A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In HIGH FIDELITY, Rob Gordon (John Cusack) owns a vintage record store called "Classic Vinyl." Only the two hopeless guys who work for him (Jack Black and Todd Luiso) make him feel like a grown-up by comparison. They sit around all day, getting rid of potential customers who are just not cool enough to be allowed to buy their records, endlessly ranking everything in the world. They hyper-critically rate everything except for their own sorry lives. His girlfriend Laura's departure prompts Rob to make a list of his five worst break-ups, which allows him to comfort himself that she is not even on the list. But as he tracks down the five on the list to see if he can figure out what went wrong, he begins to admit to himself that he is deeply wounded, and not just because he feels threatened and competitive at the thought of her new love interest (Tim Robbins). He has to allow himself to understand that "fantasies always seem really great because there aren't any problems," but that he needs to move on to reality.
Is it any good?
Rob spends more time talking to viewers than he does to any of the other characters in the movie, which is part of the problem. He asks the audience, "Do I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?" His candor and charm, both considerable, have allowed him to carry his adolescence through his 20s, and he's much more comfortable concocting the definitive list of the best side-one, track-one songs ever than he is thinking about, say, the definitive list of worthwhile things to do with his life. And he has to allow himself to be a little less self-obsessed.
Fortunately, the "professional appreciator" is wise enough to see how special Laura is, and that he can't just "create a sketch of a decent, sensitive guy;" he can actually become one.