What The Film!? – (500) Days Of Summer

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What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the general fuckery Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes or those that make you scratch your eyes out, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day, everyone! (Or happy Lupercalia, if you’re into celebrating what holidays were before a more modern religion hijacked it). This week, due to the time of year, I’ll be doing a relevant movie (as I’m wont to do). No, I’m not doing a movie that takes place in February or a movie that is as grey as the weather it produces, I’m doing a “romantic” movie. Why is “romantic” in quotes? Because I’m doing something different this week. Rather than telling you what’s wrong with the movie, I’m telling you that your opinion and view of this movie is wrong. The movie isn’t the problem, your perception of it is.

This is for you, the thousands of idiots who have liked this page.

Now, I’m not implying that the movie doesn’t have anything wrong with it. In fact, it’s the way the movie is made that it causes this slant. The plot line is incredibly straight forward, but executed from the antagonist’s point of view. We see the movie from Tom Hansen’s point of view (who, yes, is the antagonist of the movie), which skews things and is done in an attempt to make us to feel sorry for him, despite being an awful sexist piece of shit. A lot of people compare this movie to High Fidelity, and while both movies show relationships from a male point of view, the major difference is that High Fidelity doesn’t try to mask how shitty it’s lead Rob Gordon can be. It embraces his flaws and makes it a major part of the movie.

He’s even stealing her ice cream. He can’t get enough.

The movie follows Tom and his relationship with a co-worker, Summer Finn. While they grow close throughout the movie, Tom wants something more, wanting to be her boyfriend despite the fact that Summer has insisted that she doesn’t want a boyfriend since literally the day they met.

At one point, Tom states “It’s official. I’m in love with Summer. I love her smile. I love her hair. I love her knees. I love how she licks her lips before she talks. I love her heart-shaped birthmark on her neck. I love it when she sleeps.” Do you notice anything weird about that? He literally doesn’t mention anything about her that isn’t physical. He knows nothing about this girl other than how she looks and what type of music she listens to. Regardless, he’s in love with her (or believes it to be love).

Yeah, we all pine for a guy who doesn’t see you as a person, but an object.

The central conflict of the movie is Tom’s insistence of wanting to be a relationship and getting really really upset when things don’t go his way. It’s very childish and, yes, even sexist. The difference between Tom and Summer and how they treat their relationship is broken down like this: Tom wants to be her boyfriend and pretends he is, getting unbelievably upset whenever this gets pointed out to him; Summer, on the other hand, sees Tom as a friend and keeps explaining to him over and over again that she doesn’t want a boyfriend. It’s one of the very first things she tells him in the movie. She is vocal about the boundaries of the relationship and Tom ignores them, over and over again. Summer really needs a medal for the amount of patience she puts up with him, because he’s just awful.

“People should be able to say how they feel – how they really feel” Tom says at one point in the movie, ignoring the fact that Summer has been nothing but honest and vocal with him. At one point in the movie, Tom seeks advice from his younger sister. His sister points this out to him, and he ignores her. Does he ignore her because he’s sexist and she’s a girl? No, he ignores her because his sexism spawns from his ego. He wasn’t looking for advice, he was looking for someone to agree with him, to tell him he’s in the right when he fucking isn’t.

“How about you view her as a human being and not an extension of yourself?”

That’s the biggest issue. There’s a special kind of ego where subconsciously you view the world as an extension of yourself. When things don’t line up with how they imagine, it reminds them that the world isn’t theirs and pisses them off. We all experience a little of when we’re young and as late as High School, when we’re still trying to piece together our view of the world. It’s the basis for a lot of shitty relationships because of it. Think of all the people you knew in High School who had abusive girlfriends or even abusive parents. What’s the tipping point on almost everything? When reality doesn’t meet their expectations. (“You can’t wear/say/do that!”) There’s a handful of sequences in this movie where it goes split screen and shows Tom’s Expectations on one side and his Reality on the other side. They never line up and he gets really upset. To him, he only knows how Summer looks and what music she listens to, everything else he created in his head and that Summer he’s in love with never lines up with the Summer that really exists.

There could be a deleted scene in this movie where Tom repeatedly pulls on a PUSH door and blames the door for not letting him. Man, that door is such a bitch.

But it’s totally okay for controlling manipulative douche bags to do it to them. Got it.

Tom completely ignores her boundaries and views on the relationship over and over again and this somehow makes Summer “a bitch”. Tom creates an idea of what his dream girl is and when she doesn’t conform to it, she’s “a bitch”. Summer is vocal, stable, and mature about this whole situation, and she’s “a bitch”. If the gender roles on this movie were switched, Tom’s female counterpart would become a punchline for clingy women, but when it’s a man, the woman is being “a bitch”.

Tom never accepts these boundaries and we’re supposed to feel pity for him. He’s the fourteen year old on Facebook who posts statuses about being in love after dating someone for a few hours/days. You’re not in love, you’re in love with the idea of love and you’re projecting it onto whatever blank screen you can find and getting pissed when reality creeps in. Summer isn’t a person to Tom, Summer never was. He never knew her or wanted to. He just wanted that blank screen.

“Either she’s an evil, emotionless, miserable human being, or she’s a robot.” – An actual line from the movie

Joseph Gordon-Levitt actually said this of his character: “I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is… He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person.”.

Could this movie provide a worse relationship? The only part of the movie that doesn’t seem crazy asshole sexist is when they meet. I mean, it’s not like there’s a romance movie out there that opens with a guy threatening to kill himself if the girl won’t date him (which seems Tom-like). That would be incredibly crazy and a massive red flag. I’m glad there hasn’t been a movie that plays that type of crazy possessiveness up to be romantic.

…shit

Dane will be celebrating this Lupercalia with Chinese food, Die Hard 5, and I guess, the girlfriend, I suppose. You can follow him on Tumblr and Twitter!

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