Long Don Johnson.
This film really touches me where I love being touched – the groin. But at its heart, DON JON is a love story. But then, isn’t all porn?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (LOOPER, 2012) writes, directs and stars in this cumming of age tale that Entertainment Weekly calls “smart and supremely confident.” I don’t usually concur with generic splash-phrases, but this one fits like a watertight vajayjay over a flagpole anal impaler.
Actor Gordon-Levitt has written and/or produced and directed a few smaller pieces before this feature film debut, yet DON JON positively thrums with confidence and guile, the master stroke of a master stroker. It’s a lot of fun – until it gets “messagey” about sex.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, buffed, muscle car, New Jersey goombah accent, is Jon, a virile bachelor addicted to porn sites, looking for satisfying sex in all the wrong ways and places. When he commits to a partner that he feels will supply that mythic headrush that he gets from porn, he is proven wrong, and finds it with a most unlikely partner.
His friends tag him “The Don” for his creamy ease at one-night pickups. But his real life sexcapades are a repetitive blur, always ending with dutiful missionary, and him sneaking out of bed afterwards to punch up computer porn, where he doesn’t have to do any work and can just “lose himself.” Then it’s back into bed with the unsuspecting sleeping conquest. “Why can’t real life pussy be like porn?”
Every week, Jon attends Catholic mass with his parents, confesses about his sex and computer masturbation, and does his penances of Our Fathers and Hail Marys while he works out.
Tony Danza, old and skinny, yet ripped like a cable, in a great role as Jon’s loudmouth father. (Poor guy got typecast so badly after WHO’S THE BOSS? with his sonorous cries of “Angelaw.” Is it cheeky coincidence his wife’s name here is – Angela?! But he never says it once!) Glenn Headly is doting mother Angela, who only wants a grandchild (and for Tony to stop calling her “Angelaw”).
Now let’s clear up something: Jon’s addiction to porn is a condition inborn, intrinsic to the male of our species (“Every guy watches porn every day, and anyone who says they’re not is lyin’!”) so is not really a plot point per se, although it is made into one in the context of Jon’s character journey. He compares the “tits… ass… blowjob…” etc. of every real woman he beds, to the porn he knows and loves so well; until he realizes it’s about more than that (yeah, right…).
Jon’s frank voiceover in the film’s opening scenes is basically just everything we guys have spoken about in schoolyards and locker rooms and backstage dressing rooms since sex was invented. And his observations will leave every man wondering why he didn’t make this film, at the very least, write it. “I like a good pussy-eating clip, but from down here, there’s nothing good about this! …Missionary is the worst position in all of fucking: the tits lie flat, you can’t see her ass, you can’t really touch her ass cos she’s lying on her back; they won’t let you do it from behind cos they want to look at you, and it’s on me to do all the work…”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for president!
Levitt tabulates so many porn and sex idiosyncrasies that all men have thought about but never shared outside their circle of drinking buddies that his acuity wins men over in the first few minutes. As for ladies, whose default position is that all men are pigs, or who refuse to believe their man finds more pleasure in porn than in her soporific attempts at sensuality, Levitt has another way of winning them over: taking off his shirt.
Busty butty blondy Scarlett Johansson (THE AVENGERS, 2012) is Barbara Sugarman (looking as close to a porn actress as is allowable in real life without being raped every time she walks to her car in a deserted parking lot), a “dime” that Jon feels might be The One, because “no one in this club could look better than her.” For this “10” he’s willing to amend his lifestyle. But instead of finding a worthwhile recipient of his affections, he finds she is wielding her sexuality to extort commitment from him – that type of commitment that involves him changing to suit her.
Wearing a Latina-load of makeup, her ass thrust aft-ward like a baboon in estrus, Barbara is a sucker for romantic movies, “People eat that shit up like it’s real!” (Bonus points for Channing Tatum in one of his many hilarious cameos: the square-jawed, sensitive lover in the romcom on the big screen.) When Barbara gives it up on her schedule (which is meant to be the prescribed way of “keeping a man” – making him wait), is Jon satisfied? No. Still not as good as porn.
When Barbara catches Jon watching porn, and is highly offended, it is like every calm-down argument/lie we’ve ever had in order to get that taint back into bed without losing our erection from what we’ve just been doing.
We realize Barbara’s agenda is ominous, as she diverts the conversation away from cleaning products “cos it’s not sexy!” while they’re in a store where he wants to buy same. Instead of letting him even say that he enjoys cleaning his apartment, she plans to force her cleaning lady on him. “Don’t buy mops now – it’s embarrassing!”
Julianne Moore is Esther, an older woman who makes Jon see sex is a two-way street – in order to really enjoy it. Which is demonstrably wrong if you’ve had sex with at least three people. At the same time. It’s a woman’s rationale of what makes sex good. Levitt is making this movie as if he doesn’t believe everything he said in its opening scenes. Why? So he can fake sincerity and continue to get laid in real life! Jon is meant to arc towards enlightenment, but – as I said in VELVET GOLDMINE – why can’t enlightenment be the realization that he was right about being shallow?
When we are too young to know better, sex is the alpha and omega; we arc to the realization it is merely a diversion, a power play, an evolutionary necessity – like pizza, even if it’s bad, it’s still kinda good. But DON JON connects sex to “love” (whatever that is), as if good sex can only be achieved through good love. Royt. And Jon’s “loving” connection with Esther is through the tragedy of her dead husband and son. Is this any way to conduct a mentally stable sexual encounter?
DON JON is another movie that highlights the madness of a society that revolves around sex yet denies that it does. It’s about the fact that women cannot EVER satisfy all a man’s needs. It’s just not the nature of the human species. 50-year marriage or a one-night hound dog, every guy in every relationship is unsatisfied. And anyone who says he is – is lyin’.