02 Dec

(500) Days of Summer

“Look, I know you think she was the one, but I don’t. Now, I think you’re just remembering the good stuff. Next time you look back, I, uh, I really think you should look again.”

– Rachel


The Setup

Another year, another birthday, another Birthday Super Munch. Leanna here to take you through the movie I picked this year. Last year I picked something light-hearted and silly, but this year I picked something a little more personal. (500) Days of Summer doesn’t have a whole lot of depth and complexity, but it premiered in the summer of ’09: a time when I was very impressionable, angsty, and desperately wanted someone to look at me the way Tom looks at Summer. We decided to play into the roller coaster of emotions Tom faces by making foods that are nice for sharing and pairing each course with a greeting card that tells the story of Tom and Summer through food puns.

The Food

We only had one real scene to work with when setting a theme for the food. Tom and Summer go to a diner and have a very awkward break-up that even pancakes couldn’t save.

Fun fact: I thought it was a sandwich they were eating, so we didn’t make pancakes! Oh well!

We started with some twice-fried french fries. If there’s one thing I’m grateful for in terms of Munch, it’s that it got me over my fear of frying and has made so many delicious dishes possible. And these fries were some of the most delicious fried morsels we’ve made. I always feel like in restaurants, they give you way too many fries, and it’s so much better to have a partner present with which to share them. You may not want to share these fries though. Sprinkled with salt and served with a large helping of garlic aioli, these were hard to stop eating.

We followed our fries with a sandwich inspired by the Fast Eddie at a local, dive-y favorite of ours, Honey Hole. We roasted some tri-tip from Rain Shadow Meats, whipped up a tasty au jus for dipping, and loaded up the sandwiches with caramelized onions, Mama Lil’s Peppers, and pepper jack. The meat was perfectly tender and juicy which made the sandwiches delicious but equally messy. Not a good first date food, but certainly filling and perfect for splitting with someone who you’re comfortable seeing beef juice drip down your chin.

To wash that all down, we made a triple berry milkshake. With all the fries and meats from the first two courses, we wanted something that would just sort of fill in any remaining space in our stomachs and hearts. I guess we could have put two straws in the glass to imply it was being shared, but since we’re reaching the end of the road for this relationship told by greeting cards, maybe this is a consolation milkshake for the party left with the bill and a broken heart. Too bad the one left with the bill clearly cried the hardest.

The Drinks

Karaoke, oddly enough, plays a big role in this movie. Tom and Summer have their first major breakthrough at a karaoke party early in the film, and later Tom goes on a drunken song spree during his emotional free fall after Summer (spoilers!) breaks it off.

I’d like to think Tom would enjoy the mint julep we made. The mint would cool and soothe his throat and the whiskey would amp up his liquid courage allowing him to sing a few more songs than he probably should. And the card? The perfect sentiment when you maybe start to realize that it wasn’t true love after all.

The Rules

📆 Drink whenever they tell you what (day) it is.

💁🏼 Drink whenever Rachel says something wise.

🍻 Drink whenever Tom drinks.

The Movie

(500) Days of Summer is the story of Tom’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) relationship with Summer (Zooey Deschanel). I put it that way because this film is very one-sided. Everything is from Tom’s perspective, and the film mostly follows his struggle with coming to terms that he likes Summer, that he wants more from Summer than she can give him, that he’s going to ignore that fact, and that his heart is broken by Summer because of that. We don’t see Summer hurting or agonizing over excruciating conversational details with her friends. Everything we know about her, however, leads us to believe that she is true to herself, always, and that she and Tom are fundamentally incompatible. It just takes him awhile to figure that out.

The first time I saw this movie, I thought Summer was the villain. Tom has good taste in music, he can carry a tune at karaoke, he’s an artist though a somewhat unmotivated one, he has a pretty dope loft, and he’s funny in that understated and sarcastic way. What’s not to like? Actually a lot of things! Tom and Summer are both pretty flawed people, I’ve just always been more sympathetic to Tom since he’s the one who gets hurt, but after this watch, I’ve realized that that probably isn’t totally justified.

The part of this movie that always really gets me is the expectations vs. reality scene. Summer invites Tom to a party after a seemingly romantic night at their old coworker’s wedding after they’ve broken up. Tom walks in with his expectations and ego running high and leaves feeling totally dejected and frustrated when he sees Summer showing off an engagement ring to her friends.

I get it – Tom throughout this whole movie has terribly high expectations of Summer, and for no real reason other than his unwavering hope to play out the idealistic scenario he’s mapped out in his head. She never gives him false reassurance and is actually pretty honest with him at every point. This scene is no exception. But it nonetheless breaks my heart every time I watch Tom’s expectations fall so far flat of reality. Prior to dating André, I frequently misread what I was getting from other people I was seeing. When you build someone or something up to be just right for you and they fall short, it’s just devastating. It hurts so much. So maybe Tom’s expectations are unfounded, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less when he realizes he can’t be with the person he thought was right for him.

So Tom is frustrated with Summer, but he gets over it. He meets Autumn. He probably makes the same mistakes again. He should really have listened to his sister to begin with. Girl called it from the beginning. I wish I’d had her advice back then, but then again, I probably wouldn’t have listened to it.


The Reviews

André: 😐 It was okay. I did enjoy the nonlinear method of storytelling where they skip around between the beginning middle and end of JGL and Zooey’s relationship, and some of the other effects they played with, like when you see JGL’s expectations and reality play out side by side. Apart from that, the rest of the movie was rather forgettable.

Leanna: 400 out of 500. I was really excited to watch this movie again, and I did enjoy it, but not as much as I used to. Some of the lines fell a little more flat, I didn’t find Tom quite as endearing as I used to, and I’m pretty over the whole quirky girl thing at this point. And this movie is max Zooey Deschanel.

I'm so over this.

I’m so over this.

Ben: 61%. Yeah, I know that seems a little low, but I feel like this movie is really effective at hitting a teenager’s ideal of love, and maybe a lot of actual adult relationships as well, but it largely feels like it is two people in search of this idea of love that is wistful, mystical, and magical where love never really seems to follow those guidelines. And sure, movies don’t need to imitate reality, and maybe I haven’t fallen in love with enough other people to really speak on love or loss of love as a topic, but I felt it to be extremely hard to get on the movie’s level a lot of the time. And even the greater concept and idea of the film being that love is encapsulated so much by the idea of “love at first sight,” a topic it initially seems to decide is not correct and then whole-heartedly doubles down on, feels decidedly simple in an exceedingly complex world. The character portrayed by JGL (pronounced Jiggle) is an exceptionally mopey and relatively needy guy who would probably be a complete pain to be in a relationship with. (500) Days of Summer is film in which it presents its aesthetic and idea of love as something you should buy into, when that idea feels flawed and its aesthetic is one-sided and incredibly bland. It is a movie that wants you to fall in love with it, and won’t necessarily do the same back. (500) Days of Summer is just a bit of a bummer.

Want to download some of the cards you see in this post for your own uses?
➡️ Look no further. ⬅️

While ideally all of the cards would be in there, we seem to have misplaced one of them so you will just have to settle for 3 out of 4.

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