Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

High Fidelity (2000)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

High Fidelity (2000)

In Stephen Frears' romantic comedy about a painful breakup with a girlfriend:

  • the character of 30-something, commitment-phobic Chicago LP music store (Championship Vinyl) operator Rob Gordon (John Cusack) who had just been dumped by his live-in girlfriend of several years named Laura (Iben Hjejle), a blonde attorney, and he was wallowing in self-pity; he was first seen listening (on headphones, seen from the back) to the Thirteenth Floor Elevators' song "You're Gonna Miss Me"
The Break-Up
  • after the music faded, he spoke: "What came first, the music or the misery? 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?" - he asked her: "Do you have to go this second? You can stay until whenever." Although he asked her to stay for the night, she left anyway, dragging her belongings down the stairs. He slammed the apartment door behind her, then began to talk about his past breakups, directly at the camera: ("My desert island, all-time top five most memorable breakups, in chronological order, are as follows: Alison Ashmore, Penny Hardwick, Jackie Alden, Charlie Nicholson and Sarah Kendrew. Those were the ones that really hurt. (shouting) Can you see your name on that list, Laura? Maybe you'd sneak into the top ten. But there's just no room for you in the top five. Sorry! Those places are reserved for the kind of humiliation and heartbreak you're just not capable of delivering")
  • after opening up the window and yelling out at her: "If you really wanted to mess me up, you should've gotten to me earlier!", he sat down in his recliner and began to describe in detail his previous top 5 heartbreaks, beginning with the earliest: "Which brings us to number one on the top five, all-time breakup list...Alison Ashmore..."; his recitation of his compulsive list of romantic breakups was seen with flashbacks during his junior high, high school and college days, including the discussion of the top five songs to make love to with his store employees, and Laura's own listing of his five top dream jobs, ending with: "record store owner"; he eventually admitted that Laura was his breakup # 5
Compiling a List of Top-five, All-time, Desert Island
Most Memorable and Painful Breakups with Girlfriends
  • the character of his offbeat, anti-social loudmouth clerk Barry (Jack Black), one of two "musical moron twins," who despised customers who didn't like his musical selections; when an older customer wished to purchase: "I Just Called to Say I Love You," Barry refused to sell it to him: ("Well, it's sentimental, tacky crap, that's why not. Do we look like the kind of store that sells 'I Just Called to Say I Love You'? Go to the mall....Do you even know your daughter? There's no way she likes that song. Oh- uh, oh, is she in a coma?"); the incensed customer replied before storming out: ("Oh, okay, buddy. I didn't know it was Pick On The Middle-Aged Square Guy Day. My apologies. I'll be on my way....F--k you!")
  • the scene of Rob lying-in-his-empty-bed and remembering that he and Laura had once been in bed as they listened to their upstairs neighbor guy Ian 'Ray' Raymond (Tim Robbins); and then Rob's nightmarish fantasy that Laura was having sex with Ian 'Ray' on a creaky bed above him: ("You are as abandoned and noisy as any character in a porn film, Laura. You are Ian's plaything, responding to his touch with shrieks of orgasmic delight. No woman in the history of the world is having better sex than the sex you are having with Ian in my head")
Upstairs Neighbor Ian 'Ray' Raymond
Rob's Jealous Sex Fantasy
  • Rob's discussion of the "Top five things I miss about Laura" - ("One - a sense of humor. Very dry, but it can also be warm and forgiving. And she's got one of the best all-time laughs in the history of all time laughs, she laughs with her entire body. Two - she's got character. Or at least she had character before the Ian nightmare. She's loyal and honest, and she doesn't even take it out on people when she's having a bad day. That's character. Three - I miss her smell, and the way she tastes. It's a mystery of human chemistry and I don't understand it. Some people, as far as their senses are concerned, just feel like home. (He lip-synched 'four' while holding up four fingers) I really dig how she walks around. It's like she doesn't care how she looks or what she projects and it's not that she doesn't care. It's just, she's not affected, I guess, and that gives her grace. And five - she does this thing in bed when she can't get to sleep. She kinda half moans and then rubs her feet together an equal number of times. It just kills me. Believe me, I mean, I could do a top five things about her that drive me crazy, but it's just your garden variety women, you know, schizo stuff and that's the kind of thing that got me here")
  • the funny replays of Rob's fight-fantasy of reacting to a smug Ian in the record store, after Ian stated: ("So shall we leave it at that then?") - one of the alternative fantasies was Rob swearing at him and insulting him to his face: (" pathetic rebound f--k! Now, get your patchouli stink out of my store! Move it, lard-ass! Dumb motherf--ker"); another was viciously beating him up, with the help of his friends; in the final scenario, after Ian said: "Well, think about it, Rob" - Rob didn't react at all

Rob Gordon - Speaking or Looking Directly at Camera

Record Store Clerk Barry (Jack Black)

Rob's Despising of His Upstairs Neighbor Ian 'Ray' Raymond (Tim Robbins)

"Top Five Things I Miss About Laura" Sequence

Fight-Fantasy Replays of Meeting Ian in the Record Store


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