The “(500) Days of Summer” BenchApr 15th, 2010 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
Another Downtown Los Angeles location that my fiancé and I stalked this past weekend was the famous bench from 2009’s indie hit (500) Days of Summer. A few weeks ago, fellow stalker Eileen emailed me to tell me of the bench’s location and to send me the above photograph of herself and her roommate taken while there. I should mention here that I didn’t especially care for (500) Days of Summer. Actually, it’d be much closer to the truth to say that I didn’t like the movie at all, and for the very same reason that I didn’t like 2006’s The Break-Up – it was far too depressing. I went in expecting to laugh and came out completely crushed. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the two main characters didn’t wind up together, being that the movie’s tag line read, “Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn’t.” But, being that I’ve always been an eternal optimist, the ending came as a complete shock to me. For those who have yet to see (500) Days of Summer, I apologize if I just ruined it for you, but I think the movie would be a whole lot more enjoyable to watch if you know beforehand that the ending is not a happy one. Anyway, I just about died when I saw Eileen’s photograph of the bench and noticed the little plaque glued to the back of it which heralds its famous cinematic appearance. That plaque is just about the COOLEST THING EVER! I think ALL movie locations should have something similar on display! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! So, even though I wasn’t a fan of the movie, I just HAD to stalk the bench to see that plaque with my own two eyes.
The bench, which shows up twice in (500) Days of Summer, is a very significant location in the movie. It first appears in the beginning of the flick – on “Day 95” – as the spot where aspiring architect/greeting card author Tom Hansen (aka Joseph Gordon-Levitt) takes new girlfriend Summer Finn (aka Zooey Deschanel) on a date. He describes the bench as his favorite place in all of Los Angeles thanks to its view of some of Downtown’s most historically significant buildings. After Zooey jokingly points out that the bench also has a view of quite a few parking structures, Tom says, “There’s a lot of beautiful stuff here, too, though. I don’t know. I just wish people would notice it more.” I love that quote as it is sad fact that L.A.’s beauty is overlooked much of the time. Southern California gets a bad wrap more often than not, but if you really take the time to look, there is a staggering amount of beauty and history and magic in this city. That’s one of the things I love most about stalking – I get to see so many unique and fascinating areas of L.A. – like Tom’s bench – that I might never have known about had they not been featured in a movie. So, thank you, Hollywood!
Tom’s bench, and the one immediately to the right of it, shows up yet again on “Day 488”, in the scene in which Tom and Summer run into each other after she has married someone else. See what I mean – depressing freakin’ movie!
The park where the bench is located, a tiny, little spot known as Angels Knoll, also appears in the movie, on “Day 259”, in the scene in which Tom and Summer pretend to have Tourette’s syndrome.
Tom’s bench is a very cool little spot and I am happy to report that it looks much the same in person as it did in the movie.
Except that it now has that uber-cool filming plaque proudly displayed on its back. LOVE IT!
The view from the bench is also much the same in real life as it appeared in the movie. And it really is quite a view!
Because the movie filmed at so many unique and interesting locations and did such a fabulous job of highlighting Los Angeles’ beauty, I was quite shocked to find out today, thanks to IMBD’s (500) Days of Summer trivia page, that the original screenplay depicted the characters living in San Francisco! Los Angeles is so prevalent in the storyline – the city could almost be considered the third main character – that I can’t even fathom what the movie would have been like had it been filmed anywhere else.
Ironically enough, while we were stalking the bench we ran into yet another stalker who was doing the exact same thing! So, we, of course, got to talking to him and he alerted me to this (500) Days of Summer online movie locations map, which was apparently transcribed from a map that was given out as a promo during the flick’s June 24th, 2009 premiere. I know I am repeating myself here, but that map has to be just about THE COOLEST THING EVER! Why is something like this not done for all movies???? Do I have to think of everything? Sheesh! Anyway, as it turns out, my fellow stalker was visiting L.A. from Vancouver, British Columbia, which just so happens to be Mr. Michael Buble’s hometown. So, since I just booked tickets for a little May vacation in the Pacific Northwest and have been busy making a list of all of my must-see locations up there, I asked him if he happened to know where MB’s childhood home could be found. Well, let me tell you, he just about flipped out right there on the spot, gave me the weirdest look, and immediately hightailed it out of there. Not kidding! The guy practically ran from me – he could not get away fast enough! He obviously thought I was a complete and total freak! LOL Ah well, I guess not everybody loves a stalker.
Big THANK YOU to Eileen for telling me about this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The (500) Days of Summer bench can be found in the western portion of Angels Knoll Park, which is located at 356 South Olive Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. The bench’s exact location is denoted with a blue circle in the above aerial map. Angels Knoll is open daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during Winter months and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during Summer months.