September 08, 2005

Gratuitous Llama Virgin Netflix Review #5*

*dedicated to the inauguration of my Netflix account with movies I've never seen before

High Fidelity.jpg

High Fidelity

I was going to call this "Bridget Jones' Record Shop" but changed my mind. I had no real idea what the film was about before going into it so I was rather surprised that it turned out to be, essentially, a guy chick flick. (What would one call this? Gick flick? Bick flick? Mick flick? I dunno.)

I think I can understand why the Missus didn't really much care for the film - while she likes Cusack a lot, I can see her being put off by the movie's decidedly anti-sentimentalist tone about relationships, in particular Rob's final realization that it's time to grow up:

Rob: I'm tired of the fantasy, because it doesn't really exist. And there are never really any surprises, and it never really...

Laura: Delivers?

Rob: Delivers. And I'm tired of it. And I'm tired of everything else for that matter. But I don't ever seem to get tired of you, so...

(Well, I can't find the rest of the quote, but it expands on this idea.)

My only problem with the film is that I could never warm up to Laura. In fact, when Rob got into her car in the rain after the funeral, I half expected (and hoped) that he was going to finally dump her. I was tired of her after only a few minutes and I never quite understood why Rob wasn't. (I understand the point about recognizing and appreciating what's in front of you. But when I finally had this epiphany myself, I didn't set about trying to salvage a pre-enlightenment trainwreck of a relationship. Rather, I just kept it in mind as I moved forward.)

As for the rest of the cast, absolutely terrific. But Ian? I felt like Indy looking down into the tomb full of snakes: Tim Robbins. Why did it have to be Tim Robbins?

Oh, one other thing. Having seen the movie actually got me interested in reading Nick Hornby's book, even though it's pretty far off my usual literary path. Anybody out there read it? Any thoughts?

VERDICT: Definitely worth it. Definitely would rent it again.

UPDATE: In order to stem the flood of pro-Robbins hate mail, let me just clarify that I give him full marks as two major characters in cinematic Who's Who: Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh and Erik the Viking. But that's enough for me, thanks.

Posted by Robert at September 8, 2005 09:28 AM | TrackBack

I thought the movie was overrated.

Posted by: MrFlix at September 8, 2005 09:31 AM

a guy chick flick. (What would one call this?


Posted by: Brian B at September 8, 2005 09:42 AM

My FAVORITE scene in this movie is when a guy comes in to the store and he's desperate to buy this one particular LP and Jack Black's character is like, I can't sell this. The guy is begging and pleading and he still says no.

A minute later he sells it to some other guy (in fact i think he might have given it away). he just loved busting the other guy's cajones.

I've been a big Jack Black fan ever since.

Posted by: Gary at September 8, 2005 09:57 AM

I believe the term for Hornby books is "lad lit." I read High Fidelity and enjoyed it very much. Also highly recommend Hornby's About a Boy, in fact, I like it better.

Posted by: Rachel at September 8, 2005 10:11 AM

Big fan of the movie, and John Cusack generally. Actually, though, I was an even bigger fan of the book, which is more tightly focused on the way the music obsessives in the record shop use their hobby as a substitute for growing up.

It probably helped that when I read it, I was working in an arthouse movie theatre that was the precise cinematic equivalent of the record shop in High Fidelity. Yes, I did once see one of the employees refuse to rent a DVD to a customer because he felt he didn't deserve to see the movie.

Posted by: utron at September 8, 2005 10:28 AM

Nick Hornby is one of my favorites! Definitely read it, Robbo. You'll enjoy it.

Posted by: Kathy at September 8, 2005 10:38 AM

I totally forgot Robbins was in Erik the Viking! Wow.

Posted by: jen at September 8, 2005 10:52 AM

Erik the Viking definitely one of my favorites. Rumor has it that Mayor Nagin based his disaster planning on the Terry Jones "High Brazil" part of the film.

The Robbins cameo as the President in the Austin Powers movie (the second one, I believe) was also pretty good: "Would you miss it?! Would you miss it?!"

And you left out Shawshank Redemption! Robbins nailed it. Nailed it, baby!

And Bull Durham? Sorry, but I think it's the most overrated movie ever. (puts hand over head, awaiting inevitable storm of abuse . . .)

