Men, right? That’s basically the gist of the article, but if that’s not enough for you, please continue. I know some of our readers enjoy shorter stories. So, here’s the sitch. Today, we are talking about a weird phenomenon in the world of pop culture. Specifically dealing with the movie 500 Days of Summer, and even more specifically Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character.
Depending on whether you ask a man or a woman, you will get wildly different reactions to the central character’s behavior. This is due to the fact that almost every man thinks that he is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And you know what? They’re right. Just not in the way that they think they are.
For those of you who haven’t seen the film, let me give you a quick synopsis. Jo-Go is a failed architect working at a greeting card company that vaguely resembles Hallmark. More on this later. One day, a woman by the name of Summer starts working at this company. At first, Jo-Go or ‘Tom’ doesn’t like her at all, calling her a bitch without ever talking to her. Truly, his only tactic seems to be weird leering at this point. Then, one day she comes into the elevator and sings a Smiths song with him. He immediately falls in love.
Now, the setup of the movie is a bunch of scenes bouncing around the 500 days of their relationship, from casual meeting to inevitable breakup. This is the reason that the scene with the Smiths song is important, because this is when we begin to see the divergence of Tom’s expectations of Summer and the reality of herself as a person who exists outside of his mind. And, like Perks of Being a Wallflower, we were all tricked by our love of the Smiths into thinking that this is completely normal behavior. You can guess how well that turned out. Unfortunately, considering how often men do this, the behavior is typical.
So, after getting drunk and never actually stating any sort of positive attitude or affection for Summer, she basically forces him to admit his feelings. Once he actually does this, they begin to go out and for awhile things are peachy. They do those annoying things that couples at the beginning of relationships do where they like play hide and seek in IKEA or whatever. Just gallivanting around Target like a bunch of assholes.
Eventually, when Summer realizes that Tom is the type of guy who says things like “I prefer the way women dressed in the 50s,” she moves on from the relationship and tries to give herself some distance. Rather than handling this like a normal person might who is going through a breakup, Tom immediately spirals and has to be consoled by his sister and his doofus friends to stop breaking all of their dinner plates. To quote Tumblr user Capstellium, male anger is not cute. And yet, men everywhere think this is acceptable behavior.
A few months pass, with Tom now going out of his way to actively hate Summer and talk badly about her to everyone they knew together. She ends up leaving the company and he doesn’t see her anymore, but the pain that he holds onto tightly remains alive and well. It isn’t until he sees her again at a mutual friend’s wedding and they dance together that he thinks things might improve, that they could try again. This is only heightened by Summer inviting him to a get together.
Here is where we should note that Summer is by no means blameless in this. Like everyone, she has her faults. Only, she says what she means while Tom the passive aggressor never states anything clearly, hoping that people will pick up on his vibes or something.
When it comes time for the party, Tom believes that this will be when they reconnect and get back to the good ol’ days where she still laughed at his jokes. Surprisingly, the party doesn’t live up to his unrealistic expectations, so rather than enjoy himself, he opts instead to make self-deprecating jokes and alienate himself further. The film climaxes when Tom sees that this party is for Summer’s engagement to a new person that she met in the interim. He leaves the party, more dejected than ever while simultaneously lapping up whatever weird sorrow he is creating for himself. Sadboy levels at maximum.
Side note, something that I recently noticed when watching the film is that another favorite sad boy ‘film nerds’ everywhere love also wrote greeting cards for a living. This of course being Theodore from Her. Why is this a trope? I really think that the writers think it is deep, but they only do it so that they can have a scene where their main character (who’s definitely not just a self insert) can give a monologue about the commercialization of love or something like that. I’ll tell you right here and now, that’s wack.
The last time that we see Summer and Tom together, Summer is now married and living her best life, while Tom is finally pursuing his true passion, all because Summer knew that there was more to life than loving the same obscure media with a weirdo dude who owns more than one Joy Division shirt. But here’s the kicker, despite all of that, he doesn’t learn his lesson. She spells it out for him in plain English from the jump and he slowly, so very slowly learns and grows a little. Then, in the final shot of the movie, he meets a woman named Autumn and all of it goes out the window.
All I am saying, humble gentledudes, is that you should get to know the women in your life as individuals who exist outside of your weird, warped brain. And, when you start to listen to them for awhile, you will learn so much about the world around you that you are likely blind to see.
In regards to Jo-Go, turns out there is a difference between being in love with someone and being in love with the idea of someone. Don’t be like that. Just, don’t.
This was written by a velociraptor from a period of time much cooler than our own. Jk, could you imagine? It was Nathan, again.