The movie High Fidelity is sacred ground for music lovers and cinephiles alike. Through the story of hapless record store owner Rob Gordon and his coterie of vinyl snobs, the 1997 film made it cool to let your geek flag fly and embrace your irrational enthusiasms. In Top Five, journalist Andrew Buss offers a rollicking oral history of the making of the film and its continued influence on popular culture.
When a book is as universally praised as Nick Hornby’s original novel, adapting it for screen can be a tricky prospect. Top Five examines the difficulties that went into writing the movie: although the book was set in London, the screenwriting team (which included star John Cusack) transplanted the story to Chicago, drawing on their own experiences growing up there. Fears that the film would be an Americanized dilution of the source material evaporated when fans of the book saw just how true the film stayed to Rob’s story.
Buss draws on interviews with actors like Cusack, Jack Black, and Iben Hjejle, along with all the key principals behind the scenes, including director Stephen Frears and the movie’s screenwriter, producers, and composer. Together they offer a multi-perspectival account that captures the legacy of the film, showing how it created an indelible snapshot of ’90s culture while anticipating our current era of media surfeit and content overload.
Andrew Buss is a journalist and author of oral histories on Zoolander, Freaks and Geeks, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe. He has conducted interviews with some of the most prominent names in show business, including Lorne Michaels, Mel Brooks, Ben Stiller, Carol Burnett, Steve Buscemi, Daniel Radcliffe, Brendan Fraser, and Joe Mantegna. He is also the official historian for Andy Kaufman.
“Buss’s book is pitch-perfect. It conveys not just the facts of the film and its making, but how it truly felt to be there. Even though it was my own experience, I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out.”—D.V. DeVincentis, screenwriter, High Fidelity
“An irresponsible piece that will only serve to encourage and give hope to budding filmmakers. Because it rarely, if ever, happens this way. Andrew’s care for the film and the thoroughness of his work was unsettling at times with how convincingly it transported me back to 1999. RIP, Thérèse DePrez.”—Todd Louiso, actor, High Fidelity
“Andrew Buss penned a companion book that’s so well-researched and written that it made me rewatch High Fidelity and appreciate it through a new lens! A must-have time for any movie buff!”—Kevin Smith, writer and director, Clerks
“Witty, intelligent, and rare! Top Five teases out the trivia from the cast and crew in ways that would make the staff of Championship Vinyl blush. A welcome trademark of Andrew Buss. This must-have tome of every music fan's must-have film is as re-readable as the film's rewatchable."—Michael Roffman, producer, Bloody Disgusting "Losers' Club" podcast