Last month i saw the film 500 Days of Summer. I have a few thoughts about it:
- In the film, the main character is a guy who writes greeting cards. While this is his job, he’s actually an architect. When i heard this, the movie immediately became less original and unique
to me. Being an architect is such a cliche now. Ever since Something About Mary it’s been used in every romantic-comedy around. I understand why. If you’re a woman, an architect embodies all the qualities you’d want in your man’s job: it’s creative, it’s independent, it’s the perfect mix between corporate and entrepreneur.
- You must quit your job to be happy. Such a load of crap. In modern movies there are really only four types of themes: (1) “Believe in yourself and you can do anything.” (2) “We are all alike underneath.” (3) “Love conquers all” (4) “Good people win.” Almost all movies are one or more of these themes. I was sort of bummed that this movie became a #1 (Believe in yourself) movie when he quit his job. It just made the whole thing more cliche to me. Hollywood loves this message and it’s all over the place – almost every tv show and movie is saying this. I was hoping for more realism
- In real life, everyone knows the situation where there’s a couple where both people really like each other. They get along great and things seem fine. However, one person likes the other person way more. The other person is into the relationship, but not enough. They break up and people wonder why. This happens all the time. However, it never happens in movies. The only other movie i know of where this happens is Woody Allen‘s Annie Hall. I also think that just because this movie tackles this situation is why so many people see it as novel or unique.
- It’s amazing how good the guy from 3rd Rock From The Sun looks (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He was so nerdy in that show and he’s really pretty cool in this movie. I liked him a lot as an actor – even though i thought his character was a sap. I also didn’t even recognize him as the doctor in GI Joe.
All in all, i really liked the movie and thought it was fresh and fun. I also like the music in it. It’s worth checking out
My last post about Vicky Christina Barcelona created some conversation about writer/directors who have distinct voices in film. My friend Sari came up with the Sorkin analogy to Woody Allen and it got me thinking about who else there is. Here’s what i came up with:
- Robert Altman. Talk about a distinct tone. Overlapping conversation everywhere. Sometimes it’s awesome (Mash, The Player, Gosford Park), sometimes it just sucks (Dr. T and the Women) and sometimes it doesn’t one way or another and it just is (Nashville).
- Kevin Smith. His movies all have the fast talking, pop culture, sexual references. Mallrats and Clerks could have been the same movie. It’s fitting that his last movie was just a continuation of his first (Clerks and Clerks 2) because they are all basically the same. That said, Chasing Amy wasn’t fairly normal.
- Quentin Tarantino. He’s the most like Woody Allen to me because he likes to have people talk like him in his movies. He also likes to have people talk like a total badass (Samuel in Pulp Fiction and Uma in Kill Bill) which i completely appreciate. I do love how he uses dialogue instead of action in his movies. I mean Kill Bill’s final scene – a samarui movie – was not a long sword fight but rather a convesation between Uma and Bill. Only Quentin could pull that off. Very cool
- Who am i missing?
Now whether it’s a good thing to be able to identify a writer by watching a film is another whole post. Sometimes i love it (Tarantino) but sometimes i wish they would just write a story without needing to feed their ego.
Saw Vicky Christina Barcelona this week and thought it was great. There are certain things i love about Woody Allen movies (and certain things i hate). In general, the movie was a lot like one big dream sequence. The main character (Javier B.) walks and talks the way you only wish people would speak. What occurs is what you’d always want movies to happen and what you see is what you’d want to see. The movie was just pleasing on every level. It’s both surprising and satisfying. In short, a fun summer flick. Some more thoughts….
- I love the way the characters talk. Many of the conversations are real conversations. Each character has tendencies that are real and recognizable. Scarlett J’s character has nervous little responses that sometime don’t make any sense and Vicky’s responses are always extremly honest.
- I love the scenery. The background of the city makes the foreground even better. The characters are ridiculously attractive (especially Penelope Cruz – smoking!) and the Barca lifestyle of walking around in a gorgeous city, drinking wine and listening to Spanish music makes it even better.
- Penelope Cruz is f’ing amazing. She was a godess in Vanilla Sky and she’s even better here. Sultry, destructive, passionate. Her precense brought the film to another level
- (Spoiler Alert) There’s not a happy ending. I’ve said before that my favorite genre is film Noir and that’s because i like it when things don’t work out. I like it when all plans are ruined and the hero doesn’t get what he wants. Maybe because i think that’s just life. Maybe it’s becuase there are too many movies tha that have happy endings and i like the surprise. Or maybe i’m a machocist. Who knows. But there was not happiness at the end here. At the end of the movie the characters are older, wiser and have had a great summer but this is not a rom-com and i was very appreciative.
- One thing i don’t like is when characters in the film starts complaining they sound like Woody Allen. i’m happy he’s not in the movie but when character neurosis come out, the language is his. They talk like him. It’s the same with Sorkin shows but still, i notice and i don’t like it.