500 Days of Summer

This is a movie about boy meets girl.  The writing is very clever, fresh, and unique.  Like other movies that go forward and backward in time this movie starts near the end and then quickly takes you back to the beginning.   From there, it bounces forward and backward in time.  The way they did this was kind because they gave you a counter to let you know exactly what day of the 500 days it was.  The counter would spin forward and back so you would know exactly where you were along the timeline.  The color of the trees in the background setting of the counter would also change colors and let you know the mood of our protagonist.   To explain that further might give too much away.

I didn’t think I was going to like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but he did a good job.  He was believable and in the end I liked him and his performance.  The real intrigue to get me to watch the movie would be Zooey Deschanel.  I think I like her a lot and need to go off on tangent about her for the next couple paragraphs.  She is amazingly cute and talented.  I titled a post called “Yes Man” and it was not about the movie “Yes Man” but rather about that ‘type’ of person in the workplace.  I did, however, grab a picture of Zooey Deschanel and Jim Carrey for the blog post just to have an image to enhance the post.  Because I have added the wordpress.com blogstats plugin to this blog site, I’m able to see all my stats (e.g. hits per day/week/month, what posts were viewed, and what search criteria were used to drive traffic to the site, etc…)  It’s an amazing plugin and the only thing you need to install it is wordpress.com blog site and API key.  So, without digressing too much further I’ll get to my  point: the word’s “Zooey Deschanel” drive more traffic to my site than any other search words.  This is where I really learned a couple of things about SEO:  1) search engine optimization really has a lot more to do with keywords like Zooey Deschanel and Miley Cyrus, than anything else.   2) there is a lot of buzz surrounding Zooey Deschanel.  It surprises me that more people hit this site searching on Zooey Deschanel than Miley Cyrus.

When I kept seeing her name show up day after day in my blog stats as the keyword that was driving traffic to the site, it made me more curious about her.  I started watching movies with her a little more closely and sure enough started to like her too.  I watched Elf a couple times this Xmas season with my young kids and thought that she was very endearing in that movie as well.

This review might be skewed slightly by the fact that I like Zooey Deschanel, but that’s okay.  Most movies that you like have something to do with the people that act in them.

Okay back to the review…  Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character Tom Hansen is a romantic at heart and is sure of one thing:  there is a special someone out there for everybody.  When his time comes, he’ll meet that special person and fall in love.  He is working at a greeting card company in Los Angeles and is moderately happy with his job and life.  He has given up his dream of being an architect for this more practical job which can provide a steady paycheck.

Zooey’s character Summer Finn is introduced as a new hire from small town Michigan and the love at first site seen is well apparant in Tom’s face.  Summer hangs out with Tom and his friend McKenzie (played by Geoffrey Arend) and they go out for some drinks and karaoke.  I’m convinced that it was smart for the director (Marc Webb) to have Zooey sing as her voice is so enchanting, she busted out Sugar Town during the karaoke scene (she also sings in Elf by the way).  Tom busts out a Smith’s tune and the scene progresses to the point where everyone has had a few too many drinks, especially McKenzie.  As they’re stuffing a very drunk McKenzie into a cab, he spills the beans that Tom likes Summer.

From that scene forward, the romance ensues.  I have given those details in chronological order, but the movie itself, as I have told you before, jumps forward and back in the timeline.  That’s all I can say about the movie’s story without ruining it for you.  The only thing left to tell you about now are the technical aspects of the movie.

As I mentioned to you before, the writing is fresh and clever.  The story itself is actually trite but that formula has had centuries old success.  Incorporate the clever approach to the timeline and the writers ( Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber) and director really pull this movie off brilliantly.  There is a scene that is worth mention that was well written and something I’d never seen before:  the scene after Tom gets laid for the first time since his courtship with Summer started.  Without giving it away too much, I will say that it was brilliant and hilarious at the same time.  Every guy’s easiest memories to recall are the feelings he felt after he just had sex with someone he really liked or even loved.  You will know exactly what I mean when you see that scene.

Another part of the story that was centuries old and trite was the “girl gives you confidence” bit.  Once again, this has been done a million times where the guy really wants to be a ______, but he doesn’t’ have the guts to make it happen.  Then, after he meets this amazing girl who gives him some encouragement and confidence, he’s able to quit his job and become the ______ that he’s always wanted to be.   I’m not criticizing the movie for having a couple of trite story lines.  Those things don’t make a movie bad, they just make it predictable.   There were enough twists in the story that didn’t let you peg it all the way which was refreshing.  As you are about to see with the rating I give this movie, those things I pointed out do not at all diminish from my enjoyment or rating of this movie.

Overall, I have to give 500 Days of Summer 3.5 stars out of 4.  This means it’s up there with the best of the year for me.  It was enjoyable from beginning to end and Zooey Deschanel is something special for sure.  Look for her star to be on the rise for years to come.

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