Review: High-Fidelity

Background: Re-watched High Fidelity tonight. I watch a lot of movies lately. First couple of times I saw this movie I didn’t like it – too depressing. First time I saw it a friend who worked at a video store got it the day or the day before it was put on the shelves and brought it home so I could watch it with she and her roommates, a little gift. I told them I was looking forward to it, had read the book (recommended to me by a friend, now my wife) and then watched it with them and after told them how depressing I thought it was. Nice.

The book, though, is not a rose garden either. It’s funny because it’s accurate and painful and it’s fun to read because it’s well written but it’s depressing as well. Not Jude the Obscure depressing, but it’s not an escape book, at least for me.

Review: The movie is great. The content is great: insightful 30-something media snob grappling with relationships. There were parts I loved: when he screams and holds his head in the rain after he realized he’ll never get back together with Charlie. How he wears big geeky high-quality headphones on the train to work. The give and take at the record store. It looked in the movie like he actually worked there. I could relate to the character more when I was younger. This time I picked up this whole “Come to Chicago” vibe – like it was a travel guide fo the cool parts of the city. I’m sure Chicago is cool and growing up there is cool. People around here who are from there like to say that they’re from there. I’ve been there – it’s a nice city! It’s not the center of cool, though (that’s reserved for other parts of the midwest – like…actually, for the midwest, that’s probably as ‘cool’ as it gets). And in the movie he’s never as big of a loser as he is in the book, unforunately. But it’s very likeable.  The best parts were how he was falling apart and how hard a time he had pulling his head out, the accurate stuff about relationships and how they’re messy and how dramatic single life is and can be. The extras were good if you read the book, for example you got the scene in the house with the amazing vynil singles, which is a good scene. The interviews with Cusack and Stephen Frears, the director, confirm as usual that most Americans in Hollywood are idiots and precious when interviewed about films and most people from the UK come off as normal, charming, or intelligent. A few exceptions to this: Claire Danes (extras for Stardust)…actually that’s the only exception I can think of. The maxim my wife and I got by – if you enjoyed the movie, don’t watch the extras. They’ll only ruin it for you. The most dramatic case of this for us was another Cusack film, actually, Say Anything, which is an amazing, wonderful, great film to me and to listen to him and Cameron Crowe and Ione Skye talk back and forth over each other about each other’s wonderfulness made me think carefully about the movie. ‘The hell?’ I thought. ‘How do they ever get any work done, they just sit around mirrors and light candles to each other.’

Great song I heard through this movie:

The Beta Band – Dry The Rain
Found at

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