003653Reviews & Counting
(500) Days of Summer
BLU-RAY disk
01.18.2010 By: Aaron the H
(500) Days of Summer order download
Marc Webb

Joseph Gordon Leavitt
Zooey Deschanel
Chloe Moretz


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Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a hopeless romantic who believes he has finally found “the one” when he meets beautiful, mysterious Summer Finn (Deschanel). The next 500 days will be the happiest and saddest of Tom’s life.
I reviewed this film a few months ago when it played at the LA Film Fest. Blown away by the sheer honesty and originality of it all, I gave the flick an 8.5 out of 10. But upon a second viewing, a different experience since I knew this time where it was going, how it would end…I’d now like to up that rating even higher.

This is one thing I cannot reiterate enough- every guy who’s ever had his heart stepped on- every dude who’s ever dated a down-to-earth angel who quickly morphed into a stone-cold backstabbing uber-bitch- you absolutely need to see this film. I put this flick up there with the best of the male-centered romantic dramedies- Punch Drunk Love and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And while I dug the intricacy, symbolism and depth in each of those two decidedly arthouse films, the genius behind 500 Days of Summer is the fact that it is so unbelievably accessible to a mainstream audience. There’s something here for nearly everyone to relate to- guys and girls, and it’s all so easy to grasp. In fact, if you can't find anything to relate to here, you're either the luckiest or unluckiest person I know, as you're sorely missing out on the other side of love- the not-so-rosy side.

Despite the film's accessibility, it never hits you over-the-head with over-simplicity like your average Matthew McConaughey/Kate Hudson film. 500 Days is rich with complexity and originality, and oozing with a rare hip style that actually serves to further the plot rather than distract from it. A hilarious dance sequence that takes place after Tom and Summer first get down and dirty, while fantastical for sure, is also entirely relatable- we’ve all felt like the sun is shining and the birds are singing after we seal the deal with someone we’ve fallen for. At the same time, what guy can’t relate to the fact that everything we love about a girl while dating her is the exact same stuff we loathe about her after she rips out our heart?

It’s simple yet profound observations like these, told in a light, often humorous style, that make 500 Days of Summer such a rare, bold piece of filmmaking. Don’t expect this to be the feel-good event of the year however. As the narrator clearly explains in the opening V.O., this is not love story. And for that very reason, I absolutely loved it.
Feature Commentary with director Marc Webb, star Joseph Gordon Levitt, and writers Michael Webber and Scott Newstater - A great commentary track for sure, but I'd recommend watching the special features to find most of this info, as there are literally hours of video extras of these guys, as I'm about to dig into...

Deleted/Extended Scenes (14:26) - Mostly extended scenes here, and strangely, nearly every one comes after Tom’s had his heart broken. A few you can tell were cut because they felt a little too cute and stylized. Overall not a bad group of scenes, though I’m glad they didn’t make the cut.

Not a Love Story: Making 500 Days of Summer (29:21) - More of a discussion about the film with all the players, as opposed to a making of. Marc Webb is an intelligent, honest dude and he says some interesting stuff here if you can get past all the gushy love talk.

Summer at Sundance (13:46) - We follow the crew as they meander through Sundance and reflect on the experience and how excited they are. Jealous.

Audition Tapes (7:01) - We get to see audition tapes from Geoffery Arend and Matthew Gray Gubler (Tom’s two buddies in the film). Kinda boring, nothin’ fun or flashy going on here.

Summer Storyboards - Pretty cool featurette here. You can view storyboard sequences from the film, alone or side-by-side with the film, with or without commentary.

Bank Dance (4:18) - A very sweet little music video, with a crazy-cool dance number by Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel, directed by Marc Webb, you get a taste here of why the man is such a revered music video director. I think that Zooey is singing here…and I think she should stick to acting. Just sayin’.

Mean’s Cinemash (3:28) - I remember when these things were goin’ around the internet awhile back and I thought they shoulda been way funnier and way more clever. The same holds true here, although both Zooey and Joe work as best they can with what they’re given.

“Sweet Disposition” Music Video (4:01) - Amazing song. Terrible video. It looks like you’re watching Guitar Hero. It actually made me like the song less.

Conversations with Joseph and Zooey (12:26) - The two actors sit at a fake restaurant booth over empty coffee mugs and ask each other deep questions about acting and LA and stuff.

Filmmaking Specials - In case the previous dozen special features didn’t tell you everything you wanted to know about this film and divulge every thought on the mind of the filmmaker and the film’s two leads, these half dozen vignettes should do the trick. You get a few more conversations with director Marc Webb and Fox Movie Channel actor profiles on Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt.

There are also the obligatory trailers attached, and this Blu-ray also comes with a most welcome Digital Copy.
Wonderful performances by the leads, self-assured, honest direction by first-time director Marc Webb, and a script that'll floor you with how much it hits home, this is a film every twenty-something male (and female) needs to dedicate a couple hours to. You won't be sorry.
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