Friday, September 16, 2016
JEFF OF THE CINEFILES & UNFINISHED BUSINESS: HALL OF FAME: FILE #0047: HIGH FIDELITY (2000)
Directed By: Stephen Frears
Written By: John Cusack,Steve Pink, Scott Rosenberg & D.V. DeVincentis
Based On The Book By: Nick Hornby
Cinematography By: Seamus McGarvey
Editor: Mick Audsley
Cast: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Todd Louiso, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lili Taylor, Tim Robbins, Lisa Bonet, Sara Gilbert, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Joelle Carter, Drake Bell, Chris Bauer, Alex Desert
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 an 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 a middle school when he was twelve, and try to come to terms with why the woman, or girl as the case may be...
John Cusack and the screenwriters wrote the script with Jack Black in mind for the role of Barry, who nearly turned the role down but reconsidered.
This film be still my geek heart and all i love. This film for me is magical. I saw it in the theater and while it took me years to finally read the book. As i was afraid it wouldn't measure up to the film. Which it surpassed albeit another kind of animal all together. While it might be dated a bit by now. this is and the book is almost a geek rite of passage if not kind of bible.
The film is nostalgic to me as it represents something that is disappearing with technology. Not only the record stores but those sage souls who could turn customers onto new or seemingly important music and give a philosophy with it. it also reminds me of when i used to work at record stores and retail outlets. The fun in being around other who usually had just as much a passion for the same kinds of things though had different theories or interests lays in different types of music.
The film plays into the idea of the mysticism of not only an ex, but the one who dumped you as well. as the girl who was your ideal and always seemed too cool but once you get to know her. The magic or fantasy wore off as you know what real love, commitment and hat you want comes into focus.
People who live dreaming and achieving what they see as perfection. their mind and fantasies fueled believing they feel things differently from the rest. Still have a weakness for things you are obsessed with though find them more rewarding and worth the care and drama as the returns are greater then dealing with people, especially relationships.
The manic pixie dream girl with her distinct look, weird yet hip hairstyle, she has a steady high income job is here. She also loves him for who he is and as the story goes. We find out her side of the story as before he was the one playing the victim. As we only heard his side of the story. But also she becomes more greater a force as he tries to resist her and put her away like a catalog title. We get a greater picture as she grows and becomes more a full character.
Now this is based in a popular novel at the time and as usual the book is more better as it makes everything free and more defined. As it has more time to define. While it might not be the sharpest directed, but the film has meaning and a passion. It speaks to certain members of the audience.
Jack Black and Todd Louiso serve as the two extreme examples of geek don severe and more as comedic relief, but at least add humor and fulfilled characters who lend an authenticity to their characters. Where as John Cusack's character is in the middle ground.
This film is Jack black's breakout role. He gives the film the energy it needs. Though it is early before we got used to him playing this type on the regular. As it sort of became his Schtick. Here it still feels fresh and helps to define the character.
This film is one of the last more memorable, respectable John Cusack roles as this was really more in the time of his renaissance.
This film finds his character revealing more of himself to be flawed, petty, hypocritical, wrong and a jerk. Ruled by jealousy which is personified in an ex neighbor played by Tim Robbins who is a yuppie, hippie and liberal type. In A new age wrapper
It is Noticeable that there are a lot of scenes in the rain. The universal sign of heartbreak and reuniting. As well as a universal fascination with sex and intimacy, that allows for the revelation of intimacy and their own feelings and expression.
The film tries to showcase a fan's life where we can identify and see ourselves the hero. While never necessarily having to prove ourselves or have anyone disapprove. A master of our own field. Where we can criticize as much as we feel criticized and feel superior when the world might look down upon you. But we feel in power as we are true to what we love. While we feel most others are sheep or followers and will never feel things as deeply.
This is a film you like then once you read the book. You might look back and see the movie as disappointing. Not as much as you might think as it is a close enough adaptation, with the same spirit. Not as full of a character study or story but works. As the film is similar but it's own animal. Just as his feelings for Laura and his obsession go. So does the film come into it's own and on their romance.
