It is just as I feared.

I avoided watching (500) Days of Summer for this long because everyone seems to love it, and I had a suspicion that I would hate it. I didn’t want to hate it; I quite like Zooey Deschanel and absolutely adore Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But sadly, I was right. Some might blame it on my personal curmudgeon status, but there are actually many romancey movies that I do like. Just not this one. So, here I present: Top Ten Reasons Why I Hated (500) Days of Summer.

1. The opening description of Summer, beginning with: “Since the disintegration of her parents’ marriage, she’d only loved two things. The first was her long dark hair; the second was how easily she could cut it off, and feel nothing.” HUH? How does that make sense? If you love something, getting rid of it would make you feel SOMETHING. This is not deep and clever. It’s dumb and contradictory. From here on out, I cringed every time the (very unnecessary) narration kicked in.

2. Liking a certain band (The Smiths, in this case) is presented as such a rare trait that it alone could make a man fall in love with a woman. FYI, I know plenty of women who like The Smiths. Along with waaaay more obscure bands than that.

3. Presence of a precocious little sister, wise beyond her years. No one ever needs to be wise beyond their years in film ever again.*

4. Two traits + a desire = personality. Tom: likes music, likes architecture, wants Summer. Summer: dresses cutesy old fashioned, is vaguely witty, wants to remain independent. We can do better than this, screenwriters of the world. (The supporting characters do not even get this much.)

5. But wait, this is a fascinating interaction! He is the ‘girl’ and she is the ‘guy’ in this relationship! Whoa! Crazy!

6. Excessive and not nearly clever enough fantasy musical/movie-referencing sequences. I’ve seen better spontaneous group dance numbers in soda commercials. And The Seventh Seal, for chrissakes? We were done spoofing that with Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

7. Really though, he is in love with her just because she LIKES SOME STUFF? (And is pretty. Okay. She’s very pretty.)

8. The ending. Immediately after all that protestation, she meets the man she’s meant to be with and is happy forever after.

9. The rest of the ending. Immediately after all that pain, he meets the girl he is supposed to be with and is happy forever after.

9.5. Honestly, COME ON on numbers 8 & 9. If you make a movie where the whole intent is for the couple to not get together in the end, but then they are both just magically happy with other people, what is the effing point? If the film truly examined the process of getting over someone and moving on, I could get behind that. But what we get is one schmaltzy conversation that ends with Tom declaring that he truly hopes Summer is happy with her new man. Uh, no you don’t, Tom. Not that easily. Bloody hell.

10. Last, but not least, use of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends,” which was retired from any further acceptable pop culture use after closing the episode of The Wonder Years where Paul has his bar mitzvah.

This movie has an 8.0 on IMDb. I do not understand.** If you would like to watch a “quirky” love story, please just watch Amelie again. If you would like to watch a good movie where the couple doesn’t get together in the end, believe it or not, those are out there too. You can ask me for a recommendation…with a spoiler caveat, of course.

*One exception in the television world for Manny on Modern Family.

**It should be said, there is one slight redeeming quality of this film: JGL’s wardrobe. Yes.


7 Responses to “It is just as I feared.”

  1. 1 Rebecca November 3, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I submit Tracy from The Philadelphia Story as a well-done version of number three.

  2. 2 Nicky November 3, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Haha! I love this post!

  3. 3 Brandi Sperry November 3, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Nicky — Thanks! :)

    Becca — You mean Dinah…and yeah, they should have just retired the trope after this:

  4. 4 Chelsea November 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I was very drunk on free alcohol during a Virgin America flight when I watched this. Even in the state I was in, this movie still annoyed me.

  5. 5 Aaron November 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Wow, thank god I visited your site today, I almost watched this movie and now I won’t bother to waste my time. Why does everyone love this crap? Well, I guess I can believe it. There is… Twilight.

    Please tell me the cinematography or something was good. I can appreciate a guilty pleasure, but It’s got to have some redeeming quality to be a guilty pleasure.

    :( I’m sorry to hear there is a blemish on the careers of two interesting actors

  6. 7 Jared December 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    In my view, there’s value to giving a good faith effort to understanding that with which you disagree. So besides the wardrobing, what are the 4 best things about this movie?

    My attempt:
    (1) Role reversal; enjoyed seeing the boy fret and weakly get hung up on the girl.
    (2) Non-linear time; I just thought that was a neat way to tell a story. It appealed to my scattered brain.
    (3) Zooey; drop-dead gorgeous.
    (4) Uniqueness; it was refreshing to me that the two main characters didn’t end up together. I thought it was more realistic than most predictable romantic comedies.

    From another slant, the reason most people (perhaps educated critics aside) like this movie is probably the fact that it is not your stereotypical romantic comedy.

    I agree 100% though, Amelie is far superior.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

I love Twitter.

  • RT @brinsonian: One of the reasons AD meant so much to me was the self-aware older ladies in on the joke and not having to play the straigh… 4 hours ago
  • RT @emtothea: I have NEVER met someone in this business so extraordinary at their job that I'd put up with them screaming in my face or har… 9 hours ago
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine is such a gift. That would have been a wonderful last episode, but I'm sooooo happy it wasn't. 3 days ago



%d bloggers like this: