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.

Advertisements

Watch This Space: August 28th – September 3rd

This week we’re excited to re-launch our weekly feature – Watch This Space. Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

Rough Night: This female-led comedy finally released in the UK last Friday, with most territories getting it in June and July. You can read Fiona’s review here, in which she calls it “an enjoyable night at the cinema“.

Logan Lucky: Can Jimmy Logan shake his family’s bad luck and pull off a $14 million heist? Corey shares his thought’s in a brand new review coming later today. We’ll update this article with a link when it’s up.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (3D Special): Arnie is back! ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ has been digitally enhanced and for one day only will be screening in 3D in cinemas across the UK. The film originally released in cinemas in 1991 and is back for old fans and new to enjoy on the big screen. We’ll have a special review up later this week!

On TV

Monday

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994): Tune in to this British rom-com classic from the 90s for sharp-scripted silliness from Richard Curtis. Yes – the film is centred around bumbling, floppy-haired Hugh Grant, but it’s the eccentric ensemble that make this film both hilarious and heartfelt. If you’ve not seen it before, where have you been? If you have seen it before – cheer yourself up by surrounding yourself with a familiar group of friends and letting it wash over you like a warm bath. Tune into this classic on Film4 at 9pm. 

Footloose (1984): Kick off those Sunday shoes and go crazy for this 80s classic with a toe-tapping soundtrack and some eye-watering fashion choices. Kevin Bacon makes an appealing central character, backed up by a supporting cast that includes early Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Penn. John Lithgow is the standout as the preacher who has declared a Southern town to be a “no-dance” zone and if you think the rebellious teenagers are going to take that lying down, then you’re mistaken! Brighten up your life with this cheesy feel-good caper. 5Star thinks you’ll love it so much that they’re playing it twice, the first beginning at 7pm, and the second straight after at 8:20pm.

Tuesday 

Shaun of the Dead (2004):  Edgar Wright’s debut feature and first entry to his Cornetto trilogy – ‘Shaun of the Dead’, stars the hilarious duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. ‘Shaun’ simultaneously pays homage to and parodies the ‘of the Dead’ films from the late George A. Romero in a way that is both exciting and easy on the eye. It’s truly a must-see, and you can catch it on ITV2 at 9:00pm.

Snakes on a Plane (2006): Samuel L. Jackson says enough is enough, he’s had it with the “MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE”.. Need I say more? Okay, I will.. David R. Ellis’ ‘Snakes on a Plane’ gained considerable hype before the film released in cinemas 11 years ago, and despite how quickly that hype died down once it hit cinemas, I challenge you to find anyone who doesn’t know THAT line from the film. You can swear your heart out with Jackson from 9pm on Sky1.

Wednesday

About Time (2013): Combining a romantic comedy with some light science-fiction may be a somewhat bizarre mix, but Richard Curtis’ ‘About Time’ is, for my money, one of the finest romcoms of the last decade. With winning performances from the whole cast, a great sense of humour, bags full of heart, and a very fun time travel twist, it’s hard not to fall in love with the film from the very first scene. Fair warning though, Domnhall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams will ruin your base expectations of boyfriends and girlfriends for life. You can catch ‘About Time’ on Film4 at 6:40pm

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): This undervalued and overlooked origin story within the MCU has suffered from being overshadowed by its sequels, particularly ‘The Winter Soldier’. In my opinion, The First Avenger is the superior film. With its World War Two setting, Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter and some great CGI (the wimpyfying of Chris Evans is fantastic) – ‘The First Avenger’ is one of the highlights of the MCU. If the rumours about the upcoming Infinity War are true, perhaps you should take the chance now to remind yourself of Cap’s shining greatness before shizz gets real dark. The action begins 9pm on Film4! 

Thursday

Superman (1978): You’ll believe a man can fly all over again. Richard Donnor directs the original comic-book adaptation- 1978’s ‘Superman: The Movie’. In a time before the superhero genre churned out by the book, CGI dazzling and star-studded movies year after year, travel back to more innocent, more family-friendly era with Christopher Reeve as the greatest Man Of Steel ever. A soaring soundtrack by John Williams and a wonderful cast and story help bring Superman to life in one of the most iconic, original and memorable super-hero films you all need to see. You’ll want to switch to ITV4 at 4pm to see Reeve’s in action! 

