(500) Days of Summer

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(500) Days of Summer

Postby axilog14 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:19 am UTC

(mildly surprised there wasn't a thread for this one yet)

So what do XKCDers think of this movie? Personally I still cannot tell whether "This is not a love story" was a load of BS or not. It did have sort of an anti-gushy aesthetic to it, but it certainly wasn't an anti-love story or whatever. I see it as either a slightly more po-mo subversion of the romantic formula or a competent transliteration of it for a 21st century context. I did not cry at all while watching though, which I find odd because usually I can be such a softie during tearjerker moments. I guess I was mostly indifferent since I could never relate to all that relationship drama, me never having much romantic experience and all.

I watched this with a bunch of my geekier friends, and I think half of us ended up exclaiming "Oh wow, Tom is SOOOO me" and stuff. (Our guy friend even said, "I have all his shirts!") So is this assumption accurate? Is 500 Days of Summer a geek-friendly love story?


TL:DR version: The movie is a deconstruction of love stories, kinda. My question is, do geeks relate well to it?

(edited title of thread)
Last edited by axilog14 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby une see » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:17 am UTC

I liked it, but didn't love it. Something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. There were some great moments, to be sure, like that whole song-and-dance number in the middle and
Spoiler:
the part where Tom runs out into the street after seeing Summer showing off her engagement ring, and the street turns into a sketch,
but I thought it could have been a lot better/tighter. I especially didn't like the ending.
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Sprocket » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:59 am UTC

This movie was way adorable. I'm sorry the hipsters didn't dig it but they're wrong. There were some scenes that could have used some better direction, some comedy that could have been edited properly (one of my biggest pet peeves, a funny joke ruined by poor editing), but over all fantastic! I was one of the five people in the theatre cackling at certain things that nobody else thought were funny, but...y'know, my win. :-)

Yeah it wasn't perfect, it had flaws, but over all YEY!
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Malice » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:12 am UTC

I don't have the energy for a real essay (and I saw the movie a while ago) but here are the points that brilliant essay would have made, and also it would have been brilliant, please keep that in mind thanks.

-This movie is basically a remake of Annie Hall, only not as good.
-The movie wasn't surprising, thanks to the chronological mixing, and a fuckton of metonymy (many scenes or sequences play out the same basic story over and over again).
-The girl's character is underdeveloped. There's even a scene in the movie where the narrator talks over the character development. Her characterization consists mainly of the whole gender reversal thing, ie., a movie about a man who gets involved with a woman and he wants a short-term relationship and she wants eternal love but he breaks up with her when he gets bored, that belongs on Lifetime. A movie about a woman who gets involved with a man and she wants a short-term relationship and he wants eternal love but she breaks up with him when she gets bored, on the other hand... But yeah, her character is basically defined by her unwillingness to be possessed, which is fine as far as it goes, but ends up feeling pretty thin.
-The narrator. Oh my god, the narrator. He was useless, except as a post-modern distancing device. He never said anything that wasn't already self-evident. And by framing the story from a 3rd-party perspective, the film lost a chance to be from the guy's perspective (which would have alleviated some of her characterization issues).

On the other hand, it's pretty, and inventive, and reasonably well-acted, and the soundtrack is fantastic, and oh man, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, *swoon*

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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Sprocket » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:07 am UTC

It is and Annie Hall, I remember saying this many times, OF COURSE it's Annie Hall. But I don't think it's a better or worse thing, it's only Annie Hall basic plot-wise. It's an incredibly different style.
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Malice » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:29 am UTC

Sprocket wrote:It is and Annie Hall, I remember saying this many times, OF COURSE it's Annie Hall. But I don't think it's a better or worse thing, it's only Annie Hall basic plot-wise. It's an incredibly different style.


It's not just the plot; it's the way that the story is filtered through different subjective filmic devices. In Annie Hall it's subtitles and children talking like adults and so on; in 500 Days it's animation and split-screen and narration and so on.

The style's different from Annie Hall but it's not really different from everything; it's pretty standard "modern slick".
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Sprocket » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:25 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Sprocket wrote:It is and Annie Hall, I remember saying this many times, OF COURSE it's Annie Hall. But I don't think it's a better or worse thing, it's only Annie Hall basic plot-wise. It's an incredibly different style.


