500 Days of Ranting

Nil desperandum readers, I’m not proposing a 500 day rant – promise! (Though actually, thinking about it I have a couple of other rants brewing, but perhaps I’ll save them for a lot later…)

A couple of weeks ago I gave in and tried watching a new show that I’d resisted – despite it containing many of the things I like in televisual entertainment: intelligent humour, hot men and dorkiness. The major stumbling block for me was Zooey Deschanel, an actress who is (at least in the world of Wittertainment) the definition of ‘kooky’, particularly (but not exclusively) as a result of her role in (500) Days of Summer.

However, a friend insisted that it was worth watching New Girl and, once I realised it was under half an hour, I thought I’d give it a shot. Episode 1 was quite pleasing; by the end of episode 2 I realised I actually cared about the characters and was actually noting when episode 3 would air. At the end of the third instalment, I tweeted: It’s taken 3 episodes of New Girl, but I think I’m now ready to forgive Zooey Deschanel for the hideousness that was 500 Days of Summer. The use of ‘hideousness’ proved to be rather divisive amongst my followers – some agreed, others came to the film’s defence.

Let me share my case for the prosecution:

When the film came out, I was keen to see it. It seemed like just the kind of thing a hopeless romantic like me would want to watch, plus it had the fabulous Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it, who I’ve loved ever since 3rd Rock from the Sun. I distinctly remember a male friend (whose opinion in films I value) telling me that he enjoyed it and he was sure it was my kind of thing, yet somehow I didn’t get round to watching it for well over a year. In fact, I think it was my first rental when I joined LoveFilm.

I was massively disappointed.

It’s not often that I viciously hate a film, but this is high on my least-liked list. On the plus side, it’s well shot; includes an excellent karaoke scene; and is yet another film that highlights my need to get myself to San Francisco asap. However, its (many) negatives outweighs these (few) positives:

  • The female lead – the ‘Summer’ of the title – is a mean, manipulative woman who exploits a man who’s hopelessly in love with her. She leads him on multiple times and breaks his heart again and again.
  • The male lead is, quite frankly, an idiot. Summer makes it clear on other occasions (when she’s not leading him on) that she’s not interested, yet still he spends 500 days obsessing over her. 
  • At the end of the film, when he’s finally gotten over Summer, he meets a girl called…Autumn. Honestly! I ask you. 
Several good female friends agreed with me that it was dreadful, yet a couple of male friends insisted that they’d liked it. Thinking about it, these guys are both hopeless romantics who would definitely emulate the film’s plot given half a chance, they are both idiots. Pre-Twitter debate, I’d decided that men loved it while women hated it – but those that decried my verdict on it were all female. Those that came to its defence were male. Curious. However, I must at least be right in my opinion as I discovered that Mark Kermode also disliked it – so I must be right!

Anyway, a warning: if you are a hopeless romantic, yet like to be treated fairly, with respect and without manipulation, don’t watch this film – you’ll only get angry and want to throw things at the screen. If you like a bit of mindless entertainment and have been missing quirky, apartment-based comedy since the end of Friends, then watch New Girl – episode 4’s on at 9pm on Friday night.

Comments

  1. Thank you, I’ve come across many who describe this travesty as the ultimate in new-romantic stream, but you said it kinder than I would, it’s a dumb-ass movie.

  2. I originally described Summer as a ‘manipulative bitch’, but thought that might be a tad harsh…
    But ‘dumb-ass movie’ fits it perfectly!

  3. Hmmm. I have this film on DVD but haven’t yet watched it. And 4 episodes in to New Girl I am still undecided/unconvinced. But previously I have always loved Zooey Deschanel. Will have to have a film night and see where I stand on Summer.

  4. I’ve been meaning to watch this movie. Hmmm. now i’m wondering.

    I did see an episode of New Girl and liked it.

    However, if you come to San Francisco, I’ll meet you there! I’m thinking in March to see my best friends newborn!

  5. Wish I could make it to SF as soon as March! I’m currently very peeved that so many of my London friends have disappeared off to the states this month, while I’m stuck in a very cold London…

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