There are several reasons comedy movie High Fidelity stands the test of time. Great music, good dialogue, Stehen Frears’s direction, they all coalesce perfectly. If you were to ask star John Cusack, one element in particular sets it apart: Jack Black.
He explained why to Entertainment Weekly, speaking about how it was Black’s first major role, and the multi-hyphenate brought the drama movie to life. “I knew that Jack [Black] would be my secret weapon,” Cusack says. “He had made a movie with Tim Robbins and there was sort of this actors’ gang, a crew that Jack was hanging out with, and he was also doing Tenacious D late-night shows and stuff, so I knew the secret that he was a great musician and a great comedian and just hadn’t gotten a role like High Fidelity yet.”
Though he’d been in several ’90s movies, Black hadn’t starred in a studio picture like High Fidelity. Between the record store vibe and excuse to get loud and pretentious, Black nailed it.
Based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornsby, High Fidelity follows Rob Gordon, played by Cusack, who undergoes a journey of self-discovery following a breakup. Black portrays his co-worker, Barry, at Champion Vinyl, an argumentative music nerd who basically spends the romance movie trying to get into asinine debates.
Like many cult hits, High Fidelity didn’t do especially well on release, garnering a fandom later through home media. Another adaptation of the book was made as a TV series starring Zoë Kravitz in the lead role. It lasted one season in 2020.