(500) Days of Summer is (95) Minutes of Me Wanting to Kill Myself (but in a sort of happy way)

Filed under there's a difference between films and movies

I went to see (500) Days of Summer with Kamran and my friend Beth last weekend. It was beautiful. And really, really depressing.

I knew that I was going to see the movie when the preview included a scene where Zooey Deschanel makes Joseph Gordon-Levitt take off his headphones in an elevator to tell him that she loves The Smiths. On one hand, I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, who doesn’t love The Smiths?” Please try not to base your entire relationship on one song, folks.

It’s just like in Garden State when that bitch Natalie Portman is like, “You have to listen to this Shins song. It’ll change your life, I swear.” And I was like, “Sucka, I was listening to The Shins before you were born.” But Zach Braff is all taken by her, because guys like chicks with mental illness.

But on the other hand, I also understand it, because I based my entire love of Kamran on the fact that while I was working at a science museum in college, he and his dad visited on their way to move him into Princeton, and I’m entirely sure we spoke to each other that day and somehow found each other six years later.

So, I knew it was going to be overly-indie, but you know I’m into that. I just didn’t know it was going to be so sad. I thought about it for days afterward, and I can’t even figure out why. I mean, for god’s sake, the director’s other credits include a Jesse McCartney documentary and a 3 Doors Down music video!

Maybe it’s that I secretly think of Kamran and myself as the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel of Manhattan. Except even more adorable when in IKEA.

In conclusion: the costumes were awesome, the chalkboard wall was awesome, and the soundtrack was awesome. Summer was a bitch, although I’m sure I’d see it differently if the movie was told from her point of view. The girl at the end sucked. Please see it so we can discuss.


  1. Laura says:

    I’ve been wanting to see this ever since I saw the first preview. I made plans to go on July 24, except I forgot I live in Ohio, and we never get these indie films when they open because Mall Cop (which has been in a theater in Columbus for like 4 thousand years) is taking up it’s screen space.

    But it opens this weekend. So I’m going.

    • Yeah, you know, I wasn’t SO motivated to post this until Tracey told me that it hadn’t opened in Ohio yet. But since everything I do is meant to make her want to move her/resent my moving here, I had to get right on it.

      You’re going to seriously love it. Partly because you’re Summer. And partly for the preview of Paper Heart they’ll no doubt show before it.

  2. Beth says:

    Ok, first off, Natalie Portman in Garden State I believe has epilepsy, which is not mental illness (and aren’t you like younger than her? but whatever).

    Yes, the movie was weirdly depressing and hopeful at the exact same time, which I didn’t think was possible. Great soundtrack, even though they play “She’s Like the Wind” (twice! but again, whatever).

    I think it messed me up that it was a double date situation where clearly there are some similarities with my current dating situation. I don’t think Summer is a bitch, but I don’t want to go into detail for risk of spoilers. I loved that do karaoke and that the supporting cast is so geeky.

    • I’m not talking about what she was in the doctor’s office for. I’m talking about how she was “quirky”, which is a nice way to say mildly retarded. But anyway.

      “She’s Like the Wind” was what I was referring to when I said the soundtrack was awesome. How can we even be friends?!

      I’m not sure what you mean by the messed you up part. If Kam and I hadn’t been there, y’all would’ve done something different?


      I don’t actually think Summer is a bitch, either, but I just hated the part at the end where he asks her why she danced with him when the new guy was already in her life, and she said, “Because I wanted to.” She knew it would mess him up, and she did it, anyway. But I do things like that all of the time, so you know, I get it. I still hate her, though, just like I’m supposed to.

      I hated most of all that she said she was never “sure” of things with Tom. Because from our perspective, Tom is wonderfully loving person who would obviously make the best boyfriend. After the movie, I told Kamran that it’d be like me saying for 3 years that I don’t want kids and then to go off and have 5 babies with the next guy. He shrugged and said, “It happens.”

      I don’t feel that way, though. I wanted more explanation. I think she owed it to him. I wanted her to apologize and to have some guilt, so it was her nonchalantness that really bothered me.

      • Sonya says:

        So I saw this movie after work the other day and if Summer wasn’t played by Zooey Deschanel I would have hated her instantly, but how can you hate someone that sings indie folk music?

