High Fidelity (film)


High Fidelity (film)

Infobox Film
name = High Fidelity


image_size =
caption = Theatrical poster
director = Stephen Frears
producer = Tim Bevan
Rudd Simmons
writer = Nick Hornby (book)
D.V. DeVincentis
Steve Pink
John Cusack
Scott Rosenberg
narrator =
starring = John Cusack
Iben Hjejle
Jack Black
Todd Louiso
Joan Cusack
Tim Robbins
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Lisa Bonet
Joelle Carter
Sara Gilbert
Lili Taylor
Natasha Gregson Wagner
music = Howard Shore
cinematography = Seamus McGarvey
editing = Mick Audsley
distributor = Touchstone Pictures
released = March 28, 2000
runtime = 113 minutes
country = USA
language = English
budget = $20,000,000 (est.)
gross = $27,277,055 (USA)
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:184533
imdb_id = 0146882

"High Fidelity" is a 2000 film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack. The film is based on the 1995 British novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. After seeing the film, Hornby expressed his happiness with John Cusack's performance as Rob Gordon (changed from Rob Fleming in the book), saying, "At times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book."cite news
last = Malanowski
first = Jamie
coauthors =
title = Keeping Faith with "High Fidelity"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = New York Times
date = April 2, 2000
url =
accessdate =
]

Plot

The book and film have essentially similar plots, though the setting, originally London, is moved to Chicago in the film. Cusack plays Rob Gordon (Rob Fleming in the novel), a record store owner in his 30s whose girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) has just left him before the start of the film. This breakup leads Rob to recall his five most memorable breakups and to wonder what happened to his girlfriends and why they left him.

Eventually, Rob's re-examination of his failed relationships (brought on by imaginary dialogue with Bruce Springsteen) leads to his decision to seek them all out. Rob revisits all bar one of his past girlfriends as a sort of closure to that part of his life. Rob soon discovers that his ex girlfriends were much different. More often than not he is surprised he ever fell in love with them at all, and in no case is this more evident than when he meets old college girlfriend Charlie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) again, a woman who had left Rob for another man. Rob goes into great detail about his admiration for Charlie before maturing into seeing Charlie for who she really is.

While this search is happening, Rob is struggling to come to grips with Laura leaving him, and throughout the movie his relationships are portrayed through narrative flashbacks and monologues. Rob finds out that Laura is now living with another man called Ian (Ray) (Tim Robbins), who was formerly a neighbour of Rob. This relationship causes Rob sleepless nights as he imagines Laura with Ian and fears Laura will leave him forever. At this point, Rob realises the impact that Laura leaving him has had on his 'Top 5 all time breakups' list and bumps Laura into the number 5 spot "with a bullet", and therefore never revisits the relationship he bumps off to let Laura on (he does however revisit it in the book).

To make things worse, Ian is "awful" according to Rob. He plays world music and "awful cooking smells" emanate from his apartment. Rob is desperate to get Laura back — although he confesses he is not really sure why — and goes so far as to lurk outside Ian's apartment waiting for her to come out. The interactions between Rob and Ian are humorous, but the conflict inevitably drives Laura further away from Rob. During this time Rob has a one night stand with musician Marie DeSalle (Lisa Bonet).

The main turning point of the film comes when Laura's father passes away and Laura, whose mother never told her father about the break up as he liked Rob, invites him to the funeral. After the service, Laura propositions Rob for a brief tryst in her car, because she wants "to feel something other than this (grief)." Afterwards, Laura states that it's not worth the effort to "not" date Rob and she feels she needs someone in the coming months to help her cope.

Rob resolves his ongoing desire to be interested in other women by realizing that they are only fantasies, since he hasn't seen their negative, less-appealing sides while his relationship with Laura is impartial. He decides that the overall happiness and fulfillment his relationship with Laura brings are worth the occasional downsides.

Most of the film is set in the record shop that Rob owns, Championship Vinyl, located at Honore and Milwaukee Streets. Rob and his employees, Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), spend their free moments discussing mix-tape aesthetics and constructing "top-five" lists which demonstrate their knowledge of music. Much of the movie focuses on discussions and opinions on artists and music. Barry is an overly obnoxious clerk who goes out of his way to make fun of those whom he deems lower than himself because of their lack of musical knowledge. Dick, on the other hand, is quieter and less forceful with his opinions, though equally pretentious.

The two separate parts of the story come together when Rob decides to create a record label, Top 5 Records, through the record store. Laura takes this idea even further by setting up an event where Rob ends up DJing and Barry’s newfound band plays in order to promote the new label. The show is a hit and it seems Rob's life is taking a turn for the better.

The film ends with Rob saying that he finally knows what a relationship is all about as he begins to make a new mix-tape for Laura.

Cast

*John Cusack as "Rob Gordon"
*Iben Hjejle as "Laura"
*Todd Louiso as "Dick"
*Jack Black as "Barry"
*Lisa Bonet as "Marie DeSalle"
*Catherine Zeta-Jones as "Charlie Nicholson"
*Joan Cusack as "Liz"
*Tim Robbins as "Ian "Ray" Raymond"
*Lili Taylor as "Sarah Kendrew"
*Natasha Gregson Wagner as "Caroline"
*Sara Gilbert as "Annaugh Moss"
*Drake Bell as "Young Rob Gordon"
*Bruce Springsteen as Himself (cameo)"

Production

Nick Hornby's book was optioned by Disney's Touchstone Pictures in 1995 where it went into development for three years. Disney boss Joe Roth had a conversation with recording executive Kathy Nelson who recommended John Cusack and his writing and producing partners D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink adapt the book. She had worked previously with them on "Grosse Pointe Blank" and felt that they had the right sensibilities for the material.cite news
last = Portman
first = Jamie
coauthors =
title = Quirky John Cusack Embraces the Eccentric - Again
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Ottawa Citizen
date = March 27, 2000
url =
accessdate =
] According to Cusack, DeVincentis is the closest to the record-obsessive characters in the film, owning 1,000 vinyl records and thousands of CDs and tapes.cite news
last = Wloszczyna
first = Susan
coauthors =
title = Cusack, in Tune with His Movies
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = USA Today
date = March 31, 2000
url =
accessdate =
] They wrote a treatment that was immediately greenlighted by Roth.

creenplay

The writers decided to change the book's setting from London to Chicago because they were more familiar with the city and it also had a "great alternative music scene," according to Pink.cite news
last = Beale
first = Lewis
coauthors =
title = Staying Faithful to "High Fidelity"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Daily News
date = April 2, 2000
url =
accessdate =
]

Cusack found that the greatest challenge adapting the novel was pulling off Rob Gordon's frequent breaking of the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience. The screenwriters did this in order to convey Rob's inner confessional thoughts and were influenced by a similar technique in the Michael Caine film, "Alfie". Cusack rejected this approach because he thought that "there'd just be too much of me." Once director Stephen Frears signed on to direct, he suggested using this technique and everyone agreed to use it.

Cusack and the other writers thought of the idea to have Rob have a conversation with Bruce Springsteen in his head, inspired by a reference in Hornby's book where the narrator wishes he could handle his past girlfriends as well as the musician does in the song, "Bobby Jean" on "Born in the U.S.A.".cite news
last = Wloszczyna
first = Susan
coauthors =
title = Boss Cameo a Musical Coup
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = USA Today
date = March 31, 2000
url =
accessdate =
] They never thought that they'd actually get the musician to be in the film but that putting him in the script would get the studio excited about it. Cusack knew Springsteen socially and called the musician up and pitched the idea. Springsteen asked for a copy of the script and afterwards agreed to do it.

Casting

The filmmakers read with a lot of actresses for the role of Laura. Frears was at the Berlin Film Festival and saw "Mifune" starring Iben Hjejle and realized that he had found the actress for the role.

