oral personality; Anal geek

A subdued remake of his first feature, Girls Town, Jim McKay's Our Song (April 5 and 6) is about one summer in the lives of three Brooklyn public high school teenagers, best friends who will soon go their separate ways, their paths determined by their attitudes about school, family, and most crucially, single motherhood. The film only takes off when the real-life high school band that inspired the narrative—the Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band—is on the screen.

When Rob (John Cusack), the proprietor of a Chicago record store specializing in used and rare rock vinyl, is abandoned by his girlfriend, he tries to work off his despair by rearranging his record collection—not alphabetically or chronologically, but autobiographically. He also starts compulsively talking to the camera about his many failed romances, as if the viewer were his shrink. Shrinks, however, are well-paid to listen to the same litany of despair over and over; viewers hand over their 10 bucks because they hope for something fresh and exciting.

Human resource: Margani in Crane World
photo: Cowboy Booking
Human resource: Margani in Crane World


Crane World
Written and directed by Pablo Trapero
Screening Room
April 7 through 13

New Directors/New Films
Museum of Modern Art
Through April 9

High Fidelity
Directed by Stephen Frears
Written by D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, and Scott Rosenberg, from the novel by
Nick Hornby
A Touchstone release

Or maybe not. Some viewers—dedicated Woody Allen fans, for example—want to be confirmed in what they've already figured out about their own lives. Stephen Frears's High Fidelity, adapted from Nick Hornby's popular novel and transposed with minimal upset from blue-collar England to blue-collar Chicago, is a Woody Allen film for youngish white males who fetishize rock music and its many memorabilia and have commitment problems when flesh-and-blood women, as opposed to women in song lyrics, are involved. It may seem perverse to fault a movie for being too accurate, but when surface accuracy is coupled with tunnel vision about self and society the result is a wee bit irritating. High Fidelity may be the only music film since 1990 not to acknowledge the existence of rap or hip-hop. That the characters are part of an isolationist subculture (veneration for Marvin Gaye notwithstanding) is what makes the film seem so painfully like real life. That the film doesn't put this isolationism in perspective is what makes it dismissible.

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