        Anyways, the movie was depressing and while I thought Joseph Gordon Levitt did an amazing job acting out his character, I thought Z.D. was just ok. I mean you can only get so far on good looks and a good singing voice and it kind of annoyed me that she sang in 2 or 3 different parts of the movie. Maybe that’s why I didn’t hate her b/c I didn’t find her all that interesting… That being said the sound track was awesome and I can’t wait to download it on iTunes :) I hope to see you Saturday.. Party lady :)

        • She & Him does not impress me. I thought it would after that shower scene in Elf, but I was disappointed and went back to listening to my Hem. Anyway.

          There were a couple of parts where I hated Zooey for being a little too cutesy (like the part where they’re in bed and she says, “I like you,” and it’s supposed to be adorable, but it’s actually annoying), but for the most part, I thought she was the sort of the girl every girl wants to be. Pretty enough to be striking (but not so abnormally pretty that everyone’s too scared to talk to her). Eclectic clothing that shows off her personal style (even though it’s from Urban Outfitters). Great taste in music (even though it’s also what every other person with taste is listening to). And so on and so on.

          I’m just trying to think who I could’ve liked better in it. Maybe Maggie Gyllenhaal because of how great she was in Stranger Than Fiction, although she’s probably too old. Emily says Ellen Page. Maybe Evan Rachel Wood? I have no idea; I’m biased against girls.

          • Tracey says:

            I didn’t know you felt that way about She & Him (I can’t believe we’ve never talked about that!), but I’m glad to know we feel the same way about them.

      • Tina says:


        You said, “I hated most of all that she said she was never “sure” of things with Tom. Because from our perspective, Tom is wonderfully loving person who would obviously make the best boyfriend.”

        But does that mean Tom would make the best boyfriend for everyone? Just because he is wonderfully loving doesn’t mean that he’s the right person for her. I thought it made total sense when she said she was never quite sure with Tom, but was completely sure with her now husband. I’m sure we have all been with someone who was wonderful, but just wasn’t right for US. But maybe that’s just my opinion and experience.

        Side note: Chuck and I are going to have an adorable baby this February. You were mad when I didn’t tell you we were engaged. Consider this my notification. :)

    • Also, you’re right: the karaoke was awesome and made me jealous that our karaoke setup isn’t that cool.

  3. Tracey says:

    Okay, I had to skip past your spoilers in the comments, and I’m sure I’ll have more after we see it this weekend, but the thing you said about how the film would be different from Summer’s point of view made me think.

    Are there any movies like this one from the girl’s point of view? Or is it just considered so much more romantic when a guy falls for a girl than when it’s the other way around?

    • It is so much more romantic. Even when totally ugly dudes like Jonah Hill fall in love with super-hot girls in Superbad, it’s more romantic. The fact that Joseph Gorgon-Levitt could get a lot of chicks but is so hopelessly in love with this one chick makes it all the better. When nerdy girls fall in love with hot guys, it’s just pathetic.

  4. Beth says:

    Tracy is right. There are films where the girl falls in love, and the boy doesn’t reciprocate… and in 99% of cases they have titles like “Fatal Attraction.” There are more, but none come to mind other than “Swimfan,” which is basically a remake of FA.

    Yes, these were more stories of short flings or one night stands, but the theme of unrequited love is the same. And what happens when it’s the woman falling for the man? She doesn’t just go on with life, she becomes psycho-bitch-from-hell-on-wheels-bunny-boiler. It seems as though it can only be two ways for this type of scenario from the woman’s perpsective- if the man falls in love, the woman is a femme fatale, and if the woman falls in love, she’s unstable.

    On an unrelated note, why are all the comments center aligned?

    • Jack says:

      But all women are psycho-bi … oh, umm, nevermind …

    • How funny! Yesterday, I was talking to SteLo about how I’ve only been to one drive-in movie in my life, and it was a double showing of Minority Report and some stalking movie I couldn’t remember. I’m almost positive it was Swimfan. So weird that you’d happen to bring it up on the same day.

