Friday, February 19, 2010

(500) Days of Summer

The debate started when a friend on Facebook gave this 5 out of 5 stars on Netflix. When that showed up on my page, I had to give him grief. 5 stars? Really? No way. I don't care how entertaining a movie this might be - five out of five stars?

I had a slight desire to see this but not enough to even add it my Netflix queue. But when Jim invited me over to watch it with him and Marc, I was definitely into it. Everyone knows that Marc loves romantic comedies. Everyone knows that his giggling makes even mediocre movies and TV shows better. Hell, I figured that maybe the sure-to-be- 3 star movie might turn into a 4 star movie with the help of Balgavy.

No such luck. Not even close.

From the very beginning of the movie that included the disclaimer: "The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch." I knew I was in big trouble.

I didn't mind the jumbled storytelling structure. What I did mind was the complete lack of chemistry between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel who I usually love. I didn't like the non stop look how cool we are because we know about cool bands and cool movies and cool books and cool artists feel of the screenplay. I didn't like either character at all. I didn't buy that Levitt was clueless around women. I didn't buy that Zooey would (SPOILER ALERT) get engaged within 3 months or so of breaking up with Levitt and then not even bother to tell him.

Some other thoughts:
The narrator was terrible.

The being silly in the park stuff and the rooftop scene reminded me of bland ripoffs of scenes from Annie Hall.

This possibly might be even worse than Garden State. Shins = Smiths. Smiths = Shins. One band will change your life if you listen to them right NOW! One band already changed both of our lives. Blah. I did like reading on IMDB that Morrissey's Viva Hate could be seen in the flashbacks to both characters' childhood bedrooms. So silly.

How many montages can one movie have?

So so precious in a please shoot me kind of way. And I like precious! That first Ikea scene was horrible.

Levitt's 11-year-old fixer and wise sage friend was insufferable. Every scene she was in was terrible.

The fake documentary stuff was like an "indie" version of When Harry met Sally. Now there's a romantic comedy! I wonder if that movie holds up.

The foreign film sequence reminded me of bad Saturday Night Live sketches that are on at 12:52 am.

The whole F greeting cards blowup scene was laughable. Yeah - stick it to the man by telling Hallmark to F off! His Network moment is about greeting cards. Sooooo deep and sooooo funny ...

Three moments I really honestly liked:
1. She didn't like the mix that he made for her. That cuts to the core, man. I know how that feels and what it means. I wanted more moments like that. While we were watching this, Jim asked me if this was worse than Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. At the very least, this one moment proves that this movie is better. It had this one honest mix CD moment. Nick and Norah didn't even bother having a playlist in their damn movie.

2. I did like the three record store scenes with Levitt showing Zooey the Ringo LP. Each time, it revealed more of their falling apart relationship. I understand that that was the point of each montage and also the jumbled storytelling structure. But I felt like it didn't really work for the most part - except for this scene.

3. The reality vs. expectations party scene was very good.

What follows is some of the heckling of the movie by Jim, Marc, and me as we watched it.

Jim: This movie makes me glad I'm not heterosexual.

Jim: Enough with the pop culture references!!!

Dan: This is the big Hall and Oates dance scene? It's not even as good as the dance scene on that recent How I Met Your Mother episode.

Marc: I hope he gets hit by a bus here. Then it would be Chances Are. Oh look - now it's an A-HA video.

At some point, Jim left the apartment to pick up his laundry and didn't bother to have us stop the movie while he was gone. It is THAT bad.

During a scene with his wise 11-year-old friend at her soccer game.
Marc: Is the next girl he meets going to be named Autumn?
Jim: I think his next girlfriend is going be one of the girls playing soccer.

Near the end but still 20 minutes left.
Jim: I want to kill myself now.

After the ridiculous slipping in of a clip from The Graduate into one of the endless series of montages:
Jim: She should get married to the real life Dustin Hoffman.
This got the second biggest laugh of the movie.

Near the end, the two were on a park bench.
Jim:It would be awesome if he killed her now.

At the very end, Levitt has learned how to flirt and flirts with Minka Kelly. They introduce themselves. Her name --- Autumn. Of course! We all burst out laughing.

Dan: The sequel is going be called (50) Years of Autumn.

Referencing a scene where Levitt tells a blind date that Summer had taken a shit on his face:
Jim: That movie just took a shit on our faces.

After the movie, I was excited to post my one star review on Facebook.

