Friday, August 7, 2009



It sure took this movie awhile to make its way into the suburb movie theaters of the Twin Cities. While the wait was long, it was definitely worth it. This movie was the most complete project I have seen this year, and I recommend everyone see it. Since this is my first review since being "back," I will continue the review tradition by taking my hat off to the amazing starlet in the movie Zooey Deschanel.

(500) Days of Summer is not a love story. The narrator of the story makes that very clear from the beginning sequence. This film features Tom (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) as an aspiring architect who has his dream put on hold in favor of a steady pay check at a greeting card company. While working his monotonous job one day he is taken aback by his bosses new assistant, Summer (Deschanel). Tom instantly feels she could be the ONE for him, but is too scared to approach her.

His friends at the office heard that Summer is a real bitch that thinks she can treat people poorly because she is good looking. Tom finds out quite the opposite on a elevator ride with Summer where she proclaims love for the music Tom is listening to in his ear phones.
Tom finally gets a chance to bond with Summer at a work function set in a karaoke bar. Tom's good friend and co worker McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) gets his fill of alcohol at the bar and spills the beans about Tom's crush on Summer in front of her. The ball gets rolling from there, but Tom and Summer's differences are apparent from the beginning. He wants to meet the girl of his dreams and fall in love, she wants to keep it casual.

The most interesting thing about this project is the unique story telling about the 500 days Tom spends with Summer. The film skips around to different stages of their acquaintance to make the audience have a taste for what is to come and speculate how the main characters arrive at their conclusion.

The script fit just right into the puzzle of perfectly fitting pieces that is this movie. The script gave the all the characters some depth, featured some great dialogue, and was really funny at times.

(500) Days of Summer features two bright and potentially upcoming stars in Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt. Both were excellent in their character roles, and their chemistry is apparent on screen whether they are laughing, having a heart to heart, or fighting. These two were the focus of the story, and one of the biggest reasons for its resounding success.

These actors were perfectly cast for their characters. Especially Zooey Deschanel. The roles she is cast in always seem to be the zany free spirit type, and this role is no different. I always wonder if that is how she really is in real life, and if that's why she is always cast as that role. She flourishes as the girl that is wonderful, but too good to be tied down.

I will have to admit I would like to see Zooey push her boundaries as an actress and play a different type of character than she is accustomed to (Yes Man, Failure to Launch, Weeds, The New Guy). I will note however that when Zooey has changed from a quirky character she either is cast in a small supporting role (The Assassination of Jesse James, Bridge to Terabithia), a SyFy mini series no one has seen called Tin Man, or one of the worst movies ever made (The Happening). Wow I sure got off topic.

The supporting cast gets some high praise as well. Tom is always looking for advice on his relationship with Summer, and looks to many outlets for counsel. My favorite by far is his little sister Rachael played by Chloe Moretz. By little I mean she is in middle school, and it is a stretch from the ordinary to have a grown man getting advice on women from his adolescent sister. Her advice "don't be a pussy" to Tom about approaching Summer for the first time is especially hilarious.

My two favorite aspects of (500) Days of Summer by far was the editing and the soundtrack. I already mentioned how the film jumps around in their relationship, but the way in which it is done is visually pleasing and makes the movie flow through its 1 hour and 35 minute duration. My favorite piece of creative editing comes during a split screen sequence of Tom's expectations for what will happen, and the reality of what really happens.

The soundtrack was not only awesome to listen to, but the music worked perfectly with the events taking place or the mood of the film. This was one of the best movie soundtracks I have heard in a long time, and I already bought it on iTunes.
Overall, (500) Days of Summer was the best movie I have seen in 2009. While I know its a bold statement to make, I stand by it. Great story, even better story telling, good script, two wonderful and interesting a one of a kind soundtrack?? I hope I have your attention.

Most of the movies that I eagerly awaited their release let me down (Public Enemies) or came out as expected (Terminator, Transformers). Nothing this year has wowed me or blown me away, until this unexpected turned into something excellent. Not to say this film blew me away like The Dark Knight or Benjamin Button, but I cannot find anything wrong with it. This film felt like a breath of fresh air to the typical rom-com or tale of love told through cinema (even though I would not necessarily call this film a rom-com). I loved almost every minute of this movie, and recommend anyone reading this to not miss a chance to see (500) Days of Summer in the theaters.


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