competitors.

The script has some very funny one-liners and movie/music in-jokes (I love the "Evil Dead" bit - "Because it's so funny, and violent, it's got a kick-a$$ soundtrack...and it's so violent!").

But at the end of the day what really haunted me (so to speak) about this movie long after I had seen it was the fact that it DOES stay with you ages after the credits have stopped rolling. It's poignant and really spot-on in many regards - add that to a film full of flawless performances and great direction and clever ideas and one-liners and jokes, and you've got a top-notch comedic masterpiece that places "High Fidelity" in the top ranks of American (and British!) comedy - "with," as the DVD back cover says, "a bullet." Highly recommended. 5/5
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9/10
Now this is what I would call a musical
Patuquitos9 October 2005
It was about time someone put together a film with a genuine appreciation for the love/music connection that didn't end up being something along the lines of "Singles". For music lovers who tend to put a soundtrack to everything they experience, this film is a blessing. I am one of those people, so I understand that if you're not, you'll get less from the movie. All I'm trying to say is that this is one of those films that demand you to root for the characters and the events if you want to enjoy it. The deeper the affection you feel for them, the more you'll enjoy the movie.

Personally, I think John Cusack's character is one of the most engaging in the comedy genre of the last decade. This is the kind of character I like: simple and complex at the same time, just like in real life. Somebody likable but annoying at times. Again, I feel a deep personal connection with him, and I understand him every time, even when he acts stupid.

But he is not alone. The rest of the cast is terrific.

Anyway, don't forget this is a comedy. You will laugh your ass off with some situations and dialogue. Hilarity comes from many different sources: you've got black humor, silly humor, complex (people would say "intelligent", but I despise the term) humor... Special mention goes to Tim Robbins paying a visit to the record store. Genius.

On a very personal level, I think there's a magnificent scene that sums up the heart and the brains of this movie. John Cusack talks to the camera (something that happens often) instructing the audience on how to make a perfect music compilation for your loved one. If you like that concept, the movie will grab you and won't let you go. If that idea doesn't sound seductive to you, you might just have a good time. If you are a rock music devotee, this flick is heaven.

RATING: 9.0
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Music is the soundtrack to your life
the ninja16 April 2000
And High Fidelity shows that this is more true for Rob Gordon (John Cusack) than most people. Rob owns Championship Vinyl, a record store where he and his two employees, Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), argue about music and insult customers. This is the background for a fantastic movie early in the year and one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while.

The movie's main plot is Rob recounting his past breakups via his favorite organizing device, the Top 5 List. He purposely excludes his most recent girlfriend, Laura, from it. He is trying to deal with her leaving him for a strange, world music-listening, martial arts-doing freak named Ian (Tim Robbins). Then he decides to look up all his old girlfriends, and in the process finds out a lot about himself.

The best scenes, however, are those in the record store - Todd Louiso and especially the utterly hilarious Jack Black steal every scene they're in. They argue over music incessantly, and anyone who knows a good deal about music will be laughing hysterically during these scenes. Dick is a quiet music geek in the classic sense of the word, while Barry is a cruel, ridiculous elitist.

In the end, High Fidelity is a wonderful, terribly funny movie with a lot of great stuff in it. See it.
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10/10
Honesty Never Felt So Good
Funkapus13 December 2002
Who says familiarity breeds contempt? In this film of heart break, betrayal, true friendship, and love, Cusak adapts Hornby's book perfectly, melding self doubt, fear of death, and a search for truth with modern cinema and pop music. Rob, Dick, and Barry are all struggling men in their late twenties (thirties in the book) trying to find a way to identify themselves, and live at peace. Rob has the most conflict as he flounders through one relationship to another, never getting comfortable, and always finding a way to mess it up. It's a brilliant tale of coming to terms with reality, and having a bit of fun along the way. The casting was pheonimal, scenes perfectly picked, and music parallelling that of the mood set in the book. It's just a shame so much had to be cut. I would recommend this movie to anyone with a calloused ear and a desire to finally relate with a character.
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10/10
Laugh-out-loud funny!
cmh14a16 February 2001
You don't need to be a John Cusack fan to enjoy High Fidelity, nor do you need an overt appreciation of music, the film is a highly humorous, poignant and informative look at men, relationships and love.

Cusack is at his 'Grosse Point Blank' best here, investing in his character a realism that at times is so hilarious you will need to see the movie again to hear the lines you missed the first time because you were laughing too much. His emotionally strung-out breakdown is disturbing. Here is an actor that knows his craft and knows it well.

Watch out for the air-conditioning 'alternate outcome' scene. It still makes me laugh!

Cusack is by far a more talented performer than many on the scene and 'High Fidelity' is a testiment to this.
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8/10
Top 5 Movies About Love and Music
rthibes18 February 2004
One of my favorite movies, based on one of my favorite books. "High Fidelity" is perfect if you already had a broken heart, and if you tried to heal it with some pop songs.

John Cusack is not acting - he REALLY IS Rob Fleming (Rob Gordon in the movie). If there are doubts about it, I just say that he made the soundtrack compilation and collaborated with the screenplay.

The supporting cast is also perfect. Jack Black and Todd Louiso couldn't be better. Tim Robbins, as the world-music-fan, is a nice surprise, and Joan Cusack is always funny.

It looks like everyone had a lot of fun making this movie, and the result is a nice and funny and full of emotions motion picture, to see again and again and again to remember how music and love can help each other.
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Classic Cusack: One of the year's very best!
george.schmidt11 May 2004
HIGH FIDELITY (2000) **** John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones (unbilled), Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack, Shannon Stillo, Tim Robbins, Joelle Carter, Natasha Gregson Wagner.

John Cusack is my favorite contemporary actor for many reasons, which due to time and space will not permit me to go into lavish detail, but it's basically down to a simple formula for me, that he continues to full tilt in his latest variation of the good hearted, somewhat sarcastic anti-hero with a heart of gold: Fearless Fragile Funny.

Based on the cult best selling international novel by Great Britain's Nick Hornby the story is transplanted from modern day London to modern day Chicago focusing all its angst and comic philosophies in its character, Rob Gordon (Cusack in one of his finest performances, who also co-wrote and produced the film),

the owner of a vintage LP album shop, `Championship Vinyl', who is having a pre-mid-life crisis in his life: namely his latest girlfriend, Laura (the fetching Danish actress Hjejle in her first American role), a lawyer, has just dumped him and the fact that he may have to grow up or come to terms with his existence of being a den mother to his yin and yang clerks, Barry (Black, riotous) and Dick (Louiso, best known as the au pair from `Jerry Maguire', is pitch perfect in his humorous approach), the former a loudmouth know it all and the latter a soft-spoken lover of all music, both the book ends to Rob's equally passionate take on pop music and how it has somehow manifested itself to his being ; the end all to end all.

`What came first.the misery or the music?' Rob asks at the very beginning of the film and it is here that Rob decides to investigate just how he is at fault to the 5 all time greatest break ups in his love life a la The Top 5s he and his co-horts in crime habitually categorize all things pertinent to music. What follows is a laugh-filled introspection of the heart on its sleeve and its tongue sharply in cheek as to Rob's quest of finding all his faults and foibles in hope of wooing back his recent romantic dismissal that includes 5 prototypes of all heterosexual men: The First Kiss/Crush; The Adolescent Urgency/Loss of Virginity, The Woman Out of His League; The Rebound Best Friend/Possible Soul Mate and finally, The One True Love He Isn't Even Aware Of.

The approach may seem old hat and gimmicky (Cusack breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly into the camera) yet it isn't intrusive but enlightening into what the hero is really thinking and more importantly why. Surrounded by a truly winning cast, Cusack shines once again as a likable average guy who is trying to remain a guy although the inner voice of Be A Man is palpable and reverberating inside. His nonchalant, casual way of speaking and his slow burns are priceless (he finally takes out his frustrations on Laura's new beau, the unctious sensitive pony-tailed Ian played by Cusack's best bud and former co-star of `The Sure Thing' and the cult classic `Tapeheads', Robbins, in the film's funniest fantasy sequence of Rob, Barry and Dick pummeling Ian to death). Cusack's constant streak of the smart alecky good guy continues from the quintessential portrait of Lloyd Dobler, kickboxing student of the affairs of the heart in the classic `Say Anything.' and the previous purveyor of romantic comedy, Walter `Gib' Gibson in the update of `It Happened One Night', `The Sure Thing' to his hit-man Martin Blank pondering his high school reunion with dread in the black comedy `Grosse Pointe Blank' (reunited here with his screenwriters/partners in crime D.V. De Vincentis, Steve Pink and Scott Rosenberg).