It's not just the plot; it's the way that the story is filtered through different subjective filmic devices. In Annie Hall it's subtitles and children talking like adults and so on; in 500 Days it's animation and split-screen and narration and so on.

The style's different from Annie Hall but it's not really different from everything; it's pretty standard "modern slick".
No I just meant different from Annie Hall.
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Jessica » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

I quite enjoyed this film, but I might be biased as better things were happening that night as well.

I thought it was sweet, and I love the zooey and Joseph-Gordon Levitt.
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:55 pm UTC

I really liked it, it was cleverer than any other romantic film I've seen.

Now I don't know whether that says more about the film itself or other films I've seen
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Linz » Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:28 pm UTC

I really liked the movie but I'm also into the whole very girly romantic comedies. It was definitely my favorite romantic comedy of the summer of '09.

It's definitely in my top10.

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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby Zohar » Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:29 am UTC

I just came back from the movie and I loved it. Of course it's a love story. It's a story about love, isn't it? In any case, I really enjoyed it.

Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is very good looking now. :P
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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby GiantSnowman » Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:31 pm UTC

Does this title make anyone else think about 30 Days of Night?

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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby el_loco_avs » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

Weird thing about this movie.



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Re: 500 Days of Summer

Postby axilog14 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:01 pm UTC

My friend just posted this hilarious Facebook status related to this movie. The gist of it is pretty much:

just gave an ultimatum this afternoon regarding girls who watched 500 Days Of Summer saying they want to have a guy like Tom. It went like this, "[If you're all looking for a Tom then why *assorted cussing* am I still single?! *More assorted cussing followed by a ramble about alpha males and stuff*]" So hateful!
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby mikhail » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:16 pm UTC

Long stretches of this really did it for me, but on the whole, it's lacking something. Maybe it's in the editing, as someone suggested, or the slightly weak ending, but it lost me emotionally somewhere, and I wasn't quite taken enough with it to re-watch it more analytically.

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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby spupy » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

I liked, it was a good film. Although I can't say it is anything special. I don't see the point of the nonlinear narrative aside from making the movie "cleverer". I wouldn't say the story is lacking, it's more like it is simple. For me, the characters and the actors were the best part of the movie. Other than that, a meh but a good enjoyable movie.

My friends, on the other hand, and crazy over it. In fact, it got recommended several times, making me decide to see what the fuss is about.

Oh, and one of the first music pieces that was playing somewhere at the beginning (can't remember the scene) - it was the most bland canned movie music. It lowered my expectations a lot! :)
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Sprocket » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:34 am UTC

Apparently this movie actually WAS supposed to have been shot in NYC. Which is why it felt like it wanted to be.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby missbittens » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:49 am UTC

I loved it.
a movie about a man who gets involved with a woman and he wants a short-term relationship and she wants eternal love but he breaks up with her when he gets bored, that belongs on Lifetime.

I think the difference between this and one of those movies is that while this one shows us all Tom's heartbreak and such, it's not portraying him as a victim. Summer didn't drag his heart through the mud, he did, and she's not some monster for not loving him the way he did her. Not many movies are from the point of view of someone like Tom, and yet still contain that truth.

I think the "This is not a love story, this is a story about love," is correct. Because love stories are about couples in love, whereas this movie was about one-sided love.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby quintopia » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:40 am UTC

spupy wrote:Oh, and one of the first music pieces that was playing somewhere at the beginning (can't remember the scene) - it was the most bland canned movie music. It lowered my expectations a lot! :)

The first song in the movie is "Us" by Regina Spektor.

I'm going to join the "I wasn't really satisfied with the ending" camp. What's wrong with ending on a sad note without any closure? If you're going for a real world relationship story, that would certainly be realistic.

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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby reflectia » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

Regarding the similarities to Annie Hall - the writers acknowledged that it was a major influence in the screenplay:
http://www.firstshowing.net/2009/12/31/the-definitive-interview-with-the-writers-of-500-days-of-summer/

Can I just say that I didn't find the movie funny? I still don't quite understand how this is labeled as a romantic comedy.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Zeroignite » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:43 am UTC

It's called a romantic comedy likely because studios had no damn clue what else to call it. However, I did find some parts pretty humorous, especially the "college nickname" exchange.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby missbittens » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:46 pm UTC

I'm going to join the "I wasn't really satisfied with the ending" camp. What's wrong with ending on a sad note without any closure? If you're going for a real world relationship story, that would certainly be realistic.

Well, they wanted to have Tom grow the fuck up and realise his mistakes, yeah? And in order to do that, he kinda needed to get the hell over Summer already. And in order to show that, they had him actually noticing other women again, thus the happy ending.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:53 pm UTC

Blargh, I saw this movie a few weeks ago with my girlfriend, and halfway through we were looking at one another and remarking "Are you fucking kidding me? This is ridiculous". When the end slowly dragged over, agreed, the film sucked.

Movie summary with spoiler;
Spoiler:
Smarmy immature dude falls for chick who is only interested in a casual relationship, and says as much. Also, they are SO unique (Twilight for semi-adults?). He goes through some phases of a relationship, freaks out, she breaks up with him, he wallows in depression for nearly 2/3rds of a year. He then see's her at a mutual work event (coworkers wedding) and she invites him to a party, where, attending a week later, he discovers she is engaged. He freaks out some more. Some time passes and he moves on with his life professionally, but not emotionally, then has a chance encounter with her, where she is perfectly amiacable and he is a total douche hat. Then, because it's Hollywood, some magical girl falls into his lap and the promise of love for this fool with the maturity of a thumbtack is renewed! Yay!


The film was told out of sequence, which I really enjoyed, and had some neat camera tricks at a couple stages. But seriously, this was a hair-raisingly creepy relationship film.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby hopesdead » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:16 pm UTC

I liked this movie. Being that it had Zooey D. in it. However the big reason I wanted to watch it was because Marc Webb was directing. The soundtrack is great.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:08 pm UTC

1) The dance scene was awsome. Ever since SNL did a skit using the same song about Obama and McCain its one of my favorite uplifting songs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idZ3euGAKN0
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2) The movie was so-so. Wasn't awful and wasn't that memorable.

3) If I had to pick a useful message that may or may not have been there, it would be: the difference between love and infatuation and the typical consequences of infatuation relationships.


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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby glitterbug12 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:54 pm UTC

I loved it the first time I saw it, then calmed down after seeing it a second time. I still really liked it, though... great soundtrack too :)

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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby cephalopod9 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:04 am UTC

I keep thinking "300 days of Summer"

Which is a mash-up that only seems to have happened once so far.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Amie » Sat May 01, 2010 8:01 am UTC

Watching this movie was like watching my relationship with my ex on screen. Except that I was in Tom's shoes. This was an OK movie. I liked it I guess. The one amazing thing about it was what the little girl said... Because she likes the same stupid, bizarre stuff that you do, doesn't mean she loves you. Or something like that. Made a lot of sense to me.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Jessica » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

Sorry for the necro, but this blog entry showed up today.
The 500 Days of Summer Dilemma and How to Manage Your Unreliable Narrator

I have to watch this movie again. I say that because I saw it while on a 2nd date with my fiance. My view of the movie is very contextually biased. I really can't remember much about this film over 2 years later.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Lucrece » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:23 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Blargh, I saw this movie a few weeks ago with my girlfriend, and halfway through we were looking at one another and remarking "Are you fucking kidding me? This is ridiculous". When the end slowly dragged over, agreed, the film sucked.

Movie summary with spoiler;
Spoiler:
Smarmy immature dude falls for chick who is only interested in a casual relationship, and says as much. Also, they are SO unique (Twilight for semi-adults?). He goes through some phases of a relationship, freaks out, she breaks up with him, he wallows in depression for nearly 2/3rds of a year. He then see's her at a mutual work event (coworkers wedding) and she invites him to a party, where, attending a week later, he discovers she is engaged. He freaks out some more. Some time passes and he moves on with his life professionally, but not emotionally, then has a chance encounter with her, where she is perfectly amiacable and he is a total douche hat. Then, because it's Hollywood, some magical girl falls into his lap and the promise of love for this fool with the maturity of a thumbtack is renewed! Yay!


The film was told out of sequence, which I really enjoyed, and had some neat camera tricks at a couple stages. But seriously, this was a hair-raisingly creepy relationship film.


I saw it as a reverse. I couldn't stand the girl. She knew she was getting in with an unstable guy, and just took her fun. After unstable guy predictably breaks down when she dumps him, she has the gall to approach him again and broach a "friendship"; and knowing the previous reaction to her dumping him, gets him to an event where he would notice she's engaged.

