I get a kick out of watching a movie before anybody else; however, unless I am willing to share the theatre (with strangers) where limited releases play, that's just not going to happen. It's a lonely feeling, but pre-released films are mostly, if not always, reserved for Hollywood insiders. That's why today I race to the theatre for the first showing, hoping that I might beat the crowd, but if this review on Days of Summer (500) doesn't capture your interest, perhaps this one will.
Before Days of Summer got released two days ago, I was anxiously awaiting its premier. I was always within my abusive comfort zone, irking myself for not making an effort to go to some of the film festivals that were showing Days of Summer. When alas the opening arrived, I had to decline, convincing myself it was a movie I could postpone until the DVD release. This is just a sample of the small lies I am capable of telling myself. Meanwhile, I browse the movie reviews online. I go so far as to read the spoilers before deciding that this definitely is a movie I want to see (desperately).
Zooey Deschanel is depicted as an American dream girl. She is by far more appealing than any blond I've ever fallen in love with on screen. I can't help but hear myself say 'with a woman like that, I could forget all my troubles.' regardless of the fact that she's way out of my league. There is one important factor that prevents me from making any attempts at hooking up with something like that, and it is my guilty conscience over abandoning an oath I took to secretly remain in love with a woman who would not have me. Some day I expect many lucrative returns for such a sacrifice in the form of song royalties.
It brings to mind the one line that made any sense coming out of Tom, the guy who falls head over heals over a goddess, and I might be a bit off until I get my hands on a manuscript, but "You know how you find yourself replaying in your mind the times spent together searching for that one thing that caused the break-up?" Or something like that. Yes, that happens all the time. They say time heals all wounds, there's plenty of fish in the sea, but I say love only comes around once and if you fuck it up, that's it, baby.
Who is this greeting card designer played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt? What does he have that the Summers of the world are attracted to? When I ponder this over and over in my head, I can't help wonder whether the whole thing wasn't a ploy devised by Tom's friends at work to get him laid. Take this scenario: they convince his boss to hire a professional escort at the office under the category of assistant. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this office relationship, but had I been in Tom's shoes, I too would've been singing in the streets and dancing like a fool. As a matter of fact, that's one of the main reasons I don't even try meeting people anymore. I totally come off as gay when I'm that happy.
Despite what it may seem, I am fully aware that this was just a movie. And yet, many would disagree. You may hear comparisons made to some of the renown abstract story structure films like Memento. Memento was a backward film that impelled one to keep track of what had already transpired in the film to put the story together in their head. (500) days of Summer is every man's escape into eye-candyland where the stalking for myspace information is done for you. This is the only way I can describe the multiple jumps from one time frame to another. Most movies jump from real time to flashbacks for the purpose of emphasis. This movie manages to achieve a sense of reward as when a person stumbles onto a total stranger's myspace and likes what he sees enough to surf that stranger's blog, which might lead to the discovery of their flickr page, and their podcast page, and maybe even their youtube page. In other words, while lurking a person's blog in the exact order in which it was created is boring, putting the pieces together as they are discovered, like the movie, reveals the same end result: behavioral disassociation. By the end of the movie, if you haven't redefined the term saving face with a deeper, more meaningful interpretation, then it's safe to assume this movie held no morals for you.
A woman wants to see proof of a man's intention to marry her in the form of an expensive engagement ring. If there were any morals in this movie I could identify with, it would be that everyone likes to feel wanted. I also believe that when two people feel mutually desired by one another, that is the perfect opportunity to consider marriage.
I thought Tom and Summer were made for each other in this movie. The way they held hands while strolling thru the park, the way they behaved inside the department store, all indicated to me that this could be the first of many films in which the two hold leading roles opposite each other. In the early scenes of their courtship, the topic of conversation takes an awkward turn and Summer despairingly opts for an answer to the drunken suggestion by Tom's co-worker that Tom has got a crush. The catch-22 of it all is that their roles are switched and it is the girl who isn't looking for anything more than a fling, and the guy who desires a meaningful relationship. WTF? It's almost as if each party were after the other's acquiescence. Another scene depicts Tom reluctantly dating a friend of a friend and engaging in a one sided conversation, meaningful to his date only, about his erratic high-low readings on the subject of his love life. However, from what I know about dating, women don't want to hear about a guy's ex, and to listen to Tom's date inquire whether Summer had ever cheated on him struck me as a trick question.
What probably would've taken this movie beyond a PG13 rating is not what most might think. More sex could not have improved on a guy's point of view of falling in love without reciprocation, but had Tom's little sister said "Here's mud in your eye" as she, herself a minor, threw back a shot of vodka, then I'm certain this movie might've survived an audience of unhappily married couples who took the plunge for the wrong reasons. I missed the scene in which Summer appears in every bus seat (in the vain of the restaurant scene in Being John Malkovich) as though she were cloned multiple times. Did summer have a fetish of dragging her lover thru mud, or does Tom have reservations about entering relationships with goddesses which can only have lead to heartbreak? Without giving it away, I'm convinced women are programmed to refuse proposals after sex whereas proposing to a woman one hasn't had sex with might even result in a consideration.