Lost in Found: High Fidelity

Though High Fidelity isn’t the typical unknown movie, it’s definitely worth talking about. I remember hearing the music play along to John Cusack saying “What came first? The music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns and watching violent videos, we’re scared that some sort of culture of violence is taking them over”… That’s when I knew it I would love this movie for the rest of my life.

I know most of you have seen it and probably love it as much as I do, so rather than droning on for 500 words on what this movie is about let’s just get into what makes it great. First off the music: Elvis Costello, Dylan, The Beta Band, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and The Kinks. I have yet to see a film that featured a song from The Kinks I didn’t like, but talking about that just sends me on a Wes Anderson tangent and we need to get back on track. So, I could go on and on about the bands and the songs in this film, some of which are not even played but just talked about to further increase their epicness. Even being on a poster or a patch on Grodan’s clothes brought a band into a new category of greatness. The main thing that makes the music of High Fidelity so powerful was the fact that after seeing this film everyone starts thinking about their own library of music and the things your albums say about you personally. Thoughts of “Fuck, I don’t own a copy of ‘Blonde on Blonde’!'” float into your head as you imagine yourself surrounded by Rob Gordon’s monumental record collection. That’s how the film pulls you in. It opens your mind up about the emotional connection with the music and then starts to talk about LOVE.

Not just any kind of love but love from the male prospective. Making a romantic comedy that would be geared toward a male audience sounded crazy back then but when teamed up to the music of The Rolling Stones with dating advice from The Boss it all makes sense. You see how brilliant the movie truly is, taking the comfort of music and the over all “cool” that it holds to break you down and turn records into relationships. If you don’t take any piece of this film and compare it to your own experiences then you have truly missed it’s purpose and who better to go on an emotional trek through the car crashes of love with than John Cusack.

Cusack definitely makes the film what it is, breaking the third wall is just expected when watching a Cusack film and just adds to the overall specialness of the film. He talks you through every step of his worst relationships and though Gordon’s a total train wreck and at times surprises you that he could even tie his own shoes through those neurotic black sunglasses, you trust him and find his character completely relatable. High Fidelity is my all time top five number one with a bullet favorite Cusack film and it is also what has me sitting through movies like 2012 with a smile. After this film Cusack became not only one of my favorite actors but writers and creators this was only confirmed after seeing Grosse Point Blank. Cusack showed everyone that if the prefect project for you isn’t out there you need to create it yourself, this goes not only for acting but life itself.

Though unquestionably Cusack is the star stand out and reason to watch this film the supporting cast only increases the film’s greatness. In this film small up starts like Jack Black got a chance to prove something. Black plays Berry the champion of the connoisseurs of fetish properties and the only one that wants to do more than just collect records when it comes to music. His over the top approach to his musical passion also become his love interest in the film. Being only of the only characters not looking for that special someone, Berry finds that satisfaction through finding a band and the total mockery of this process is what makes it’s end result so satisfying. With out Berry-jive and the up town five the closing moments of High Fidelity just wouldn’t be the same. I wouldn’t mind seeing a little Sonic Death Monkey though, even if it was just on a b-side of the soundtrack.

High Fidelity doesn’t fall into the category of the lost film but it’s overall energy and dialog makes it a constant in my ‘movies to watch’ bin. I can’t help to throw it in when I catch it on TV as to not be interrupted during my hour and a half Saturday afternoon reminder of it’s greatness. If you haven’t seen this film go out and buy it as it is the “Blonde on Blonde” of anyone’s movie collection.

If you have any movie suggestions for “Lost In Found” please email them to Ryan[at]lostinreviews.com

By Ryan Davis

About Ryan Davis

Ryan is the Founder of Lost in Reviews, a member of The Kansas City Film Critic's Circle, and a key component in the movement to digitally restore the 1986 classic film The Gate. Ryan is also the co-host of Blu Monday a DVD and Blu Ray review show which Lost in Reviews co-founder Angela Davis also appears. While he may be a film and music snob, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. Well it could if you don't like the same bands or films he does, overall it might be best to avoid the subject all together.

Follow Ryan Here: