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High Fidelity (2000) - DVD Review

By Widge - posted 03.31.02 @ 4:19 am
High Fidelity DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written by: John Cusack, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink & Scott Rosenberg, based on the novel by Nick Hornby
Directed by: Stephen Frears
Starring: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Tim Robbins

Features:

  • Conversations with Cusack and Frears
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer

Released by: Touchstone
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Rent it.

One of John Cusack's most criminally underviewed films. Rob Gordon (Cusack) is what you would call "adrift in life." He's just lost his girlfriend (Hjejle) and decides to go on a tour of his past romantic failures to try and figure out exactly why he's had it so rough when it comes to matters of the heart. Not exactly helping matters are his two pseudo-employees, Barry (Black) and Dick (Louiso), who are fueling his musical snobbery and sometimes frightening away customers.

Funny, insightful and packed with killer music, I must say again how surprised I am that this didn't do better box office. Was it because Cusack was playing an outright ass? Who can say? But regardless, it's found a new life on video, and now that it's on DVD, it should have some even more developed legs. This disc is short on the features that I was looking forward to for this release: namely commentaries. No surprise there. Two commentaries, one for the cast and one for the director and writing crew, would have been ideal.

However--there is good news to be had. The features that are on the disc are uncommonly good. There's no featurette here, there are instead a series of "conversations" with both director Frears and writer/producer/head burrito Cusack. In them, they discuss all the subjects that one would want to hear about: transplanting the action from the book to Chicago from its original locale of London; casting Black and Louiso among others; how the music was picked out for the film. They're quick, to-the-point bits that give you what you want to hear, then get out. So points there.

The standout, though, is the sets of Deleted Scenes. Most films, as you've probably ascertained by now, have a number of deleted scenes, and when you see them on the DVD, you know that the right choice was made in getting rid of them. However, these are funny to downright riotous. The best are Rob seeking advice from his dad (Harold Ramis) about sex before getting in bed with the singer Marie DeSalle (Lisa Bonet) and another scene where a scorned woman played by Beverly D'Angelo tries to get back at her husband with mixed results.

John Cusack, Todd Luiso and Jack Black from High Fidelity

The only reason I have graded this entry as a "Rent It" is because I'm hoping that a better version complete with commentaries and whatnot will be coming down the pike at some point in the future. However, Cusack fans or fans of the film (like myself) should probably go ahead and plonk down the coin.

John Cusack from High Fidelity

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Widgett Walls is Need Coffee's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. He is the author of the novel Mystics on the Road to Vanishing Point, and two collections of short stories, Magnificent Desolation and Something Else: The Complete First Season. He is also co-author of the children's book There's a Zombie in My Treehouse! All of those books are available in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. He is also the narrator and publisher of the first unabridged recording of Seneca's letters, available here. He is active on both Twitter and Facebook. (If you befriend him on Facebook, do say you came via Need Coffee.) He lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He hardly ever sleeps.

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