Monday, January 11, 2010

500 Days of Summer

So one of the advantages of unemployment is that you can consume a lot of pop-culture. Sure I spend a lot of my time applying to various and sundry jobs (most recent job application, to be a trivia factoid writer, yes, getting this would be the culmination of a life long dream) and since New Year's working out (um, so OnDemand there are exercise videos for absolute FREE which blew my mind to begin with, and I've been doing the Jillian Michaels metabolism boost video and let me just say I have a newfound appreciation for the contestants on the Biggest Loser.)

But I digress. My point is I can watch a lot of TV, read a lot, watch movies, etc. And this past weekend I rented 500 Days of Summer. It was light and funny, beautiful and sad, just a perfect movie concoction, a fairy tale flipped over to reveal something far more strange and honest. As the narrator states at the beginning, it's a story about love, but not a love story. I think there are just so many crap romantic movies coming out these days. I mean did you see the trailer for that Ugly Truth movie with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler? Or that atrocious, setting feminism back by about 75 years Bride Wars (Ann Hathaway, I expect better from you).

Love stories have lost their dignity and grace. They've become cartoons and barely disguised rip-off's of each other. And no one in these movies has any kind of human trait. So imagine the breath of fresh air that is 500 Days of Summer. And that's what the movie feels like, fresh air, something fluid and new and utterly charming. It's both a throwback and oh so modern, a movie of our time but a movie of all times, which is really what all great movies should be. I won't give away too much of the plot but I highly recommend you see it for yourself.

I love Zooey Deschanel, but this film really belongs to Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

He's the film's leading man, and he fills that role so wonderfully. It wasn't until I watched this movie that I realize what our generation lacks, a leading man that fills the gap that lies between Michael Cera and Vin Diesel or the Rock or whatever muscles McGee currently fills the Action leading man role. Joseph Goron-Levitt isn't a man with a capital M or a man-child ala Seth Rogen. He's simply a man, funny and sweet and genuine, masculine without being intimidating, charming without being an overgrown teenager. There's a grace about him, a balletic kind of effortlessness to the way he talks and moves. And if you had told me ten years ago I would be saying all of this about that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun, I would have told you you were nuts.


And if you still aren't convinced, there are full on musical style dance numbers, French film parodies, and one of the most awesome uses of a split screen I have ever seen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character goes to a party and on one side of the screen is reality and the other side is his expectations). Anyone who has ever gone to a party in their 20s with high and unrealistic hopes will completely relate.

So basically I really loved this movie. And I can promise you it will be unlike any of the romantic comedies you've seen this year. And that's a really, really, good thing.

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