Just some guy she met at the gym with Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’ abs.

12 Aug

I’m just going to tell you upfront, this is a review.

When I walked into the Grand Cinema last night, I was embarking into a whole package – a small, independently-owned, volunteer-run theater in the heart of downtown Tacoma, with tickets $3 less than the chain theaters, and movies you can’t see anywhere suburban unless you drive an hour to Seattle to one of the cinemas in the city. I’d never been to the Grand, but I will for sure be going back, hopefully soon to see “Moon.” But that’s beside the point.

The movie I went last night to see was (500) Days of Summer, the sweetheart of this year’s Sundance, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom Hansen and Zooey Deschanel as Summer Finn. I went to this movie having no expectations, because from what I’d heard from friends were completely different from what I’d seen in the previews, which were also different from what I got from the reviews of the film.

I must say, this non-love story was the most refreshing film I’ve seen in a long time. I, for one, have been sick and tired of cheesy, predictable romantic comedies that stick to the same damn formula. (Insert Katherine Heigl as the unlikely girl who can’t get a boyfriend even though she’s like the perfect specimen of modern women…It’s bullshit.) I thoroughly enjoyed Summer, mostly because it felt real. The way the writers and editors put together the story gave the viewer similar emotions one would go through in a real relationship – the initial curiosity, lovey-dovey giddiness, a feeling of stasis, the first pitfall, and I will leave it at that for now.

I’ve read other reviews that found the jumping back and forth from the (day 7) to (day 240) and the like to be speedbumping the film, but that was the way the director separated it from other romantic comedies – I mean, who always wants linear stories? I know I don’t. Some of my favorite books aren’t linear. They jump. Our psyche jumps into the past sometimes, and Summer matched Tom’s psyche in the course of his relationship. The jumping worked. At one point during the film, I had an idea of where it was going, but in my mind I was like, maybe they’re just messing with us. Maybe it will be a happy ending. Come on Summer, stop being a bitch. But now that I think about it, I feel the same way about romantic comedies that Tom felt about greeting cards. They lie. They give people unreal expectations and take these unbelievable scenarios (oh yeah, Katherine Heigl as the dowdy older sister to Malin Akerman. Sure, okay.) and shove them in people’s faces on the big screen. Summer told the truth.

Of the two leads, Tom was by far the more appealing. I may have a gender bias, but the film was from his point of view, which is obvious, seeing that most of Summer’s inner workings were left out of the storyline. We didn’t get to see why Summer was the way she was. And I think the director meant to do that on purpose so that the ending would be more unexpected. And besides, Tom could never really get into Summer’s head as much as he’d wanted to – so why should the audience get to?

I cannot leave out the sheer cuteness factor of the movie. At times, it did seem so sugary sweet I felt a cavity coming on, but again, I think that was a reflection of Tom’s emotions towards Summer. And never have I laughed so hard at the word penis. That gets to be a mystery for all of you until you see the movie. It’s just funny. But for me, Summer wasn’t all that great, but that could just be because I’m a girl. And not to be brash, but I think Zooey Deschanel is overrated. Between her and JGL, he’s a much better actor. She’s been pigeon-holed into the same roles each time, and that always bothers me when people play the same character in several movies.

I had mixed feelings about the use of music in the film. The soundtrack is awesome. You have The Smiths, Regina Spektor, Feist and Hall & Oates for crying out loud. The songs they chose for the pivotal scenes worked perfectly, especially Wolfmother’s “Vagabond” towards the end of the film. Watch out for that one – it’s good. Also, of course after Tom and Summer have sex for the first time – cue “You Make My Dreams Come True.” The theater could not stop laughing during that sequence, as Tom skips and dances his way down the street from joy, high-fiving every person along the way. The cuteness was so apparent there, that’s why it was funny. But when Summer and Tom first meet, and Tom is listening to the Smiths, and Summer is all “I love the Smiths,” and she starts singing, it was the equivalent to the director poking at anyone who doesn’t know how awesome the Smiths are being like, “Ha, I have a way better taste in music than you do. Boo on you.” It wasn’t quite a ostentatious as Juno, but uber self-aware musical references just erk me. I’m not against using the Smiths in the movie, because they fit great, but don’t blatantly point it out to the audience. But I loved the Graduate references, probably because it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.

Speaking of music – JGL can sing. During the various karaoke scenes, he was supposed to be drunk, sure, but his voice is actually quite good. And on a sad note, he’s reminding me more and more of Heath Ledger all the time. If you put an accent on him, he’d sound like Heath, and he has the same smiley eyes and pronounced jaw as Heath. I know that has nothing to do with the movie, but I just had to mention that.

I mean, they look alike.

Back to an actually relevant point. Tom’s friends were perfectly cast. Geoffrey Arend and Matthew Gray Gubler weren’t too bland, but not so over-the-top that they didn’t feel real. I mean, you have the married friend, and the one who’s perpetually unlucky in relationships. We all have those friends. And their presence added a needed comedic quality to certain scenes that would have otherwise relentlessly dragged on.

To sum it up, this movie made me feel warm and fuzzy, laugh aloud in the theater, and almost cry within the span of (500) days, or 95 minutes to be literal. I’m pretty sure most people have had that relationship at least once in their life.

No wonder (500) Day of Summer was Sundance’s sweetheart.

(P.S. Tom’s 12-year-old sister said that quote I used for the blog title. Haha.)

❤ Abby

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2 Responses to “Just some guy she met at the gym with Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’ abs.”

  1. Alcoholism Treatment 12/01/2010 at 10:53 pm #

    the blonde hair and eyes of Katherine Heigl is very attractive, she is very beautiful too .~’

  2. Jamie 04/06/2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Loved this review! So true 😀
    Best movie ever!

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