March 2005 Archives
- High Fidelity [Info] [Rent] [Buy], a movie I liked alot when I watched it a year ago or so.
- Muppet Treasuer Island [Info] [Rent] [Buy] : we've been on a bit of a pirate kick lately in our reading, and this looks like it fits right in. Our first viewing was a success, and I hope to report on it soon.
- Outfoxed [Info] [Rent] [Buy] : A documentary on how the "Fair And Balanced" Fox "News" Channel, isn't really.
High Fidelity is the Stephen Frears (director) / John Cusack (writer/producer/star) movie from 2000, based upon the Nick Hornsby book of the same name. It is about a man who ruminates on his life, loves and losses, as he struggles to grow up and stay involved. A pretty solid movie all around, and a real feather in Cusack's cap, as he was involved in so many pieces of this production.
The movie starts with Rob Gordon's (Cusack) live-in girlfriend Laura (played by Iben Hjejle) checking out of the relationship, one she finds at a dead end, due to Rob's inability to change, or even more basically, grow up. While Laura has matured into a successful lawyer, Rob remains stuck as the owner of a backwater used record store. After she leaves, Rob begins his countdown of his personal top 5 breakups.
While reliving these memories (and talking to us), his life goes on. His record store has two employees, who, he says, he hired to work 3 days a week but started showing up every day. Dick (Todd Louisi) and Barry (a bravura performance by Jack Black) are also record junkies as well as musical snobs. Dick is a shy, withdrawn guy, while Barry compensates for him by being over the top and in your face. There is an especially funny scene when a man tries to buy a light pop record for his daughter and Barry browbeats him right out of the store.
Laura continues to float in and out of Rob's life, while Rob plays catch up with some of his former lovers. He also has a quirky relationship with a local pop singer Marie De Salle (Lisa Bonet). He struggles to make it work out, and seems to have life under control by the end of the movie.
This is a real fun, light movie. There are some excellent scenes, and lots of "name" actors helping out, including Catherine Zeta-Jones as the "out of his league" girlfriend, Tim Robbins as Laura's fling, and even several big names that ended up on the cutting floor, like Harold Ramis and Beverly D'Angelo. John's sister, Joan has a great turn as the friend caught between Laura and Rob, while even lesser Cusack brethren Susie (sister) and Dick (father) show up. There are several laugh out loud scenes, even if Rob is a bit of a selfish loser, but at least he's working at it.
Another notable component of the story is, of course, the music. I can't even imagine the difficulty and cost of obtaining the rights to all the great music to be found in this movie. There are over 60 songs listed in the credits! The cost for the rights to these alone could probably float many smaller countries. And it's great music too - what a soundtrack album this movie would make. There is a definite love of modern music shown by all involved.
The DVD is pretty solid, with pretty good Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and a good picture. The extras a pretty thin. There's a bunch of deleted scenes (the only place you'll see D'Angelo and Ramis), which only go to show you the director is usually right in cutting them. D'Angelo's turn as an embittered wife trying to sell off her philandering husband's priceless 45 collection is pretty good, and is one of the rare spots that show Rob not being selfish. And there are some talking head interviews with Cusack and Frears, that I haven't quite entirely waded through. And that's about it.
Well, I really enjoyed High Fidelity when I first saw it a year or so ago, enough so that when I saw it on the cheap at my local grocery store, I picked it up. There's some good, albeit dime store, psychology happening, some nice one liners, and Black's over the top job as the record store dweeb. Well worth a visit, I say!