Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Big Throwdown

Two words: Jack Black.

Yup, his star-making performance in the wonderful film adaptation of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity.

In case you haven't seen it -- and you definitely should, as it's a touching and very funny look at the sort of pop obsessives who write blogs like this one -- the joke of the scene is that in the course of the story Black's character threatens to front the most obnoxious avant-garde-indie-rock-unlistenable-noise-band of all time -- the aptly named Sonic Death Monkey -- at some horrible gig his friends would be obligated to attend. Except it turns out that all along he's been channelling Marvin Gaye (and brilliantly at that -- yes, that's Black doing the vocals).

Really, it's a fabulous piece of work, not to mention a meditation on Fran Lebowitz's famous dictum that you should never make decisions about one's life based on the lyrics to popular songs. For obvious reasons, I relate to it like crazy. In fact, pretty much the only difference between me and the character played in the movie by Jon Cusack is that I never got to sleep with Catherine Zeta-Jones.

PS: I completely forgot I reviewed the flick for TVGuide. You can read it here.


Cleveland Bob said...

Wow. Thanks, Steve.

Ask and ye shall receive I always say.

Man, the only thing potentially better that Cusack's performance in the film in Jack Black. Again, kind of a love him or hate him sort of guy.

Has everyone seen his turn as the chemically soaked brother of Colin Hanks in "Orange County"?

It's truly inspired pudgy brilliance in tighty-whiteys.

Thanks, again. PowerPop completely rocks.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I still can't believe that was really Jack Black doing those vocals. I'm so accustomed to hearing his Robert Plant-ish shrieks, I never would have suspected he had honest-to-goodness pipes under there. Thanks.

Also...mucho gracias for that Evie Sands clip (downstairs). I hadn't heard of her before, but as soon as she started singing, I was in love. In my heart, she will forever be the "Jackie O of 60's pop chicks."

Anonymous said...

As someone who worked in the record store beanfields for many years, I, of course, ADORE "High Fidelity" - the film (& novel) that gave voice and dignity to Guys Who Sit Around Arguing About Records All Day.
I love this little bit from the film, which I am convinced was specially inserted for the Sons of Simels and their pop-obsessive ilk:
Jack Black: "Top Five Side One, Track 1's.."
Cusak: ""Janie Jones," 1st Clash album.."
Friend I'm Watching the Movie With: "That's not the first track on that album..."
Me: "It is on the UK version. Amateur." :) - Bill Buckner

steve simels said...


"The Jackie O of 60s Pop Chicks" -- that's brilliant.
I had such a crush on Evie Sands back in the day...she was like a slightly tougher Laura Nyro -- that whole kind of NYC street chick with soul thing. I think there's finally a good compilation of her stuff out as an import. Amazon should have it.

It is on the import. LOL.

David Rasmussen said...

High Fidelity has to be one of my Top 5 movies.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen it since it came out, so I may be mistaken, but am I the only one who thinks that the movie smooths out the more neurotic aspects of the protagonist too much?

They took a cool book and turned it into a chick flick.

Anonymous said...

"They took a cool book and turned it into a chick flick."

That's a little harsh but yes, the book is tremendous.

And steve, we saw Tenacious D at the Garden last year and they were GREAT. Jack Black can shriek at me all he wants to.

steve simels said...


I love the D.

Greatest fictional yet real band since Spinal Tap!!!!