(500) Days Of Summer

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Director: Marc Webb.
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Rachel Boston, Minka Kelly.

No! Don’t pull that with me. This is not how you treat your friend! Kissing in the copy room? Holding hands in IKEA? Shower sex? Come on! Friends my balls!

Before he was given big bucks and entrusted with reinventing the franchise of “The Amazing Spider-Man“, director Marc Webb cut his directorial teeth on this highly appealing and (un)romantic-comedy. For a debut it’s very impressively handled and brings a fresh approach to the tired old boy-meets-girl formula.

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Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) could be an architect but finds himself working for a greeting card company in New Jersey. It’s here that he meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel) and believes she could be the girl of his dreams. Summer isn’t interested in having a boyfriend but they soon become an item regardless. However, things don’t quite work out the way Tom planned as he recounts the 500 days that led to their break-up and where it all went wrong.

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I have to take this moment to remind people never to judge a film by it’s poster. I’m sure many of you don’t make this mistake very often but Marc Webb’s “(500) Days of Summer” is a film that fell prey to my judgement purely by it’s poster and it exuding the appearance of just another romantic-comedy. Categorically, I avoid these types of films. I even overlooked the fact that it had two exceptionally talented leads in Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Much to my surprise then, that within minutes of the film starting I was informed by the narration that “This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story“. I was hooked. From the offset I admired the film’s chutzpah and my perseverance and attention were greatly rewarded. This narration wasn’t entirely true as it is still a love story but it’s done out with the realms of convention and that “love story” really only concerns one half of the relationship. Where the film finds it’s appeal is in it’s non-linear structure and it’s ability to effortlessly flit back and forth in time, giving you an inside look at the whole anatomy of a relationship. In doing so, it provides a fabulous vehicle for Gordon-Levitt to show a wide range of emotions; one minute he’s elated and dancing through the streets, the next he miserable and buying twinky’s and Jack Daniels for breakfast. It’s this disjointed approach that brings a stylish originality and quirky, off-beat, sense of humour that’s impossible to resist.

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With a sharp script, two very appealing central performances, a well judged balance of emotions and excellent and well placed song choices, there’s not much more you can ask for when it comes to this genre. I’m hoping that with the likes of this, “Ruby Sparks” and “Silver Linings Playbook” that the rom-com is taking itself a little more seriously now. These films have so much originality that they could spare some to the tiresome dross that mainly features Jennifer Aniston or Kate Hudson.

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Mark Walker

Trivia: Around the time of the movie’s release, director Marc Webb shot a short video for the Internet, which featured Zooey Deschanel as Sid Vicious and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Nancy Spungen, in reference to a conversation in this movie.

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62 Responses to “(500) Days Of Summer”

  1. Really love this film just cause its so different, have to admire the soundtrack too!

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    • Absolutely, man. I didn’t really expect much from it at all but the way that it approached things was a big draw and the soundtrack was excellent! I couldn’t really fault it. It was delightful.

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      • Totally agree, just a shame how many will overlook it due to its romantic nature when in truth it’s the opposite!

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      • Yeah, for years I was one of those fools that overlooked it. That’s why I had to mention that in my write-up. I can only urge people not to judge it beforehand. It really is a little treat. Loved it!

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      • I have always intended to see this, but I forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder.

        And the positive review. It’s back on my list. 😉

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      • James, this is one that has consistently reared its head into my “too watch list” and then disappeared again. Finally, I’ve seen it and I can honestly say, that my draw to certain films is still quite accurate! I don’t regret having this on my list at all!

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  2. I haven’t seen this yet, but it’s been on my watchlist for a while thanks to recommendations from different folks. Thanks for adding your voice to the choir.

    I like what you say in the end about this, Ruby Sparks and Silver Linings Playbook. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those films have all garnered some critical acclaim in addition to decent box office success. They all sound like they present a different spin on things, and that extra consideration and intelligence is something the romantic comedy genre has needed a fresh dose of for a long time.

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    • I’m not a that well versed on romantic-comedy’s, Morgan, but I do know that this little film has added fuel to the fire that my preconceptions may be wrong. Ruby Sparks and Silver Linings have been notable additions of late but I now have to wonder what they took from this film, in its originally and success.

      Thanks for your interest and comment my man, and I hope you get to see it soon. It really is everything that people say it is… Myself included! 🙂

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  3. Good stuff Mark! I quite liked this movie too. I think it does dabble a bit in the conventional but it never surrenders to it. There is something very fresh about it. You mentioned “Silver Linings Playbook”. I actually thought this was a tad better than SLP. Well written and two solid lead performances.

