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 ...
There are 5 records displayed on the wall in Rob's apartment, which can be seen briefly after Laura leaves at the beginning of the movie. We can assume that these are Rob's personal Top 5 Favorite Albums, although this is not one of the "top 5" topics discussed over the course of the film. These records (from left to right) are "Maggot Brain" by Funkadelic, "Tonight's the Night" by Neil Young, "Wild Honey" by The Beach Boys, "Goo" by Sonic Youth, and "Double Nickels on the Dime" by Minutemen. See more »
Rob mentions the song "Landslide" while holding up the
self-titled Fleetwood Mac album, which it appears on. The cover is similar to the cover for "Rumours", which confused at least one viewer. 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?
See more »
Catherine Zeta Jones is only credited in the final cast list and not in main credits 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.
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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