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Entries in (500) Days of Summer (6)


Soundtracking: (500) Days of Summer

by Chris Feil

Ten years removed, looking back at (500) Days of Summer is not unlike looking back at an old relationship. It’s a movie about earned perspective that in turn some of us look at much differently than when the film first wooed audiences. It’s like a strange artifact from a bygone time. Remember when we thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel would be huge? Remember when its love story was more widely considered a coming of age story instead of a “dude, grow up!” movie.

The film itself captures a nostalgia for something than never existed, embodying the kind of young male mindset that wants to will a great love into existence without having to see the real person. But the element that works best to reveal a film that has that perspective in mind, one of the things that also made (500) Days of Summer a movie Of The Moment, is its catchy soundtrack. Remember Feist?

Click to read more ...


Beauty vs Beast: The Original Maze Runner

Jason from MNPP here using the ocassion of another's week's "Beauty vs Beast" to give good goblin love to one of our favorite 80s kid's movies: Jim Henson's Labyrinth is turning 30 today! The film was released on June 27th 1986, and to folks my age it became pretty much an instant classic. Labyrinth tells a tale as old as time - girl babysits, girl wishes baby away to David Bowie, David Bowie's innappropriate bulge mesmerizes an eight-year-old me, so on and so forth. What's not to love? I saw Jennifer Connolly on the subway once and it took all the restraint inside of me not to yell, "Your mother is a fraggin' aardvark!" at her.

PREVIOUSLY It was the start of the endless summer season last week so what better way to 'celebrate" than by looking back at the romantic-comedy that dragged it out to (500) Days - in the end it was the dancing charms of Joseph Gordon-Levitt that won your heart (at least for a few months anyway) with 57% of the vote. Said Noecitos:

"Team Tom! If only because of the inspired fanfic writers who paired him with Tom Hardy's character in Warrior."


Beauty vs Beast: The Dog Days of Romance

Jason from MNPP here at "Beauty vs Beast" o'clock, wishing everybody the happiest First Day of Summer possible... and if you're like me and you hate this season as much as I do then that includes a locked door, some drawn shades, and an air conditioner on full blast. Heat! Sweat! Sunshine! Blah! I want none of it. I have the opposite of what Mama Cass had in "California Dreamin'" - I dream of such a winter's day. (And that's why I live in NYC.) But you know what? There are only 93 days of Summer... it could be worse!

PREVIOUSLY Knowing full well that Finding Dory was about to flood the marketplace we went Pixar-themed last week too, asking y'all to pick sides in the Great Toy Battle of 1995 - Are you a Buzz or are you a Woody? Turns out that 75% of you are Woodies, who knew? Said BVR:

"I love that Pixar resisted the urge to endear Woody to us, instead playing up the mad, jealous, even scheming nature that springs from within as he sees his #1 status being gradually taken away. You would think this would make me vote for Buzz, who seems totally innocent, delusional and oblivious to Woody's schemes; but as funny as that quality is, I just love Woody for being so flawed and human."


Valentine's - (500) Days of Summer 

We're celebrating Valentine's Day this week with odes to some of our favorite romantic movie moments. First, here's Murtada on the musical number in (500) Days of Summer.


The first time with the person you love. It's all what you’ve dreamed it would be. The next morning you wake up giddy, but …what to do. Why of course dance to Hall and Oates' "You Make My Dreams Come True" on your way to work, with the whole world as your own chorus, marching band and fan mob rolled into one. That’s what happens to Tom (Joseph Gordon Levitt) after Summer (Zooey Deschanel) rocks his world.

What a show-off! Maybe even a braggart. Gordon Levitt gets congratulated by everyone he passes and literally scores a goal. Yet somehow it’s not off putting but utterly charming. Part of that is due to the character and the performance. Most of the appeal though is because we’ve all wanted to share our exuberance with the whole world after a particularly lovey dovey moment. Or you know right after the first time with a new love.

The scene becomes a delightful expression of the exhilaration of love. Blending dancing, animation and cultural refrences (Hello Han Solo!), it also comes at exactly the right time in the story, elevating the stakes and making - spoiler alert - the eventual heartbreak even more painful.

Happy Valentine’s

What are some of your favorite romantic musical numbers? And do you forgive (500) Days of Summer for bringing Chloe Grace Moretz into our lives?


JGL + ScarJo ?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is on his way to becoming an actor/director. His first dual effort behind and in front of the camera will be a romantic comedy. Interesting choice and one we applaud because lord knows that genre needs fresh voices. Scarlett Johansson is his co-star of choice though apparently there's a second female lead (as yet uncast). JGL will play a lothario. Will ScarJo or the other leading lady reform him? Hopefully this one will skirt the misogyny that was the only thing really dragging the otherwise charming 50/50 down.

I'm hoping Joe and ScarJo will find a way to sing together since it's the one thing they totally have in common besides being, you know, gorgeous movie stars.

Initially I had trouble picturing the two stars together given that he is slim and long and she is short and voluptuous. I'm use to picturing her with much much beefier men (like her shortlived marriage) but after my initial shock I'm liking the idea. Contrast can be very attractive...  

On the other hand it may be tough to top his more twinnish love pairing with Zooey Deschanel. [I am always rooting for a "Zoooey" reunion --where are we at with (500) Days of Summer right now? It went through such a weird love/hate thing with the internets --  but with "New Girl" a hit on TV, there's little chance of her returning to the big screen in major roles anytime soon.]

The film starts shooting in April. I wonder if she's still in for that John Carney (Once) movie that was supposed to start shooting this summer called Can A Song Save Your Life? Two movies in a row where Scarlett may actually be acting instead of just posing?! Exciting. Maybe But never fear. Lots of posing coming up as well in The Avengers (2012) -- recently discussed -- and Iron Man 3 (2013).

JGL stars in Premium Rush which hits theaters a month after The Dark Knight Rises

As for JGL, he's about to have a Jessica Chastain crazy year. Scratch that. A bigger year than that. In addition to directing his first feature he's co-starring in five more, three of them among the year's most anticipated features: Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln

Which upcoming project are you most excited for?


Distant Relatives: Annie Hall and (500) Days of Summer

Robert here, with my series Distant Relatives, where we look at two films, (one classic, one modern) related through a common theme and ask what their similarities and differences can tell us about the evolution of cinema. We'll be getting to some of this year's Oscar nominees shortly. But for now take a breather.

Women are from Mars, Men are from Venus

Turn on the television and chances are, especially if you're watching a commercial, for light beer, you'll get a pretty simple and standard view of the battle between the sexes. Men are aloof, sex-craved pigs who want to watch sports and pick up dumb girls while tolerating their nagging girlfriends who read romance novels and would prefer it if their boyfriends would talk more about their emotions like they do. This easy narrative is supposed to be funny because it's based in truth. If that was ever the case, it seems that now we've gotten to a point where reality has folded over on itself and now people believe truth to be based on this narrative.
Truth is, most of the guys I know are like Alvy Singer or Tom Hansen, men who, due to a combination of self doubt, loneliness and a good helping of life's little disappointments have placed an unreasonable but understandable amount of importance into the hope of finding that perfect girl who will comfort wounds, give endless encouragement and generally elevate their existence on this planet (did I say "guys I know?" I speak a bit from experience as well.) Annie Hall and (500) Days of Summer are two films about two such men thinking they've found it only to realize that it is a lot more complicated than they wanted.

Sad Sack

Alvie Singer, twice divorced, product of a dysfunctional existence, career in neutral due to a self-imposed principle of avoiding L.A. falls hard for the down home girlish charms of Annie. Tom Hanson, failed architect, hopeless romantic, equally falls hard for Summer. She likes The Smiths, she sings Karaoke and she takes an interest. The film suggests she has something of an indefinable "it" factor. I will define it (in her and Annie's cases) as accessibility. Pretty women usually strike fear into the hearts of men like Alvie and Tom. One who doesn't inevitably becomes one of those girls who everyone falls in love with. Whether they are really as accessible as they appear is another thing.
Summer Finn and Annie Hall are significantly different, perhaps products of their time. Summer's fear of commitment and disbelief in love stem mostly from her parents' divorce. Contrastly, Annie comes from a Norman Rockwell-esque existence. She doesn't mind commitment but wants to enjoy life and make the most of her big city opportunities. Summer and Annie don't need to be similar for these films to adequately reflect one another, they just need to be equally incompatible with Tom's romanticism and Alvy's pessimism... and they are.

Boy does not get girl back

Both films are disinterested in giving us a structured throughline of a relationship's destruction, and have a nature to jump around within time or the minds of our protagonists. Yet in doing so, both give us a fairly honest portrayal of a brief relationship: two people whose differences are danced around, denied and avoided until they have to be faced, overcome or the relationship ends. Both men, like so many men in films these days, like so many films themselves these days, see women in terms of how they effect their own lives, not as fully formed people, but means to the end of endless happiness. Both do so at their relationship's peril.

In (500) Days of Summer, Tom often defines his life by the culture he knows. When he's happy he becomes Han Solo, bluebirds dance on his finger. When he's sad, his misery manifests itself as a French or Swedish art film. This idea, of media defining our lives is often considered a new one, brought on by endless exposure. But it's not that new. Woody Allen was doing it in Annie Hall.He envisions Annie as Snow White's evil queen. He produces Marshall McCluhan at will to win an argument. People have been defining their lives with concepts and images from art since art has been expressing our emotions better than we could. As someone who's uttered the phrase "I'm due back on planet Earth now" or whose been tempted to break out dancing to "You Make My Dreams" I suggest that these two films have now joined the ranks of such art.

As for the major differences between the films, thematically there aren't many. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, roll credits, may not be the escapist fare that people think they want to see, but these films prove that there can be plenty of laughter and insight in the journey. Alvy Singer's observation that we keep falling in love because "we need the eggs" still remains true (not to mention one of the best observations ever made in a film). Perhaps that's a testament to human nature. As much as the world has changed between 1977 and 2009, some things always stay the same.