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Overall Rating
4.27

Awesome55.05%
Worth A Look: 27.27%
Average: 8.08%
Pretty Bad: 8.59%
Total Crap: 1.01%

15 reviews, 108 user ratings


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High Fidelity
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by EricDSnider

"Who's better than John Cusack? NOBODY."
5 stars

"High Fidelity" is the ultimate in goofy movie hipness, so cool that it doesn't even seem to be trying (which of course is the only way to BE cool). For example, the pop-music aficionados in the film automatically disqualify a song from possible inclusion in a Top 5 list because of its association with "The Big Chill": Did you even know "The Big Chill" was un-hip? I didn't, and I consider myself pretty with-it.

John Cusack, doing his lovable sad-sack bit to perfection, stars as Rob Gordon, a record-store owner. By which I mean he owns a store that actually sells records -- you know, the old vinyl things that have been replaced by CDs (which he also sells, but which he clearly has no passion for).

He and his employees, vulgar pop music-elitist Barry (Jack Black) and soft-spoken Dick (Todd Louiso) sit around and come up with odd Top 5 lists: Top five side one/track one songs from albums; top five songs about death; you get the idea. Rob even has a person Top Five Worst Break-ups -- a category into which his recent split with Laura (Iben Hjejle) has broken into at No. 5 "with a bullet."

As Rob ponders the fact that all his relationships end in failure, he starts tracking down the other women on the list to see what went wrong. In the meantime, he tries to patch things up with Laura, too, and makes attempts to do something productive with his life by producing an album by a couple of skateboarding, shoplifting street punks.

His eventual realization is a rather romantic one, about the difference between fantasy life with fantasy women and day-to-day living with someone you actually love -- lofty notions indeed, almost hidden by the film's focus on outstandingly funny one-liners and characters.

It would be inaccurate to say Rob breaks the fourth wall in this film; it's more like the fourth wall never exists. He speaks to the audience almost constantly, yet does it remarkably well, in a way that never gets old. There are quirky fantasy scenes -- most notably the one where Rob has a few different versions of killing Laura's new lover, the hatable Ian Raymond (Tim Robbins, in an amusing cameo).

John's sister Joan Cusack plays his sister here, and though she has precious little screen time, she makes the most of it. Nearly stealing the show, however, is Jack Black as Barry. Barry has high moral grounds when it comes to pop music, and he's constantly cussing out potential customers who have the gall to ask for "I Just Called to Say I Love You," or who claim to have EVERY Echo and the Bunnymen album when in reality they are missing one. Barry is so hip he'd be unbearable to live with -- but as a character in a movie, he's hysterically funny, a truly original, genuine personality in a season of movies that has been lacking in them.

It's still John Cusack's movie, though, and he's never been more likable. His little personal journey is nice, and his commentary throughout is funny, but that doesn't adequately sum up the man's indefatigable charm. He doesn't light up the silver screen with the magnetism of a Tom Cruise or a Clint Eastwood; instead, he quietly goes about his business and lets the audience come to him -- which they inevitably do, because what he's doing and what he's saying is always so entertaining.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1354&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/04/03 17:06:21
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User Comments

