Tuesday, 9 February 2016

(500) days, but only (3) times......

(500) Days of Summer, 2009. I have always loved this film. Why, though?
The truth is I'm not sure why. It's just always resonated with me, meant something big to me, and what that is I'm not quite 100% on, but maybe it'll hit me one day when I'm watching it and mid-weep...



It's my favourite film. Well, actually my all-time favourite film is The Princess Bride, obviously, but this is right behind it. The weird thing about that fact is, however, that I have watched The Princess Bride a couple million times over the years – for ages it was the 1999 recording off ITV on an ancient VHS, then more recently my special edition DVD. I know it word for word, I could quote it in my sleep and bore everyone around me to death with my trivia knowledge and opinions on each scene and character (e.g. Fezzick is an unsung hero/that sword fight was a work of art/Westley secretly fancied Buttercup IRL)...and yet I say the same about this film, that it's my fave, and I've only seen it three times.

Once on a quiet afternoon when I was alone in my third year student house – I'd just moved in, my house mates all out with their families and significant others, and I was just killing time before the party that evening. I had unpacked my 500 Days sunshine-photo poster, and put the DVD on my shelf among the colour-coordinated books...and I'm not sure why, I felt the need to actually sit and watch the film, for the third time ever.
My house mates all got home late that afternoon and found me sobbing on the sofa.

Another time I was at home, pre-uni I believe, texting my friend a live commentary on the film because it was on Channel 4 and by some freakish cowinkydink we were both watching it in separate counties.
I was texting things like: 'this expectations/reality scene is yanking at my heart strings and smacking me with truth', 'whoa see how cold she was? How did he not see this?! He must have been so madly in love...'

My friend worked hard at a live commentary too, of course. His best was: 'yeh Zooey is so hot tho.' 



The first time I saw this fantastical film was...on a first date. 
I know, awkward as fuck, right? If you've seen the film you'll know, it is not a first date film. It's the story of how you fancy someone, someone who doesn't believe in love, then you get together casually 'no labels' etc., then they rip your heart out slowly and mercilessly, then it's darkness darkness darkness, then somewhere down the road you meet and it still hurts but you are able to wish each other well...then you learn to take chances and believe in fate. So I suppose the ending is slightly happy. And the general aesthetics of the film are cute as heck – it's so indie and quirky it actually hurts my eyes. Unspeakably charming. But yeah, not very ideal for a first date. Serves us right, in a way, for not taking heed when we heard the tag line: 

This is not a love story...this is a story about love. 

Maybe that's why the date ended on a 'let's be friends' note. Fortunately to this day, we are friends...and reflect fondly on the date. 

Anyway, let's get on to my main thoughts on this film.

  • Summer, my beloved Zooey Deschanel, is a wee bit of a wicked bitch. She is not worthy of Tom, in all his Joseph Gordon-Levitt geeky gorgeousness. She strings him along, insists they're not 'in a relationship' when really anyone could see they are...ugh. And then, when she shouts 'wait, Tom, you're still my best friend!' as he's storming out after the break-up, that's just brutal. 

  • Tom is the most lovely, handsome, romantic...fool. He attaches all his fantasies to this one poor girl because she happens to have the perfect face-to-fringe ratio, wears super cute dresses to work and laughs in a cute way.
    The moral of this film is uttered by his teenage sister Rachel, in such a casual manner that you almost miss it...

'Just because a girl likes the same bizarro crap as you, that doesn't make her your soul mate.' 

TOM, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SISTER, I MEAN GEEZZZZ.
She grows up to be Chloe Grace Moretz...she's perfect.


  • Yes, the soundtrack is bloody beautiful. Delightfully alternative. I'll listen to Black Lips' Bad Kids while wandering around the centre of town people-watching, or Regina Spektor's Us while kicking stones on the beach. Zooey's rendition of Sugar Town is sweet as can be. You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates is my weekend alarm song. 

  • People have different reactions to movies. Like in one of the cinema scenes, when Tom was happy seeing a couple getting together, Summer was heartbroken. I have a lot of friends who loathe this film, and a few who love it. I'm always curious to know why, either way.  

  • Blackboard walls are ingenious and beautiful. I would aspire to have one in my future penthouse Soho pad, but then I doubt I could do one justice...my pathetic little doodles would never look all that, not on such a big canvas. I just hope someone I know gets a blackboard wall someday, okay? So I can write something pretty on it and pretend I'm an architect planning out my life. 


  • For some reason, seeing the two of them sat on that bench really hits me hard. I have no clue why. Okay, maybe I have some clue why...just the image is so perfect, and yet totally and completely imperfect. 

  • The Expectations / Reality scene is painfully brilliant. Sometimes it's just painful. I try my hardest not to apply that whole cinematic filter to my life when I go to a party, meet family friends for lunch or see an old pal for coffee. 


  • I believe in the whole kismet nonsense. Summer met a very important person in her life because she was sitting in a deli on her lunch break reading Dorian Gray...and he asked her about it. 
    'So, what if I'd gone to the movies? What if I had gone somewhere else for lunch? What if I'd gotten there 10 minutes later? It was - it was meant to be.'

There are more thoughts, of course. I could bore you with so many more...maybe another time.
I have a lot of feelings about this film. Maybe too many, considering I've only seen it properly three times. Well, tonight I'll be watching it again. Because I feel it's time. One of the times. 


3 comments

  1. The way that you mention some people loving this movie and some loathing it is interesting to me because I feel like each time I watch it I have a different response. Two things about it I always, always, always adore though: that soundtrack (the only one I can that I prefer is the Away We Go soundtrack - a movie everyone should see and adore), and the "expectations vs reality" thing. As you say, genius. I think that's the part that sticks with me the most. That's the part that seems to seep into my everyday life, where I'm just absently making that comparison in the back of my mind and imagining the splitscreen with "expectations".

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  2. OK I love love love love this film but I also have to say a big NOOOO to you saying Summer is a bitch!!! I've written a whole post on it (of course): http://eggplantemoji.com/2015/10/02/villain-500-days-of-summer/ -- but basically I think while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is obviously gorge, Tom is a massive asshole who forces her to be the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, completely ignores who she is as a person, lies to her, and then blames her when she stays true to who she was all along!!

    (Sorry, have a lot of feelings)

    But I do LOVE it, and the Expectation/Reality scene is beautiful, and I ALSO watched it on a first date!

    http://eggplantemoji.com

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  3. I LOVE THIS FILM SO MUCH. It's one of those that I watched the first time and didn't feel particularly attached to it, but then watching it more and more changed things. Watching a few more times, it's so deep, and thought provoking when you analyse it. I've used this film so many times in my Media Studies classes because there's SO much to talk about.

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