Tuesday, August 11, 2009

500 Days of Summer and 10 years of Indie

500 Days of Summer

Over the past few years there has grown a subtle to some and overt to others, blurring of the lines between the mainstream and the world ‘under the radar’ or ‘left of the dial.’ Being Independent used to mean more than simply not having a major label or film house backing your project, it meant that everything about the work you were involved in was uniquely different, often challenging, conceptually reaching and more times than not difficult for the mainstream to swallow. Somewhere between the Arcade Fire and Little Miss Sunshine the world or indie became mainstream and we lost a part of the heart and sincerity that it once possessed. There are pros and cons to argue endlessly for the success of many bands, films and the like, but where these standalones once spoke of a beacon of freshness, they have now entered a world of cookie-cutting, over the shoulder looking, big budget houses.

500 Days of Summer is the prime example.

It’s not to say that Summer is a bad movie, it’s actually quite entertaining and enjoyable, it just lacks soul. There’s no depth to the main character Summer in the same way there’s no depth to the story as a whole, which plays out more of a blatant attempt to reach a mass, yet trendy sector. It’s overt in effort and lacking in sincerity. I found myself numerous times wondering when the story would take an interesting turn, when we would see something beyond eye candy and a reason to plug the soundtrack and rarely found much to hold to. The story is cute if nothing else. To me it just seems like (and I know this is ironic) a pop culture blog turned into a romantic comedy.

I’m sure we were due one, but I had hoped it would have taken itself a little more seriously and looked to design a more powerful ending over gimmicks throughout. Zooey is the postergirl for the mainstream hipster movement and she’s every bit of that in the film. Cliché, cute, but lacking. The film alludes to a deeper side, a romance of spirit and soul, a mystery and charm beyond. Sadly, that’s all it does. It uses voice over to emphasis moments that left alone would drag and feel void of emotion. They have to inform us when Summer is being something other than just static.

This, is sadly what the mainstream is doing to the indie movement as a whole. They are taking the bands, the icons, the films, the clothing etc. and cashing in on it. Which is smart, because it’s gonna sell and good because these artists deserve a buck, but still worrisome as it doesn’t appear that it will bode well for the future.

Things are pure up until the moment they are corrupted. Folks will tell you grunge was amazing until your mom heard about it and then Cobain killed himself. Disco was great until it became a marketing punchline more than a cultural experience and then folks just starting dancing to a different tune.

I see the likes of 500 Days of Summer as not so much a celebration of indie in the mainstream, but rather as a bitter reality that it’s days are numbered.

To be frank, I’m kinda excited about it.

As of late, I find myself quite bored with the same ol scenesters and the lack of originality that being pushed. Already the tides are turning and there is a post-indie movement. The sounds, smells and sights have yet to be pinpointed, but it’s there.

I’ll do my best to enjoy to the final days, but with the passing of 09 and the ending of a decade I feel a wind of change to the air. Gone are the days of 80’s pop, 70’s hippies and soon gone are the days of commercial bands like Nickelback and soulless country and autotune rap, but with it will go the freshness of indie rock. What comes next?

Your guess is as good as mine.

1 comment:

m. jejune said...