First, a disclosure: I do not think Hall & Oates deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and "You Make My Dreams" is one of their only songs that I really like. If we're merely going to start inducting popular groups that made decent pop songs, then they should have started with Boston and Duran Duran. But whatever, it is what it is.
Anyway, this is a good song, but more importantly, it's distinguished in history as one of modern film's all-time greatest uses of a pop song. I'm always impressed when a filmmaker finds a new innovative way to convey specific emotions. One of the best examples is the way Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" was used in Almost Famous. It's impossible to watch that scene without truly feeling the way music has the power to unite people, and that was the whole point. Here, we get a different kind of emotion: The "Hell yeah, I did it!" moment that people experience when they accomplish a long term goal… even if that goal is as simple as fornicating with someone.
For anyone that's ever finally succeeded in requiting a long-unrequited crush, you know this feeling. It's like you expect the whole world to come out and high-five you and say "Way to go, champ!", like some Little League coach. It's stupid, but we all feel it under the circumstances. This scene in (500) Days of Summer conveys that emotion better than I ever thought it was possible to be conveyed, and Hall & Oates' best song is the key. Few films are able to do this: Use heavily formalized elements to get at real emotional truth. It's always great when it works, and this scene is an absolute delight.
This was originally written and posted on Facebook on June 2, 2014
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