Over the course of the past few years, Jack Black has become something of a caricature. If you see his name in the credits of a film, you can basically assume he's going to play some sort of loveable loser with a zany outlook on life. Like Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera, he's almost reached the point of being typecast.
And while his crazy guy routine has gotten a little old these days, it's hard not to look back at some of his earlier work with very fond memories. This scene from High Fidelity is one of my favorites not only because Black is at his oddball best in it, but because it also features fine performances from John Cusack and Todd Louiso.
The sequence opens with Cusack's Rob walking to his record shop. As is the case in much of High Fidelity, he's breaking the fourth wall and speaking to the audience directly. He shares a bit about the "fetishistic" qualities of his clientele when it comes to buying their vinyl. Moments later, his employee Dick (Louiso) wanders in. Dick's a soft-spoken record nerd and he offers to make Rob a copy of the new album he scored over the weekend. Rob's clearly not interested – telling him "Yeah, I haven't really absorbed that one yet," when discussing the last tape Dick made for him -- but Dick won't take no for an answer.
The scene jumps ahead to later in the day, the two men listening to a quiet track from Belle & Sebastian when Black's Barry comes barging in. Barry's like an irreverent force of nature, telling the guys that the song "sucks ass" before popping it out of the cassette deck and replacing it with his very own mixtape. Next thing you know, Katrina and the Waves' Walking on Sunshine is blasting through the store. Rob freaks, but Barry doesn't care and takes off dancing like a madman through the shop while Rob falls over the counter in a mad dash to shut if off.
Once peace has been restored, you start to see that Barry's a good -- if slightly misguided -- guy. He really just wanted to cheer the newly single friend up. That sweet moment doesn't last long, though, because Dick mentions that he prefers the Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels version of Little Latin Loopy Lu to the Righteous Brothers track. Barry once again flips out and goes spastic, while Rob tells us that he can't fire his two employees because he hired them for three days a week, but they just started showing up every day over four years ago. It's a good closer to a scene that allows us to get to know the film's main characters without being totally obvious that it's providing character detail in the process.
High Fidelity has a lot of great scenes (including a cameo from The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen), but this is the one that tends to pop into my head whenever someone mentions the film. Let me know what you think and feel free to share some of your favorite scenes from the film in the comments section.