Wednesday, August 19

expectations


I first saw the trailer for (500) Days of Summer back in January. I’m somewhat of a of a trailer junkie, so I tend to see a trailer within a day or two of it’s online premiere. This one instantly peaked my interest, as it was full of all my favourite things: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon Levitt, a bizarre, indie love story that isn’t actually a love story, some sort of wicked awesome dance sequence that included a cartoon bird, The Smiths, fabulous cinematography and a great costume designer.

In just over a minute, I was sure of two things. First, that I was really screwing myself over by insisting on searching out trailers the moment they leak online, because in the dismal winter of January, summer and the release of (500) Days of Summer seemed impossibly far away. And second, it was officially my favourite movie of all time.

Yes, I decided that without even having to see it. It was something I was as sure of as I am sure the sky is blue.

And it is. Blue. Yup.

Before I knew it, it was a month ago and I was sitting in the theatre on opening night eagerly waiting for the opening credits to roll.

And it was amazing.

Beyond amazing. I’ve seen it three times now and I can safely say that I could watch this movie every day for the rest of my life and not tire of it. Hey, maybe I could be that girl who sees (500) Days of Summer 500 times. I wonder if I’d get a cool prize or something. I should write Marc Webb and get on that.

The movie is exactly what the tag line states: a story about love, not a love story. It was funny and heart breaking and poignant and tragic and hilarious and whimsical and frustrating and beautiful.

The whole movie was filmed beautifully, but my favourite scene was especially amazing. It involved a split screen with two square frames (come on, squares, what’s not to love!). Both frames were showing the same scene: JGL’s character going to a dinner party - except the left frame showed his expectations and the right frame showed reality (also, I’d like to add that Hero by Regina Spektor played during this scene, which definitely increases the awesome by at least five or ten points.)

And, obviously, the two scenes differed greatly. We’re all familiar with that. Expectation VS Reality. And reality is a dirty bitch that usually comes out on top.

That particular scene really stuck with me. It’s so, unfortunately so, very true to real life, relationships especially.

What we expect, what we want, what we fantasize about, is never ever going to actually happen. And if it has for you, well then you’re just a lucky son-of-a-bitch and we don’t want to hear anything from you anyhow.

With relationships, its so easy to get caught up in expectation; it’s so easy to fixate on one particular person and be so convinced that they are absolutely perfect for you, the only person you could ever love, and before you know it, you’re completely blind and deaf to reality.

But, meh, who wants to listen to reality anyhow? Reality sucks. Reality is telling me that Edward Cullen doesn’t actually exist and neither do vampires. Boo on you, reality.

Fictitious vampire aside, sometimes it’s important to pay attention to reality.

There’s a reason why things don’t work out and that’s just because they don’t.

Just because she loves the same obscure novels as you, just because you both have an intense love for Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise, just because you both jumped in an elevator and pressed the same floor and then put your phone numbers on a $5 bill and in a novel and then found them years later, doesn’t mean it’s meant to be.

Well, unless you’re John Cusack and Kate Beckingsale.

But you’re not. (No, sorry, no matter how hard you try, no matter how many windows you stand under with a boom box held over your head, you’ll never be John Cusack.)

The themes in the movie remind me of a book I’m reading about human behaviour and decision-making and how easily the smartest of smarty-pants can make the most astonishingly awful decisions. I’m currently learning about loss aversion and am realizing that it very much applies to relationships.

Take me for example (I could potentially regret this when I’m done, ha). I was in a four-year relationship. It was a train wreck. There were multiple break ups, multiple engagements (Yes, rings were involved. I actually pawned the first one out of anger, but that’s another story.)

There were warning signs and opportunities very early on to end it. It was actually ended many times but still, despite logic, I kept getting back together with him.

Why? I can barely figure it out now. Other than the fact that I’m a complete idiot, I guess. But really, it ties into loss aversion.

The perceived loss of a potential breakup was just too much and I wanted to avoid it as much as possible. And, it could get better. That’s what I kept telling myself. Oh, I’ll stick it out. We’ve made some progress now. Yeah, it can only get better.

Ha, right. Sure it will.

It boiled down to this: the thought of backing out and having to confront the significant other and do the breaking up, of facing the awkwardness of telling people what happened, of my mom’s Mother Knows Best attitude and her Told You So speech, of figuring out what to do with our shared pets, and especially of having to drag my ass all the way to the U-haul store to get boxes to pack up all my shit…that all seemed impossibly unbearable compared to the insanely small chance of the relationship working out, despite all of the warning signs telling me the complete opposite.

Loss aversion. You should look into it. It explains a lot of things: political fuck-ups, the success of flat-rate, unlimited cell phone plans, savvy investors losing everything in the stock market and my failed relationships.

Yours too, I’m sure.

All I’m trying to say, I guess, is that not everything is meant to be. And yes, that’s terribly cliché, but less so than “there are plenty of fish in the sea”, so just be happy I didn’t go there. Despite being cliché, it’s true. Some things, like the love I have for my two best friends, are certainly meant to be. Other things, like me finding a nice vampire boy to love for all eternity, not so much.

And relationships? They come and go, start and end. Cherish the ones that last, and take what you can from the ones that don’t.

The movie had a happy ending, if you were wondering. And if you saw the movie and disagree with me, well then you just have a different opinion of what a happy ending is.

And your opinion is wrong.

Just sayin’.

1 comment:

  1. I watched that movie with a dead, cold, broken as-fuck-heart. the ending was absolutely perfect. if it had been any other way I would have tried to walk out and i would have failed at said action because it was the end of the movie and that would have frustrated me even further and would therefore have led to me crying in the movie theater bathroom. A happy ending is never a happy ending to me.

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