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Monday, August 10, 2009

Cinebanter #76 - 500 DAYS OF SUMMER

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The MP3 of Cinebanter #76 is available here.

In this episode, Michael and Tassoula spend 500 hours talking about 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, creating their longest show ever recorded. And in The Last Five®, Michael catches up with a bromance comedy, while Tassoula discovers an Australian classic. The breakdown is as follows:

• 00:00 Intro
• 00:32 500 DAYS OF SUMMER Discussion
• Break
• 51:48 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 52:13 The Last Five®
• Break
• 1:27:36 Credits & Outtakes


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Special thanks to Brad Daane and Mark Cummins for providing the original music in this episode.

Reviews and/or notes of every movie Michael sees can be found at his MichaelVox website.

Tassoula has reviews, musings and movie-related product links at Tassoula's Movie Review Blog.

Feedback is always welcome - you may leave comments here or e-mail the hosts at

We hope you enjoy the show!

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Blogger Ellen said...

Hey Cinebanterers,

I just listened to this episode and I really enjoyed your discussion, particularly Michael's "why is Summer into everything cool?" rant?

First, I think the reason that we don't find out what Summer's aspirations are is because Tom isn't all that curious about them. We're seeing the romance from his point of view, and part of the reason they (spoiler?) don't work out is that he doesn't take the time to learn what she really wants to do with her life. There are a lot of women in these kinds of indie romantic comedies who seem to function in this way, but "(500) Days" at least slightly built in a justification at the end with the final scene on the park bench. I think that scene implies Tom wasn't right about Summer because he didn't get to know her as a whole person, just as a cartoonish perfect girl, but the down side is that as the audience we really don't either.

(And I love Zooey Deschanel and it frustrated me, too, that we don't get more about her life.)

My second point is about the retro culture thing. I am pretty close in age to the Tom and Summer characters and I got most of the references including the Joy Division T-shirt Tom wears as a kid and then as a grown-up. Granted, I'm a pop culture nerd, but...

Michael, I agree with you to a certain extent that there are too many references for an older audience, but the only one that didn't really work for me was the Smiths one, and the reason might break your heart: Most people in their 20s listen or have listened to the Smiths, and I would expect that of them. When Tom was shocked that Summer knew the Smiths, my reaction was, "Has this guy ever been to college?" That's where my friends and I all listened to the Smiths. It just felt too obvious to me, and was one of the reasons that, besides the scene in the park, the romance of the movie left me cold.

Truly, I was more moved by the romances in "Whatever Works," as dysfunctional as they were. Don't worry, I am getting a doctor to look at my heart of coal.

Whoa, this was a long comment. Anyway, keep up the great work!


P.S. I actually think in terms of looks Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel are evenly matched. Even though I didn't love this movie I would still like to see what they do next -- they both pick interesting projects.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Sweet Pea said...

I'm going to have to agree with Ellen here.

I'm 30 years old. I listened to the Smiths in college. I watched Knight Rider both as a kid when it first aired and when USA re-ran it every afternoon when I was in junior high school.

I know the Clash and the Sex Pistols and have seen Sid and Nancy- again, I went to college.

The Graduate? I WENT TO COLLEGE. Everyone sees this film. It's also become a part of the greater culture- it's one of those films that people can reference even if they HAVEN'T seen it.

One word: PLASTICS.

I think your issue is more that you think of those things as "yours". They belong to your age group and no one younger than you can like them, which is simply a bunch of crap. I have older sisters who listened to a wide variety of music, read lots of different types of books, watched lots of different movies and I had parents who did the same. I was exposed to a wide swath of culture throughout my youth that technically would "belong" to someone your age or older.

I'm almost offended that you would assume that someone my age wouldn't know the Smiths or the Cure or Joy Division or the Clash or the Sex Pistols. I now 15 year olds who are better versed in those bands that people who are as old or older than you are.

As a last thought, the theme song to Charmed was a Smiths song. I didn't care for the show and did not watch it but I knew a lot of girls that sought out that song and proceeded to become big fans based on that.

12:35 PM  
Blogger MichaelVox said...

Ellen and Sweet Pea, thank you for writing.

Ellen--you're right about Tom not being curious about Summer and the whole film being from his point of view and therefore we as the audience also don't learn about her. She could have been filled with all this depth that we weren't allowed to learn about. Good point.

Sweet Pea--I have to confess that a lot of what I have to say about pop culture touchstones is tempered with a sense of "I was there first" which we all sort of have. Particular instances of this will probably be lodged in my memory until the day I die. The The did "This Is The Day" when I was in mid-high school, then it became a commercial that all the hipsters were humming in the 90s. James' Laid album is one of my favorites, someone remade the title track, it's used in the American Pie trailer, and now suddenly everyone knows it as well. To this day, I can't stop mentioning that I loved JGL before everyone else knew who he was.

I suppose I feel ownership over these things way more than I should. By the same token, I know when I'm late to the party: Nirvana, Radiohead, Springsteen.

I've been thinking about this pretty deeply and I come to the conclusion that The Smiths in College equivalent for my age group (late 80s) is Bob Marley Legend. Bob died in 1981, but every single dorm room had two copies of LEGEND, even though most suburban college kids had never heard any other reggae. It remains one of the top five albums in terms of sales of all time.

If I were ten years older and had seen Bob live, I'd be pissed that all these college kids had claimed ownership over him.

Some of my high school students told me about the Charmed Smiths song. I guess good stuff sticks around forever.

Individually, these cultural signposts are okay--I think I have trouble when one character has all of them.

Thanks for writing in, both of you.


9:22 AM  

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