Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the summer who broke your heart.

Currently Listening To: If I Ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly
Line Obsession: Nuns go by as quiet as lust, and drunken men and sober eyes sing in the lobby of the Greek hotel. - from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I am about to share two movie reviews of the same movie. The first is semi-evasive and un-spoilery. The second is sorta- spoilery. If you haven't seen 500 Days of Summer and you want to be totally surprised when you do, you might want to skip the second one. However, if you've read any reviews at all, I'm really not giving much away. I know some people are suckers for not wanting to be spoiled at all though. Just FYI, that person is not me. I'm the type who always ends up telling people what I give them for Christmas. Sometimes my parents and sibs wrap my gifts in packing tape so they know for sure I won't open, and re-wrap the gift, before Christmas Eve. I'm the type who reads the end of a book just so I know where I'm going and what to expect. I think this is why I'm such a nervous person in general, because I can't see what happens next. But that's a post for another day :) Here is my post about 500 Days of Summer:

Summer Lovin: My Un-Spoilery Review
So far, 500 Days of Summer is my favorite movie of 2009. This means ... wait for it ... I liked it even more than Half-Blood Prince. It is quirky and odd, sobering and delightful. It manages to be severely hipster without being snobby. (They hang out at Ikea. They listen to The Smiths. They drive old European cars and wear trendy thrift store clothes.) It's easy to lose yourself in the atmosphere*, but the movie is worth watching for the relationship between Tom and Summer. This is one of the most realistic portrayals of a 20/30 something relationship I've seen on film. Even though the movie was nothing like what I expected, it is everything I've been missing in a big screen romance (note: it is not a romance in the traditional sense of the word). It tugged at my heart because I've been there. Made me cringe because it forced me to remember. Then the movie gave me a random boost of hope. 500 Days of Summer reminds you, in a very gentle way, sometimes love is closer than you think. I was expecting funny and off-beat, not endearing. The endearing part is what got to me. I will definitely be purchasing this one.

Worth noting because I am a dork: I know there are some younger readers who drop in occasionally - such as my gorgeous niece who is almost twelve (miss you, Erin! :). I think it's obvious based on the preview, but the movie deals with some mature adult-like themes (the nookie factor is pretty substantial). Your parents may disagree and let you watch it. Mine would definitely not have let me watch it before high school. Just FYI.

Summer Lovin: My semi-spoilery review of 500 Days of Summer
I was expecting to like 500 Days of Summer, but I was not expecting to love it. I thought the trailer was great (almost so great I was worried the movie would be meh). I figured the film would march on at a rather predictable pace, a pace I knew I would like. Who doesn't love a quirky romance? So when I saw it this weekend, I was expecting to like it.

500 Days of Summer was nothing like what I'd anticipated. It was infinitely better.

Maybe it's because I'm becoming a bitter old Scrooge, but I'm getting tired of chick flicks with perfectly wrapped up endings. Don't get me wrong, I like happy endings. I've told you before I dislike angsty films with no catalyst for the angst. But I feel like there is also a significant middle ground missing when it comes to how romance is portrayed in film.

In the end of most romances, the girl gets the guy. He's a classic alpha who strides into her office in a lumberjack shirt. He's all messy hair and big muscles and he declares to her, her co-workers, and you ... he wants her back. He says he will do anything to win her back. He gets her. Her life is then perfect. Or he's a svelte emo guy (I'm tempted to use the word androgynous ... have you noticed lots of guys in movies for teens these days are very pretty? Not a rant, just an observation.) who finds her and quotes poetry to her under the stars. He dances with her in a gazebo, jaws sucked in, and swears to be hers forever. Or at least until he has to go to the bathroom and reapply his guyliner. Her life is then, perfect.

