Old Lady Movie Night: ‘(500) Days Of Summer’

And a good day to YOU, friends! I, the resident Old Lady (self-named for my flair for hats and drinking tea and my tendency to lecture fictional movie characters), is back after a week of terrible time planning.

And what a week it has been! Last Thursday (because in my world, a week starts whenever I say it does) I went to Buffalo with my aunt, then I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with two of my best friends by eating frozen yogurt and pulled pork. (Not together, but that would’ve been amazing.) And now here we are! Writing about movies, and talking about feelings. I’ve decided also that OLMN is going to go something like this:

Because there are SO MANY MOVIES and I’ve gotten some awesome requests, I’m going to make it completely unbiased by starting alphabetically and working my way through the list. That way, all the movies get covered, and I also end up watching a bunch of movies I’ve never seen. SOUND FAIR? No? Fine, then I will also sometimes start from the OTHER end of the list, as well as from somewhere in the middle. The moral of the story is that there is a list, and I am now working through it. HUZZAH!

So here we go. (500) Days Of Summer, a movie I’ve only seen twice, BUT I quite liked (especially since at the time, I was the JGL to some guy’s Zooey D., and oh boy — THE LESSONS WE HAVE LEARNED).

Let’s do this.

1. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s quote about his character because he is correct

There is a quote he says that I can’t remember because I’m out of my mind, but he talks about how over-romanticizing Tom is wrong because Tom’s completely obsessed with Summer and doesn’t respect what she’s said to him or her boundaries, and for some reason I don’t remember the rest, but AMEN TO THAT. Now I won’t lie: when I first saw (500) Days, I was very pro-Tom/anti-Summer, because I think you’re almost conditioned to feel that way somehow (BY SOCIETY). Now, as an Old Lady, I think, “Oh Tom. Friend. LOVE YOURSELF, FIRST. Also, relax, and look at your life/look at your choices.” And also, “Hey Summer. How are you?” Because when you think about it, she really didn’t do anything wrong. At all.



Can I get several alleluias and maybe even possibly an amen? Terrific. I can’t count how many times I played this song because damn it, I liked a guy (who was a Ukrainian boyscout who wouldn’t date anyone not Ukrainian, so clearly I wanted to date him) (we did not date), and this song WAS TOTALLY ABOUT US. Except it was not even close, and I’m pretty sure he lied to me when he said he listened to it. EITHER WAY. Memories. You do you, Regina Spektor.

3. I would also call Chloe Moretz in a time of crisis

She has never met me. I have never met her. But she seems like a person you’d call when you need someone to tell you to snap out of it, and Cher isn’t available. See also: Kelly Cutrone.

4. But yes, the breakup scene is clearly a disaster

Because AREN’T THEY ALL. (No.) Here’s the thing: basically, we are watching a lose/lose situation. Tom thinks they have one thing, Summer thinks they have another. Summer tells Tom what she wants, but she acts a different way. Tom hears what he wants to hear and doesn’t respect what Summer’s about. Classic, “You can’t change a person” life lesson that worsened only when we had to watch them end things over pancakes. End things at a bus stop. So that way, instead of leaving delicious pancakes to suffer the brunt of your romantic undoing, you can hop on a bus, and drive into the sunset/towards your house.

5. Woah, Christina Hendricks’ husband (IRL) with the woman-hate

First, I know he is just playing a role, and that in real life he is obviously not like this person. Second, remember when he tells Tom that Summer’s a “bitch” because she “wasn’t having it” in terms of talking to some guy? GO TO JAIL GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL. Simmer down. Relax. Nope. This actually embodies rape culture to an extent: Summer wants to not talk to somebody, and when she does not talk to that somebody she is branded a “bitch” and an “uppity better than everyone super-skank.”

Here’s something, PAL: SUMMER DOESN’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING. Would you be saying those things if she were a man? No you would not. So check yourself. Before you wreck yourself. (And also, on a personal note, I wrote a blog about rape culture and my experiences with it earlier this week if you’d like to explore this topic more.)

6. Question: am I old now that shared musical tastes isn’t my worry anymore?

I LIKE MUSIC. Just like anyone. But now if somebody likes the same band as me, cool, but if they don’t, okay, I don’t care…? I feel like I’d be more put off if I made a Parks and Recreation reference and they were like, “Who?” Now THAT is a red flag. But music? It’s fine. We all love Gin Blossoms, and that’s what matters.

7. What DID happen there, Tom?

I think Tom might be the perfect example of what happens to a lot of us in our early-to-mid ’20s. We need jobs, we take jobs, we don’t pursue what we want, things get confusing, and then we melt down. BUT then we build ourselves up, and eventual become functional beings again. Part of me thinks that if Tom and Summer met when they were older, they actually could’ve had a shot at a real thing, OR even just a shot at genuine friendship. But alas, that is not the way. And instead, Tom is settling at his job instead of pursuing architecture, heading straight down the track to “disappointment city.” Good news, though: he will eventually get to leave. (LIKE WE ALL DO.) (YAY.)


8. The soundtrack to this movie, though, is off the hook

OFF THE HOOK. And I’m not just saying that because a part of Patrick Swayze’s “She’s Like The Wind” played, and my heart soared.

9. “It was goooood.”

#LOL Also, “I think you KNOW what I need” is terrific in that we have all done it. WE ALL DO IT. We will probably all do it again. *I* have especially done this. Remember how he plays The Smiths super loud in the office just as she walks by? I’m pretty sure I’ve done the equivalent of that, but with my car. Not like, rev the engine, just like, BLARED (obnoxiously) ska or something because the guy I liked in grade 12 loved Less Than Jake.

