Showing posts from April, 2017

the ones that really hurt

Something that bothers me less the more I watch High Fidelity : that Laura's father dies as a deus ex machina third-act turnaround for Rob and Laura. I mean, in terms of story structure, it is a cheap trick, an easy out. Make Laura too tired to keep rejecting Rob and Rob doesn't really have to reform himself, he just has to sorta imply that he might want to. He is our narrator, after all, so we're on his side. Whether we're on his side or not. I've complained previously about Laura's father's death being such an easy out but, here's my thing today: this isn't a story about Laura's father dying. We don't even know how he died. [Barry's invented song later 'The Night Laura's Daddy Died' implies he had angina.[Also, Rob listens to a voicemail from Laura's mother about her father's angina, but I somehow didn't hear that during many viewings.]] This isn't the tale of Laura's dad dying slowly from some delibe

call me shallow

"When a narcissist's sense of control is challenged, he feels threatened, and responds as if his survival is at stake," writes Kristina Nelson in Narcissism in High Fidelity (2004, p. 19). This is Rob Gordon's existential crisis--his girlfriend has just left him and he turns inward because, basically, who is he without his conquest, without his companion, without his distraction... depending on his mood, of course? He looks back at his top five all-time breakups like they are the building blocks of his being. Well, them and all the music he's got catalogued in his head, in his record shop, and on the shelves that crowd his apartment. And, he's not wrong. There's a realism in the horribleness of Rob Gordon. His obsession with music, his obsession with his sexual (and non-) partners, his obsession with himself--there is familiarity and believability there. His excessive voiceover is our ticket to something that rings true and may even ring biographically. I

who needs a drink?

The thing is, we like assholes. In film, I mean. (I considered Liz's (Joan Cusack) great line as the title for this entry, but "Fucking asshole!" as a title seemed like it might get the wrong sort of attention.) (Rob's (John Cusack) "I am a fucking asshole." would have worked, too.) Rob Gordon is an asshole. Han Solo is an asshole. Peter Venkman is an asshole. Katniss Everdeen is an asshole. Phil Connors is an asshole. Pretty much every action hero ever, any cad from any romantic comedy... Anyone whose story is worth telling on film is probably an asshole in some way. They have to be. That is who gets things done. At least in any form that can be covered in like an hour and a half. Take the new movie Sleight for example--Bo (Jacob Latimore) deals drugs for the sake of getting by, mutilates his body for the sake of magic, and is willed to violence a little too easily long before the climax of the film-- (This not being a review, I won't bother with