Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Don Jon

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Internet dilemma...make racist comments on Reddit or YouTube or check out porn?

Don Jon – 4 out of 5

There are many undeniable truths out there in the world and one of them is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome as shit. The guy is a tremendous actor, he can cover the shit out of a Tom Waits song and, when you look at pictures of him, you can’t help but assume that he always smells like fresh linens and would be totally cool with helping you move this weekend if you asked him. JGL gets even cooler as he shows, in his directorial debut, that conquering the world of directing seems like “no big thang” to the man.

Bro!  He even lifts!

Don Jon is all about the womanizer and porn addict Jon (JGL). He spends most of his time trying to nail as many women as possible and, when he’s not doing that, he’s hopping on PornHub to get his porn fix. Jon’s mother (Glenne Headly) and father (Tony Danza) want him to settle down and start a family and it seems like that’s out of the question until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). However, can Barbara handle Jon’s secret?

But the true question should be:  Can Jon handle Barbara's secret?  I'll give ya a hint...
she saved New York from aliens!

First off, Don Jon is hilarious in its breakdown of the male condition when it concerns pornography. However, it’s in this breakdown that the film proves to be a brilliant insight to how porno, and it’s increasing ease of acquiring it, has ultimately ended having a negative impact on personal, intimate and sexual relationships. There’s a fantastic sequence in the film that pretty much sums up how porn has, sadly, ruined men to the realistic expectations of sex and it shows how Jon admits to himself that, despite having no difficulties at all getting women to come home to his sex dungeon (aka bedroom), porn offers up situations and fantasies that just don’t really occur that often in real life and has given Jon unreal expectations about what he wants out of sex and arousal.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt not only wrote a film that was intriguing and hilarious but his directing eye was just as amazing as his acting. JGL really stands out during sequences of the film that involved fast cuts and montage sequences (of porn viewing) that perfectly showcased Jon’s obsession and were also extremely funny. Unique camera angles and fast editing really helped get the point across that Jon is a busy man—he has girls to nail, porn to watch, drivers to yell at when his road rage hits critical mass and asking forgiveness at church on Sundays before family time where he gets berated for not settling down. JGL really gave you the sense of how Jon lives fast and wants to party while he’s still young.

Jon's friend on the left looks like he'd be Turtle from Entourage's cousin.

I already mentioned in the previous paragraph that Gordon-Levitt is a tremendous actor and, even with his added duties of being writer and director of this flick, he didn’t rest in the acting department as he made the character of Jon interesting and engaging to watch as he tries to overcome his crippling addiction. Honestly, all the players in this film are not only written incredibly well but are performed amazingly by some truly talented actors…and one that sort of surprised me.

I wonder if Moore kept the bowling ball corset from
The Big Lebowski.
One of the film’s strongest aspects in the film had to have been the actresses. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic as Barbara and really has that Jersey girl-type of character down and Julianne Moore is awesome as Esther, a woman Jon meets while attending night school and lends some insight about his intimacy issues. However, the real show-stealer for me was Brie Larson as Monica, Jon’s sister. Throughout the film, Larson has no dialogue and, instead, has her nose buried in her phone (another great commentary on our society) and, at a single moment in the film, offers up insight that opens Jon’s eyes to what is really playing out around him. While this is amusing, Larson is fantastic at speaking volumes without actually saying a word for most of the movie.

Smart phones, it's like they were invented for the sole purpose of making us busy
while in situations we want to escape being with our families or other
people in general.

However, the one actor that surprised me the most was Tony Danza as Jon’s father. When I first heard he was in it, my initial reaction was, “He’s still alive? The guy from the Elton John song?” (And it turns out that song is called “Tiny Dancer”) I really didn’t think much of him being in the film other than the possibility of him just being a walking/talking unintentional joke but I was shocked by how great he was in the film and what he brought to the movie and, furthermore, shocked to hear the guy from Who’s the Boss? swear. Seriously, I can’t remember seeing Danza in anything where he swore. What I’m trying to say is I became a man when I watched it.

Hold me closer, Tony Danza.

Don Jon is seriously an amusing, yet touching, film that does a tremendous job of providing some excellent commentary about contemporary relationships and the impact they endure thanks to all the free porn the internet bestows upon us like a gift from the gods. Even more amazing is the fact the film provides this insight without feeling like the film is trying to make a serious point about how strange modern-day relationships are…so, people who hate thinking can laugh at the film and the sex jokes without realizing that they might be learning something (no offense meant to the people who hate thinking). Don Jon is just one of those rare comedies that doesn’t disappoint in the humor department but actually has something to say as well.

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