Predator (1987): You can see how great Arnold Schwarzenegger is as an action and comedy star when you remember one year after shooting up the jungle in ‘Predator’, he was playing simple-minded Julius opposite Danny DeVito in ‘Twins’. But I digress. No family-friendly comedy here. It’s just balls to the wall action and suspense to the highest level when Arnie and his tobacco chewing, machine gun toting, foul-mouthed squad turn from hunter to hunted, going up against the alien life-form known as The Predator. With direction from John McTiernan, special effects from Stan Winston and support from the likes of Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura and the late Sonny Landham, this is classic Schwarzenegger – when you’ve finished watching, don’t forget to “GET TO THE CHOPPA!”. Get in on the action on Film4 starting at 10:45pm

Friday

Inception (2010): This one is a no brainer… It’s on TV this week, therefore you need to watch it! Christopher Nolan assembles an impressive cast, which includes the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard, and if that line-up alone doesn’t sell it then you’re still in for a treat. Nolan keeps your full attention for the entirety of the film’s 2 and a half hour runtime, as we venture from dream to dream and watch DiCaprio and his team attempt to plant an idea in the mind of a CEO by using their dream-sharing technology. 

Role Models (2010): Having recently watched this film again, I can whole-heartily say that this film is still as funny as it was 7 years ago. Paul Rudd and Sean William-Scott are sentenced to community service and are sent to ‘Sturdy Wings’, an organisation that pairs children with adults to help build friendships. Rudd and Scott meet their matches when paired with Augie (a LARPing geek) and Ronnie (a foul-mouthed youngster), and hilarity ensues. The fun takes place over on 5Star at 11:15pm.

Hiding Online / In Our Collection

Kill Bill – Vol I and II (2003, 2004): Do yourself a favour and watch Tarantino’s masterpieces, featuring one of cinema’s greatest creations – Uma Thurman’s The Bride. The first is the all-action, kung fu heavy whirlwind featuring mind-blowing set pieces such as the House of Blue Leaves. The second is a different beast, exploring The Bride’s relationship with the titular Bill, a tour de force by David Carradine. Choosing which is better out of the two is a Sophie’s Choice for me. Do yourself a favour and watch both. Both films arrive on Netflix September 1st

Dead Poets Society (1989): O Captain My Captain. A tender central performance by Robin Williams can get a little schmaltzy at times, but this coming-of-age poetic film is worth your time for some classic lines and heart-warming scenes. The ensemble cast of High School students is a “who’s who” of current film and TV, Ethan Hawke, House’s Robert Sean Leonard and The Good Wife’s Josh Charles all got their breakthroughs here. As an English teacher, I have to say I aspire to the level of inspiration William’s Mr Keating brings to his lessons in literature and life. ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ will arrive on Netflix September 1st. 

Bronson (2008): Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylistic masterpiece, ‘Bronson’, is a biopic that explores the anarchic life of notorious British criminal Charles Bronson, played emphatically by the sublime Tom Hardy. Whilst it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, I can’t recommend it enough. Give it a go if you think you’re hard enough.

Deep Blue Sea (1999): Whilst no other shark movie can really hold a candle to the mighty ‘Jaws’, ‘Deep Blue Sea’ is one of the better ones out there. It’s ludicrous of course, but that is exactly what you should expect and want out of a movie about harvesting the brains of DNA-altered sharks to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. It has Samuel L. Jackson, terrible CGI sharks and plenty of gruesome deaths, what more could you want really?! ‘Deep Blue Sea’ is heading to Netlfix on Friday! 

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Fiona Underhill, Chris Gelderd, Sarah Buddery, Rhys Bowen Jones, and Corey Hughes.

Watch This Space: November 2 – 8

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Very much in the spirit of last year’s ‘Chef’, ‘Burnt’ features a talented cast including Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman, Lily James, and Emma Thompson. Cooper leads as a famous chef who destroys his career through drug addiction and outlandish behavior, now looking to redeem himself by returning to London and taking over a new restaurant. Murmurs from the US box-office so far suggest this one may well be more TV dinner than haute cuisine, so this drama is very much an acquired taste.

