30 Day Film Challenge – Day 29

Posted: July 8, 2021 in Uncategorized

Wow. The penultimate post!

So, they hit me with a positive one for the second-to-last one; A movie that makes me want to fall in love. Yes, very positive, but kind of silly. Again, I want to take it in the spirit it was intended, because most romance movies or, even worse, romantic comedies make me want to never watch another romantic movie again. They are usually incredibly formulaic and stupid. I’ve already written about how Garden State would have been a much better movie, and gotten the same result, if they had taken Natalie Portman’s character out entirely and made it a buddy flick about two guys traveling around New Jersey looking for jewelry and salvation. But people think they have to throw a little romance in because it sells tickets, I suppose?

I was thinking of picking Toy Story 2 or  3, which made me fall in love with toys again. Or maybe Natural Born Killers, since it was one of my favorite movies and I wanted to work it in here somewhere, and technically Mickey and Mallory are a great couple. But no, like I said I wanted to take the prompt in the spirit it was intended. So, I’m going with…

(500) Days of Summer

Yes, the movie is about a failed romance. That’s what makes it fun. Seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tom follow Zooey Deschanel’s Summer around like a puppy dog when she has flat-out said she is unavailable to him could have been tough to watch, but the way it is presented, totally out of sequence, makes it entertaining. Also, romantic comedies have taught us that the guy always ends up with the girl at the end. The Narrator actually plainly states at the beginning that this is a boy meets girl story, but it’s not a love story. Tom himself, in his great “I quit” speech as he’s leaving his job writing greeting cards that things like those lame cards and movies are the problem, because they set you up to believe in something that isn’t really true. Sure, love happens, but not the way it is presented. So, it could make for a depressing movie.

Still, Tom is so endearing that you root for him, despite Summer’s claims that she doesn’t want a relationship. In one of my favorite scenes, Tom is out with another girl, the incredibly attractive Alison, and all he can do is complain about Summer:

Tom: She took a giant shit on my face. Literally.

Alison: Literally?

Tom: Not literally. That’s disgusting. Jesus. What’s the matter with you?

Meanwhile, Summer is being 100% honest with him, despite the fact that they are carrying on what most would describe as a “relationship,” and what Tom definitely sees as one. Not only is she afraid of that label, but we find out in the pivotal scene near the end, after Tom has discovered that she is now married, that she feels for her husband “what I was never sure of with you.” She doesn’t really say it in a mean way, she just didn’t love him. It’s a tough pill for anyone to swallow, but yes, the girl Tom followed around for 500 days and thought was the one, and did have shower sex with, did not feel the same for him. You can call her an evil bitch if you want, but she felt how she felt. The nice thing is that she credits Tom for helping her open up to see that fate can intervene and you can randomly meet the love of your life in a deli, when a guy asks you about the book you’re reading. Sometimes, that’s how relationships work; one that isn’t going to work out can guide you to the next one that does. She says, “I kept thinking “Tom was right.’… It just wasn’t me you were right about.”

So, of course, after that revealing conversation, Tom is at a job interview and meets Autumn, and we can assume that this time, she will feel the same way he does. Or not and the result will be the same, but the next one…

Of course, I enjoyed this movie because I was like Tom, and I think most of us have been there at some point in our lives, pining for someone who is emotionally and romantically unavailable to us. And sometimes, that person will tell you as much, and then get drunk and make out with you, and you think, “Ah-ha!” But it doesn’t change how they feel. They wake up in the morning and everything is the same. And, like Summer, they meet someone else, and you are a bit confused, because what do they have that you don’t? You have bonded with this person. But, again, like Summer, they just knew what they were “never sure of with you”; that new person was the one.  

And hopefully, if you stop pining for something that was never there, you find someone else, too. That’s the other fun part of this movie. Tom’s adolescent sister points out that he’s remembering the good times with Summer, but that he may want to take a closer look. That’s good advice for most situations, but especially times like these.

See, I didn’t pick this movie necessarily because it made me want to fall in love, but because it gave me hope that it could happen. Because that’s what happens when you look closer, and see what’s really there.  

I will close by saying that after 29 days of these, this is the first time I wrote about a movie and wanted to watch it after. So, that’s pretty cool. Come back tomorrow for the big finale! In the meantime, check out all my stuff via linktree.  

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