WHEN: 8:30PM EST, November 3rd, 2012
WHERE: At my apartment in Portland, ME (Alderaan)
FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 47″ LCD HDTV
COMPANY: My brother Matt, his girlfriend Leigh, and my friends David and Hannah (a former couple)
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: A little tired. Ate half a pizza.
A COUPLE OF COUPLES:
It is always interesting watching High Fidelity with new people, which is a shame because I frequently end up watching it alone. This week however, I was lucky enough to be able to view with four friends, three of whom had never seen the movie before. What is more, two of them are dating, and the other two dated previously and broke up.
Matt – Matt is my brother. He has seen High Fidelity three times before. He once suggested that I analyze it as if I were a cat. He is dating Leigh.
Leigh – My brother’s girlfriend has never seen High Fidelity before. Prior to viewing, she knew John Cusack was in it. She thought it might be about relationships. She thought that Chuck Klosterman talked about it, in reference to the phenomenon of the beta-male, in his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. She ate chicken tenders while we watched, but a stuffed hen in my living room prompted her to become sad about the lives those chickens may have lead.
Matt and Leigh
David – David has been a good friend of mine since high school. He had occasionally read Cinema 52, but still had no idea what High Fidelity is about. He thought it might be about the record industry, and was looking forward to seeing what type of microphones were used. He hoped to see a Neumann U 87.
Hannah – I have known Hannah since I was about five and she was three, and we are close friends. She knew nothing about the movie. She didn’t know who John Cusack was. She didn’t know what the title meant; perhaps it is a reference to someone being faithful. She thought that would be good but she was doubtful that this was the case.
Hannah and David
Hannah and David dated for a while a couple of years back. Hannah ended the relationship, but the two claim to have remained good friends.
WATCHING THE MOVIE:
We all settled down to watch the movie. It may be worth noting that in 3 of the 4 couples I have watched High Fidelity with, the girl has been significantly more vocal than the guy. I’m not sure if this is noteworthy, but it is evident that Hannah and Leigh had more to say than Matt and David.
– Leigh thought that Laura was played by Jennifer Garner, and it took her a minute or two to figure out who had dumped who in the opening scene.
– “Don’t do the weak woman thing! Punch him in the balls!” -Hannah, on Penny’s reaction to Rob’s rejection.
– Leigh asked if Dick has a crush on Rob. He did, after all, offer to make Rob a tape.
– Hannah on Jack Black as an actor: “All he ever does is laugh and take his pants down.”
– Both Hannah and Leigh agree that Championship Vinyl reminds them of Bull Moose Music, Portland’s local music store.
– Neither Hannah nor Leigh were impressed by Marie DeSalle’s ability as a singer. Leigh notes, “She’s like Alicia Keyes meets that calypso chick from Pirates of the Caribbean 3.”
– “Why are any of these women happy to see him?” “You want to know why you’re doomed to be rejected? Because you’re a jerk!” “Couldn’t this movie give me a character I like?” -All Hannah.
– Leigh concurred about the unlikeabilty of the characters, but noted that she did like “the dweeby bald kid.” (Presumably Dick.)
– Hannah, who dabbles in costume design, notes that Laura seems to have a negative effect on Rob’s wardrobe. He wears much better clothing when single.
– At one point, Leigh expressed that she felt bad for Rob, to which Hannah replied, “Why are you being so sympathetic. Stop it!” And then to Rob, “You are a sap, and should go drown yourself in a toilet!”
– “Why don’t you just go out with the mom if she likes you so much? Now the dad’s out of the way.” -Hannah on Laura’s mom wanting Rob to attend the funeral.
– After over an hour of silence, David pipes in with the following insightful note, “Don’t have funerals in rooms with good acoustics. It really emphasizes the crying.”
– Hannah noticed a man grating a carrot onto his salad at Charlie’s party, and a Danish flag at the funeral (a reference, no doubt, to Iben Hjejle’s country of origin), neither of which I had noticed.
Also, I’m not really up on my world flags.
– Leigh would not let a muddy wet Rob into her car.
– Everyone but David noted that they did not care for Rob’s pig shirt. David was ambivalent.
Matt said that this time around he wasn’t as angry at Rob. Rob is still a dick, but his relationships are so torturous that Matt couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for him.
Leigh was completely unconvinced by Rob’s turnaround at the end. Where was his transformation?
Hannah said that the only thing she got out of the movie was that “ALLISON MARRIED KEVIN!”
David liked the movie. He didn’t hate any of the characters. He didn’t necessarily think they were nice people, but he sympathizes with them nonetheless. He also noted that only three microphones appear in the movie, and you cannot tell what brand they are. He liked Rob’s stereo system.
For my part, this was the most fun I have had watching High Fidelity in months. I really need to invite people over to watch it more often. I think that since I don’t enjoy watching the movie anymore, I automatically assume that no-one else is going to enjoy it either.
But as a couple, what were the effects of the movie experience? Well…
THE FORMER COUPLE:
So then I sprung the same question on the former couple. Was it awkward watching High Fidelity as two people who were previously in a relationship?
David and Hannah felt that when contrasted with Rob and exes, their post-relationship relationship is quite healthy. “We actually hang out, we don’t just go to awkward dinner parties,” David notes. Hannah agrees: “I don’t just think, ten years later, ‘oh, I should call David, and see if he’s still alive and has children.'”
I had told David of my plan to get the two of them together for a viewing. Hannah, on the other hand, was taken entirely by surprise by this line of questioning. It did start both of them talking about how their current friendship is built on the foundation of their failed relationship. They go so far as to say that they feel comfortable giving each other relationship advice. In the end, they claim that they have discussed their relationship enough that watching a movie like High Fidelity together isn’t going to bring out any new realizations. They are “past the movie review stage.”
It was certainly interesting being around for the discussion.
Leigh would be upset if I didn’t include this final note, from the stuffed hen:
“I didn’t like this movie. It made me sad!”