They run through city streets hand in hand. They run into each other on the subway and shiver when their fingers accidentally brush against each other. He runs to meet her on a baseball field and give her a long, hard, awesome kiss she's been waiting for her whole life. Her friends all cheer. 1234 by Feist starts to play in the background. Then, the end. Please don't misunderstand: I like that. I leave the theater in a suger-induced prance after movies like that. But I also have a slight obsession with well-told stories. And when it comes to romance, particularly in film, I feel like something is missing. When I watched 500 Days of Summer, I realized what it was. If you're making your way through high school, or if you've survived those four treacherous years, I bet you've already experienced it:

Sometimes you fall in love with someone who doesn't fall in love with you.

It is a sad, sucky, awful truth that sometimes two people in a relationship are experiencing two different things.

And that's really what 500 Days of Summer is about; it is not a love story (which is something you're told within the first few minutes). It's more of a story about surviving the relationship that ended up breaking you. It's a movie about the ending that made you question everything: where you wanted to live, what kind of person you really wanted to be with, what the heck you're doing with your life. It's about that year, or the years, you feel like you wasted because you gave them to someone else. However, it's hard not to leave the theater smiling. 500 Days of Summer is also about the day you finally realize you spend way too much time thinking about someone who no longer thinks about you. It's about Day One: Moving On. The next paragraph is spoiler heavy so tread with caution:

My favorite part, of the entire thing, is at the end when Tom meets the other girl. He finds out she hangs out at his favorite place in the city. In shock, he says something like: "But I've never seen you there." And she says: "I guess you just weren't looking for me."*** Sobeirng, no? Sometimes I think it's possible to hang onto a person, or a dream, so long you stop caring if it's wrong. You only want it because ... well. Because you
want it. And then your sight curves around that one obsession, that one focus, even though there might be something way better out there. Maybe right in front of your face. To quote my favorite Ichibian fortune: sometimes the one you love is closer than you think.

I thought it was one of the best written, best acted movies I'd seen in a really long time. Where has Joseph Gordon Levitt been hiding?! Is he just in super cool indy movies I don't watch? I am watching now. He's a doll. Also manages to be more like guys you know - not emo, not buff and over the top manly. Just very real and cool. Zooey D. is as quirky and cool as ever too. And her clothes in this movie are fantastic.

Anyway. :) Let me know what you think if you see it! Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey D. made a video to go with the movie, where they dance in a bank to a song by She & Him (cute! :). It is adorable. Here it is, if you haven't seen it:

And now, I need your advice.

I'm trying to figure out a way to change the name of my blog. I think it would be better if the URL address was my name. Genius, no? At this point, you might be wondering why I didn't just do it that way to start and, uh, that is a valid wonderment. :) My old blog was called hopelikefeathers too, so I just did this one the same way. I really didn't put much thought into that decision. Obviously. However, you've mentioned this was hard to find, and it is. That's no fun. It's not like I'm expecting the masses to come hang out here (I talk about books and porta-potties. It takes a special sort of person to enjoy those kinds of discussion...). But I do want people to feel like they're welcome to drop by. Since I don't have a website yet, this blog probably needs to be a little easier to locate. Also, I did not think about how moronic I would sound when I tried to explain the blog address on interviews. Here is an example of the dumbness of which I speak:

Radio Host: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk about Paperdoll with us!

Dufus, I am: Thanks for asking me. This was fun. {And really, it is fun once I get over myself. Also, this is the point where I realize how profusely I am sweating.}

Radio Host: No problem! So where can our listeners contact you? Do you have a website?

Dufus, I am: Um ... I don't have a website. But you can come by my blog! The address is hope dash like dash feathers dot blogspot dot com."

Radio Host: ... wha?

Dufus, I am: Hope dash like dash feathers dot blogspot dot com. {...even though the sound of it is always quite atrocious, if you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious...}

Radio Host: Did you say something about Heather?

Dufus, I am: No, no not heathers. Feathers. Eff-e-a-t-h-e-r-s. Feathers like birds have. {Good save, no? I'm ingenious off the cuff.}

Radio Host: ....

