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E.C. Henry

Billy, your review of "(500) Days of Summer" was GREAT. Makes me want to see it. Your review was better than paid advertisements. You gotta find out a way to captitalize $$ on that action.

"(500) Days of Summuer" isn't showing within 20 miles of Bonney Lake, WA. You can still see Star Trek -- but not this show. What's up whit dat? Rom-com consperacy? Perhaps -- but I'm not to blame.

Did just watch "Sufer, Dude" staring Matthew McConaughey. Thought about you, Billy Mernit, the whole time I was watching it. Wish you could have been in my living room with me when I was watching it JUST to watch your facial expressions. That thought makes me wax credit card commercial nostalgic. (Infamous Master Card tagline) "Watching Billy Mernit's facial expressions while watching 'Surfer, Dude'... priceless!"

Hopefully the rom-com upswing will continue next weekend with Katherine Heigl's "The Ugly Truth." The TV trailer totally sold me. Can't wait for that one. Now if our podunk theatres will just carry it...

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Dave

Essentially, you're saying it's light on boner and bong jokes? How the hell did this get greenlit? Heads will surely roll!

I like Joseph Gordon Levitt he is a real surprise packet, looking forward to catching this one.

Thanks Billy.
cheers
David.


Eric C

So you think this film will be better than Joseph Gordon Levitt's other summer film, GI Joe?

All kidding aside, I'm glad this movie is on my radar, and I'm Levitt summarized hollywood best when he reffered to it, and its view of love and romance, as propaganda. Most rom-coms are dfinitily unrealistic.

romcom

You had me at:
"Judd Apatow, network television called: it wants its pedestrian camerawork back."

Chris

Yes! Han Solo was enough for me, but the entire movie was delightful. I underestimated the com of the Rom-Com.

Without sounding blasphemous, my roommate suggested (500) Days is this generation's Annie Hall. I probably wouldn't go that far, but everything that you said is so true. Characters, and a film, with character.

Erica K

Apparently, Zooey D is also an amazing singer/songwriter as well.

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2009/07/500-days-of-zooey-deschanel.html

karen from mentor

Billy,
Yours is recommendation #2 for this movie for me, and since you're both pretty smart cookies,I'm gonna go see it over the weekend.
(great post)
thanks!
Karen :0)

Michael Maupin

Just saw it last night, and I'm with you Billy.

One point about the Act III Summer change up. View the scene where Tom takes Summer to see "The Graduate." Her response to the final scene of that movie surprises Tom. What is Summer thinking at that moment?

Perhaps she realizes that Tom is no Ben and she's no Elaine. Later, some guy in a coffee shop chats her up, and...[spoiler deleted], well perhaps that was the turn you needed in Summer's Act III shift?

Just a thought.

Again, lovely to read your take, as always.

Cheers, Mike

mernitman

EC: Re: "Surfer Dude" - I be afraid, vewy, vewy afriad.

Dave: Boner and Bong - isn't that a new network sitcom?

Eric C: "Unrealistic" is a diplomatic, even charitable description.

Romcom: Glad to have had you (and nice handle you've got there).

Chris: Happy to have this film thought of as "this generation's" anything - since the better it does, the more Hollywood will pay attention.

Erica K: Yup. I'm a fan of her work with M. Ward.

Karen: Hope you enjoy!

Michael: Interesting. It's tough to discuss this without spoilers, so I'll just say... Summer's character in the body of the film is easier to empathize with than who she seems to become in the back end, which raises some questions about character consistencey. Y'know?

Scarlet Hip

Going to see this tonight, hopefully. Scott is a hometown local and we are all cheering for him. So glad you liked it!

Kate

Finally saw it and although my companions and I enjoyed it a lot, we have two questions/bones to pick.
1) What IS she thinking in that Graduate scene? Inquiring minds want to know.
2) Tom was pretty well fleshed out; from our perspective, Summer wasn't. We know her parents are divorced and she doesn't believe in love and... that's about it. I can almost buy that we're experiencing her as he does - a mysterious romantic ideal without human contours - but I think that's a cop-out. She felt like a device for his character growth, which I think is not good enough in a romantic comedy (or, really, ever - although I admit I'm setting my mental bar pretty high on this one since the rest of the movie was much better than average).

Still worth the twelve bucks, though!

meetinmontauk.com

I believe that in the Graduate scene Summer is seeing a reflection of where she and Tom might end up.

Remember early on when Tom is described as being a romantic based on a misreading of the end of The Graduate? Summer suffers no such delusion. She sees the sadness in the characters' faces and dreads winding up that way herself.

mernitman

Scarlett: Scott did good.

Kate: Re: 1) I was hoping someone might come along to articulate it better than I could, and meetinmontauk, below, hath nailed it.

As for 2) I agree - Summer seems more of a sketch, a thematic idea construct (w/some glaring inconsistencies of behavior in the back end).

meetinmontauk: What you said!

Todd

I don't agree that Summer is a thematic construct. Isn't it one of the defining features of a construct that it's artificially consistent? And doesn't Summer, in the end, show a very human, very real contradiction in her behavior?

No, we don't know the reason for it. But that's because we're seeing the entire relationship play out through Tom's eyes. This is, after all, a very subjective romcom, much more than most.

In any case, I hope Hollywood gets smart and makes Zooey the new Julia Roberts (with her own enchanting twist, of course).

Carrie

Your hit the nail on the head with your review. The highs and lows of a relationship inclusive of the internal dialogue that threatens our sanity when our expectations of a situation are quickly realized as just that...non-reality. The most freeing part of the movie in its own relationship to reality besides the fact that it is not your typical rom-com, is that it gives us an example of why people weave into and out of our lives...things fall apart so good things can be put back together in the case of Tom's dream of architecture. And as for Summer's character, the contradiction in her behavior isn't a character development flaw but rather a human flaw. Contradiction is stubborness vs. stupidity battling it out. Her stupidity was that she hadnt met love yet...

mernitman

Todd: You have a point. Nonetheless, I still found the whole "don't mention the other guy while I take you to a wedding" and the "don't tell him about what's happening while I flash my ring at the party" moves to be more narcissistically cruel than what we'd been led to believe of Summer. My own theory is that the subject of the movie's dedication may have been not quite so nice as the fictional Summer, and the writers' memories of the former may have emerged in the movie's back end.

Carrie: Glad I hit your nail. Meanwhile, as I was saying to Todd re: Summer, human, yes -satisfyingly movie character-credible, maybe less so.

JamminGirl

Saw the film recently. It's one of those where they leave it to play at theatres forever before going to DVD.

This film is worth watching not for the "romantic" aspect but for the films truth. It's theme.

What I saw was remarkably different from what you guys seem to have seen... Tom was a coward. Summer saw that and didn't want any part of it. Don't agree? Let me sell you on it:

When Summer met Tom, he had already been working at the card company for two years. He ignored his prestigious degree and shacked up to humdrum-dom. The very thing she came to that Town to escape. She was searching.

Tom saw and took a liking to her, but did he go up to her and chat her up? No, he and his friend sits there lambasting her based on their own assumptions. That's why he's floored when she comments on his music.

She's obviously into him. Notice how she enquired if he'd be at the karaoke? He's physically attractive. But would he step up to the plate?

His friend blurts out his interest in her, yet when she asks he denies it. She's now unsure of his feelings. He's sending her mixed signals and she has to 'man-up' and take the lead.

What girl wants a man like that? Not a girl who would travel from one part of the country to another in search of a better life. So naturally she tells him she doesn't want anything serious.

The one time he showed manliness was when he says "I say we're a couple!". Prior to that he humiliated her (and himself) by allowing another guy push onto her while saying/doing nothing like a chump, until the guy makes an insulting remark about her. She lost so much respect for him that she had to kick him out of her apartment.

She waits by the phone for his call but he's a chicken. So she gets up in the middle of the night and rain to see him. Would he grab and kiss her? Instead he rolls the ball right back into her court begging her to make sure her feelings never change. Had he ever asked her her feelings? Did he ever say his?

All she could do was wish. Even his baby sister told him "don't be a p#$$&"

He quit his job because he's angry with himself for punking out so often. He wanted someone to blame so he blamed cardmakers for denying people the ability to say how they feel. But even he doesn't believe that.

She goes to his park and tells him she's happy he's doing well. How could she see him as doing well when he's unemployed? He's doing well because he's finally taken action and made a career move. That impresses her. Finally! If only he had taken bold actions earlier, but alas, a guy in the coffee shop gave her that bold action that she had always hoped to see in him.

She cried at "The Graduate" because the graduate, a weird little weasel he might be, but an inactive coward he was not. Why could handsome Tom be like that? No, time to end this game that's going nowhere.

I think the reason this film played so well is because it's a true story. The script writer was telling his own story. Even in the end when he balls up and ask the girl out for coffee. He's learned!

Andy Conway

Jammingirl, you've absolutely nailed the psychological truth of this brilliant film - a truth the writers may have stumbled on accidentally in their decision to stick to the autobiographical facts of their experiences with elusive women.

Tom is a beta male. If his love of The Smiths doesn't give it away then just look at the mess of his life and his cowardice with women (something he doesn't resolve till the film's final moment).

Summer is right about him: he really is Nancy!

mernitman

Jammin & Andy: I agree with both of you - but I don't think many people are "missing" this aspect of the story. It's because the portrait of Tom is acute and accurate that I made no comment on it in my post; it seems clear that for Tom, the movie is a coming-of-age story where hopefully, he makes a transition from arrested development to the beginnings of maturity in the end.

What's less entirely clear is Summer's characterization, in that we mostly perceive her from Tom's POV. So she seems a romanticized ideal for the most part, and then fairly abruptly in the back end, seems far more narcissistic and even cruel than we (he'd) expected her to be.

Jammin, the only specific thing I see differently is Summer's take on "The Graduate," which is left wholly ambiguous. She could be... regretting that she's not in a passionate relationship like theirs, or she could be reacting to the markedly existential "now what?" that's implicit in the last image of the movie (which is featured prominently), implying that, especially in relation to her cynical POV and past, she sees such a passionate romantic story as impossible. Isn't willful ambiguity fun?

And Andy, I think you're spot on in your insight about the writers' accidental stumble - one of the great things about this film is that it sometimes (on a basic level) feels "unconscious," i.e. in part, it's felt instinctually rather than intellectually, schematically designed.

free movie

I watched this movie last month with my girlfriend and actually enjoyed it a lot. This is very sensitive and delicate romance comedy, something to watch with your beloved ones.

sunday solutions

I have seen this film and I think it's a very interesting one. There have been several romantic comedy films that has good plots but this film is different. There should be more films like this. Amazing review too. Keep it up!

mernitman

Thank you sunday solutions, I will.

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