Posted by: The Colossus at September 8, 2005 11:08 AM

Now I've got an image of Terry Jones singing the High Brazil song in the Superdome in my head....Thanks.

Shawshank? Never saw it. Not interested.

Austin Powers? A one-joke franchise.

Bull Durham overrated? Blasphemer!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 8, 2005 11:20 AM

I read a great article (unfortunately I cant remember where) which lameted the loss of the music snobs power because of MP3's and iPods. The basic point is someone can spend years collecting obscure and/or rare tracks and someone can import it into their pod in a couple of minutes and walk away with your obsession. I realized my snobbishness took a huge hit.

Posted by: LB buddy at September 8, 2005 11:39 AM


Add it to the list. Seriously. Even though it is a three hanky film (not for me, mind you -- born without tear ducts), it is still a classic.

The ultimate analysis of Shawshank is still Jay Pinkerton's News Skim comics -- from before the 2004 election. It really only has a little to do with Shawshank, but it explains why Morgan Freeman should be president.

Posted by: The Colossus at September 8, 2005 11:54 AM

I have to agree with Colossus about Shawshank, although I've never really cared for Tim Robbins in much else. The man has a very oddly proportioned cranium, and I just can't seem to get past that.

Incidentally, Morgan Freeman played the President in Deep Impact. I wouldn't suggest adding that movie to your list, but after we saw it my date said she'd vote for Morgan Freeman in a heartbeat.

Posted by: utron at September 8, 2005 12:17 PM

Oh, the next time I decide to do a Tea Leone festival, I'm sure that one will make it into the mix.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 8, 2005 12:20 PM


Thanks for the link. I laughed so hard I was crying.

Posted by: Brian B at September 8, 2005 12:42 PM

Shawshank is a must see.

I agree with you about Bull Durham, btw. I was completely underwhelmed by that one and still don't get why people think it's so great.

Posted by: jen at September 8, 2005 01:54 PM

You MUST see Shawshank. I resisted it for years, then I watched it. Now, every time it comes on, I must watch it. It's wonderful.

Colossus---I'm seconding Robbo about Bull Durham. How can you NOT like Bull Durham?

Posted by: Kathy at September 8, 2005 02:32 PM

I don't know why I don't like Bull Durham.

Well, actually, I do.

Susan Sarandon.

I have to say, I just don't get it.

If you read The Superficial, you'll know that the writer there sometimes has unusually harsh words for some Hollywood beauties -- he refers to Meg Ryan, for instance, as a "chain-smoking hag with a face like a pit bull" or Kirsten Dunst as a "peg-toothed troll." Completely ridiculous -- I think they're both beautiful -- but I laugh out loud whenever I read it.

Susan Sarandon just has always turned me off. It's mainly the insane, hyperthyroid eyes. Even in movies where she's young (e.g., Rocky Horror), she just doesn't do it for me. I don't find her attractive.

And in Bull Durham, the scenes where she's alternately seducing/teaching Tim Robbins' half-witted character how to pitch (which seems like 3/4ths of the movie) just annoy me. She's hideous, and he's an idiot. It's just not sexy.

And yet it's sold to ous as if it is. I understand "suspension of disbelief" and all, but sorry -- every time I see it, I think I also see the director of the movie laughing at us.

I know. Crazy talk. Just my $.02.

Posted by: The Colossus at September 8, 2005 03:05 PM

Nuke and Annie is the sideshow. It's not that sexy either---and that's the point! Crash and Annie---well, and they're not only funny, but wow...back in the days before Kevin Costner started eating gravy with every meal. Rowr. But, again, even that is a sideshow.

The main deal is BASEBALL! Someone old and on the way out, someone new, dumb and on the way up. One of my favorite bits is when they're on the road trip and Crash yanks the guitar out of Nuke's hand and not only lectures him to learn the words to "Tenderness," but instructs him on how to give an interview.

"My interviews? What do I gotta do?"

"You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time."

"Got to play... it's pretty boring.

'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.

Then Nuke actually proceeds to use this advice is brilliant. It's one big joke. I can understand Susan Sarandon being annoying, but try and overlook it...puhleeze???

Posted by: Kathy at September 8, 2005 06:18 PM
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