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    • Cheers bro! I’d have to side (slightly) with Silver Linings only because it incorporated more facets to the relationship. In SLP, the family and friends played a part, whereas this concentrated on just the couple. I admire for that, but I think that family and friends adds a bigger dynamic.

      That being said, it was certainly refreshing to see a film that depicts a relationship in its worts and all!

      Loved the approach, loved the performances and loved the execution

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      • I think those are good arguments and they really get to the things I liked about SLP. But I did think some of the characters were a little overdone and that nice and tidy ending seemed like it belonged to an entirely different film. But hey, I know I was in the extreme minority when it came to SLP.

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      • I didn’t have an issue with the characters, I thought they were quite three dimensional but I wouldn’t argue with you on the ending. That almost ruined the film for me. Still, I rated SLP very highly.

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  4. GaryLee828 Says:

    This is one of my all-time favorite “love” stories. It’s on my “Favorite Movies” page on my blog. I thought JGL was great in this role as downtrodden and depressed Tom. I loved the scene where he quit his job at the staff meeting. It’s good to see a well-written romantic dramedy as you pointed out and wish there were more coming out. I have a strong recommendation for you: “Raising Victor Vargas”. Have you seen it? if not, do yourself a favor and watch it. I think you’ll find it quite good. 🙂

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    • I’m not the biggest fan of “love” stories, Gary, but as a film (re)viewer, you’ve still got to give them a look on occasion.

      Occasionally, I’m surprised but I really should have more of an open mind when it comes to this genre. If didn’t, I’d miss little gems like this.

      Haven’t seen or heard of “Raising Victor Vargas” but I done a little research and it’s sounds great, man. Cheers for the recommendation.

      By the way, I’ve now got “Sleep Tight” in my possession. I’ll shall respond with my views in due time! 😉

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      • Looking forward to your “Sleep Tight” review when you get a chance to watch & write it up.

        I think the reason many are not fans of “love” stories is b/c so many of them are so poorly written, but just like any other genre when you write a quality script and develop interesting characters then you have a movie worth watching that will draw a large audience, including those who don’t typically watch much of the genre. It’s like me with action films. I don’t like many action films b/c most are poorly written, but when one is executed right then I’m the first in line. Same with the romance genre.

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      • Couldn’t agree more here, man. The rom-com and action genre are the main ones I avoid too, simply because they are formulaic and repetitive. That being said, it’s positive that films like this are starting to make more of an appearance. I’m all for it and if it continues then the rom-com genre will certainly be improved.

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  5. Mark, you fool!!! Still judging movies by their posters! Oh the humanity! You don’t deserve this movie! LOL.

    Anyway… I thought the ending had one of the great punchlines of all time. The Hall & Oates dance sequence was pretty cool and the split screen reality/fantasy scene was just sad.

    The movie had a playfulness that hinted at Webb’s music video directing background. Not unlike what you’d expect in Spike Jonze’s and Michel Gondry’s films. Great stuff.

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    • Excellent point, Dave! I’m not familiar with Webb’s music videos but I have seen Jonze’s and Gondry’s. You’re right, man, there is a real originality hear that’s only glimpsed at with directors who cut their teeth of stylistic music deals. Their ability to keep things snappy definitely shows!

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  6. dresdenfalls Says:

    Good movie that is very underrated. Good to see a review about it very positive.

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    • In all honesty, I tried to see through it – and I did to some extent – but by the end, I still couldn’t deny the sheer playfulness and originality that this had in abundance:

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  7. I must say I completely agree Mark. I assumed this to be a ridiculous rom-com and instead actually found it to be a particularly good movie and plenty of fun. I love both leads and thought they did a great job carrying the film. I really enjoyed this one!

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    • Great to hear, Zoe! I honestly only gave this a chance because I was told so. I’m really glad I did, though… This was a top quality little film that benefits from two excellently pitched performances. It’s them that make it believable in the end!

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  8. It’s -9˚F over here, boy do I wish we’ve got 500 days of Summer right about now 😉

    Kidding aside, I love this movie! Not even a fan of Zoey but she seems right for the role. I do love Gordon-Levitt and this is one of my fave roles, fun but also poignant look at dating relationships.

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    • 9c? You’d best be snuggling up to a warm wee film just like this, Ruth. 😉

      After so many years, I’ve finally gotten around this one and I wonder why it took me so long? I even considered leaving the post for a while as there’s say many festive movies at present?, but I thought, that at this time of year, it’s good to remind others of the pleasant goods that we may have missed or the pleasant goods that may await us…

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  9. Nice review, Mark. Nothing beats a great script and strong acting. I thought this a worthy film and am glad you feel the same way, too.

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  10. One of my favorite rom-coms of all-time. It was so snappy, so original, so honest and so painful to watch at times, it made me gain a brighter view on my life, and the romances I may experience in it. Nice review Mark.

