Top Five Reasons Why I Love High Fidelity
I love that movie. And the book. And believe they’re each brilliant in equal but different ways.
So in a tribute to their collective awesomeness, I’d like to create a list of the top five reasons why I love them. Sure, I could keep it simple by saying it’s clever, funny, witty, dead on and real, but why keep it simple for a movie/book that’s all about how fucking complicated and messed up love is? (And how fucking complicated and messed up men are)
There’s even a warning right on the back of the book cover. It’s from a review in Details magazine: Keep this book away from your girlfriend – it contains too many of your secrets to let it fall into the wrong hands. Hilariously true.
1. Rob Gordon is a combination of every man I’ve ever dated, and I've seen all his weird little characteristics before. It’s eerie, in fact, and I think all the ladies in the house will agree. The guy who can’t keep his eyes on one woman, the needy guy who’s self-doubting, the over-analyzer, the obsessive, the guy who always thinks the other side is greener, the one who’s not over his ex, the selfish guy, the jealous guy…but also the guy who’s trying to learn and improve, the guy who wants to fix the relationship, the guy who’s always there when you need him no matter what, the guy who loves you the best way he can, and hopefully one day - the guy who finally figures it out.
2. It’s all so totally shameless and unapologetic. It says: “Yes, this is who I am, I am fixated and disturbed, I think about sex with other women constantly, I imagine a life with other women that’s better and easier, I am insecure and need lots of reassurance. Take it or leave it.” I respect its honesty and candor.
3. Music is so important in this movie/book, it’s like a character and finally gets the acknowledgment it deserves. Music is important. Music matters. It can cheer us up on a bad day, make us even happier on a good day, express thoughts and feelings we can’t find the way to express ourselves and serves as a thumbtack for all our biggest moments. I can remember songs I was listening to when all the big things happened to me, and I’m sure you can too. And when we hear those songs, we’re instantly transported back to those moments. Because music has magical powers.
[3b – Greatest shoutout ever to the compilation tape. I’m a big fan of mixes, and take them very seriously. I just love hearing people’s reactions. The making of a great compilation tape is a very subtle art. There are many do’s and don’ts…]
4. High Fidelity holds a mirror up to us so we get a close-up of all the ugly things we hate admitting about ourselves. But it softens the blow of reality and lets us feel better because we’re not as bad as the crazy people in that movie/book.
5. At last, of course, is the message. We all have to grow up in our own time and in our own way. There is not just one path to being the best version of ourselves that we can be. We have to first acknowledge our faults and weaknesses before they can be overcome. And we have to keep moving forward. For everything there is a season. And if Rob can eventually get his shit together, so can we.
I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out because ever since I saw him hold that boombox over his head, I’ve had a thing for John Cusack (Where are you, Lloyd Dobbler?!?). I pretended to like it, but I didn’t really get it. I thought he was a jerk and a jackass, and mistakenly thought they broke up in the end. Then a year or so later, I read the book. Again pretended to like it, but still didn’t quite get it. I liked him a little better, but not enough, and still felt confused by the ending.
But a year or so after that – I got it. I think I needed more life experience, more boy experience and more failed relationships to really understand everything that was going on. And since that day, I’ve just loved it. It’s one of those movies/books that reveal something new every time you see/read them again. Yes, we’re not perfect. Yes, relationships are messy and painful. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes you never truly know what you had until it’s gone. And yes, we can figure it out.
So here’s to you, Nick Hornby. Thank you for teaching us that our guts have shit for brains, compilation tapes are about the people we make them for and that fantasy never delivers.