Mystery, Why So High on High Fidelity?
I found myself laughing a lot as I watched High Fidelity, but it wasn’t a good kind of laughter. There was nobody I could enjoy and the laughter had a sneer in it.
“Critics” (to generalize) are raving about this film: “The first great movie of the century.” “5 Reasons You Should See High Fidelity.” Sitting in the theater I asked myself in bewilderment, “Why?” John Cusack’s character Rob Gordon always manages to snatch the worst motive out of even his best actions. Jack Black is completely unbelievable; no one this awful would infiltrate so far into society as to work in a store. The one-noted Todd Louiso character is so frail he’s a caricature.
Sure, I smiled a lot just listening to the sound track. Sure, Jack Black’s character is loads of laughs. Sure, Rob Gordon’s self-serving mental gymnastics are clever. Sure, the ending is satisfying. But most of the movie shows people in such an unpleasant light, how can any one rave about it?
Then I got around to watching my tape of Cusack’s Letterman interview and the mystery was solved. Letterman added his raves to the chorus (permanently injuring his credibility by his relief that this was not one of the many times he had to plug a movie that was “a dog”). Repeatedly, Letterman and Cusack both said *men* can recognize themselves in this movie. “Men recognize themselves” is the key to the reviewer raves. This is a man movie. Women, see High Fidelity if: 1) you’re vengeful and love to see men skewered, 2) you’re music-loving and that out-weighs anything else, or 3) you’re lucky and you’ve never suffered from men behaving this way.
If you want a movie to make you feel happy, or if you want to feel good about your fellow human beings, this is not the treasure the publicity would have you believe.