"(500) Days of Summer"
Directed by Marc Webb.
Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 9/8/09
When a movie has a five-shows-a-day run for
more than two months, you KNOW that it must be pretty good.
Even films that make a lot of money these days do it over three
weeks and then completely flame out...if a movie hangs around this
long (like, say, "The
Hangover"), that means that every week, a guy tells ten of his
friends to see the thing, and that gives the whole production some
legs. Technically, "(500) Days of Summer" was released in
July, but it has been showing at film festivals since January, and
that word-of-mouth has powered a run akin to
"Memento" from years
past, and with good reason..."(500) Days of Summer" is a romantic
dramedy that didn't completely piss me off, which means it should
probably win the Oscar.
The main hook to "(500) Days of Summer" is
its mixed-up-chronology plot; in telling us during an opening
narration that the film is NOT a love story, we meet Tom (Joseph
Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) nearly 490 days into
their relationship while sitting on a park bench with a wedding ring
on Summer's finger. How did we get there? What were the
highs and lows of their relationship? What's the significance
of that park bench? And, what will happen on the 500th day?
I liked this movie, in part for the
soundtrack (you can never go wrong with Hall & Oates) and because of
the very slight twist on the rom-com/drama mix. In fact,
"slightly different" is a running theme in this film. Tom has
a couple of buddies, just like every other one of these films, but
they are slightly different than normal rom-com buddies.
Summer and Tom first find a mutual interest in music--vanilla for
these kinds of movies--but they discover their shared interest in a
way slightly different from other films of the genre. And, the
way the film wraps up, things take a turn, not completely off the
highway, but maybe from the exit ramp lane to the passing lane.
Maybe what really makes "(500) Days of
Summer" shine is that it doesn't appear to be trying too hard to
make an impression, but it does just for that reason--with two stars
that are good-looking but not hot, with a script that amuses with
giggles and not guffaws, with a dance sequence that is cute but not
overly choreographed, it almost sneaks up on you, in a way that
makes normal, sensible people like the film for its strengths and
ride out of the theater on a high. It's understated, competent
filmmaking at its best...maybe the biggest shocker is that it was
written by the two guys that wrote "The Pink Panther 2" earlier this
year, which is just plain baffling, to say the least!!
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard