JUMPCUT’s Favourites: (500) Days of Summer

Year: 2009
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Grace Moretz, Matthew Grey Gubler.

WRITTEN BY JESSICA PEÑA

When I first watched 500 Days of Summer, I was a teenager obsessed with the glorious portrayals of love and loss in films. It made me wonder, ‘Are relationships that fragile, or are the people too naive and self indulged to be in one?’ Well, looking back, the answer is kind of both. The trials and tribulations of romance in a modern culture are much too complicated to see it in only one perspective. What is someone’s untouched desire is another’s passing by. Everyone has their own plans for life, and sometimes love gets in the way; and vice versa. Ask me about my favourite film and you’ll be knocked with a list of top ten that include the likes of ‘Ex Machina’, ‘Before Sunset’, and ‘Inglorious Basterds’. Ask me about a favourite film, and sometimes I will respond with the indie gem, ‘500 Days of Summer.’ In it, we meet Tom Hansen, a greeting card copywriter and big romantic, who never stopped looking for what went wrong in his relationship. Like the season, Summer was her name. She doesn’t believe in love, but she managed to capture Tom’s heart, leading to an unrequited love.

This is one of my favourite films, because a) Joseph Gordon-Levitt , and b) Zooey Deschanel. If you know me, you will understand. The main focus is on these characters, and they are my favourite pairing for this movie, because Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel have a history tied to their friendship. They’ve starred in earlier movies together, and the chemistry, when it comes to a romance flick, is everything. Gordon-Levitt’s character first bonds with Summer in an elevator over the classic, “There is A Light that Never Goes Out,” by The Smiths. We witness the start of something right then and there. What Tom thought would be everlasting was only Summer’s short-term spark.

Oh, heartbreak. You replay the times and the memories you once shared with someone and you look for those glitches that turned things upside down. The story here is told marking certain days in which Tom knew Summer, and it goes back and forth. In past relationships you once cherished, you seem to recollect first the good times; those unforgettable memories, and that’s how Webb decided to arrange the film. Tom’s infatuation with the idea of having Summer grows into an unhealthy self love. I love this film, because not every story has a happy ending, and ‘500 Days of Summer’ lets us know from the beginning. “This is not a love story. This is a story about love.” The narrative is bluntly familiar. Tom meets this girl, falls in love with her, and would do anything to be with her and prove that they belong with one another. The problem is that she doesn’t believe in love and this sudden commitment that Tom is yearning for. She’s out here living for the now and taking her happiness into consideration first.

The pair seem to hit it off effortlessly in the beginning until their futures don’t align. More than anything, Tom wants to fulfil his fantasies of a happy life with Summer. You really begin to feel for him and this anguish she is deliberately or non-deliberately putting him through. There’s a rather thick line between reality and expectation, as shown in a sequence of double shots of what Tom wishes for versus his sad reality. Sometimes, our vision is skewed by our infatuation with a fantasy. “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do, doesn’t mean she’s your soulmate,” explains his friend Paul. That quote alone teaches us a thing or two about independence and young ignorance when it comes to the subject of romance.

‘500 Days of Summer’ is quirky, different, and closer to the reality of love than many other romance movies.There’s a karaoke session, IKEA shopping, a musical number, some architectural arm drawing, and the inevitable wreckage of young love. It goes without saying, “People change. Feelings change. It doesn’t mean that the love once shared wasn’t true or real. It simply means that sometimes when people grow, they grow apart.” This film speaks volumes to the scarring a relationship can leave, but it also understands how one learns to grow and heal from it.

It’s one of my favourites because it lets one look back on love in friendly retrospect and mature as a person. It’s graceful enough to not let Summer be seen as the enemy, as manipulative as she may seem at first. Truth be told, she isn’t perfect, and it’s her side of the relationship we don’t see. After multiple rewatches, I’ve learned that she was never in the wrong for wanting what she wants, when she wants it. She’s an open book with Tom from the beginning, and it plays with our hearts, but helps the film become a cultural impact. ‘500 Days of Summer’ could be any one of our coming-of-age stories. Someone’s day “(1)” could be the beginning of the best chapters of their life, for any number of reasons. Marc Webb’s film flourishes in the way it presents the discovery, growth, tarnish, and new hope for life from a love that once existed for our two characters. Ask me about love and I will always reference and admire this film.

Movies That Taught Me Valuable Lessons

Written by Dalton Brown

I had originally planned to make a list of films which inspired me in some way, or changed the way I look at movies in general. However, whilst making the list, I found that I wasn’t enjoying myself as much I probably should have been. Now, I’m still making a list of sorts, but I’m doing it in a non-traditional way; rather fitting for a list which credits the films that have changed my life in some way. This list is more specifically about some of the movies that taught me valuable life lessons and movies that taught me to look at things differently; to be more open-minded. So without further ado, let us begin.


spring breakers

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always that big a movie fan. Even more surprising, that all changed when I saw ‘Spring Breakers’ (2012); that’s the one that changed how I look at movies. It also got me into the arthouse/independent genre of film. Now, ‘Spring Breakers’ is pretty much what the title would suggest – a group of girls go on spring break. Then they get in to some trouble and that’s when they meet James Franco’s character, Alien; otherwise known as one of the best characters ever put on screen, in my opinion. Anyway, he helps them out of trouble only to get them into more trouble. And that is the plot in a nutshell. 

The reason why I love ‘Spring Breakers’ as much as I do is because of Alien, honestly. Plus, there’s a lot of nostalgia tied to that film for me as well. To describe the way this film changed my perspective on film in general is not an easy task, and I’m honestly not exactly sure. I just remember seeing it for the first time and being floored by just how amazing it was. The “OFF” switch in the movie section of my mind suddenly tripped to the “ON” position and the rest is history. From that moment on, I was aware that movies are more than just mindless fun, they’re art.


 

Under-the-Skin1

Following in the same vein as ‘Spring Breakers’ is the creepy sci-fi flick ‘Under the Skin’ (2013), starring Scarlett Johansson. This is another film that made me realise that movies are indeed art, and also how unimportant dialogue is, showing me the value of visual storytelling. Lastly, ‘Under The Skin’ taught me the importance of having an imagination, and I cannot thank this crazy film enough for that.


inside-out

Switching gears here, and breaking in to the more recent past, Disney’s ‘Inside Out’ (2015) impacted me way more than I thought it would. Ironically, this clever animated film made me want to give up reviewing movies altogether, because I didn’t want to scrutinise ‘Inside Out’ as much as I do with most other movies; I just wanted to enjoy it for what it was. Since then, I have learned how to figuratively “turn my brain off” with some movies, and I am perfectly fine with that. Some movies are meant to be enjoyed, not analysed.


500 days of summer

With just a couple more films to go, the beautifully tragic ‘500 Days of Summer’ (2009) taught me to never give up. It also taught me that the person you’re with should make you happy, and if it becomes a struggle, then maybe they’re not the person for you. It also taught me that rom-coms can indeed be good (I know this is technically a film about a lack of romance, but non-rom-com doesn’t sound as catchy).


os1

Lastly, there’s ‘Office Space’ (1999). After watching ‘Office Space’, I just wanted to be Ron Livingston’s character, Peter. So I did just that. I became more relaxed and I started doing what made me happy. I’ve felt better than ever since I’ve made that change, so I owe a huge debt to this sardonic comedy movie.


This list could go on forever, but I’ll stop here. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what the point of this list is to those of you reading it, as this is a very personal list. But the more I think about it, the more I think that the point of movies is that they affect everyone in a different way. Movies are more important than they might seem to be on the surface; every movie, even the worst of the worst, has something to teach us.

What movies have affected your life and inspired or taught you something? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @JumpCutUK or speak to Dalton directly @judgmentalnerd

Watch This Space: August 24 – 30

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

With high ratings across the board (8.4 on IMDb, 89% on Rotten Tomatoes), ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is already proving to be an even bigger success than we anticipated. Fans of N.W.A and those simply intrigued by their story will love this musical biopic.

Conversely, ‘Hitman: Agent 47’ is really struggling over in the USA (29 on Metascore and a lowly 7% on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s no real surprise that another video game adaptation has crashed and burned, but before you chuck this on the scrap heap, have a read of our review.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 18:50 GMT: We know how hard Mondays can be, and we don’t want to add more pain to your day, but if you feel strong enough, we highly recommend ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ on Film4. This heartbreaking story of the love between two sisters will almost definitely have you in tears. We apologise in advance.

Tuesday 16:40 GMT: The kids go back to school next week, so give them one last treat; get together and watch ‘Coraline’ on Film4. A beautifully made and very entertaining family film, but one which has a dark side too, nightmares could ensue for adults and children alike.

Thursday 19:00 GMT: Great actors and one of the best soundtracks EVER make ‘500 Days Of Summer’ a must see on Film4, whether this be your maiden viewing, or your 500th. A story about love, not to be confused with a love story, you’ll see just how important this distinction is.

Saturday 16:05 GMT: The weekend is here! Go on a delightful adventure with ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ on ITV. This 70s classic will thrill the whole family with its timeless tongue-in-cheek humour and fantastical story.

Sunday 17:30 GMT: Another 70s classic, albeit of a very different nature. See the Man of Steel’s big screen debut with ‘Superman’ on Channel 5. Henry Cavill will have to pull something pretty special out of the bag to top this next year.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

The Departed: We think that with just over a month until the release of ‘The Martian’, now is a good time to get excited for the latest offering from Matt Damon. Our favourite Damon project to date? Martin Scorsese’s twisted crime-thriller ‘The Departed’ of course. Hailed by many as one of the greats of modern cinema, we are inclined to agree. This film, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson, will enthral and shock you right to the very last scene. They don’t come much more “must-see” than this.

Filth: With the release of the first ‘Victor Frankenstein’ trailer last week, it would be easy choice to plump for a ‘Harry Potter’ marathon. Instead, challenge yourself with the gritty, in your face, Brit-flick ‘Filth’. From the team behind the classic ‘Trainspotting’, see James McAvoy play the bad cop-really bad cop role in this utterly mad production.

Star Trek: Chris Pine celebrates his birthday on Wednesday, turning 34. Nothing on his CV gleams as brightly as the successful reboot of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise – soon to become a trilogy – of which the first installment is a fantastic example of sci-fi film making. Pine leads a cast which includes Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg and Zoe Saldana, into the final frontier for an epic battle which will live long in the memory, and may even prosper!

Boyz N The Hood: As mentioned before, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is the headline act at the box-office right now. In that vein, we politely push you in the direction of this 90s cult classic. With similar themes of tough neighbourhoods and even tougher social oppression, ‘Boyz N The Hood’ is a gripping and action-packed film, addressing issues which, sadly, are just as poignant more than two decades on.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes 

Watch This Space: May 4 – May 10

 Welcome to our newest feature – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Our Twitter sources have been full of praise for period drama ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’. Starring Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen, this has been described as a “sublime” and “beautiful” film and a must-see.

An all-star cast features in ‘Age Of Adaline’, which has been in cinemas for a couple of weeks now, but a film which we think may just be worth a shot if you like a little vampire-romance-drama.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 21:00 GMT: Christian Bale graces our screens as ‘The Dark Knight’ on Monday evening. Arguably the best superhero film of all time, featuring the stunning performance from Heath Ledger as Batman’s arch-nemisis. Sit down and enjoy superhero action at its very best on ITV2.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: The award-winning ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ comes to Film4 on Wednesday night. In a week full of action-packed, gritty film, take a break from it all with the outstanding, emotional displays from Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

Thursday 23:20 GMT: ‘Fight Club’ is available on ITV4 at the same time, but as we’re not supposed to be talking about that, we suggest watching a film instead you might not have seen before. From the mastermind that brought you ‘This Is England’, ‘Dead Mans Shoes’ is a gritty and violent film about one man’s revenge mission. Tune into Film4 for this British classic.

Saturday 21:00 GMT: Bradley Cooper again, as he stars in ‘Limitless’ on E4. The story following a down-and-out writer who stumbles across the ability to access parts of his brain he didn’t know existed. Fast-paced and action-packed, this slick thriller is your perfect Saturday night film.

Sunday 14:50 GMT: We never leave the kids out here, and you shouldn’t either. Top quality animation with lots of colour, fun and humour with ‘Rio’ should make for a perfect Sunday afternoon for the family thanks to Film4.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Lord of The Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring: Following the sad news of Andrew Lesnie’s passing, we feel a tribute is in order. Sit down and watch the spectacular opening to the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy to celebrate Lesnie’s work. This film won the Oscar for Best Cinematography, so the perfect way to celebrate such an iconic piece of cinema is reimmerse yourself into the fantastical world of Middle Earth. While you’re at it, why not watch ‘The Two Towers’ and ‘The Return of the King’ to complete the set.

Bronson: Tom Hardy is set to take 2015 cinema screens by storm with his upcoming releases ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and ‘Legend’. See him in the titular role in ‘Bronson’, the film that follows the infamous psychopathic criminal. Dark and dangerous, this film is not for the faint hearted, but we recommend it all the same.

I-Robot: It was announced last week that the ‘Men In Black’ and ‘Jump Street’ franchises are combining for a future release. Why not relive one of Will Smith’s classics, ‘I-Robot’, a sci-fi thriller telling the story of artificial intelligence gone awry. This film has everything you’d want from an explosive, futuristic action film, complete with impressive visual effects.

500 Days Of Summer: A completely random choice for you here, but one which is a delight to watch any time of the year. That said, what better way to bring in the summer months than with this hilariously dark, kinda romantic comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Be warned, “this is not a love story”.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal