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!
"Mozzarella Swastikas" — Adam Green (mp3)
"Baby's Gonna Die Tonight" — Adam Green (mp3)
"Apples I'm Home" — Adam Green (mp3)