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(500) Days of Summer is What an Indie Dream Must Look Like

June 11, 2009

 

"There's a Chinese family in our bathroom."

"There's a Chinese family in our bathroom."

 

Last night I saw a screening of (500) Days of Summer at the Westside Pavillion Landmark, figuring that it was free and who knew when I’d have the time to see a movie again. Plus, I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. To my mild surprise, I really liked it. It’s charming, it’s honest, it’s different, it’s artistic, and it has Matthew Gray Gubler playing someone other than Spencer Reid.

It’s also very much an “indie film.” (Spoiler Alert!)

You know what I’m talking about – it’s full of indie cliches. To begin with, the leading lady is Zooey Deschanel. I don’t hate her, I don’t even think she’s a terrible actress. I think she’s very good at playing Zooey Deschanel, that is, the indie chick. Wide-eyed, monotone, eccentric tastes, blunt speech, mod haircut, the whole package. It’s all she ever does.

Then there was the “background becomes hand-drawn” motif; the ubiquitous record store scene and name drops of alternative rock bands; the ‘we’re disaffected youths in our late twenties’; and, of course, the soundtrack full of ‘obscure’ musicians.

Fortunately its indie brand didn’t keep me from enjoying the sharp writing, Joseph Gordon Levitt’s vulnerability, and the unusual method of storytelling. There were some really laugh-out-loud moments, and I don’t want to ruin too much, but the fantasy-esque sequence after Tom gets laid had me practically falling out of my seat.

I definitely  recommend it, though it won’t be out for a few months yet.  Just be warned: this is *not* a love story.

 

Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a guy who writes lame greeting cards, but is really an architect, which inspired this.

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