In essence, trying to bring closure for herself and clear her conscience, she was a selfish monstrosity. I could hardly refrain from screaming at the screen "Oh, for fuck's sake, get lost; this isn't about you." It came off as one of those awful indie movies about supposedly "deep and complex characters". To me it was about a fool and a self-serving brat.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:06 am UTC

It's been a while since I saw the film, but I don't recall having the impression that she was doing anything unreasonable. She was perhaps not as sensitive to his fragile obsessions as she could have been, but I recall her acting like an adult, and perhaps, expecting the same from him. I think given his first freakout, she shouldn't have broached the friendship, or invited him to a party, but yeah, I'm not seeing 'make sure your grovelling desperate ex never gets their feelings hurt' in the list of responsibilities one has upon exiting a clingy relationship.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby cephalopod9 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:37 pm UTC

You're forgetting about how when there's a woman on screen, you can always assume she knows about everything that is shown, or mentioned, or indirectly referenced. So you should always blame her for anything that doesn't go exactly right for the protagonist if she is in anyway involved.

I'm sorry, I've been reading IMDB threads (on AMC shows).

I don't remember a part where he actually explained that he was a nervous wreck and a relationship that was less than perfect would destroy him, or the part where she got to see him being a huge wreck after the break up. I don't actually remember how he got invited to her party though, and it's hard to tell with how Tom absorbs the entire plot and we don't see anything from her perspective.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:47 pm UTC

Again, it's been a while since I saw the movie, so I may be remembering incorrectly, but I seem to recall the film being told from his perspective. At the beginning of their relationship, everything is AMAZING YAY, but then when she starts pulling away, he starts recognizing that all his AMAZING YAY memories were only such because he was ignoring reality. From the get go, my impression was that she wasn't doing anything wrong, and that he was being overly clingy and had overblown expectations about what the relationship was/would be. It was less an example of expecting her to be a mind reader, and more an example of expecting him to be able to interact with people as an adult.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Argency » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:09 am UTC

Whoa, I completely didn't expect many of you guys to enjoy the film. Here's my take:

Don't get me wrong, Zooey Deschanel is the most beautiful and talented woman in the world. The acts, she sings, she makes my clothes fall off at inappropriate moments; I have a long-term crush on her. And JGL is pretty damn awesome as well, I'm a big fan. I think the film was shot beautifully and the song-and-dance scene was funny and cool and the soundtrack was very fitting and the narration was fine. All that stuff was good. The plot was even fairly well written/paced. What I couldn't bear, though, was that the plot was fairly well written psychic poison. Zooey's character is obviously a bit of a bitch (hiding very badly behind stunning looks and quirkiness) from day one and JGL is an asshat who is more concerned about finding a stunningly beautiful quirky girl than finding a non-bitch. He's sooooooo whiney, he has bad taste in women and he doesn't really seem to learn anything throughout the movie because at the end he appears to be falling in with a girl called Autumn who he's known for all of sixty seconds.

So basically what I'm saying is that the characters didn't appeal to me at all, and that there therefore wasn't any dramatic tension for me. It seemed to me to be a movie about stunningly beautiful, intelligent arseholes, somehow finding ways to be unhappy despite being young and rich and living in a beautiful city.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Lucrece » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:18 am UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:You're forgetting about how when there's a woman on screen, you can always assume she knows about everything that is shown, or mentioned, or indirectly referenced. So you should always blame her for anything that doesn't go exactly right for the protagonist if she is in anyway involved.

I'm sorry, I've been reading IMDB threads (on AMC shows).

I don't remember a part where he actually explained that he was a nervous wreck and a relationship that was less than perfect would destroy him, or the part where she got to see him being a huge wreck after the break up. I don't actually remember how he got invited to her party though, and it's hard to tell with how Tom absorbs the entire plot and we don't see anything from her perspective.


I believe she bumps into him on the metro and chats with him and invites him to the party. She did break up with him because she saw him growing increasingly clingy. She did not need to read minds to know tha guy was a mess. It's called body cues. Just looking at him you know the guy's immature from the way he interacts and is all mushy with a girl who just told him up front she likes to be free from compromise (until she soon gets engaged to another man).