The film serves a fantasy of artists of music speaking directly to you and pondering and usually backing up your decisions.
The road less taken is symbolized by Catherine Zeta Jones. Who is an image of beauty but pretentiousness and how far one can get away with that beauty and little depth but plenty of mood and attitude. As she represents still trying to hold onto youth and be hip with her choice of hustle. Yet she is stuck and hasn't progressed. Though feels complete with her life that is ultimately limited but acts worldly
Scenes of first break-up's like his number 2 catching up with her. Which is heartbreaking as it is also one of the first times we get to see one of his ex's point of view and she exposes the miscommunication that has affected his relationships as well as showcasing the cause and affect in the aftermath of them.
Strangely though doesn't feel as connected to the music or too much music in general. Which is what is missing we see the obsession and are told of it's strengths but never have a scene where we experience it or it's power for ourselves to see how powerful it can be. Instead the film just trusts that we know how it can affect someone from our own personal experiences. So the soundtrack is weaker the. You would expect but as music is different for people. Someone would always complain of certain choices. So the film seems to try s more general informed popular and at the time musical snob choices that are more autobiographical for the characters.
The film shows us a hero as multilayered. He might be average but we see his true self and has a life that has been filled with romance and love. Even if for a brief turn which is better than to have never loved at all then Again that depends on who you ask. So somewhat fulfilled more then Maybe his cohorts.
It stays a faithful adaptation of the book, but doesn't really show it's magic take time with the spells. As much as like the character the film goes along there is less for us In It and more on the day to day actions and feelings he has and is going through. Not depending on a plot contrivance or middle man to do it for him and tie it up all in a shiny box.
He is fan like but still manages to move begrudginly forward
The film doesn't show fandom as pathetic as one would expect. Especially from films of the time period before it became hip to be a fan. Characters who live in their heads made to be called into action.
Though he was young and not exactly guilty just flippant in his fear of commitment. Believing that there was Always something better around the corner. Starts out as a look at a simple romantic comedy breaking the fourth wall quite often. Though this time the film seems focused more on the male character and his take on all of this intermixed with his issues
John Cusack in his career has usually been in smarter teen and romantic comedy material for the most part (THE SURE THING, SAY ANYTHING, SERENDIPITY) the hopeless romantic with an edge and always possessed a sincerity. Here it feels like, It's like those characters grew up and were nostalgic, but more fot the elements and material that contributed and made up love for them in those magical intimate moments not necessarily the girl. Her role was always interchangeable as they never lasted. The background and what made up those moments were the things that stayed and were loyal as they did exactly what they said they would do and never betrayed, stayed the same. In his mind the only things that remained true and honest were the songs and the artists.
The problem might be more inner as like so much of us we are fans of these things music, movies, books. That we feel a bond with these things and let them set the rules of what we expect out of life and love and anything short of what we have interpreted from these sacred sources we think of as false or not good enough. We never take the time to remember we are listening/reading/watching other people's experiences. So while it is true for them it might not be for us. As we are all individuals and what will be true and what we experience will only make sense and matter to us. We like to think that these things don't influence us bit it's impossible look at fairy tales. Even if we don't realize it. These things are giving off subliminal messages even if they never planned on it. Let them be guidelines like when it comes to philosophy we can quote it and that is great but do you believe in that code of life? Should you after all it is someone else's theory. The whole belief of philosophy is to be guided by many different ones but find and define your own. Especially experience which is what we interpret when we see art. The third act of the film is here the drama corms into play. Where we feel some actual stakes.
The end shows signs of the characters growing up, embracing adulthood, realizing you are just like everyone else and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Though to the end he still makes everything about him.
The ending shows real love and what she has come to accept and love about him, his faults but for all that she must put up with. She has broken through so do all the bad there is the good that outshines it.
Don't know if I reviewed the film as much as explored it's themes and meaning at least to me and the culture it tries to represent.