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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Friday
Jul312009

« In Which This Is Not Love »

Wait, You Like The Smiths?

by LAUREN BANS

The last movie I saw where the two protagonists were convincingly in love was Wall-E, and that really only worked because it was the apocalyptic future, they were both virgins, and they didn't speak all that much. But that's good — rom coms shouldn't try to tackle love, it doesn't work, it ends up tasting of saccharin and looking like glow sticks.

John Hughes rightly concerned himself with crushes, infatuations, the first flushes of like—developments that can realistically be covered in two hours. Molly Ringwald scores the popular bro and Eric Stoltz learns that there is such a thing as upward penis mobility for the working class redhead. Real love is boring and unwatchable. This is not love:

I LOVE The Smiths.

Wait, you like The Smiths?

Yeah! (sings) ‘To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die’ Love 'em.

I mean, my Mom likes The Smiths. Love based on the triviality of one’s taste should at least be exclusive to the point where the shared preference saves both souls from eternal ostracism, like:

I LOVE the Klingon version of Hamlet!

Wait, you like the Klingon Hamlet?

Yeah! (recites) ‘taH pagh taHbe’ Love it.

The highly stylized, disjointed story of the relationship between Tom and Summer is full of meaningless signifiers, starting with the annoying fact that there’s no reason 500 needs a parentheses in the title. It’s why Tom and Summer work at a greeting card company—the only setting with enough faux sentiment to beguile the viewer into thinking Tom and Summer are the real deal, at least in contrast to the empty platitudes on an Anniversary card.

Have you ever clicked the “Romantic” tab on a porn site? Of course you have. You know how it’s still the same old gross dudes effing college students for book money, only they dub in "Lady in Red" or "My Heart Will Go On" as the audio, and maybe add a face caress or two to make it seem more like lovemaking? This is more believable than 500 Days of Summer.

Sorry to be so harsh! I mean, I know, who the frak doesn’t love Joseph Gordon Levitt? It’s simply unfortunate that he plays a lovelorn idiot who falls for the real life version of the Morton salt girl. Tom never learns anything about Summer.

She prances around the screen with perfectly adorable saucer eyes, eschewing commitment (but not in any way that might lend insight to her character) and shouting “Penis” in public (how Quirky Aggressive!). She’s like an ethereal form — free of any human wants, desires or needs — a blank page onto which Tom can project his fantasies.

It happens quite literally as they sit on a bench overlooking Los Angeles. Lacking paper, Summer proffers her arm as a drawing board for Tom’s architectural renderings (his dream is to be an architect). So nice that she lets him work out his self-actualization on her skin! Now what does she want to do with her life again? Oh yeah, they never talk about that. I don’t really see how this is all that different than having a relationship with a 2 dimensional anime pillow.

I think we’re supposed to relate emotionally to Tom, because for some reason Hollywood thinks women like distraught, emasculated men. Somewhere along the way a dude who can't function as a fully formed human being became synonymous with the female dream of an emotionally-rich man.

I don’t know if I should blame Wes Anderson or Ethan Hawke for such emosogyny. Can you imagine if they made a movie where a chick spent the duration sobbing like an emo-idiot over a breakup with a guy who said that he wasn’t looking for anything serious right from the get-go? There would be bra burning in the street! I might partake!

Lauren Bans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She tumbls here and twitters here. She last wrote in these pages about Adventureland. She writes at The Perfect Ratio.

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Reader Comments (10)

"Can you imagine if they made a movie where a chick spent the duration sobbing like an emo-idiot over a breakup with a guy who said that he wasn’t looking for anything serious right from the get-go?"

this movie is called "He's Just Not That Into You" and yes I really wanted to burn my bra, had I been wearing one.

July 31, 2009 | Registered CommenterMolly

there IS a god. Thank you. If i had to read one more TR article praising this movie, i was about to quit reading TR all together. "Emosogyny." On point.

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Thank you very much for setting the record straight and giving the men with spines hope. Thanks from the bottom of my fully formed male heart.

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllEnglandClub

isn't that the point of this movie? to point out how idiotic and emotarded tom is?

or are we really supposed to believe that the love was pure and beautiful and to have taken seriously the syrupy narration and magically wise sister and to have believed that someone would go through the grueling process of architecture school only to go into greeting cards?

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh

this is part 46 of our 800 part series of 500 Days of Summer, settle in. This movie is us mourning the fact that we weren't running this website when Titanic came out. Can someone write the Titanic flashback post. ty

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteralex

Judd Apatow and his flunkies deserve a lot of the blame, probably their fans too.

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOdoacer

PLEASE alex NO MORE 500 DAYS OF SUMMER.

August 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteryvonne

I'll go ahead and blame Wes Andersen because we all know Ethan Hawke bangs his bitches HARD.

August 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMortimer "Mitts" Mullen

See how long that sticks, sans-emo sentiment.

August 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMortimer "Mitts" Mullen

i'm pretty sure the fact that they never got to know each other and she's a blank, ultimately empty narcissist, and he's an over-dramatic, emotionally fragile emotard, is the point. They make several references to his previous girlfriends and traumatic break-ups, and then very overtly refer to his new crush at the end. The only important question is whether or not he learns anything. The conclusion seems to be that he has not.

It's your failing that the movie does not depict "true love", not the film's. It never intended to. It certainly has flaws, but that's not one of them.

Plus, there's a Young Werther reference, which is awesome.

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterme

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