And do I regret it now? Well, obviously. No one should ever blare ska. Especially not in a residential zone.

10. But then remember when Summer gets treated terribly because she says she doesn’t want a boyfriend?

UGHHHHH WHAT THE HELL, TOM AND CHRISTINA HENDRICKS’ HUSBAND (who I’m sure is great in real life). First, they ask her if she has a boyfriend which in itself is kind of inappropriate. Then, when she says she doesn’t have a boyfriend, they ask why. WHY? Because *gets up and leaves,* that’s why. AND THEN when she says, “I don’t want one,” buddy says he doesn’t believe her — only to call her a lesbian when she says she’s free and independent. HOLD THE PHONE. WHAT THE WHAT. I never realized how this movie addresses common sexist behaviour, but there you go: it totally does. Summer is JUST DOING HER (YGG), and she gets devalued, mocked, and totally crapped on because of it. And what’s worse? I think we’ve all been in Summer’s shoes. And it is the worst.

11. Now I will say I’d be confused by the kissing scene

But I am horrible with grey areas which is why I’ve embraced being a totally black/white boundaries-relationship type person.  Here’s where I would turn into Tom: because being kissed by someone you like is confusing! Even if it’s a tryst or out of boredom, IT IS CONFUSING. I would be confused. And I would probably be convinced the guy and I would eventually be together, which is INCORRECT, because now I’m also starting to sound like Swimfan.

12. Just say it’s not okay, though, Tom!

Here’s the thing: Tom could totally just be like “You know what, it’s NOT really okay that you want something casual.” That would be fine! That would actually be really commendable — because he would be being honest, and she would be being honest, and there would just be a lot of honesty going around. Instead, he lies. LIKE WE ALL HAVE DONE. And it gets him smashing dishes and quitting his job. Which we have NOT all done (I hope).

13. Hall and Oates is everything

And so is the dancing scene. Also, this song will always make me think of The Wedding Singer when everyone’s trying cake samples. So it’s a double-good song, then, is what I’m saying..

14. So are boundaries important?

For a really long time I told myself they weren’t, and wow that was really incorrect considering I am the boundary queen and I AM FINE WITH THAT NOW. But at the same time I can totally relate to Tom trying to be cool (CUZ I HAVE DONE IT), and trying to be all, “Yeah, man! Whatever! We like each other, but we don’t care!” I cared. Me. And so does Tom, apparently. But if you’re a boundary person for the love of all that is good speak up because some people are not, and sometimes that mish-mash doesn’t gel*.

*I just sounded like a mid-90s motivational speaker. RADICAL.


And then it gets real. Re-al. Now, here’s where I just start to get sad. Summer is obviously over it. Tom, knowing Summer is over it, begins clinging to Summer by talking trash about how other girls dress (which Summer defends, so YGG), and saying he likes how SHE dresses (aka pitting her against other women, which she denies). Then, feeling even more frustrated, he punches some guy in a bar who doesn’t deserve to be punched. (I mean, okay, yes, he was THE WORST. But still! No violence, Tom!) And then Summer gets mad, and he gets mad, and I just want to buy them each a tea, and say, “LOOK. Here’s what needs to happen, everyone, we’re all moving away to different places.”

16. Okay, so fine, maybe it is NOT how you treat a friend

I feel like this is what should have happened:

Summer: “I don’t want a relationship.”

Tom: “I do.”

Summer: “Well that’s a bummer. I guess this isn’t going to work out.”

Tom: “But I like you.”

Summer: “And I like you, too. Just not enough to commit to that. I’m sorry.”

Tom: “Me too.”


But we have to see it. I GET THAT. We have to see what happens when things go awry. Even though it’s upsetting. TO ALL OF US (but especially these two fictional people in a movie).

17. The art scene — “SUFFERING”

Hello, film 102! This movie came out when I had juuuust taken a film class, so I was all, “Juxtaposition! Moving! Shapes!” And then this scene came on where Tom and Summer were both wearing turtlenecks, and I realized the obvious: I can’t take film classes, because I laughed at this too much.

18. The awkward run-in on the train which leads to hope

First of all, guys, I really hate running into people unexpectedly if I’m in the zone. You know? At the mall? Running errands? You are IN THE ZONE, and then you hear “Hi!” And everything’s thrown. All of it! Same goes for groceries, the movies, etc. Any activity you planned on conquering solo, it’s all over.

But then there’s the crush/like/ex run-in, where because you’re not ready, you just muster all the energy, and you scream-say your greeting? And appear overly friendly? So basically what I’m saying here is when Tom and Summer hang at the train and then hang at the wedding, that’s first my greatest dream and also greatest fear.


This is why I like this movie. Even though you just want to be like AHHH STOP MAKING THE MISTAKES WE HAVE ALL MADE, you can kind of bask in the, “I’ve been there, and UGH let’s please never talk about it” (except let’s please DO talk about, because they are now funny stories). So congratulations, this movie. We relate to you, all of us. At some point in our lives, I hope not now, because LET’S LEARN.


It is fine, it is all fine, it all works out! Tom realizes he needs to get his groove back, and Summer goes off and does her own thing. CHASING DREAMS. THEN CATCHING THEM. THE (500) DAYS OF SUMMER STORY.

So maybe let’s also think of it like this: if not for Summer, Tom wouldn’t have pursued the things he loves. And if not for Tom, Summer …I don’t know what. Wouldn’t have learned what she didn’t want. Growing. Necessary, but at times the worst. And courtesy of fil-ims like these, also very entertaining to watch.


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