Cosby Sweaters: Reevaluating High Fidelity
Little touches like this reference to non-music cultural ephemera, such as the Cosby sweater, humanize characters who are often the epitome of the worst record consumers and snobbish music dilettantes. These are folks who mercilessly taunt those who do not live up to their expectations, refuse to sell certain records to those not cool enough, and even chastise their best friends for making poor decisions about music. They are what many of us hardcore record collectors refuse to believe we are. At least, we hope the general public doesn't see us like this anyway. Rob Gordon claims, "It's not what you're like, it's what you like" at one point in the film. This statement is generally shallow, but it holds some merit.
Obsessive music fans are still like these characters, and might always be, bringing up little known records and proclaiming their knowledge to those who have little interest. In fact, a Cosby sweater will remain a Cosby sweater, just like the 13th Floor Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me," which opens the film will perpetually remain an epic jam. People will be people. High Fidelity captures this, and created a few stars in the process. It has become a cult classic, which I would never have imagined possible when I saw it in a near empty theater that didn't even have a movie poster for the film. It remains a redemptive and enjoyable film, one that paints it's subjects as insufferable at times, yet full of great humanity at others.