I’ve never seen the film 500 Days of Summer. And I’m not inclined to. It is directed by Marc Webb, who directed the 2012 version of The Amazing Spider-Man, which I wrote about at the time, The Not So Amazing Spider-Man Writers. As you can tell from the title, my problem was with the writers, not the director. But the director is generally the guy who says, “Yes, this screenplay is ready; let’s shoot!” And look: if the guy were an artist, would he be directing such dreck?
But the other day, I came upon this one sequence in the film that is shot in split screen. It is “Expectations vs Reality.” The principle character is coming to the birthday party of his ex-lover. He imagines that they are going to get back together. So on the left side of the screen, we see his expectations for the party, and on the right, we see the reality. In general, I’m not a fan of the split screen. In fact, I even wrote that I did not see a narrative reason to ever use it. Well, I think I was wrong. This is just marvelous:
I did hop over to Wikipedia to see if the whole of 500 Days of Summer might be worth checking out. But it turns out the whole film is more or less what you would expect from the director of The Amazing Spider-Man: boy falls in love with the wrong girl, eventually realizes it, finds the right girl. But this three minutes of film is great.
If you get rid of the whole love-interest aspect of the reality part of the story, that’s pretty much every party that I’ve ever been to. It’s also why I don’t like going to parties — and why I always bring a book.