High Fidelity might just be in my top 5 list. Not top 5 2000s movies or even top 5 comedies, but the big top 5 movies ever list. I’ve seen it too many times to count over the years and find myself revisiting it every few years, drawing from it new fragments of wisdom concerning the complex nature of relationships. The movie based on Nick Hornby’s book of the same name expertly melds comedy and philosophy together, has a killer soundtrack, and both John Cusack and costar Jack Black deliver some of the funniest performances of their careers.
Earlier this year, Nick Hornsby penned a piece on what a High Fidelity sequel might be like that I recommend reading, and the movie recently made its way over to streaming on Netflix. With this weekend being John Cusack’s birthday and the film celebrating its 15-year anniversary, the time seemed right to pick out some lines from the film and make a kind of quote mixtape. You know, to serve as a conversation starter.
“People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” — Rob
And they say it’s video games that are screwing up the kids. It’s that evil rock n’ roll music!
“If you really wanted to mess me up, you should’ve gotten to me earlier.” – Rob
Sure, Laura might have pissed Rob off, but she never had the honor of shattering his heart and warping his brain. That’s the kind of privilege that only goes to a top 5 breakups inductee.
“Some people never got over Vietnam or the night their band opened for Nirvana.” – Rob
Comparing the bitter heartbreak of a relationship to Nam might be a stretch, but I get what Rob’s saying here. Getting over a breakup sucks.
“Well, that’s unfortunate, because it sucks ass.” – Barry
As much as I love this scene, I kinda feel sorry for Belle Sebastion. They were probably all excited about having their new record Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant promoted in the movie and then BLAMO! Barry walks in annihilates it with this scathing review.
“Charlie, you f*ckin’ b*tch, let’s work it out!” – Rob
This strategy isn’t recommend for trying to win back your ex.
“Books, records, films – these things matter. Call me shallow, it’s the f*cking truth.” – Rob
Is Rob being shallow here or is he speaking a morsel of truth that nobody wants to admit. Could you really be with a person that had never seen Terminator 2: Judgement Day or (insert your own pop culture reference)? Each of us must answer this question for ourselves.
“I thought I’d never say this, but can I go to work now.” – Barry
Sometimes your friends get tired of hearing about how things went wrong in the relationship and just want to get back to work. Which is saying a lot in Rob’s case, considering Barry’s work ethic.
That’s the worst f*cking sweater I’ve ever seen. It’s a Cosby sweater. A Cosby sweater!” – Barry
A breakup can consume a person, leaving them unaware that they’re out in public looking like total crap. Being the good friend that he is, Barry takes it upon himself offer a helpful critique on Rob’s fashion choices, and the insult has even more bite today than it did 15 years ago.
“Buh bye.” – Barry
Whether you’re saying farewell to a potential customer that was simply trying to buy his daughter a birthday gift, or saying adios to a scorned lover — this line works perfectly.
“I am a f*cking asshole.” – Rob
Cheating on his pregnant girlfriend and borrowing a large sum of money from her then not paying it back certainly qualifies Rob as an a**hole. On the plus side, at least he can admit it, which any psych 101 student will tell you equals growth.
“I guess it looks as if you’re reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?” – Dick
Dick swings by Rob’s apartment before heading to the show and can’t figure out what system Rob’s using to reorganize his record collection. When Rob finally tells him that they’re arranged autobiographically, Dick’s mind is blown.
“Do you even know your daughter?!”– Barry
Jack Black is a dick of an employee, but he does make a valid point here. You should always ask yourself how well you know the loved one that you’re buying “tacky, sentimental crap” for.
Customer: “Do you have soul?”
“That all depends.” – Rob
This line is probably in the employee handbook of every pretentious vinyl store in the country. Sure, it’s a play on words because Rob’s feeling heartbroken and soulless, but I’m betting if that customer came in the next day and asked for Brazilian doom metal she would have gotten the same answer.
“The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.” – Rob
I suppose that people don’t even make mixtapes or mix CDs anymore, it’s all Spotify playlists. Which is unfortunate, because nobody’s ever going to find a digital playlist from 10 years ago buried in their glove-box. Anyways, remember don’t blow your wad too early when making that mixtape/playlist.
Now, just for kicks here’s that fantastic scene of Rob and f*cking Ian.