High Fidelity (Frears, 2000)

Having just read Nick Hornby’s great source material, it’s clear how and where Frears encountered problems with this adaptation, specifically Rob’s long history with heartache and breakup, which gets simple, fluffy exposure in the film, and devastating clarity in the novel. All in all, these issues have very little to do with the success of the film and the end result is a great transformation from the written word to silver screen, aided exponentially by the perfect casting of John and Joan Cusack, Todd Louiso, and of course Jack Black. In the film’s arousing final scene, Sonic Death Monkey (which might be my favorite name for a band ever) led by Black’s rotund Barry, delivers a sly mixture of arrogance, charm, and genuine sweetness with beautiful ease, a great example of the film’s outlook on pop culture, relationships, and love. Too bad Frears couldn’t have found a way to bring out Rob’s inherent bastard with more effect, which is so key to Hornby’s written trials and tribulations.

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