Sunday, July 26, 2009

Liked it?

I went to see 500 Days of Summer today, and I took notes during my experience. Here is a transcript:

I would like to see Whip It with Ellen Page and Eve!

Kristin Wiig is in two movies.

What American woman is average at 121 pounds?

It's convenient that Summer is so attractive to every man who sees her.

So Summer doesn't like you. And?

Does Summer have any aspirations? Tom doesn't care

This movie is written by men and for men who obsess over women without caring about what they want. It is all about them.

The men disparage women who deign not to be into them, unattainable women like Jordan Catalano.

I like the dance sequence! Bird!

Too much twee.

I've already seen these scenes in the commercials.

Tom wants to conquer new territory as Summer breaks down her walls.

Who needs labels, Tom? People in functional relationships, that's who.

Precocious kid.

French song and movie.

It's hard to write in the dark.

More hating on women and their clothes.

As if people have or use house phones.

Tom and Summer dress like they got their wardrobe out of Looking Indie for Dummies.

Self-consciously, self-referentially indie. And French.

Who does Tom think he is with those 1960s suits and those skinny ties? James Coburn in Charade?

I like the split screen.

With the bags full of Twinkies and orange juice, how can Tom process all that sugar?


What if that guy hadn't seen Summer reading Dorian Gray? Then another guy would have come along. Duh. This is the man-mesmerizing Summer we're talking about.

Autumn? Oy vey.

As the title of this post suggests, I liked the movie, yet I had fundamental problems with the writing, and thus with the characters. In particular, the character of Summer. I understand that the character of Tom was actually in love with love and with the idea of Summer, instead of being in love with the actual woman Summer. However, I never figured out who Summer was, and I don't think the writers bothered to figure out who she was either. Her existence in the movie was wholly defined by her past, present and future relationships. Besides the fact that she had three relationships before she connected with Tom, and one relationship after that, all I know about Summer is the following:

  • She is of "average height" (5 feet, 5 inches) and "average weight" (121 pounds)
  • She is from Michigan
  • She likes The Smiths and Ringo Starr
  • She bewitches every heterosexual male she passes and subsequently generates an economic stimulus wherever she goes (yeah, I don't know)
  • She has never been in love

The entire movie, which had a white male director, and two white male writers, seemed to be based on the premise of obsessing over unattainable women. Women who, if they don't return unwanted advances by men inside or outside of the workplace, are bitches. For example, before Tom and Summer get together, Tom hears from his friend McKenzie that one of their male coworkers was hitting on Summer in the copy room. Summer declined the offer, so McKenzie calls her a bitch. As if Summer existed solely to satisfy the fantasies of her male coworkers, regardless of what she wants. Conveniently, we never discover what or who Summer wants, because the writers don't bother to tell or show us.

An equally poignant moment occurs during the opening frame, which was a black screen with the following statement in white letters:

Author's Note: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Especially you Jenny Beckman.


The movie was created by (white American heterosexual) men, for (white American heterosexual) men about (white American heterosexual) men and their misogynistic delusions about (white American) women. This is despite the fact that the movie has been marketed to pretty much everyone in the United States, and--based on my observations in the theater I was sitting in--whose audience will probably skew female. :|

After examining the evidence, I didn't like 500 Days of Summer as much as I wish I had. But the acting was all good!


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