And after his bad exit from the party when he realized she was engaged, she then approaches him again at the end on the bench.

No, she has no obligations to make him happy, but that's no excuse against wanting her to piss off. Seriously, it's obvious the guy was hurt. Yes, he was unprepared for a mature relationship or lack thereof. It's pretty annoying, however, to see someone who used someone unstable for her whimsy try to establish a friendship with a guy she discovers is clingy and has strong feelings for her. Just drop contact with him. Don't rub salt in the wound. You don't need to avoid his sight or alter your life, but you also don't need to be an asshole to approach a guy you made clear was not good enough to be with you in a relationship for a friendly talk. There was no need to approach him. Each one could've kept on with their life.
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby cephalopod9 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:39 am UTC

Basically what I'm gettin' from you is that it is her job to make sure he doesn't get in over his head after she tells him she doesn't want a relationship. Is that right?

Lucrece wrote: Don't rub salt in the wound. You don't need to avoid his sight or alter your life, but you also don't need to be an asshole to approach a guy you made clear was not good enough to be with you in a relationship for a friendly talk. There was no need to approach him. Each one could've kept on with their life.

I'm also wondering if I'm not seeing some projecting here. Not to make assumptions myself, but it is hard not to wonder about people's approach to and experiences with relationships given their reactions to this movie. (my experiences- closer to Tom's)

Their relationship got to a point where she broke down crying in a record store. She was not making the best choices, but that doesn't sound like she "just took her fun", or decided he wasn't good enough for her. It sounds like she tried to make things work, and realized that it was making her pretty miserable.

The thing about Summer is I feel like we don't get to know her at all except in comparison to Tom's vision of what he wants her to be. Even when they go through the background stories, his is all about how he feels and what he wants, hers is all about how people react to her.

Also, now I can't stop thinking about New Girl, which is close to the opposite of this movie tone wise.
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Jessica
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Jessica » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:13 pm UTC

I feel like I remember Zooey's character saying from the beginning that she "doesn't believe in love" or something about how she is just looking for fun. I might be misremembering, but that was one of the big parts about the film. He gets clingy because obviously he does believe in love, and loves her, and wants her to love him back. But, she doesn't reciprocate - something she doesn't have to, but even tries to do. But it doesn't work.

We have our unreliable narrator trying to see the woman as the worst, but as we go through the film (I believe) we are (supposed to be) shown that he is quite unreliable, and that he is actually a clingy, and creepy guy, that she isn't a bad person, but just another person dealing with life. It probably doesn't hit the viewer over the head enough for the unreliable narrator to come through, but I remember (in retrospect) that she was essentially just a regular woman doing regular things, and living her normal life.
doogly wrote:On a scale of Mr Rogers to Fascism, how mean do you think we're being?
Belial wrote:My goal is to be the best brain infection any of you have ever had.

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Lucrece
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Lucrece » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:14 pm UTC

Yeah, I don't mean to say her independence was prickish.

What I assume is standard is that most people are not suddenly on friendship terms with their exes. Not necessarily because they had a huge fight, but because the implied fact in the break up is "you're not good enough/right for me" and that creates some emotional rupture.

It just seems odd that if I dump a clingy ex and some months later I see him, it wouldn't be my first instict to approach him and be "hey, how you doing? Do you want to come to a party I'm having?". That person does not need to have me in their life. I'm a reminder of a relationship gone awry.
Belial wrote:That's charming, Nancy, but all I hear when you talk is a bunch of yippy dog sounds.

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Jessica
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Re: (500) Days of Summer

Postby Jessica » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

*shrug* It would depend on what I saw of the breakup, how much time had passed and how they act when I talk to them. Personally, I talk to pretty much all of my exes. I'm really good friends with a couple of them as well. If I didn't talk to someone for multiple months, and I see them randomly, I'll say hi. Depending on that, I would talk to them.

I need to watch the movie again, unfortunately, to be sure. I thought that when they talked he seemed good, and didn't seem really clingy right then.

As for inviting someone to a party randomly... it might be a politeness thing which I'm not getting. I understand that it is something that you're supposed to do for some events, even if you don't expect or want them to come.

I have to watch again to be certain - it's been far too long.
doogly wrote:On a scale of Mr Rogers to Fascism, how mean do you think we're being?
Belial wrote:My goal is to be the best brain infection any of you have ever had.


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