Art is supposed to imitate life, right? And movies are an art, so why don’t they feature high-end audio? Even if you don’t believe in that theory, wouldn’t it make sense that the audio industry would try to get in on all of the product placement deals in movies these days?
User, Mitch4, was wondering the same thing when he posted in the Audiogon Forum, “A thought just came to me that a lot of movies show us the lives of fictional people doing the everyday things that real people do. However, we never see anyone sitting down and listening to a high end system. The only thing that I can remember is when the billionaire played by Robert Redford put on an LP on what appeared to be a high-end turntable in the movie Indecent Proposal.
I have never seen exposed tubes on-screen, or an amp of any type for that matter. It seems hi-fi does not fit the decor scheme of movie sets, or more realistically, audiophiles are rarer on earth than Klingons and Romulans, and Hollywood does not know of their existence. It would seem that some of the well heeled actors, directors and producers would own a killer 2 channel system and periodically include one in a scene when the character has discretionary income.
We’ve all seen scenes with the wife complaining about the husband always watching sports, but never complaining about him pampering his hi-fi rig. We’ve all seen characters with automobiles and other toys that we’ve envied, but never a stereo system to make you salivate. Anyone ever see a hi-fi system onscreen worth mentioning?”
It’s been a long-running thread, and our users have come up with a long list of movies they’ve seen that have included high-end gear.
What Women Want, The Sum of All Fears, American Psycho, The Italian Job, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, As Good As It Gets, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, High Fidelity, Risky Business, Pulp Fiction, Clockwork Orange, The Rock, Indecent Proposal, The Conversation, The Bourne Supremacy, Garden State, 13 Going on 30, The Limey, Traffic, Sixteen Candles, The Punisher, Infernal Affairs, Ghost World, American Splendor, Constantine, Stealth, Love Potion No. 9, Stepford Wives, The Departed, Infernal II, Infernal III, Hot to Trot, Philadelphia, Jumper, Basic Instinct 2, Righteous Kill, Nights in Rodanthe, The Bone Collector, Kill Bill, Shutter, The Dark Knight, The Reader, Dinner for Schmucks, Get Him to the Greek, See Venice & Die, The Mechanic, Vanilla Sky, Limitless, and Looper
The list of TV shows where our users spotted gear was not quite as long.
Friends, The Sopranos, Mad About You, Entourage, The Bernie Mac Show, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, House, Seinfeld, The Dean Martin Show, Californication, Alphas, Suits, and Saxondale
Another thing to think about – when hi-fi gear has been shown, is it always in a good light? Here’s a couple examples of ways it’s been included that could cause some controversy.
Agisthos: The movie Limitless has a scene where Brad Cooper goes to a classy apartment to score some of those designer smart drugs. The drug dealer has a full Meridian system. Meridian electronics and the Meridian active speakers, which then are strewn all over the place after the apartment is smashed up.
Loomisjohnson: In Traffic, the psychopathic killer, after being kidnapped and tortured by the general’s men tells the general that he has B&W speakers and makes his own CDs. He says most people don’t care but that it’s very important to him – a moving tribute to audiophilia.
Mitch4t: In the movie Righteous Kill, the accused rapist has a MacIntosh amp and preamp in his apartment…didn’t see any speakers or source in the scene. The MacIntosh stack with its blue lights was very prominent in the scene.
Nutella: I think it was The Italian Job, where the guy played by Seth Green wanted to get a high-end system with his money from the heist. At the end of the movie, I believe it showed him in his home with a pair of Martin Logans.
But it’s not all drug dealers, killer, accused rapists, and thieves. Here are some examples more realistic to the everyday audiophile.
Robr45: There was a Sex in the City episode where one of the chick’s boyfriends was an audiophile and was playing jazz through a tube system. He was really into it, and it was the focus of a 2-3 minute long scene from what I remember. The best part is that the guy turned out to be a dud and only made an appearance for that episode. On point! lol…
Davespectral: At this point [in The Mechanic], Statham was really tolerant of the immaturity of his understudy. The kid walks up to the turntable and starts to play with the tonearm. Statham grabs him and snaps, “Don’t EVER touch that!” Priceless.
Hotmailjbc: In Get Him To the Greek, there is a scene in Sean’s record producer’s office that has an incredible array of products. 100’s of thousands of dollars worth. So much it is a parody of excess I thought when I saw it.
Gunbei: One of my favorites is in Risky Business when Joel’s (Tom Cruise) dad tells him not to touch his equalizer while he and his mom are away on their trip and how his dad has to re-adjust all the sliders, because Joel pushed them all out of wack.
Are there any important movie or TV shows featuring audio that didn’t make our users’ lists? Would you like to see more audio equipment onscreen? Leave a comment below to add!