5/17/07 ES meh 2 stars
8/24/06 Joe One of my faves. Cusack's at the top of his game. Black and Luiso steal scene after scene. 5 stars
6/24/06 Orange Genius! 5 stars
12/12/05 Bad Critic The greatest movie about recoreds ever! (Ghost World's one too) They also had a Saab in it! 5 stars
10/13/05 millersxing It clearly helps that Cusack is such a blank slate that so many can identify w/ him. 4 stars
8/18/05 John Aster Habig Cusak can't live up to Todd Louiso's and Black's characters in interest 4 stars
8/17/05 ES A movie not worth making= funny stuff spoiled by trailer, nothing left for the film 2 stars
8/12/05 Kelly top five john cusack movie- 1.High Fidelity 2.Grosse Point Blank.... 5 stars
12/07/04 Jason Kaul One of my favs from John Cusack. Jack Black is great too. Then again, I'm a DJ, so I relate 4 stars
8/27/04 Mike Stanbridge Second best cuzack film ever 5 stars
8/22/04 Abbath Great characters and narrative. Something most anyone can relate to. 5 stars
7/27/04 DM Unstructured but mostly fucking hilarious 4 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva Rob is a low life who needs to get a life 3 stars
5/13/04  Shaun Rose Great movie with a nice cast of actors, Check it out if you haven't seen it 4 stars
5/11/04 Denise Duspiva Need a more solid story 3 stars
5/09/04 Charlene Javier Bored, bored, bored! 2 stars
1/07/04 Charles Tatum Nicely acted and written, but runs ten minutes too long 4 stars
1/05/04 y2mckay Cusack, keep making movies like this and "Gross Point Blank". No more chick flicks! 5 stars
10/12/03 laura paterson Probably my favourite film of all time! 5 stars
9/21/03 spacecowboy for such a simple message, it didn't have to be that long 3 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby Been down this road before, people -- even without the LPs! 2 stars
1/21/03 R.W. Welch Nice work by Cusack but unless you're a pop music geek much of the dialogue is obscure. 3 stars
12/22/02 Pigwidgeon Excellent movie with two flaws -- "Laura" and too much showy smoking. 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 The diversity of characters was what made this movie great. I don't know about the end. 4 stars
10/03/02 Jason Cusack Shoots, HE SCORES, AGAIN!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/26/02 WestcoastPunk Non-stop Laughs. Funniest movie out there. 5 stars
8/14/02 MI I found it depressing- I think i may have laughed once. 2 stars
7/29/02 karen goldstein Anybody who has ever been dumped will enjoy this movie! Very entertaining. 4 stars
7/01/02 visionsof People who call this movie stupid need to learn to appreciate movies without a loud of cgi. 5 stars
5/26/02 Nicole If you like fairly dry humor, you will enjoy this movie 4 stars
4/28/02 radroc This movie is genuine, the real thing. A flick the acadamy awards could never appreciate 5 stars
4/04/02 cat John Cusack always plays the adorable loser to a T, Jack Black is hilarious, even Dick too 5 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean If you like butt plugs, you'll love this movie. Otherwise, see Chasing Amy 4 a better flick 2 stars
2/27/02 Jess I quite liked the film, it's real, but the book means so much more. 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver I just didn't find the movie very entertaining. Black made me chuckle. 2 stars
11/29/01 KMG People claim this movie is brilliant...THOSE PEOPLE ARE STUPID! 3 stars
9/03/01 svetlana the most human movie i've seen in a long long time 5 stars
8/29/01 Sarah John Cusack is animous with starring in movies that have no meaning & bored me to death 1 stars
7/06/01 Elvisfan Almost ruined by Black's immature jackoff routine, w/o him it would have been better 3 stars
5/21/01 hum see what can be done when a liitle effort is put into a comedy? 4 stars
5/04/01 joe This is Jack Black's movie. Cusack is annoying. Enough already! 4 stars
4/29/01 The Jedi Droid in my top 5 ....John Cusack is great! Jack Black cracked me up 5 stars
3/04/01 Zippo XxX One of the best movies i've seen!! should be studied!!! 5 stars
2/24/01 Marie Pretty boring whiny confused male movie. Generally entertaining. 3 stars
2/17/01 Jake a timeless gem. 5 stars
2/15/01 Charlie Betts Great Pop Classic... One For the Ages! 5 stars
2/06/01 Phil M. Afficianado <10% are "see againers"; this is. Gender Psych 401--grad school. CATscan of male love life. 5 stars
2/04/01 Del R Boorriinnngg! 2 stars
1/15/01 Gariess Best romantic comedy from an original novel. A tad on the glib side. 4 stars
11/27/00 Michael Maher intelligent approach to relationships, great use of pop music context and very funny 5 stars
10/17/00 Leon Trotsky Fantastic, BUT the end wasn't as carefully assembled as the rest 4 stars