Directed by John Crowley and starring Saoirse Ronan, ‘Brooklyn’ tells the story of a young woman in the 1960s who leaves Ireland for New York, where she falls in love. ‘Brooklyn’ is attracting a degree of awards hype, especially surrounding Ronan’s performance, and for those seeking a small but sweet drama this awards season, this could be the film for you.

 

ON THE TV

Tuesday 22:00 GMT: A film which may not be for everyone, the super dark and hyper-stylised ‘Sin City’ plays on SyFy this Tuesday night. With unpleasant characters and situations throughout, as three characters explore the violence and corruption of their city, this beautifully crafted film is well worth a watch if you enjoy twisted, powerful projects. Check out the JumpCut UK review here.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: A down and out college a capella group gets new members this Wednesday on Film4 with ‘Pitch Perfect’. This group of misfits, including the talented Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow, surge to the top and face their inner school rivals, in the first installment of this catchy, musical series which has developed something of a cult following since its release in 2012.

Friday 21:00 GMT: Who doesn’t enjoy seeing Angelina Jolie kick butt and take names? Catch ‘Salt’ on E4 for a film full of tension, fun and action sequences that will wet your appetite as we lead up to an action-packed November.

Saturday 21:00 GMT: Your Saturday night is sorted, with ITV4 bringing you a real American classic in the shape of ‘Tremors’. A diverse cast of characters come together to survive in small town USA, with star turns from Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, as carnivorous, subterranean worms terrorise the countryside. With a brilliant mix of horror and comedy, this should be a fun watch!

Sunday 21:00 GMT: Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’ is arguably one of best time-travel, sci-fi movies of this decade so far. The film supplants us in a fascinating world full of mystery, action and dialogue that is fascinating from beginning to end, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis delivering a wonderful chemistry. Don’t lose track of time this Sunday, switch to BBC2 for this intriguing flick.

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.

Grand Hotel (1932): A film which takes place in a lavish hotel, with a number of eccentric characters who all have some sort of drama going on in their lives, and all of these characters will have to deal with their issues together as they find themselves living in the same restrictive quarters. Many films have been inspired by the premise of this film, but few do it better. The charm of this film is in large part thanks to its ensemble cast, where many of the biggest movie stars of the early 1930’s appear, including Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Greta Garbo and Wallace Beery. For director Edmund Goulding, it is considered by many to be his finest film. AG

Locke: One of the best films of 2014, ‘Locke’ features just one man – the incredible Tom Hardy. As the titular character, Hardy’s Ivan Locke is a man doing something a lot of us actually fail to do; owning our mistakes. This film is thematically very heavy, exploring themes that should make us all think about and consider our day to day lives. The entire film may take place solely in a car, with just Hardy on screen, yet it is a riveting watch from beginning to end. Check out the JumpCut UK review here. JD

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948): Three men in search of wealth search the Sierra Madre mountains for gold, but along the way they run into adventure, joy, sorrow, greed, and betrayal. A movie directed and partially written (screenplay) by John Huston, this film stars one of my all-time favorite actors in Humphrey Bogart. For me, Bogart was the greatest A-list star of his generation; his acting alone elevates this movie above and beyond others in the genre. It has this western feel to it, even before westerns became all the rage. With wonderful cinematography, a great cast, a well-written script full of philosophical concepts and great directing, you would be hard pressed to find a better action-adventure film out there than this one. AG

When Marnie Was There: This is considered Studio Ghibli’s last film, and if so, what a note to go out on. This film tells the tale of a young girl named Anna who is lonely and depressed, when she goes away for the summer and meets another young girl named Marnie. The two develop a striking friendship that becomes more and more layered as the film goes on, producing a sweet and beautiful experience which I would highly recommend. JD 

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Andrew Garrison and special guest JD Duran of InSession Film.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt To Star In Fraggle Rock Film

Creative genius Joseph Gordon-Levitt is confirmed as the star of an upcoming project to bring ‘Fraggle Rock’ to the big screen. JGL, who heads his own production company HitRECord, is also set to work as a producer on the project.

‘Fraggle Rock’, part of the Henson family of puppets, will transform from a 1980s TV show and make the step up to a live-action feature. The project has been discussed for nearly a decade, and New Regency will be hoping that Gordon-Levitt’s attachment can finally get the whole thing up and running.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes