Guess what month it is?! One of my favorite months of the year! It is the month of February! It is the month when love is in the air… The cold air… The freezing cold air of a desolate winter wasteland… Well okay this winter has been somewhat balmy but that doesn’t exactly work for the joke so work with me here! Either way… It is now time for year three of Cheesy Romance Month! It is that time of the month where I dedicate the Tuesdays of my reviews to some of the cheesiest romantic comedies to ever exist! Last year we went through Adventureland, She’s All That, and I finished with Fifty Shades of Grey. NOW is the time we get into some more of the classics… ‘classics’… Okay so we will be looking at, in the words of Jack Black, over sentimental tacky crap. So today, let’s talk about High Fidelity.
After another nasty break up, our protagonist, Rob Gordon (Jon Cusack) is forced to relive his top 5 worst break ups of his entire life. Rob owns a record store and eeks his way through life selling obscure records to people with a cast of characters that belittle his customers (Jack Black & Todd Louiso). Rob discusses his five ex-girlfriends and continues to move through life in a melancholy spiral trying to win back his recent ex-girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjeijle).
The Cusack Monologue
Probably one of the most memorable moments of this movie is that a lot of the exposition of this movie is given through monologue as John Cusack exposits the majority of the major plot points to the viewers directly. This is never explained… And is actually very clever. There is something endearing about the main character telling us the story in progress in a sort of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off sort of vibe. The difference being that Bueller is an annoying twat and the Rob Gordon feels like a much more real and tangible person going through a bad break up.
This is, of course, boosted by the amazing acting of Jon Cusack. Say what you will about the man, there is a damn good reason that Cusack monologues in the majority of his movies and is given roles that feature him speaking to no one. The man knows how to act and he knows how to carry on a scene by himself. Gordon’s monologues to the crowd are some of the best moments in the movie and truly delve into, not only what Gordon is feeling, but what he is feeling deep down. Not just superficial anger or joy, but the deep seated emotions brought out by former lovers. It is very well done and one of the best aspects of the movie.
It is a Movie Detailing the Relationships One Goes Through in Life
If there is any one thing that can truly resonate with just about person, it is Rob Gordon’s stages of relationships. Gordon’s ‘top 5 breakups’ is really just the types of relationships that a lot of people go through in life. While, of course, everyone is the specialist of snowflakes, there are some generalities present. The ideas of the 7th grade puppy love, the sexually frustrated pair of teenagers, the college ‘first love’, the rebound ‘let’s not die alone’ relationship, and the ‘adult’ relationship.
Going through these various relationships makes anyone become, at least, partially relatable. I would wager a bet that all of us have gone through at least a few of these relationships and know what each of them means to us and to others.
While I may have some problems with the incredibly high scores, well into the 90’s in some places, that High Fidelity receives… I cannot deny that this movie is a classic. High Fidelity has the feeling of the last great HURRAHS of the 90’s romantic comedy before the romance genre switched gears to the Nicholas Sparks lead decade of the 2000’s. With an all star cast, likable characters, and a feel good story that appeals to both men and women, High Fidelity will always be a go to for feel good Rom Coms.
Rob Gordon is Kind of a Dick
I just can’t get around this. No matter how many times I watch this movie, I cannot get over the fact that Rob Gordon is kind of asshole. I know that a lot of this is unfair. A lot of the reason that Rob is a dick is so that he can evolve and learn… Which he does. I don’t fault the movie for that. But it is seriously difficult to watch this movie when Rob’s faults are just so unlikable. Going through Rob’s girlfriends is like playing a game of love him and hate him. The guy leaves his girlfriend just because she was uncomfortable with being touched. Instead of being understanding, he just leaves her. He is quick to give up his identity to please one girl for two years. He is an elitist snob when it comes to music, just not to the extent of his friends. While this is made up by the fact that Rob does have some redeemable qualities and does learn in the true protagonists fashion, He still rubs me the wrong way.
Am I about to call High Fidelity one of the greatest rom-coms ever made? No, I do not think so. I think there are many better than it. Do I still think it is an amazing movie? Oh you bet your ass I do! While I do not think Rob Gordon is the greatest character in the world, High Fidelity is still a wonderful movie and covers some of the basic areas that we all go through when it comes to relationships. Overall, a good way to start of Cheesy Romance Month.
Final Score 4.5/5
Thank you for reading! As always, please like and subscribe for more Tanner Reviews. I will be having more radio show episodes up for you soon as well as more of Cheesy Romance Month coming up!