Friday, March 11, 2011

(500) Days of Summer

  From "When Harry Met Sally..." to "(500) Days of Summer," I seem to be finding the best romantic comedies ("The Breakup" wasn't terrible either, but I don't feel like ever writing about it, it's just a sidenote). Over 20 years between the two movies, and countless terrible movies between them, it shows that the genre isn't dead. Romantic comedies just need two things: the courage to go off formula and good performances.
  "(500) Days of Summer" shows the turbulent relationship between Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) from when they meet until their relationship ends. In case you're wondering, I did not spoil the ending. Most people know, or figure out, going into the film that it ends that way. This hour and a half is all about seeing how it all happens from day one to 500, skipping a few days here and there, and backtracking every once in a while.
  The most interesting aspect of the film is the backtracking and non linear storyline. Almost everyday is labeled before the scene and you can tell if it's going to be a good day or bad day. The movie will shift from a good day (when the movie is very funny) to a bad day (when the movie is still very interesting), and back, as a way to see the relationship deteriorates. The one problem with this is you can lose track of which day you're currently watching. It doesn't cause a lot of problems with the progress of the movie, but it can take you out of it once or twice. That's not the only thing interesting to this film, it loves to utilize a great narrator (Richard McGonagle) and splitscreen to great effect.
  The performances by the cast are phemonenal, and one thing I'm wondering about the filming is did they film the good days and bad days separately? I need to single out Gordon-Levitt. Tom is the major character of the movie. We almost only see his point of view on the ups and downs of the relationship, so I feel he had to bring a little more to each scene. One major member of the supporting cast, that stood out to me, is ChloĆ« Moretz in a pre-"Kick Ass"role. She plays Tom's sister Rachel and seems to be the only person that can get through to him in times of crisis. Marc Webb directed this film amazingly, and I now have some real hope for the new Spider-Man movie.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When Harry Met Sally...

  I had wanted to watch this film for a long time. I've been slowly getting into Billy Crystal films, starting with Monsters Inc., and watched one pretty good Meg Ryan, You've Got Mail. I have watched almost all of the film in pieces on cable, but I finally found the whole thing on Netflix. I'm glad I finally got a chance to watch a romantic-comedy that makes me, as a guy, not want to puke. On the opposite side of that, this is a movie that girls will fall in love with; no gross humor or "unnecessary," to some girls, vulgarity.
  The story starts with these two taking an eighteen hour trip with each other from Chicago to New York City. During the trip they develop initially rocky chemistry by discussing how men and women can't be just friends because sex gets in the way. This is Harry's belief, and my belief, but not Sally's belief. After the trip they go they're separate ways, only to meet up again five years later, and then meet up again another five years later. This third time they become friends, just friends, and this friendship is explored. Between the ten years a lot has happened to both of them, and it becomes a contributing factor to the dynamics of their friendship.
  This film's greatest strength is it's dialogue and performances. Each line is perfectly sentimental, sharp, or sweet when it needs to be, and none of it feels forced or out of place. The other great thing about this film is it's format. While we see Harry and Sally explore their relationship we are treated to video interviews of couples talking about their first meetings and relationships.
  The film is a joint effort from Nora Ephron (writer) and Rob Reiner (director) and they do great work with Crystal, Ryan, and a great supporting cast that includes Carrie Fisher, as Sally's friend Marie, and Bruno Kirby, as Harry's friend Jess.
  I highly recommend this movie to anybody over the age of sixteen. I say that because it's rated "R" for a damn good, funny, reason. Those who know why would agree with me, and those who don't are probably going to be very shocked if they watch this movie with their parents or partner.

When Harry Met Sally... (Collector's Edition)