"Juno," "The Wackness," "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist," "Garden State" even "The Go-Getter," one of our friends calls these indie-friendly flicks, "The Shins of Indie Movies," i.e., the pleasant, but completely toothless and innocuous indie-rock band on Sub Pop records that many of us enjoy, but all are completely aware aren't exactly high art or life-changing.
These are the "offbeat" and "quirky" romance movies places like Stereogum, Pitchfork and the younger movie crowd tend to adore and we must admit we anticipate and even enjoy many of them too (of the above, "The Go-Getter" is our fave and the least indie offensive), but it's undeniable that some of these "indie hipster" films can be obnoxious, sickeningly twee and cringe-inducing in their emo-ness. They're films that Fox Searchlight loves to put out (as Spoutblog likes to say derisively) and they sometimes have the quality of a guilty pleasure ("The Wackness" is kind of that way for us, but we totally understand those that loathed it).
One film we're tentatively looking forward to is the fanciful-looking "500 Days Of Summer" and this one totally fits the aforementioned, potentially offensive bill. It stars Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and it is the feature-length directorial debut of Marc Webb, a...wait for it... video director (more and more these days a "video director turned filmmaker" is a pejorative or a least a: proceed with caution fyi; see the godawful, "Henry Poole Is Here").
Webb has directed a lot of ok videos for a lot of unremarkable bands (AFI, Good Charlotte, Miley Cyrus, My Chemical Romance, Matisyahu, Fergie, All American Rejects). Where are we going with all this?
We've always felt this way about a lot of these films, but had a difficult time sometime articulating what the problem with them was. Anywhoo, the hilarious post by crazy, but lovable coot Jeffrey Wells inspired some of it. His sort of contempt for the twee, fey indie boy kind of makes us laugh and it sort of points to the problem with these emo-wussy films. The film premieres at Sundance '09 and Wells says he's not having it.
"I'm least interested in seeing, no offense, is Marc Webb's 500 Days of Summer, which is about Joseph Gordon-Levitt flashing back to his relationship with Zooey Deschanel and trying to figure out why she broke up with him. I'm already suffering just thinking about this film.Ha, Wells is such a character and while he's being typically melodramatic (and machismo) in his own way, he's onto something and every one should be at least aware of the potential inherent problems with these films and sometimes we're a little concerned when people are completely oblivious to their downsides. We're not saying it's going to suck and we're not going to say we're not vaguely anticipating it (it has musical connections which could be OK, and or at least put it on our radar), but we're saying: if you don't see the pitfalls in these films you're kind of naive.
Any guy who doesn't understand exactly what's happening and not happening at any moment in a romantic relationship holds no interest for me. Only losers go "what went wrong?...waaahh" when things don't work out. Winners know what's going to happen before it happens, and they hold the door open for the woman as she leaves, and they give her cab fare."