      Now that we’re talking about this, I really want to see that recent Beyonce movie that also seemed like a remake of Fatal Attraction. Obsessed or something like that? Maybe we should have an all-girls movie night where we only watch that sort of film. I wish my ex-boyfriend Todd was here to weigh in on whether or not a non-psycho-bitch unrequited love movie exists, ’cause I can’t think of one, but they have to exist, right?!

      I really enjoyed “psycho-bitch-from-hell-on-wheels-bunny-boiler”, as I’m sure you knew I would.

  5. spaghedeity says:

    Ever since you raved about There Will be Blood, and I saw it and thought it was pretty lame, I haven’t trusted your film recommendations.

    But I’m willing to go out on a limb for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Mysterious Skin was clearly his high point, and I’m curious to see if he’s improved.

    • You thought There Will Be Blood was lame?! But it’s so dark and melodramatic, just like you! You named your cat after it, for god’s sake!

      I haven’t seen Mysterious Skin, but Brick came out a year later, and we loooooved him in that. Also, I totally forgot he was in Latter Days until I just looked at his IMDB. I assume you’ve seen that, faggy as you are.

  6. Kelly says:

    I’m so torn about seeing this movie. On the one hand, I hate movies that make me have feelings. I prefer movies where people get disemboweled and things go boom.

    On the other, I love both Zooey Deschanel so, so, so much.

    I just don’t know.

    • See it! It’s sad but also hopeful! So you leave the theatre feeling totally neutral, as usual!

      I think Zooey is smug. I think she deserves to be, but I also think I should hate her for it. I’m very excited to see next week’s episode of “Top Chef Masters”, though, in which the chefs have to cook for her and in which she’s apparently very picky.

  7. kimz says:

    Loved the chalkboard. Loved the relatability of a basic IKEA date. Loved the Pixies karaoke song. Did not love how much of a bitch she ended up being, though after they had that talk at the end I understood it more. And I loved the girl at the end but that might be the Friday Night Lights fangirl in me.

  8. Tracey says:

    AND I can comment about the movie now that I’ve seen it.


    I expected to find it depressing, but I just didn’t, because I was never once convinced they were right for each other. They were totally sweet together, but it was clear they were never on the same page about the relationship, so it didn’t bother me all that much that it didn’t work out.

    I, too, hated Zooey for being cutesy sometimes and for being so nonchalant at the end about what happened. And I didn’t like the whole scene where the narrator (who I thought was sort of unnecessary) explained how she always made heads turn and got perks for being so pretty.

    And I did feel really bad for JGL’s character, because unrequited love really sucks – especially when the person you love is showing signs that she/he really does love you despite professing not to believe in love in the first place.

    I thought it was great, but I didn’t love it like I thought I would. When it ended, my first thought was, “That was no Eternal Sunshine.”

  9. Kim says:

    Summer was a jerk, and I don’t say this just because I vehemently oppose manic pixie dream girls (but somehow totally love Zooey Deschanel, which is probably something of an oxymoron in itself, but then I sort of not-so-secretly get off on confusing people by contradicting everything I suggest all the time, so basically I’m probably way worse than a MPDG anyway, but whatever) — she would have been a jerk if she wasn’t playing the ‘guy’ character and she was in fact played by a guy and Tom was a girl not just the girl character, etc. The character was a jerk, is what I’m rambling on about, and it becomes apparent in a not-endearing way when (SPOILER):

    They have the fight after the douchey guy at the bar and Tom is basically all, I don’t care about your indecision, I have decided! And then she shows up all wet and ‘I LIKE you’ again and turns off his brain and carries on with crushing his heart. AND THEN! The ‘because I wanted to’ when he asks her why she danced with him (read: led him on, though technically he is partially to blame for that, of course) at the wedding, because, I don’t care how cute you are, at some point you have to grow up and set aside the ‘I do what I want’ mentality if you ever want to actually treat people you care about fairly.

    Oh, god, sorry. I just rambled all over the place. I really didn’t like her. Obvious? But I did really, really like the movie. Especially the cartoon bird, and the line of greeting cards featuring Pickles the Cat. And the sister.

  10. I would see it but I can’t.

    Sorry but being straight prohibits me from seeing incredibly sappy ass movies unless I’m going with a chick and a 99.9% chance that I’m getting some action right after.

    Maybe we can talk about Angels and Demons or Transformers instead?