The thread:
Chris Larry: 1? Watching Zooey for 1.5 hours rates at least a 2 by default in my book.
To which SHR said to me, "Anything with Zooey starts with a -2 rating."

Me: to be fair - it probably deserves a 1.5. - 2 but man was it bad. i was in shock by how much i didn't like it. and i love zooey. i even like she and him!

but i had to give it a 1 to counterbalance matt's 5 star rating. just for spite.

Chris: it was neither as bad as you say, or as good as matt says...i'd rate it a 2.75

Tim S: 1 star? Cmon now... We watched Ghosts of Girlfriends Past last night, and that is a 1 star, ass suck of a movie.

Jim: I agree with the 1 star. This movie had nothing. I like both Joseph G-L and Zooey, but this was a waste of time. 1.75 stars tops, but Netflix doesn't let you do decimals and this did not deserve a round-up

Matt: When did I become the sentimental one? I found this movie very winning. Sure, the 5 stars might have been a little excessive, but when the standards are "Really Liked It" and "Loved It", you'll have to forgive me if I get a little sloppy with my ratings.

Cara: I feel the female perspective is needed here. I don't think this movie deserves any stars. There was nothing redeeming about this film. I was very disappointed.

Matt: Fine. Here's what everyone needs to do. Move to LA and live there for 9 years. Then move to NYC where, 18 months later in the middle of a shitty snow storm, you watch a movie that is essentially a love letter to downtown LA. Throw in the additional requirements of ♥ing musicals and being overly sappy of late and you too can rate this movie 5 stars.
Right as we finished watching the movie, the Zac Efron - Matthew Perry vehicle 17 Again was making its debut on HBO. I guarantee that that movie is more entertaining than this treacle.

This movie was a lazy, boring, wannabe romantic comedy for the indie rock set. But jumbling the story line all Memento style and throwing in innumerable references to hipster pop culture doesn't make a good movie.

I talked to my dad the day after I watched the movie. It turns out that they were watching it at almost the exact same time I was watching it. They loved it.

Directed by Marc Webb


Marc B. said...

17 Again made me giggle.

Listmaker said...

i dvred it yesterday. can't wait to watch!

mas said...

The narrator drove me crazy. I kept waiting for this movie to be good and it never quite got there. And "When Harry Met Sally" does hold up surprisingly well.

lachima said...

these are the quality reviews that keep me coming back.

Listmaker said...

writing scathing reviews is always more fun than writing positive ones. they make sitting through bad movies worth it.

Fred Swayze said...

You nailed it with the "forced hipster Annie Hall" comparison. And it's not really even hipster. It's like the writers were staking out an Urban Outfitters in Tulsa.

Also, the only part I "liked" was the expectations versus reality. And I say liked loosely, because by that point, they already proved to me that they knew nothing about women. Which is why the film comes off as a hateful screed against that mysterious and bitchy creature.

Also, oddly telling, this guy is directing the Spiderman reboot. Which might even star aforementioned Zach Efron as Spidey. Cinematic abortionist.

All told, they owe Woody Allen some cash. And an apology.

Anonymous said...

I guess my critical facilities have been severly blunted by parenthood and DVR. When Mary and I watch a movie I am not in the mood to hate it, so I was mildly entertained and moved one with my life.

chris larry

Listmaker said...

that's my problem chris. i don't think i can move on from my life after this.

Crispin H. Glover said...

I agree with nearly everything you said here. The first narration absolutely killed any chanes of this being a watchable movie. I immediately found something else to do and watched this halfheartedly, stifling vomit creeping up my throat on several occasions. at one point, i felt the hate melt away and i cackled at how absurd it is and how i was getting worked up over nothing but that doesn't meant his movie isn't a huge waste of talent and time with very, very few redeeming qualities. i too wish netflix allowed half rating because this deserves half a star. it made me long to watch two for the road again, a much much better fractured tale of a dissolving relationship.

planbreaker said...

I didn't hate it as much as you did (mainly because I *did* enjoy the Hall & Oates dance scene). I also haven't been enjoying Zoey Deschanel as much since her snotty appearance on Top Chef; what seemed quirky and charming in the past now reads as obnoxious and snobby and indier-than-thou.

Most enjoyed scene in our house was when they showed the record executives pondering over the uptick in Belle and Sebastian cds in Michigan. DF never had a scene from his life played out in movies and was amused by the idea of a conference room full of gold records (as opposed to a conference room full of boxes and other office crap).