Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.
Thirty-something Rob Gordon, a former club DJ, owns a not so lucrative used record store in Chicago. He not so much employs Barry and Dick, but rather keeps them around as they showed up at the store one day and never left. All three are vinyl and music snobs, but in different ways. Rob has a penchant for compiling top five lists. The latest of these lists is his top five break-ups, it spurred by the fact that his latest girlfriend, Laura, a lawyer, has just broken up with him. He believed that Laura would be the one who would last, partly as an expectation of where he would be at this stage in his life. Rob admits that there have been a few incidents in their relationship which in and of themselves could be grounds for her to want to break up. To his satisfaction, Laura is not on this top five list. Rob feels a need not only to review the five relationships, which go back as far as middle school when he was twelve, and try to come to terms with why the woman, or girl as the case may ...
The majority of fliers and stickers on the front of the register stand are bands either from Chicago or on Chicago record labels, including Urge Overkill, Falling Wallendas, Veruca Salt, and Liz Phair. These bands have members that are known to hang out in Wicker Park (one of the filming locations), and the local bar Rainbo Club, where the "proposal" scene was filmed. See more »
Rob says he met Sarah after having "just been run over by Charlie" - who he dated during his sophomore year of college. However, when reminiscing about the circumstances of his and Sarah's relationship, he states that "not many people are afraid of being left alone for the rest of their lives at 26". Of course, Rob may have entered college late, but he probably started at age 18 or 19 which would leave him, at the oldest, 21 when he broke up with Charlie and flunked out of college. See more »
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. 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?
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The main end credits are printed on music-type flyers posted on poles and walls. See more »
In the version premiered on Comedy Central in 2003, there are numerous dialogue changes due to adult language, but several of these can be clearly identified as alternate takes rather than overdubs:
1. When Rob talks about Deep Purple and his autobiographical record collection, Dick simply says "no way."
2. Rob says "is that Peter Frampton? Why?" instead of "is that Peter f'ing Frampton?" just before he enters the lounge.
3. Rob says "it made me feel like less of a... whoever the hell Laura thinks I am" during the phone call to Liz.
4. Rob shouts to himself "who... is Ian!?" and rips posters off the wall after he talks to Liz.
5. When Liz comes into the store, she says "hey Rob... you selfish jerk!"
6. In the bar, Rob says (due to a mis-edit) "but really good" twice (once in a medium shot and again in the close-up) and asks "how come suddenly I'm the world's biggest jerk?"
7. At dinner with Rob, Penny calls the guy she slept with a "dirtbag" and tells Rob to "go to Hell."
8. The whole scene where Rob gets Charlie's answering machine is a different take, again without language.
9. The shoplifting scene has a differently paced take when Rob says "how much is this deck worth to you and how much did you steal? Can you do the math?"
10. Charlie says "no, I can't believe you, Rob. I knew it. You are," in an alternate take when she sits down after the dinner party scene, instead of repeatedly cursing.
11. Barry's "top five songs about death" is a different take and even has Rob adding "Not Dark Yet, by Dylan" before he runs off to get the phone.
12. Rob asks "Hey! What the hell is this, huh? What is this?" when he finds Laura's flyer.
13. The scene where Rob offers Barry money not to play at the release party is different.
One of the best of all comedies but also a very poignant study of male life
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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