Alphabetical Movie – High Fidelity
I don’t read a lot of fiction. When someone asks me if I’ve read “The Hunger Games,” I respond with some variation of “I really want to” and then comment that my son read it and loved it. In fact, I have several friends who are published writers and to date, I’ve read none of their books.
I’m a pathetic excuse for a friend. I know that.
I actually enjoy fiction but the problem is, I also enjoy sleep. When I start reading a good book, I want to finish it. Immediately. If that means I have to stay up until 3:00 A.M. to finish it, that is what I will do.
I have the same problem with seasons of “Dexter.”
If I’m going to read fiction, I need to be sure that the sleep deprivation is worth it.
It is notable, then, that when I watched High Fidelity the first time, I really wanted to read the book. I enjoyed the film a lot but I knew there had to be more to the story in the book and, to the film’s credit, I wanted to know the rest of the story.
Reading the book may have been a mistake because while I still like the film, the book is one of the funniest I’ve ever read.
“High Fidelity” is one of the few books I’ve read that made me genuinely laugh out loud. I read humor books all the time and they certainly make me smile. This book made me laugh. In the middle of the night. When my wife was trying to sleep.
When thinking about it, getting someone to laugh out loud while reading to themselves is extremely hard. Reading is a private experience so we are programmed to keep it private. We don’t shout out in triumph when a character wins an important victory and if someone writes a good joke, we typically don’t bust out laughing.
So even though I’ve only read the book once, I remember “High Fidelity” because it made me react in a way most books don’t. When I re-watched the movie, I was thinking “I really should re-read this book.”
I’ve been encouraging my wife to read the book because she didn’t like the movie. She believes (rightly) that the main character is a man-child who is, for a large part of the film, pretty unlikable. I agree with her but like the character’s journey from man-child to (sort of) man.
After I watched the movie this time, she said she should really give the movie another try because I enjoy it and maybe she would like it better if she watched it again. She may be right.
Still, given the book has left a more lasting impression on me than the film, I feel she’d have a better experience with the story if she reads the book first.
Books and movies are different mediums. I don’t believe one is inherently superior to another although I imagine I’d get a lot of argument on that point of view. I believe there are times when the source material is better than the film and times when the film manages to surpass the source material. Frequently, I will argue that they are both good, but in vastly different ways.
In the case of High Fidelity, I can say that I recommend the movie. If you really want a good laugh, though, read the book.