Monday, July 20, 2009

"(500) Days of Summer": A Love Letter to Two of Our Favorite Things, Downtown L.A. and Burbank IKEA



For our Friday night date night -- yep, our final date night before Blogger Baby 2.0 arrives (farewell, date night! See you in three years) -- Maria and I traveled to the Arclight in Hollywood to catch a showing of new indie comedy "(500) Days of Summer," now in limited release.

We knew it was a romantic comedy, and that it had been receiving strong reviews... but imagine our surprise to discover it's also a love letter to the Los Angeles you don't see much in film. "(500) Days" stars Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as a lovestruck twentysomething guy living in a downtown loft and working at a greeting card company, also in an old, rehabbed downtown building.

One day he meets Zooey Deschanel's character, who takes a job as his boss's assistant. Soon their whirlwind romance takes them through downtown spots such as the Redwood and the Million Dollar Theatre (which, for creative license in the film, is still a working movie palace); Gordon-Leavitt's character is an aspiring architect who also spends his days admiring buildings like the Fine Arts and the Bradbury.

And then there's the sequence where Gordon-Leavitt and Deschanel flirt their way through the Burbank IKEA. It's always fun-- and a tad surreal -- to see locations where you've spent countless hours, suddenly up on the big screen. (Union Station even makes a cameo.)

As Gordon-Leavitt and Deschanel note in the promo video above, "(500) Days" manages to showcase a Los Angeles as a city, not as a showbiz mecca. As a matter of fact, the film avoids even mentioning what city they're in until halfway through; I kept recognizing things, but wondering if they were doing the typical thing of trying to pass L.A. off as another city. Thankfully, that wasn't the case.

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