Don Jon

"There's more to life than a happy ending."

Hello and welcome back. Before I talk about today's movie, I want to briefly talk about another movie I watched, Kill Your Darlings. This movie was about Allen Ginsberg and his crew and while I didn't take issue with any of that (though admittedly I found the whole movie kind of generally uninteresting) the casting made the movie a really uncomfortable experience for me. What do I mean? Well Daniel Radcliffe is portraying Allen Ginsberg, and I just got really weirded out when Harry Potter started kissing men. Especially when the man was the kid who went crazy at the end of Chronicle (who I think is Harry Osborn in the upcoming Spiderman movie). I'm not super into watching dude make-outs to begin with, but I particularly don't want to watch Harry Potter make out with a two-time supervillain, doing some crazy drugs, and then manically jerking off. I don't want to see like... any of that happening. I know I know, he's not always Harry Potter... but really he's always Harry Potter. Also did I mention the movie was pretty boring? Basically when some gross sex act wasn't being performed (get a bj from a girl in the stacks while you lock eyes with your best friend and are also committing a book crime) people were being super pretentious about writing. I didn't end up making it through the whole movie, I just got to a point where I felt like there was no point in continuing.

She's very convincing in this role, almost TOO CONVINCING.
But that isn't the subject of today's post, which does admittedly have to do with a lot of sex, it's just a lot less weird and no one gets murdered at any point, and they didn't let Michael C. Hall in on the proceedings which was probably for the best. Don Jon represents the first directorial outing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay. To add a third role, he also stars as the eponymous Don Jon. So more or less he everything'd this movie. Don Jon is a film about a guy, who would you guess it is named Jon, and his friends call him Don Jon, because he's so good at closing the deal with ladies inadeclub (I have a Sean Paul related speech impediment). Jon states early on that not much matters in life to him, except his boys, bangin' random ladies, his car, working out, his family, and of course, constantly watching internet porn on Pornhub. Yeah, that's right, its all about the pr0nzzzorrzzz or whatever I don't know. Anyway, Jon is doing great with that arrangement until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who if you haven't been paying attention to the media is so attractive that it will melt your face off. Jon immediately compromises everything about himself to attempt to snare this lady, and eventually he succeeds.

Actually the same goes for JGL. I'm concerned.
Is succeeding that great though? Jon starts to have doubts, even though he thinks he's in love and everyone else is really taken with how attractive Barbara is. Jon continues to really pursue that having sex thing, but even after he still feels like ehhhhhhh something's missing, so it's back to porn, until he gets caught by his lady, who is disgusted. Jon makes up a lie, saying it was a gag from his friend, which no doubt also explains away his boner, but okay he's off the hook. Things go back to the way they were, but "the way they were" involves a lot of Jon just doing whatever he's told, and he doesn't seem really excited about that (and really who would be, it seems not awesome) Jon is increasingly dissatisfied with being an accessory for Barbara (who is often engrossed by romantic movies we are shown) and eventually gets caught with the porns again. This time Barbara dumps him, and he is incredulous. During all this, Jon meets Esther at a college class Barbara is making him take. Esther is a recent widow who attempts to apologize to him for having a breakdown outside the lecture hall in front of him (which was admittedly awkward). Esther is generally a lot less uptight, and the two of them become sort of kind of friends, and later sex pals (you know after Barbara gives Jon the sack, no not that one).

How you doin'?
The general theme of the movie I thought had less to do with sex, and more to do with relationships, and our conceptions about how love and relationships should work. Jon had a certain idea about what his relation to women was, and Barbara had her own notions about what "her man" should be like. Neither of these constructs was ultimately any different than watching pornography say, because in the end they're all one-sided affairs. The movie's final act goes on to explore the idea of fulfilling relationships needing to be mutual rather than just one party's conception of their ideal thing. This is all a lot more thoughtful than I might have expected a movie about a clubbin dudebro who is addicted to internet pornography. Then again, it seems like I never fail to underestimate the abilities of JGL, who is undeniably talented (and from this movie we can see that he has a multitude of entertainment related skills). I am now thoroughly excited about the prospect of JGL directing an adaptation of The Sandman.

I'd be out of line if I didn't mention Tony Danza is his dad.
If you are interested in a romantic-ish comedy-ish, that gets two ishes because it doesn't fall into most of the cliche bullshit that the genre implies, Don Jon is a pretty good bet. This probably isn't your life, but it is entertaining to watch, and actually manages to be thoughtful about things like interpersonal relationships, different kinds of "love" and what it might take to be happy, with or without another person. You usually don't get even one of those things, so I was suitably impressed by JGL's delivery.

That's it for this week! Join me next time for new ridiculous movies. I know for starters that a Need For Speed movie is happening next week, and also I am admittedly excited about the Veronica Mars movie, also next week.

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