The women portraying Rob's Girlfriends of Christmas Past , so to speak, are exemplery especially Taylor (another Cusack repertoire player, who played his best gal pal/voice of reason in `Anything.') as Sarah the rebound fling and Zeta-Jones as Charlie (showing some nice moments of sublime sardonicism), the sexy babe completely out of his element). Bonet has a few nice moments as local singer Marie De Salle who provides some unsubtle ways of bringing Rob to his senses. Sister Joan provides some comic bile as well as mutual friend to Laura and Rob. But frankly it's a guy's flick and thanks to the boisterous Black (late of HBO's comedy series `Tenacious D' and a score of films as diverse as `Mars Attacks!' and last year's co-starring with Cusack in `Cradle Will Rock') and geeky, quiet Louiso adding some color especially in their scenes together debating their varied choices of musical tastes.

Directed by Stephen Frears, a fellow Englishman who appears to know the American arcana striking a responsive chord (he put Cusack through the paces in the neo-noir classic `The Grifters' a decade ago) allows his characters time to pace themselves from one setup to the next and skillfully keeps the smart patter gleaned from the book alive on screen.

Easily one of the year's funniest films and finally a film I whole heartedly recommend in what seemed to be dearth of mediocrity thus far in the new millennium. To paraphrase the emergence of Bruce Springsteen (who has a funny cameo) into rock's pantheon I will allude this to comedy: I have seen the future and it is John Cusack. Rock On!
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8/10
One Of The Few Good Movies This Year
daveisit13 December 2000
"High Fidelity" was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise very ordinary year of cinema. Continually I have been disappointed with the quality of this years movies from all over the world, not just the regulation Hollywood trash.

Admittedly my hopes weren't that high, but I still left the cinema feeling like I got what I paid for with "High Fidelity" (this is very rare these days). John Cusack was his usual competent self, and Tim Robbins sensational in his small but humourous part.

No masterpiece, but well worth watching.
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9/10
What came first - the music or the misery?
hitchcockthelegend6 July 2015
High Fidelity is directed by Stephen Frears and adapted to screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg from the Nick Hornby novel. It stars Cusack, Jack Black, Iben Hjejle and Todd Louiso. Music is by Howard Shore and Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey.

Record store owner and compulsive list-compiler Rob Gordon (Cusack), embark's upon a what does it all mean mission when his latest girlfriend leaves him.

Cusack and Pink take Hornby's hugely popular novel and redirect it to Chicago, with joyous results. High Fidelity is a tale of human love and a love of music, a sort of battle of the sexes with a soundtrack of masculine life. Rob's voyage of self discovery is highly amusing, the trials and tribulations of relationships bringing out a number of scenes and scenarios that ring true, not just tickling the funny bones, but also tugging the heart and cradling the brain.

Away from the doomed love angles it's the music threads that literally strike the chords. Rob and his two co-workers Barry (Black) & Dick (Louiso) worship music and continually indulge in making top 5 lists whilst bickering with sarcastic glee in the process. All three actors are superb, a trio of odd balls bouncing off of one and other with a zest that's infectious, though it's decidedly Cusack's show. A perpetual miserablist who addresses us the audience at frequent intervals, Rob in Cusack's hands garners sympathy, pity and laughs in equal measure.

In the support slots is a ream of talent well in on the joke, beauties like Catherine Zeta-Jones (dropping F-Bombs like they are going out of fashion), Lisa Bonet & Joelle Carter are complimented by the comic skills of Joan Cusack, while Hjejle turns in a wily and womanly performance as the girlfriend who kicks starts Rob's search for meaning. Elsewhere the sight of Tim Robbins as a new age hippy type - with a black belt in martial arts - is so much fun it reminds of what a good comic actor he can be as well.

As with Grosse Point Blank, another Cusack/Pink production, sound tracking is everything, and naturally given the setting of the story there is an abundance of classic tunes to delight in. All told it's a special movie, for all sexes and for all music lovers, but especially for anyone who has had relationship problems. Now what did come first, the music or the misery? Priceless. 9/10
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7/10
"All right, we have a 9% chance of getting back together."
classicsoncall8 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I don't know. The further one goes back on the IMDb 'Top 250' lists, the quality of pictures that made it seems to get weaker and weaker, and here's an example. "High Fidelity" was at #205 in the year 2000 when it first came out, dropping to #241 the following year. That it doesn't appear again since should not surprise discerning movie watchers. It's entertaining enough if stuff like this is your thing, but really, should a twelve year old that you made out with once for a total of six hours over the course of three days be on your Top Five All-Time Break Up List? By the end of the story, you'll more than realize that Rob Gordon (John Cusack) seriously needs to get a life. But by that time, you'll probably be bored to tears over his incessant barrage on the fourth wall of your viewing screen.

I will say I got a kick out of Jack Black's character Barry, the snobbishly arrogant music fan who works at Rob's 'Championship Vinyl' record shop. The same with Dick (Todd Louiso), but come to think of it, do you think they collected a paycheck there? I tend to doubt it, as most of the time, it was only the three of them in the store at any given time. And this is the only time I've ever seen Lisa Bonet as an adult after all those years as Cliff Huxtable's daughter on 'The Cosby Show'. So that was a surprise, and a very good looking one too.

The one thing I'll agree with though is that "Books, records, films..., these things matter", otherwise I wouldn't be posting reviews here on IMDb. But as a service to adults over say, the age of thirty, save yourself the frustration of sitting thought this picture. Chances are you lived through the angst of this story yourself already, and who needs to be reminded of all that? And if you have your own Top Five list of All-Time Break Ups, better chuck it before the wife or significant other find it, or you'll be talking to the TV yourself.
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8/10
John Cusack's Defining Role, Post-1980s
gavin69426 March 2015
Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

Top five things that are great about this movie: Five, Tim Robbins' hair. Four, Jack Black. Three, Stiff Little Fingers. Two, John Cusack giving the best performance of his career, or at least since "Say Anything". One, the conversation about "Evil Dead II" and the word "yet". Honorable mention, Lisa Bonet not being completely annoying and almost actually likable.

Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and wrote, "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".
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10/10
Brilliant movie
wendy-3495324 May 2015
Not even sure where to begin but I will say this is a brilliant movie. I could watch it every single day and never get tired of it. Cusack has an amazing chemistry that draws you in to him and just makes you want him (assuming you are female, lol). It is also Jack Black at his brilliant best. So many memorable scenes. Also so nice to see Natalie Wood's daughter Natasha in a bit part which she played beautifully. Not really made before the days of cell phones per se, but no cell phones or anything electronic to distract people in this movie which gives a feeling of simple comfort to it. It does not really even feel dated even though it was made 15 years ago. This really is one of the "all-time greats ", lol, if you see the movie, you will know what I mean.. They really don't make movies with as much content, story humor and guts as this one has! If you are really into music and what it can do for people , you will also appreciate this movie.
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9/10
For music elitists and people who think they're funny
mary-jane24 December 2001
Never before has a movie captured what it's like to be a musical elitist - you know the type, the person who has always heard of bands ages before everyone else, and who immediately trashes them once everyone else starts listening to them. There is plenty to mock about this sort of individual, and this movies does it very well.

The real joy of the film, though, is that the film also shows you that elitists are people, too. John Cusack is terrific as Rob, the music shop owner with personal and personnel problems. He is utterly believable, and yet a likeable character for all his faults.

The direction is good, too, though I personally find the "is this a day-dream or is it real?" scenes a little annoying.

This movie is definitely worth a rental or two, and for you film elitists out there, you can see Jack Black at his pre-Shallow Hal best.
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Clever Play on Introspection
tedg4 April 2000
Warning: Spoilers
I'm relatively easy to please. If just one thing in a film is an ambitious attempt and it works rather well, it is enough if most of the rest is merely competent. But a competent simple film isn't enough for me. Good acting alone isn't enough.

