Friday, March 21, 2014

Don Jon (Film Friday Review)

Friday, March 21, 2014 12:02 AM with 8 comments

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Don Jon

Director:
Writer: 
Starring: ,
Rated: R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use.

Synopsis from IMDb: 

Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull "10s" every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don't compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women.

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MY THOUGHTS:

I'm not going to pretend to be the biggest JGL fan of all time. I love the guy, but I didn't watch 3rd Rock From the Sun or pay attention to any of the work he did as a child, and while 10 Things About You remains one of my favorite movies ever, I was all about Heath Ledger in that film (although JGL was pretty darn cute). When I really started taking notice of his work was roughly ten years ago when he starred in the independent gem Brick which is a fascinating teen noir. It's seriously awesome...I'll have to put that on my list to review. Since that film, I've loved pretty much everything he has been in: 50/50, 500 Days of Summer, Looper, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, etc. He's easily become one of my favorite actors and I'll watch pretty much anything he's in. So when I heard he was writing, directing, and starring in a film, I was so excited. 

Don Jon follows a dude named Jon who is the epitome of the term guido. He works as a bartender, is obsessed with his body, and tries to bag a different girl every night. Even though he has no problems getting girls to come home with him from the bar, he still prefers satisfying himself through watching porn than having sex with real girls. Jon is basically a girl's worst nightmare, but JGL truly brings so much charisma to the role, I didn't find him nearly as disgusting as I would have should almost any other actor played the part. He goes to church every Sunday (and every Sunday he confesses about how many girls he slept with and how many times he watched porn that week), he loves his mom, and isn't really that bad of a guy--even if his priorities are all sorts of screwed up. 

 

Things begin to change for Jon when he meets his match in Barbara (Johansson), the beautiful blonde who knows exactly what she wants in a man and isn't afraid to use her looks to manipulate. Barbara refuses to sleep with Jon like his normal one-night stands, and after a month of dating, she has him wrapped around her little finger. He's become a one woman man, and is even taking night classes in order to get a better job...but even Barbara cannot compete with his porn. 


It is during one of his night classes that he meets Ester (Moore), an older woman who begins to open his eyes to the way relationships should actually work. Ester is dealing with her own problems and meets Jon when he has to pass her in a doorway while she is having a breakdown.

I really enjoyed Don Jon. I knew going in that this movie was about a guy with a porn addiction, but I loved how much heart JGL gave to the character. While I didn't always agree with his actions, I cared about Jon and wanted him to find his way. The acting is truly phenomenal from our lead characters to the secondary characters like Tony Danza who plays the role of Jon's father with perfection.  


I'm not going to go to in-depth about this, but I really liked the way this film sneakily examines the subjection of women. As a director, JGL isn't preaching from his soapbox, but it's obvious that the man isn't happy with the way women and their bodies are used to sell things. It's just cheap exploitation. I could right a term paper on this, so I'll just stop right there.

Overall, I was impressed by JGL's writing/directing debut. For such a risque subject, the film really shines with heart and humor. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Definitely recommend.

8 comments:

  1. Great review - I watched this over the Christmas break, and though it did not blow my mind away or anything, I did find it interesting, especially the portrayal of women JGL uses. I also really liked the editing - the fast cuts and the repetition of different scenes, in particular. I should really write more film reviews, already for academic reasons (I'm a film student), but I feel like I always have TOO much to say and then just begin the ramble. :D

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    1. You should definitely write some film reviews if you're a film student! I bet they would be awesome. Good points on the style. I really likes the fast cuts and the use of repetition, too. This didn't blow my mind either, but I was definitely impressed that he made this character so redeemable. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Hmmm…still not sure if I want to see this. I love the actors, but the storyline…just not appealing to me at all. I actually teach a section on pornography in my Jurisprudence class so maybe I should see the film and see if it helps at all (I could count it as work time, I guess!) Glad you enjoyed it! ~Pam

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    1. The storyline wasn't that appealing to me either, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you teach a section on pornography this might actually help you see the other side to it. It's not going to change your world or anything, but he definitely makes the character relatable. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Sounds great, I forgot to see this when it was out. And I did watch 3RftS, and we're currently re-watching it, so I'm keen to see this because it will be so different to his younger work

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    1. Way different. He's usually the skinny nice guy, but he was full muscular guido in this one. Which was kind of awesome. I hope you like it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I couldn't agree more with this review! For me, the best part of the film was how it handled the treatment of women. Like you said JGL wasn't out on his soapbox but he got his point across in a wonderful way.
    And the movie over all had some really great parts in it. Like the Rom-Com scene? It was so funny.
    Really great review!

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  5. I did watch JGL in 3rd Rock, but I wasn't fanatic about it. I am pretty fanatic about watching all of his newer stuff, though. So I believe you when you say he makes you hope he finds his way, even if he is kind of douchey as he goes about it. :) Great review...I'll definitely have to check this out, especially being his directorial debut.

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Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!