What I learned from the treacherously twee movie (500) Days of Summer

Alright, so it’s a bit embarrassing (even for me) to admit that I went to see (500) Days of Summer this afternoon, but I just couldn’t help myself. I am intrigued by the two leads (Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the soundtrack seemed good, it has a touch of surrealism and whimsy to it, a boy who desperately wants to believe in love, a rendezvous in IKEA, and more. I mean, it’s just plain ridiculous.

With Regina Spektor, The Black Lips, Feist, The Doves, The Smiths, and more to the soundtrack, it seems like this could easily be the next big Garden State / Juno soundtrack phenomena. (It even has a track by Simon and Garfunkel in it, geeze.) It’s interesting how a good soundtrack has become so important these days. (1) While it would be easy to chastise the movie for so-closely following the formula of an ‘indie’ movie secretly catered to the masses like the two predecessors I named, its similarity to Garden State in one scene in particular made me realize an interesting trend in music. While Garden State had a headphoned Natalie Portman listening to the then cutting-edge band, The Shins, in (500) Days of Summer, it was not an obscure, up-and-coming band, but one that formed in 1982. Yes, of course I’m talking about The Smiths and the scene on the elevator.

Still from <i>(500) Days of Summer</i>

Still from (500) Days of Summer

An interesting thing has happened. Where it was once cool to be the first one on the block to discover new bands, it’s now hip to listen to the old stuff. Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, The Cure – the list goes on. (J G-L’s character is even wearing a Joy Division shirt in the scene where the two are browsing records at the shop.) Of course, this trend toward the vintage is nothing new. (2) It spans across more spheres than music. Everything from clothing to bicycles are better old. Take a listen the next time you go to see a show. I’d be willing to bet that in addition to the standard space fillers, the sound guy or DJ spins some doo-wop, a little Motown, and some 80s British post-punk. I first noticed this trend sometime last year, but for some reason it took the elevator scene in (500) Days of Summer to make me realize the significance of the trend and express it in words.

As for me, I’ve recently been taken by 60s French pop after a friend of mine sat me down and made me watch a few choice videos on youtube… but more on 60s French pop later.

(1) Though I don’t advocate watching shows on the CW (formerly, the WB), I will admit that they have at least picked up on the importance of music.
(2) Note also: the resurgence of vinyl and record players… and typewriters on a semi-related note.


7 Responses to “What I learned from the treacherously twee movie <i>(500) Days of Summer</i>”

  1. 1 callan August 2, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    RE: “(2) Note also: the resurgence of vinyl and record players… and typewriters on a semi-related note.”

    so there is this local band that is very very mod. they played recently. i went of course, because i am a part of this “loves vintage” trendy trend. The touring band who i loved, so i will plug them- Pretty Vanilla (canadian) – they only had vinyl. WTF. I wanted to be able to listen to them on the way home from the show in my CD player… but they were only selling 7 inches (or are they called 45’s? im not vintage enough to know the lingo).

    i bought the vinyl, but who knows if i will ever actually play it. i don’t have a f**king record player!

    however, they did say if i email them they will email me the mp3’s haha. the only problem with that is they were hitting on me and my friend, so i really don’t want them to have my email…

    RE: 60’s French pop… Yes Please! (links?)

  2. 3 Martin December 26, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    what kind of headphones does Joseph Gordon Levitt have in the elevator scene??

  3. 6 michael February 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Wait… Joy Division is vintage?

  1. 1 (500) Days of Summer « Cos It's Fashionable Trackback on December 19, 2009 at 7:53 am

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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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