This film takes one chance and does it in my favorite area -- Cinema is essentially a superficial medium; it cannot capture an internal dialogue as a link with the viewer/reader like a novel can -- or at least not without taking chances.

Cusack deserves a lot of credit for what he's done here in playing with the link between movie and viewer.

(Caution! Some may see these as spoilers...)

--He has a dialog directly with the viewer, that dialog is often in the very context of the action, and the matter of the dialog is substantially different (more honest) than what he has with any character.

--One episode has three different versions. This is a part of the dialog with the viewer. It is a point of art that the effect is only used once.

--The dialog is essentially about the relationship between events and the soundtack of life as if it were a movie, so when a musician (Bruce Springsteen) comes from the soundtrack to the action, it blurs the distinction. Very clever.

--As the film is about music as analog ("using someone else's poetry" to annotate or even activate your life) it's rather elegant how Cusack has created a soundtrack for us in precisely the way he creates DJ tapes, like the one for his wife at the end.

This film takes intelligent chances with that tough boundary and makes them work. Worth seeing.
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8/10
A trip inside the crowded contents of the male psyche
StevePulaski10 January 2015
Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is a man stuck in a rut and that rut is one that occupies childlike sensibilities, an inability to adapt to change, and a lack of understanding, or effort to understand, the women in his life. Rob has yet to really come of age and has been stagnant in his ability to mature and grow up, sticking to what he knows in the most primal sense. He runs a record store with his friends Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), spending most of his days engaging in meaningless conversations about which musicians are better than other musicians, what records have a long-lasting impact over others, and so on, almost as if their musical elitism predated the kind you see in the same place where this film is set, Chicago.

Rob has just gone through a breakup with Laura (Iben Hjejle), a woman he clearly cared about but had no idea how to act on his feelings in a way that pleased her in a significant manner. She was troubled by his childishness and he was unwilling to change for the better. Depressed and distraught, finally questioning what role he had to play in his breakups, Rob cycles through five of his old romantic partners to see if there's some sort of consistent screw-up he is faced with in all his relationships.

High Fidelity works instantly because of Cusack's character and character acting abilities. He embodies Rob Gordon, who we grow to find likable at times, mostly thanks to his quick-witted mannerisms and ability to keep a conversation moving, and incorrigible at others, for his inability to realize that he is his own worst enemy. Cusack's "cool guy" approach to the material, complete with first-person narration and frequently employed witticisms, make him nonetheless an interesting protagonist because you can fault him and appreciate him for many reasons, but the main one is that he's human. Louiso and Black work well as the side characters here, in addition, particularly Luiso, who is given some of the funniest lines of the picture. Jack Black is your typical Jack Black character here, but ostensibly boasting more controlled chaos than outright chaos here (either that or his craziness gels well enough with Cusack's coolness that typical results aren't as blatant).

Director Stephen Frears and the quartet of writers at hand here (Cusack himself, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, and Scott Rosenberg) are commendable because they understand the way males think. If a woman goes through a breakup, as least from what I've seen from my female friends and based off knowledge from films I have seen, she often reevaluates herself, checking herself with her friends to see what could've possibly gone wrong and if she had anything to do with the relationship's demise. Men, from what I've seen from my male friends and other films I have seen, are almost too prideful for that sort of thing, rarely showing too much emotion and holding it in for a rainy day. We move on to hooking up, letting our feelings out to only our closest friends, and simply try to find another woman who will provide us not with the same kind of love but the same feelings as the previous gal did.

Of course I'm speaking in rampant generalities here; the heart of my argument is that so is Frears and his writers. They're evaluating the character based on terms typical of the male psyche, and are effective in at least portraying a pragmatic situation for a character who has been through a plethora of rough breakups. High Fidelity also features the soundtrack from heaven to compliment our leads characters' musical elitism that works to bring life to a screenplay that could've either showed its worn qualities or lessened in impact over time. However, thanks to Cusack as the center of the film, complimented by two other effective actors, the film stands strong and offers us a glimpse into the mind of a male during one of the most vulnerable times in his life.