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    • I never actually thought that I’d hear myself admitting to having favourite rom-com’s, Dan, but I’m with you on this. This is definitely one the genre’s best by simply achieving a great balance of the things you mention.

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  11. Popcorn Nights Says:

    Nice review Mark. I agree about the song choices, I enjoyed the soundtrack to this.
    In fact I enjoyed the film full-stop, particularly the way it doesn’t all work out well for them at the end – I half expected him to meet up with her again on day 501 and I’m glad that didn’t happen! But I still found myself getting annoyed by parts of it (a pet hate of mine is the “young child who is wise beyond their years and who offers sage-like advice to adults” stereotype). Still – definitely above average as rom-coms go.

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    • Great points Stu. The wise little child didn’t entirely sit well with me either. I’m not keen on that device, but I was very impressed that the film didn’t cop-out towards the end. It managed to keep it real and stick to its guns. Overall, I really couldn’t complain very much.

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  12. Awesome stuff Mark. We’ve all been in Tom’s shoes at some point (maybe that’s just me…).

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  13. Nice, I had the pleasure of stumbling upon this brilliant little gem for the first time this year myself as well. By FAR the best movie I’ve seen all year. Glad to hear you liked it as well, Mark! 😀

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    • Cheers Chris. Glad to hear of another who was late to this but appreciated it just as much as myself. What the hell took us so long to get round to it? Anyway, glad I did. Great little flick.

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  14. Great review. I love this movie. It feels so real.

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  15. I really do love this film a lot! I’ve listened to the soundtrack since 2009 and sometimes I wish Deschanel and JGL had stuck to this. Just this – and I hope that the rom–com is starting to take itself more seriously along with you. 😉

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    • The soundtrack was excellent Elina. I might just be getting a little copy of that too. It’s great to hear so much positivity on this fantastic little film, though. I’m kicking myself for ignoring it for so long.

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  16. Really enjoyed this one. Thought it was maybe a little quirky for its own good at times but the performances were excellent and a really sharp script. Nice review buddy.

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    • Thanks again Chris. It maybe was a little too quirky for its own good but I have to admit that it worked for me. Gordon Levitt and Deschanel are two appealing presences and nail both their roles. I had a lot of fun with this one!

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  17. Nice review and I agree on the rating. It’s not a perfect movie but much better than what I’ve come to expect from the rom-com genre.

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  18. Excellent post dude. I was pretty impressed with this film although it dredged up painful memories. I suppose that feeling should be owed to how well this was done and how realistic it ended up being.

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  19. Great review, Mark. I love 500DOS. It was my favorite film of its year.

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  20. One of my all time favorite rom-coms. I own it on blu ray and give it a re-watch every once in awhile. If for some reason you have never seen Harold and Maude you should check that out as well. The two aren’t really related other than being non-traditional rom-coms but it is a crazy film that warped my brain in my youth.

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    • Aah! Good call, my man! Harold and Maude happens to be one of my favourite films. If ever there was a rom com that was unconventional, it would be Hal Ashby’s film. I love it!!!! And Ruth Gordon is an absolute delight!

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  21. Love this movie. And looooved JGL’s character. And, OMG, my hubby hated Zooey Deschanel so much in this! Lol. Well, how could she break that sweet boy’s heart?! 😉

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    • I thought JGL and Deschanel both nailed their roles. I normally like Deschanel for her kooky attractiveness but there was only one word that crossed my mind on her character here… “bitch”! 😉

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  22. Love the two leads in this. Deschanel is great in most things though. A romantic comedy that doesn’t insult your intelligence, this one might actually be for the “boys”! 🙂

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    • Cheers Dan! I completely agree. I also think Deschanel is great and even though her character was kinda unlikeable in this, she done a sterling job of still being able to understand her reasons. “One for the boys” is quite possibly the best way to describe this one.

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  23. It is a great movie and glad you finally saw it. Think I already have seen it several times and am pretty sure I will do so as well in the future.

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  24. Nice post! Like you, I avoid rom-com style movies, but there’s a lot more going on here. Great cast, stylishly put together and it works against type as a kind of realistic rom-com. I like how Summer is presented as a bitch through the lead’s eyes, when we know really she’s not done anything wrong, and how noone really learns anything by the end. I’d say it’s one of the more authentic Hollywood romantic comedies and goes well with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind.

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    • Very well said Carl. I couldn’t have put it any better myself. I actually avoided this film for years because I foolishly thought that it would be more of the same. It was so original though, and goes down as one of the best of its genre. I loved it.

      Thanks for dropping, man.

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  25. Inside Out full movie is leaked. watch it here http://insideoutmovie.blogspot.com/

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