IHAO on ... (500) Days of Summer

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Relatable-Male who meets Summer, the Unrealistic-In-Any-Way-Female (Uiawf) played by Zooey Deschanel and then goes through all the ups and downs of being dragged along by a girl by the nose emotionally before he meets Autumn, another attractive woman who seems to be more in line with his own life but we don’t know because that would be in (500) Days of Autumn.

I hated this film.  Like, down in the grading, it is going to get a minus.  Maybe two.  I hate it a whole bunch.  My personal hatred for how disgusting our milktoast protagonist is, how unbelievable every single scenario is because they do their best to make sure this movie has no teeth and is not grounded in any form of realism is awful.  This movie wants you to FEEL your way through it, ultimately making almost everything we see unearned garbage.

On a technical level, though … the movie’s pretty solid.  Very solid.   In fact, it is much like the IKEA furniture it features and sells to us so prominently: it looks just like a good movie, except I can see how all the pieces go together, I can see the “connect part A to part B, then use the allen wrench to tighten the provided screws, but not too hard, you’ll break the particle board”-ness of the movie.  It is a very manufactured film.  I can see every seam, every color shift, every god awful choice of costuming that is so on the nose I feel like my nose was broken before Act 1 was over. 

There’s a lot of great in here.  In fact, it has a bunch of great ideas.  But instead of getting a good writer to come through and edit, to pick and choose, to make a stronger more coherent film with some real meat and resonance, they went with everything.  Every single thing they could think of got thrown into the mix.  It is the kitchen sink of quirky indy-style writing tricks. 

And some of them work SO well.  Like almost every non-verbal from Zooey Deschanel is pitch perfect.  Guys who have been in this situation can see it, girls who have been in the situation, or been that chick, can feel it.  The scene in the record store is heartbreaking, all because of that little smile she gives him that fades way to fast when he shows her a Ringo album … that just so HAPPENS to be “Stop and Smell the Roses” … ugh, my nose hurts.

GET IT?!  It implies the second half of the phrase, which basically goes: "Stop and smell the roses, because you only get to once before it is over."

This movie really really wants you to FEEL!  It wants all of your feelings to dictate its worth.  And that’s fine.  I wish it tried harder to be good on its own merits.  That we get another one of those great Expectation/Reality segments, which there was only was one, but it was easily the strongest most artistic and well represented point within the entire film.  That we got more of that acting that was so on point from Zooey, instead of shower sex and calling him friend every second and her being a cow (not looks, and not Zooey, Summer, don’t want to actually go insulting Zooey).  But it throws away any form of logic or gravitas doing so.  After the break-up, Levitt spends over a month in depression, not going to work, and the boss, played by Clark Gregg, just lets it, like it isn’t a single problem.  UH, NO, if you don’t go to work for over a month, and then at a meeting just say you didn’t even work from home, you are FIRED.  But nah, that doesn’t emotionally resonate.


Grade: B-

EDIT: Talking with the wonderful readers have unleashed my anger.  TWO MINUSES!

Grade: B--

1 comment:

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