10/05/00 Add Straight into my all time top 5 with a bullet, p.s. SONIC DEATH MONKEY RULE!!!!!! 5 stars
10/02/00 toneely Sorry Guys .but this movie bored me to death!!!! 2 stars
9/22/00 Monday Morning Easily among the Top 5 films I've seen this year. 4 stars
9/20/00 Michael Grimm rains a lot in Chicago, really hit home in my relationships, Cusack's character was creepy 4 stars
9/13/00 lina oh my my... brilliant film...john cusack rocks.. didnt want the film to end...totally rad . 5 stars
9/05/00 The Extreaminizer I love the book and the movie 5 stars
9/01/00 Pierce Lanson Terrific film, but he smoked too much 5 stars
8/21/00 Belinda Jack Black, where have you been hiding? 4 stars
8/18/00 matthew smith hilarious and painful 5 stars
7/31/00 Matthew Bartley A bit too long but very funny in parts 4 stars
7/31/00 Jason Kallelis Saw it a 2nd time, liked it even more, AWESOME MOVIE!! 5 stars
7/04/00 Matt Catherine Zeta-Jones in a GOOD movie??? 5 stars
6/13/00 chouck Another killer John Cusack film 5 stars
6/08/00 Jaime N. Christley Best Cusack film in years; funny, insightful, and highly enjoyable 5 stars
6/07/00 Patrick Dennis John Cusack is the man!!!!!!!! Plus, the diologue in the store is great... 5 stars
6/05/00 Blubberbot I enjoyed it for the most part but I didn't think the story was all that great. 4 stars
5/21/00 Jess This is an 80's film in the 00's. I loved it. Beautiful film, very funny at times. 5 stars
5/13/00 davebo an insightful, funny, original movie 5 stars
5/13/00 Dr. Rev. Krule, MD that is so me in 10 years 5 stars
5/12/00 Paige OK movie, nothing to write home about. 3 stars
5/10/00 Travis funny lines, good characters 4 stars
5/09/00 That Guy For everyone who ever made a tape for someone to express themselves... 5 stars
5/05/00 Alan Stuart Smart screenplay and good performances 4 stars
5/05/00 David Blumgart Funny, charming, affecting movie. 5 stars
5/03/00 Joe Smith Great characters 5 stars
5/03/00 Peter Smith Very funny, verry entertaining 5 stars
5/02/00 mop Great movie. Always been in love with Cusack. And they pretty much nailed music snobs... 5 stars
4/29/00 Heather Very funny original movie, interesting characters, well worth looking up 4 stars
4/26/00 astrotart Indiecool film where John Cusack is actually attractive..and Jack Black is a fucking RIOT!! 5 stars
4/26/00 PhilmPhreak Great Flick! 5 stars
4/21/00 Malbert Very interesting film...I liked it a lot 5 stars
4/19/00 Starry Knight Damn Damn Good 4 stars
4/15/00 PJ Great movie, Jack Black is funny as hell, and it was rather original, funny 4 stars
4/14/00 Mr. X enjoyable and insightful. if you haven't read the book, that is. 4 stars
4/14/00 Alyssa Another Cusack triumph. Makes you ponder if guys who *are* assholes are really pensive. 5 stars
4/11/00 Drano Actually went deeper than I expected. And stayed humorous 4 stars
4/10/00 Bueller Amazingly clever, and comic dialog. No one is better than John Cusak, at this kind of film. 5 stars
4/09/00 EMagGaRony john cusak is awesome, as always.... 5 stars
4/09/00 vroom The '80s came rushing back...where's my crimper 4 stars
4/08/00 burdenit Fucking Shit! 1 stars
4/08/00 Chartsy God, I love seeing a movie that kicks serious ass! 5 stars
4/07/00 Nolan Wrage Good insight on how men realy think. 5 stars
4/07/00 Katsat Original, quirky, funny, charming--just my kind of movie 5 stars
4/07/00 burton t. e. miller slow and predictable - supporting cast 'carried' the movie 2 stars
4/07/00 nootch The movie was pretty good, but without Cusack I don't think it could've survived. 4 stars
4/06/00 Freyja Forget chick flicks, this is THE date movie! 5 stars
4/06/00 kohawk true to life, spontaneous comedy. Extremely well written. Certainly better than average 5 stars
4/05/00 Captain Highcrime Not THAT funny. 3 stars
4/04/00 ChuckEye Tim Robbins gone horribly wrong 4 stars
4/03/00 Negative Again, Cusack delivers ! 5 stars
4/03/00 Gamma Great movie. See it for no other reason than a great John Cusack role. 5 stars
4/02/00 "Persnickety" well done john, he let the true world of dating come out to the surface, Bravo! 5 stars
4/02/00 mike b not too bad..could've used some trimming-jack black is the man! 4 stars
4/02/00 mason great book , slow directionless film full of very ugly people 2 stars
4/01/00 tjwills John Cusack is a god! This movie is just more proof! 5 stars
4/01/00 The Rock Movie was great! Jack Black rules 5 stars
3/31/00 Andi C. It was funny!! 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  31-Mar-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  17-Aug-2000 (M)




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