I enjoyed (500) Days of Summer because it was the only film I watched that actually showcased LA’s architecture. While Crash showed the gritter side and La La Land showed the glitzier side, this movie talked specifically about buildings. For example, the main protagonist Tom points out the Fine Arts Building, although he incorrectly lists one of the architects as “Walker and Eisner” rather than “Walker and Eisen.” Tom also points out the Continental Building as “LA’s first skyscraper”.
What struck out to me was the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain and the Bradbury Building. In fact, I wouldn’t have noticed the Bradbury Building if I hadn’t read The Four Ecologies. The fountain was used a setting to express joy and Tom even sings “You Make My Dreams Come True” in the same scene.
Tom is an architect and the first time he takes his girlfriend Summer to a park bench, he says (about LA’s architecture) “I wish people would notice it more.” That struck out to me because there’s a difference between seeing and noticing, just like there’s a difference between hearing and listening. The real-life locations from the film were beautiful, but how often do people really notice them rather than just pass by them? That’s what the movie really taught me: to notice things that people take for granted.
What I also liked about the movie is its portrayal of being a fish finding love in a big city that seems small. The line “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” is repeated many times throughout in some form, yet we know it’s not that easy. On one side is Tom, who can’t see anyone else but Summer in LA. Then there’s Summer, who doesn’t want to be tied down to anyone and doesn’t believe in love yet still cares about Tom. LA is known for its darkness and light. Tom and Summer each represent them, but both see the other side at some point in the film. Tom points out the hypocrisy of greeting cards and Summer gets married fairly quickly to a guy she knows is the one. By the end, both are romantic in their own way in LA.
— Alexandra Nguyen