Dufus, I am: Like in Forrest Gump ... there was a feather. I mean ... my blog title isn't a reference to Forrest Gump, or anything. Not that I'm above writing about Forrest Gump. Or Tom Hanks. Loved That Thing You Do. But the title of my blog is hope like feathers. It's from a line an Emily Dickenson poem .."***

It's just a mess, see? :) So here are my questions to you. Do you think I should:

A.) Just start a new blog, that looks exactly like this one, and change the URL to my name?
B.) Try to change this specific blog URL to my name so we don't lose the old stuff? I think that is doable, but it could be confusing.
C.) Just forget about it and keep spelling out the dern thing every time I tell someone about it?

Why didn't I just put my name on this thing? Alas.

Have you guys seen any good movies lately? Mom and I still haven't seen Julie&Julia but we're going this week. Let me know your thoughts if you've seen it! Spoilers welcome ;)

*About the atmosphere: The camera angles, shots, etc are all pretty. Tom is an aspiring architect so the director plays off that in some fun ways. BUT this is the first time I've seen a movie set in L.A. that seemed to romanticize L.A. I see it all the time for movies set in NYC, Paris, London. But L.A.? Not so much. It's the first time I've seen a movie set in that city and thought: "It looks so pretty there." Fun.

** Another part I love, is when his friend is talking about how his girlfriend (whom he met when he was like seven) is nothing like his "dream girl". The dream girl, he says, is a super hottie with big boobs and on and on. Then he says, "But she [his girlfriend] is better than a dream girl. Because she's real."

*** Though my favorite line in an Emily D. poem, it is not my favorite of her poems. My favorite is the one that starts "Glee the great storm is over...". I could go geek and quote the rest, but I'll spare you. The poem is about a shipwreck. Hard to work a poem about a shipwreck into a blog title ;) Don't think people would visit if I did. But the last line is perfection: "And only the waves reply."


  1. I would say go ahead and change the URL. It's actually pretty easy. It helps if people know beforehand that you're changing it so they can find the blog again, but it's not really that complicated.

  2. You just summed up everything in my head about that movie!! Nelson and I couldn't stop talking about it after! It was a great movie, all 'round!

  3. I went to see that movie last night with a couple of my guy friends, who also happen to be big fans of Zooey. We LOVED it as well! It was the perfect example of what happens when you don't "define the relationship" clearly.

    You are aware, aren't you, that Zooey Deschanel is the lead singer in She and Him? I own the CD. It's precious.

    Oh. And that movie had some great music.

    Yes, I agree that you should incorporate your name into your URL. I know first hand how difficult it is to google you... ;)

  4. Maybe you could start a new, easier-to-find blog, but have this link still up for the reminiscing sort (me)?
    I haven't seen 500 Days of Summer but I have high hopes for it. Fox Searchlight has done quite a few movies that come with the Sarah stamp of approval (not that they need my endorsements or anything).
    I'm also still hoping to catch Julie and Julia. I heard there's already Oscar buzz for Meryl (from Jenny B. Jones, so you know this is a good and reliable source).
    PS: Have you seen Away We Go? I've heard good things about it also.

  5. Now I must see 500 Days of Summer. But if it stinks, I will repay you in some way.

    Even though I'm mostly anti-poetry, I like me some Emily D. And I love Hope is the Thing With Feathers. Memorable. But my fave ED line is tell the truth, but tell it slant. A sad statement how often that line comes to mind due to the reality of the day to day.

    Good luck with blog switcheroo.

  6. Ashley M., thanks for your comment. I was looking around on the settings here the other day and saw where to type in the blog name. If it's that easy, just changing this one from one name to a new one, I break out in song :) I thought once the name was set it was unchangeable. I'll definitely give some heads up before I try. Thanks for the input!

    AP, I meant to ask you what you thought about it! So made up for the bad experience I had with "Away We Go" :) I kinda want to see 500 again before it's gone. Maybe I need to have low or no expectations everytime I go to a movie so I won't be disappointed. (That makes me sound rather manic ..)