Starring: John Cusack, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, and Iben Hejejle. Directed by: Stephen Frears.
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8/10
Vinyl Junky and Romantic Flunky
LeonLouisRicci21 March 2014
This is a Specialty Movie about a Speciality Store with Especially Eccentric Patrons, Owners and Employees. Music Junkies that are mostly Flunkies is Societal Terms that can Quote Liner Notes and Record Label Minutia but have a Difficult Time Relating to Girls. it is a Nerdish-Geekish Cliché but when done with a Labor of Love Intensity like what goes on here, it can be quite Insightful and Entertaining.

Your Enjoyment of this Movie will Depend on a Toleration for Fourth Wall Shatterings with Direct at the Camera Monologues and Your Knowledge and Attachment to Pop Music and its Place and Importance in Shaping Our Culture. There is a lot of Banter about Musical Taste and Snobbish Cynicism about those who "don't get it".

But there is also Another Side to this Vinyl Obsessed Opus and that is the Romantic Part that Segues Back and Forth with the Hipster Trivia and it is the Jerky Relationships and Nervous Uncomfortableness that John Cusack Suffers Anytime He is out of the Record Store and out of His Element, and that is Reflected by the Elements Wrath of Rain that He Encounters.

It is an Offbeat and Fresh Movie with Limited Appeal but has found a Cult Audience (no surprise) and may be just Sweet Enough for a Date Movie if the the Girl in Attendance has an Inkling of Cultural Awareness, Pop Music History, and a Tolerance for that Most Male of Things, an Immature, Irresponsible, Obsessive Attachment and Unhealthy Devotion to Hobbies.
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9/10
Either you love it, or Hate it
meja5 November 2001
I've read some of the reviews here on imdb. And I found it interesting that either people love this movie, or hate this movie. In my opinion, I quite enjoyed this movie, probably because of the great performance of the cast, especially Jack Black. He is so funny.

And I love the music in the movie. It's probably the biggest reason why I love this movie. I mean how can you get the jokes if you have never heard of those names of the musicians? Just take my friend as an example, she was with me while seeing this movie, and Belle and Sebastian once mentioned in the movie, and my friend was just like "Who the hell is Belle and Sebastian?" I can imagine why it was hard for her to get the jokes.

I think if you are one big music lover, you would love this movie. Or if you aren't, you may find it boring, just as some of the reviewers said in here. And if you love the movie, you should try the book. I think the book is better than the movie. The movie is good, but the book is great.

I would give 8 out of 10 to this movie.
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7/10
It's great to have a job you love. Rock on!
michaelRokeefe17 March 2001
John Cusack plays the owner of a record store. The greatest sounds on vinyl in one shop. He has two part-time employees(Jack Black and Todd Louiso)that spend most of their time arguing about music or insulting the customers. Cusack is a little perplexed in an obsessive compulsive sort of way. His obsession is organizing things into a Top 5 list. Favorite ballads; rock tunes; break up songs; oh...the thing that really occupies his mind is his unsuccessful relationships, thus the Top 5 breakups.

This is a wonderful movie. Not a real coming of age flick; but a movie about emotions and the fetish of most young men, to hold in your hands the music that you cherish. Each and every record has a personal story and meaning to the beholder.

No argument, this fits into the Top 5 John Cusack movies. Jack Black is a scene stealer deluxe, especially in the finale. Also in the cast are Lisa Bonet, Tim Robbins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Iben Hjejle and Joan Cusack.
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9/10
This one really shocked me. I don't even like John Cusack, but I loved High Fidelity.
Anonymous_Maxine27 January 2001
Why was High Fidelity so good? That's the question that has been going through my mind ever since I saw it. There really wasn't anyone spectacular involved with it. I mean, it's not like Tom Hanks was in it or Steven Spielberg directed it. But somehow, it ended up being just a great comedy.

High Fidelity just had a really entertaining story, and it was extremely well acted by everyone involved. This is what I have come up with in my mission to find out what it was about High Fidelity that made me like it so much. Sure, there's not a whole lot to the story – a guy gets dumped and goes back and recounts his relationships and break-ups with his top five girlfriends, but it was presented in such a clever way that it made bland material a lot of fun.

One of the things that was really good about High Fidelity was the way the `top five girlfriends' premise was complemented by Rob Gordon (Cusack) and his music geek friends coming up with countless top five lists. Top five dream jobs, top five first songs on music albums, top five this, top five that. Anyone who is into top five lists or top ten lists will probably love High Fidelity just for that small part of it. Speaking of Gordon's music geek friends, the person who really stole the show was Jack Black, as Barry, one of Gordon's employees at the record store that he owns in the film. This is particularly notable given the variety of unenviable roles that Black has played, such as those in Cable Guy and, more recently, The Jackal. The hilarious music discussion scenes that take place in the record store are probably the best scenes in the film, and Black steals nearly every one of them.

Almost as amusing as Black was Todd Louiso, playing the part of Dick, another employee at Gordon's record store. Dick is a very soft-spoken music fanatic who is probably so entertaining because we've known someone like him. In fact, that's what is so appealing about Gordon and Barry, too. They are a cross-section of music fans in the urban world and they provide many more laughs because of their familiarity.

A number of well-known actors also played relatively small roles in High Fidelity, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Joan Cusack, and, of course, Tim Robbins as the antagonistic ‘new boyfriend.' One of the really good things about High Fidelity is that it eventually delivers a good message about stepping up and actually doing something with your life. It warns of the dangers of getting too comfortable doing one thing, and of giving in to the temptation of hopping from relationship to brief relationship. At the end, Rob begins to realize the mistakes that he made in his relationship with Laura, and these are mistakes that I think a lot of people have made and continue to make.

High Fidelity is just good comedy. It's fun, it's entertaining, and above all, it's refreshing because of it's relative originality. There are plenty of memorable scenes in the film, many because of their sheer, if illogical, hilarity. Some of the customers who come into the record store are treated much worse than they would ever be treated in real life, but the laughs are delivered. Don't miss this one.
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10/10
Excellent romantic-comedy about a musical obsessive
Red-Barracuda26 May 2014
I remember reading Nick Hornby's novel 'High Fidelity' and laughing out loud an awful, awful lot. The characters were so well drawn and the comedy was right on the mark. I suppose I saw parts of myself in there I would have to admit. Although admittedly, while I did organise my CD collection alphabetically, I was never tempted to sort it biographically! The story in a nutshell centres on a mid-thirties music geek who slowly accepts his adult responsibilities, while never actually discarding his obsessions. It's obviously great fun for those with certain musical tastes, seeing as it features references to important alternative acts such as The Beta Band and Stereolab, amongst many others.

But what elevates the film higher is, like the book, it has three dimensional characters that are believable and it has a strong romantic-comedy aspect. Like the very best rom-coms its observations about relationships are intelligent and the characters are ones we root for. John Cusack as the main character Rob is in fine form in a role where he is a sympathetic lead, a selfish idiot and an amusing music geek. It's a multi-layered performance. Iben Hjejle as his long suffering girlfriend Laura impresses a lot too. We completely understand why Rob wants her around but it's not hard to see why Laura has serious issues with their relationship. Hjejle, like Cusack, is given quite a lot to work with and her performance also has quite a bit of emotional range. The rest of the cast is very good too with Jack Black playing the ultimate obnoxious music snob, Tim Robbins is equally amusing as the even-tempered neighbour Ian, who briefly has a relationship with Laura much to Rob's horror, while Lisa Bonet and Catherine Zeta-Jones are also on hand as other women who come into Rob's orbit.

Director Stephen Frears and producer Cusack have to be given a lot of credit for adapting Hornby's book to the screen so seamlessly. The novel is set in the UK but the movie is set in America. Some of the references have had to change accordingly but none of the amendments make any difference to the overall impact; in fact it makes it an interesting contrast if anything. My advice is simple - watch the film and read the book. You won't regret either.
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7/10
Sharp, funny, and appealing.
Hey_Sweden26 November 2019
John Cusack is the star, and one of the screenwriters and co-producers, of this likeable adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel. At its core, it capably tells a good romantic story, and does a very amusing job at poking fun at people who lord their supposedly superior musical knowledge (and tastes) over others. It's got an attractive and endearing cast, and it naturally also has a non-stop, eclectic soundtrack.

Cusack plays Rob, the neurotic owner of a record store that is far from prosperous. His employees are the timid Dick (Todd Louiso) and the far more brash Barry (Jack Black, who walks away with the film). After his longtime girlfriend Laura (charming Danish actress Iben Hjejle) dumps him for another man, it forces him to take stock and reflect on the major relationships - and break-ups - of his life.

Cusack is typically engaging, although this viewer could have done without that over-used device of having the main character directly address the camera. The film itself, despite being a little overlong, has some good laughs. I cracked up when Rob fantasized possible reactions to the annoying Ian (an amusing Tim Robbins), including a scenario of him, Barry, and Dick beating the almighty hell out of him.

Some intelligent and pointed dialogue is brought to life by this talented cast, with a steady parade of lovely ladies (Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lili Taylor, Joelle Carter) as the women who have caught Robs' eyes over the years. Rob himself is not too sympathetic for much of the running time, but then, that is the whole point as it takes a while to pinpoint himself as a common denominator, and have his eventual epiphany.

Nice cameo by rock star Bruce Springsteen, too.

Seven out of 10.
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9/10
Might be the only rom - com that throws the spotlight to a male character
angelic_wounds25 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Most rom - coms made in Hollywood were either told by a woman or written/thought by one, so we always got a one sided affair that contained emotional swings, unreal scenarios, fantasy endings and plot twists that only strengthen the happy ending; an ideal scenario to a female fantasy regarding love, born out of fairytales. Additionally, when such movies were more realistic and on the mature side, they continued to tell the story through a woman's lenses.

High Fidelity is such a poignant chapter in the Hollywood annals of romantic comedies precisely because it breaks the norm - the story of love, sorrow, confliction, friendship and personal psyche is finally told by a male's point of view, and explained in a very realistic scenario of a simple, every day man. Rob Gordon (John Cusack) owns a record store in Chicago, and he is going through a break up. A man who always seems to have everything sorted and in order, he narrates through the whole movie, cataloguing his top 5 break ups up to the recent one, explaining the reason they occurred.

Through the course of the film, we see him going through the motions of his break up, the so called five stages of grief, so to speak. Along the way, with his ex - girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) constantly on the forefront of his mind, Rob tries to sort out his feelings, going into deep musical conversations with his employees Barry (Jack Black), an elitist music lover who often connects day events with a "top 5 tracklist", and Dick (Todd Louiso), the sentimental part of the trio. Along the way, Rob goes through a soul search of his own, eventually coming to conclusions about his character, his behaviour, and acceptance that for love and a relationship to survive, you have to take a leap of faith into the unknown.

Do not believe that this movie is anything sappy, for it remains a comedy for the bigger portion of its 2 hour course. Black ensembles a perfect character on himself, and you'll definitely laugh with his constant opinion on contemporary and old music alike, especially when he downgrades a poor old customer about it. Cusack is as believable as it gets, bringing forth every emotion possible associated with falling in love, from anger to envy, and nostalgia to care.

Above all, it's a very educational film into the male psyche, and will definitely become a favourite of both genders, because it lacks any "fairytale ending". It's a dive into an emotional trip, seen through the eyes of an everyday man, where it is bound to stay with you long after the credits roll.
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8/10
One of Cusack's best performances to date.
estebangonzalez106 August 2015
"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/
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1/10
Easily the worst movie I've ever seen
GreenEclipse19 November 2001
High Fidelity is easily the worst movie I've ever seen. It's as if "A Night at the Roxbury" and "Dick" were to copulate and have one hideous, deformed movie-child... that child would be High Fidelity. Not only does the movie have no redeeming value, but I can't even see what redeeming value it's SUPPOSED to have. Apparently it was supposed to be a dramatic, romantic comedy, but I can't think of a single moment during the movie at which I felt any emotion other than an outpouring of suicidal rage. There was no comedy whatsoever (unless gratuitous use of "F***" counts as comedy), no romance whatsoever (unless talking about people you had sex with counts as romance), and no drama whatsoever (unless you count the precious seconds until the movie is over). Avoid this movie like the plague. In fact, if you have the choice, choose the plague -- I wish I could say that I am exaggerating, but High Fidelity has taken 113 minutes of my life away that could have been used to drown myself in a bathtub so as to never be forced to endure such a horrible, traumatic film.
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