High Fidelity (2000)
For many of my teenage years and into my twenties I was one of those dorky retro kids obsessed with old vinyl records and bands that, if my friends had heard of, they did not care about. I say that because when a film is made about a sub-culture, it is important to get that sub-culture right, and High Fidelity does just that, in a way that is equal parts tribute and lampoon. The Jack Black character for instance who is the very cliché of a know it all music snob constantly making his own personal “Top 5” lists (before they became the popular clickbait of the day), of which, if one has the audacity to list a band that is “too popular” like say Nirvana or the Beatles in any way, it will expose you as a foolish outsider. Jack Black, who plays Barry, is here like a dorkier, less violent version of Walter Sobchak to John Cusack’s more laid back “Dude” like character. Cusack’s character is the man who runs the record store, and runs it with his two best friends. This movie shows both his day to day life through the framework of his own “Top 5” failed past relationships, of which the most pressing is also his most recent one that takes up the main focus of the movie. Perhaps the most difficult part of this movie to believe is that a fellow member of our dorky sub-culture could have ever been romantically involved with women on the level of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lisa Bonet, and Iben Hjejle. This movie was based on a great book written by Nick Hornby and features an amazing soundtrack full of gems by the Kinks, Dylan, Velvet Underground, Elvis Costello and many many more, and even a cameo by the Boss himself. This came out in 2000, the same year of Almost Famous, and as a fan of classic rock (but one who loathes that label) these two movies were huge game changers for my teenage self.