Saturday, August 1, 2009

(500) Days Of Summer

(500) Days Of Summer

As summer is coming to a winding halt as we're now in August, perhaps it's time to talk about one of the best movies of not only this summer season, but of the year. (500) Days of Summer.

Perhaps I should come out and say that I'm on the company buck most times, but even though I'm a company man and this film is being released by Fox Searchlight, I have nothing to gain by promoting it and my interest to write this is simply because it's a great movie. But on a side note, Fox Searchlight has yet to give me a bad movie. They've got a great record and are the new Miramax. Check out the trailer by pressing play:



This film struck a chord with me. I mean, who won't it strike a chord with. Rest assured that if you've ever been "in love", you'll relate to one or both characters in this film. I suppose in my case it doesn't help that a lot of the places in the film are actual spots where I've taken the person I care for, the idea of the futility of the relationship really does come across.

The park bench that Tom sits at is right above Angel's Flight near the grand central market in Downtown. I love that location and the idea that I've passed it by to go up and play scrabble right above it to check out the same view of the city mixed in with the those oh so lovely parking structures just really had me relating to the character even more.



The Karaoke takes place at Red Wood. It's a Pirate themed bar. This is a bar where I've taken my Gal on one of our first dates. I still recall that night. Got a little token of that always in my mind. So yeah, this film, a film that makes L.A. one of it's major focuses, while it may strike those chords to everyone who had some emotional attachment to someone who may not have given them the same in return, the fact that it goes beyond that and relates on a specific note like that for me, maybe this film a bit more personal.

The film isn't a Romantic comedy. I'll be hesitant to call it that. It's an anti-romantic reality. Yes, it has some laughs here and there. While the film centers around Gordon-Levitt and his hopelessly in love emotions with a woman who doesn't believe in love, there's nothing in here that can be labeled a romantic comedy. It's quirky, funny and realistically portraying love from a guy's point of view that isn't often viewed from.



But guy or girl, the idea is that the film takes the viewpoint from the person who got side swiped by the news of a break up. It's the one who didn't see the writing on the wall till it was too late. The film has the same feeling that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had. I would say that the film feels like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tripped over Garden State and rolled down a hill. Don't worry, only the best parts of both films are showing by the time it got to the bottom of the hill.

Eternal Sunshine worked because it was about the futility of that type of relationship. You better enjoy the good times while they last. Eventually you'll be going through the cycles that the couple went through where you're repeating the same mistakes... which in reality aren't mistakes. They're just the two of you growing apart.



In both films you have the futility of expecting it to last forever and learning to enjoy the good times while they do last, then let go when it's time to move on. These messages will come out depending on how cynical you are, I suppose. But in either case you should take away the fact that the two of you have changed over time because of each other. Lessons learned about yourself because of this relationship.

That's the glass half full outlook on this. The relationship may be over, and unlike a typical romantic comedy, it's not going to be a stereotypical happy ending, you can still enjoy the time spent together. Remembering the good times as well as the bad. The film plays like a 20-something Annie Hall. The degeneration of a relationship and how we grow as a result of it. So there you go. Annie Hall and Eternal Sunshine with a slight twist of Garden State. Yup, it truly is an indie film.



The film had a lot of moments that showed both the sweet side and the sour side of a relationship. Yet ordered it so that it all seemed real without ever losing the humor. You get to see, in jumping cuts, how somethings that were once cute end up being annoying and on someone's nerve.

I like how the reasons for the break up aren't ever really explored. Nor are the initial reasons or explanation on how they got together/Tom won her heart. It just leaves it at Summer gets tired of Tom... or just tired of the relationship with Tom. It's not that there's any one reason. No one cheats on the other and there isn't some magical force preventing this love that is meant to be. In actuality, the feelings between the two are just that, feelings. And in life feelings are very often fleeting.



While she was into him and liked him, she was never on the same page as him in terms of what they wanted out of the relationship. Through the relationship she did change in her own way and did learn that there was actually love out there. In the beginning of the time line, the year and a half earlier, she didn't believe in anything remotely in love. And while it didn't work out between Tom and Summer, she did open herself up to the possibility of feeling it when it approached.

I got to talk to the first time film director/long time music video director and he admitted that every scene in this film minus two of them actually happened to him. And on a side note, he sent the script to the real life Summer to read, and the first thing she said was that she found herself relating so much to Tom while reading it.Go figure.



On to Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is possibly one of the best young actors out there. After seeing his powerhouse performances in Mysterious Skin and Lookout, I'll watch anything he chooses to do. Wait a second, he's going to be Cobra Commander in the upcoming G.I. Joe flick. Can I take that statement back? He's got to have some balls to go from what has to be one of the best films of the year to what will be a fucking mess of a two hour toy commercial.

Then you have Zooey Deschanel who has an age-appropriate love interest?! Now I've seen it all. Though as cute as she is and as beautiful her eyes are, though from what I learned from THE HAPPENING is that even those beautiful eyes and quirky acting can save a bad movie. But what she makes up in the ability to save a bad movie, a skill that is not needed here, she does a wonderful job in bringing her voice. You see, Zooey has one hell of an amazing voice box as one half of the band SHE & HIM.



Then we get to the final character of the film. Los Angeles. You might not recognize it at first. I know it's easy to mistake for New York. This is why I've worked a lot on film productions in Downtown that were suppose to be set in New York. Downtown can fool you that way. I didn't realize that this film was going to be a film so in love with downtown Los Angeles. So that was a very nice surprise.

Like I said before, the Bench is a spot I've been to plenty of times before. I've walked down that pathway at the courthouse like he does. Though I don't recall ever dancing to Hall and Oates. Usually it's during Jury Duty. I have stood and admired a lot of the architecture, such as the Bradbury Building or the Dorothy Chandler. The love for LA was really the biggest thing that sealed the movie for me. It was nice to see downtown in a film that wasn't an action or cop movie.



My recommendation is to go see this film... Now. Even if it's not in wide release when you read this. Go find the local art house near you and watch this film. It's as good as Eternal Sunshine as well as realistic that it will touch on a nerve that you'll relate to the character. One of, if not THE best film of the year.

2 comments:

OSTerizer said...

When did you become so gay? Are you in love or on anti-depressants?

Booster Gold said...

Someone's just upset their local video rental store is closed up...