    Bekah, good point on DTR! I think most people have been there at some point (I SO have). When she did the whole "you're my best friend!" thing, ugh. It was like heartbreak all over again. That is such an awful feeling. Like you know you deserve more but you still can't pull away. And She&Him = fab. Is there anything ZD can't do? She's so talented. I wonder if she's still with Ben Gibbard? They're so cute together.

    Sarah, I'll leave the swamp active regardless of where I move :) Where else will people find such gems of wisdom as my toasty torpedos pic? This is a veritable art gallery! (sarcasm) :) Unfortunately, I didn't like Away We Go. I know people who thought it was great though. Let me know your thoughts if you see it. I was expecting it to be more of a dark comedy, but it was just dark. So dark I felt kinda depressed when I left. Love Maya Rudolph with John K. though :) I'm pretty sure I'll like Julie&Julia. If Jenny B. Jones says a movie is good, I'm so there!

    JBJ, even if you dislike 500 Days of Summer, I don't think you'll regret seeing it. It will be pleasant even if it doesn't rock your world. But yes, if you totally hate it, then I'll go see something dumb as retribution.

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  8. I want to go see it now! I can't keep adding movies to my must-see list. There's just not enough time. Maybe I should start hitting the three dollar movies at 9:00 on the weekends. Wanna move to Oneida for a couple of months so I can have a date? :)

  9. I'm dying to see this movie. Unfortunately the closest location it's showing is New Orleans, which is two hours away. Guess I get to wait for the DVD...

    I'm usually all about some spoilers. I want to know everything that I'm about to witness so that when other people are shocked I can say "what, you didn't know that?" or "wait for it..." I read the ends of books, too. And I Wikipedia movies that I watch on TV so that by the time the movie's over, I know everything there is to know about it. I'm skipping out on these spoilers, though, because I'm just that excited about this movie. I don't want to know anything. So you have to make sure to save this blog until after I've seen it so I can go back and read what you really think.

  10. I take that back. Just found out it's coming to a theater near me tomorrow. Ahhh I'm so excited

  11. Mel, I wish I could drive in just to see these movies with you. Every movie I've seen lately has been such a good bff movie. If I still lived in a town with three dollar movies, I would hit every single one. Even the sucky ones. Just because I could :) Ben might like Summer!

    Ashley, can't wait to hear what you thought of it! :)

  12. First off, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been around for awhile. He was the "old one" in Third Rock from the Sun, and he was in 10 Things I Hate About You. Which is ironic, because I kept thinking he looked like Heath Ledger during the whole movie.

    Oh my gosh. I loved. this movie. Everything about it (minus the language and the gettingitonnage). The story was just right. I loved how adorable she was and how much I ended up absolutely hating her but completely understanding why she acted the way she did. I loved the happy dance he did with the people wearing blue and the animated bird. I loved her dress at the wedding. I loved the soundtrack, of course ("There is a light that never goes out," "Mushaboom," "The fear," and that one Regina Spektor song... amazing). I loved the timeline, even though it was a little confusing. I loved the "disclaimer" at the beginning. I loved Tom's little sister. I loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I loved the "ideally/reality" comparison sequence. I loved his giant chalkboard wall.

    I'm buying this DVD.

  13. Ashley, seriously. WIth you all the way. The disclaimer at the beginning was my first clue that it be better than I thought :) I read a review of it that was so cool - talking about how they were so compatible but couldn't get their souls to sync. It really is oen of those movies that you feel because you've been there (in her place and in his). The ideally/reality thing was incredible. So accurate. Just so so so good. Writing about it makes me want to go watch it again.

    And hello - 3rd Rock! TEN THINGS! Why didn't I make that connection?! I watch that movie at least once a year :) Definitely saw the resemblance to Heath Ledger. I really hope he starts popping up in more movies.