Frears read Hornby's book and enjoyed it but did not connect with the material because it wasn't about his generation.cite news
last = Husband
first = Stuart
coauthors =
title = Tracks of My Frears
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = The Guardian
date = April 21, 2000
url =
accessdate =
] He accepted the job because he wanted to work with Cusack again (they had worked together previously on "The Grifters") and liked the idea of changing the setting from London to Chicago. The director was also responsible for insisting on keeping Jack Black on as Barry. Frears has said that many people from the studio would come to watch his rushes.cite news
last = Wood
first = Gaby
coauthors =
title = The Observer Profile: Jack Black
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = The Observer
date = December 11, 2005
url = http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,1664609,00.html
accessdate = 2007-11-30
]

Soundtrack

One of the challenges the screenwriters faced was figuring out which songs would go where in the film because Rob, Dick and Barry "are such musical snobs," according to Cusack. He and his screenwriting partners listened to 2,000 songs and picked 70 song cues.

Infobox Album
Name = High Fidelity (Music from the Motion Picture)
Type = Soundtrack
Artist = Various artists


Released = May 28, 2000
Recorded = 1999
Genre = Soundtrack
Length = 65:01
Label = Hollywood
Producer =
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|4|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dbfrxq9kld0e link]
Last album =
This album =
Next album =

# "You're Gonna Miss Me" - 13th Floor Elevators
# "Everybody's Gonna Be Happy" - The Kinks
# "I'm Wrong About Everything" - John Wesley Harding
# "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" - The Velvet Underground
# "Always See Your Face" - Love
# "Most of the Time" - Bob Dylan
# "Fallen for You" - Sheila Nicholls
# "Dry the Rain" - The Beta Band
# "Shipbuilding" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
# "Cold Blooded Old Times" - (Smog)
# "Let's Get It On" - Barry Jive & The Uptown Five
# "Lo Boob Oscillator" - Stereolab
# "Inside Game" - Royal Trux
# "Who Loves the Sun" - The Velvet Underground
# "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)" - Stevie Wonder

More music in the film

ongs mentioned in dialogue of film

Reception

"High Fidelity" premiered at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. The post-party was held at the Sunset Room where Tenacious D performed.cite news
last = Lyons
first = Charles
coauthors =
title = Disney Tunes Up "High"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = March 30, 2000
url =
accessdate =
]

In his review for the "Washington Post", Desson Howe praised Jack Black as "a bundle of verbally ferocious energy. Frankly, whenever he's in the scene, he shoplifts this movie from Cusack." [cite news
last = Howe
first = Desson
coauthors =
title = Turn It Up
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Post
date = March 31, 2000
url =
accessdate =
] In his review for the "New York Times", Stephen Holden praised Cusack's performance, writing that he was "a master at projecting easygoing camaraderie, he navigates the transitions with such an astonishing naturalness and fluency that you're almost unaware of them." [cite news
last = Holden
first = Stephen
coauthors =
title = The Trivially Hip
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = New York Times
date = March 31, 2000
url =
accessdate =
] However, "USA Today" did not give the film a positive review: "Let's be kind and just say "High Fidelity"...doesn't quite belong beside "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "The Sure Thing" in Cusack's greatest hits collection. It's not that he isn't good. More like miscast." [cite news
last = Wloszczyna
first = Susan
coauthors =
title = When Love Hits a Sour Note
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = USA Today
date = March 31, 2000
url =
accessdate =
]

"Empire" magazine voted "High Fidelity" the 446th greatest film in their "500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list. [cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
work = Empire
pages =
language =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.empireonline.com/500/11.asp
accessdate = 2009-09-29
]

References

External links

*imdb title|id=0146882|title=High Fidelity
*rotten-tomatoes|id=1095420-high_fidelity|title=High Fidelity
* [http://allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:184533 High Fidelity] at [http://www.allmovie.com| All Movie]
* [http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/minisites/nickhornby/index.html Nick Hornby's Official Website]


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