By Taylor Long
You've heard about it. Maybe you've even seen it. But to one group of people, this movie's knowledge is endless and timeless. No, I'm not talking about The Godfather. The movie of which I speak resonates with a group far nerdier than the masses and just as exclusive as any circle of the elite. I'm talking about music nerds, of course, and I'm talking about High Fidelity, a timeless classic for vinyl-loving girls and boys with headphones glued to their heads. What makes this film such gold for such a pretentious group of people? Allow me to explain.
First, the plot. You couldn't ask for a better, more relatable story-line. A man (Rob), who owns a record store, goes through a terrible break-up with a long time girlfriend. This propels him into a phase during which he seeks out all of his old ex-girlfriends. While this might not sound so appealing about the fresh wounds from your most recent relationship, who hasn't wondered about what went wrong a few years down the line? We music lovers might be busying sorting our vinyl collections or looking for rare imported CDs, but when we're not doing that, many of us are very analytical, almost to a point that it's neurotic.
Secondly, the script. What other movie can give you strokes of genius and insight like "Only people of a certain disposition are frightened of being alone for the rest of their lives at the age of 26, and we were of that disposition," or "Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" Only in High Fidelity are you presented with mind boggling dilemmas such as "Would you have sex with me? Because I want to feel something else than this. It's either that, or I go home and put my hand in the fire. Unless you want to stub cigarettes out on my arm."
High Fidelity has the answers to all of your burning questions:
What's the best way to make a mix tape? "The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules." (Once, a guy repeated this to me verbatim. My knees instantaneously went weak.)
Should you sleep with your ex that's going through a very vulnerable period? "What better way to exorcise rejection demons than to screw the person who rejected you, right? But you wouldn't be sleeping with a person, you'd be sleeping with the whole sad, single-person culture. It'd be like sleeping with Talia Shire in Rocky if you weren't Rocky."
Is your extremely hot significant other going to cheat on you? "I was jealous of other men in her design department. I became convinced that she was going to leave me for one of them. Then she left me for one of them." All the answers are right there.
Thirdly, the cast. Who else can capture the essence of Rob's character but John Cusack? He's a man's man. He's a ladies' man. He's your average-seeming guy, who is nothing but likeable. He might not be Brad Pitt or Jude Law, but give girls the choice between them, and I guarantee you that you might be surprised at how many would choose John Cusack any day of the week.
Then there's the record store employees. Jack Black nails Barry to a tee. No one else could have done the obnoxious, snobbily clever record clerk better. It's hard to believe that the character wasn't written just for him. And Todd Louiso, virtually unknown, was brilliant as Dick, the shy, quiet side of music nerd-dom.
And, of course, the soundtrack. In a movie for and about music critics, could there be anything more important? The artists range from old classics like Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and The Velvet Underground to indie bands like the Beta Band and Smog. Unlike a lot of soundtracks, every song on the soundtrack seems to have some direct relation to the plot of the movie, and makes a notable appearance in the film. Every track is a gem, such as songs like "You're Gonna Miss Me" by 13th Floor Elevators and "Shipbuilding" by Elvis Costello and The Attractions to "Always See Your Face" by Love.
Lots of music connoisseurs are movie buffs, so a large part of the time, any great movie can appeal to the musically inclined. But many of us with discerning ears know that High Fidelity shows a realistic, relatable glimpse of a world not often revealed to the masses. Then again, we kind of like it that way.