Monday, February 24, 2014

Everyone knows it's fake but they watch it like it's real f--king life.

Being that I'm not a handsome young stockbroker, nor a handsome young conman, or even a handsome young man wrongly sold into slavery, it's rare that I feel like I'm watching myself on the big screen. Sometimes, though, a story comes along and simply feels right. You lean forward, thinking This is me. This is my life story. The only thing better, is when that story comes from an unexpected source. You did this?

But as I watched the story of the handsome young guy, who loves his car, loves his house, loves his church, loves working out, loves all the sex he's having night after night and especially loves his internet pornography, it happened. I finally saw myself.

Well, other than the fact that I'm not really handsome, or even young, really, when you think about it.
Oh, and my car sucks. And I actually hate my house.
I don't even attend church, and haven't been to the gym in weeks.
Sex, nightly? That's even possible?
But, like I said, other than that, this is exactly like my life. I mean, to a T.


Now most of that is a joke, but I'm not kidding about how much I loved Don Jon. Written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this film, at least for me, perfectly captures the pitfalls of modern sex and relationships. By that I mean one thing that can be boiled down to three words: Guys love porn.

Jon is a good guy. Yeah, he hooks up with a different chick every week (all at least 8's), but otherwise, he's a solid, if somewhat unspectacular individual. He is also a creature of habit and fierce routine. While his jerk-sessions may be the focus, everything Jon does is mired in a monotony that he actually enjoys. There's a certain freedom to the control he has over his own life, if that makes sense. And as a man, I could not only see this as an acceptable truth, but one that I actually (sadly?) envied. At least initially.

Anyway, two women enter Jon's hilariously regimented life, and surprise!, f--king destroy it. The first, and ever so boner-inducing, is Barbara Sugarman, played by the luscious Scarlett Johansson. Like in real life, Barbara's hotness initially masks her flaws and pathetic endgame. Showing up soon after (and as a result of Barbara bettering), is the decidedly less boner-inducing (boner reducing?) Esther, an eccentric (weird) old(er) lady played by Julianne Moore. Esther is taking the same night class as Jon, and the two somehow become friends. The waters, it appear, may have become muddied.

Initially, Jon is freaked out by Esther's erratic (and foreign) no-bullshit approach to everything, but eventually he warms up to it. In fact, it's rather refreshing when juxtaposed with Barbara's annoying little games. The dichotomy of the two women and what each represents for Jon is very interesting, even if presented rather transparently. That said, I liked the idea a lot. The games of our childhood, complete with sugary and not-at-all-good-for-you reward, versus the quests of our adulthood and the satisfaction of seeing something through. Oh, and there's lots of porn clips throughout.

Jon. Fighting the good fight.
Speaking of things that I know nothing about, let me mention again how much this movie surprised me. Sure, the previews did a fine job of detailing the showier aspects of Jon's life, but they did a disservice to how perfectly the film captures the zeitgeist of the era it was created in. Jon breaking down his love of pornography and his masturbation routine may come off as comedy, but I'm convinced this is a resounding truth all across the world. Jon, unlike many of us, can have damn near any woman he wants, but none of them he says, can compete with porn. On paper, this may seem ridiculous, but as it's presented in the film, it makes perfect sense. If you don't believe me, ask a man. Any man. At any point in time, ever.

See, porn and the women in the videos (and I guess the men, too) are changing expectations and attitudes about sex. Esther realizes this, and tries to enlighten Jon. And while those evolving expectation have probably been evolving forever, the pervasiveness of hardcore sex, at the very least, is speeding up the whole process. Jon, like many of us that aren't eighteen and a half, remembers a time where you had to earn seeing naked people doing naked things. Now, you just turn on your computer or phone and ding! let the magic happen (a fact that makes me endlessly appreciate anyone reading these words versus...well...). Soon, there will be a generation of guys (and girls) who know no better. They'll have the same misconceptions that Jon does, but the person older than them, the Esther, will probably say something like, In my day, we had to use our smart phones to watch people have sex. As opposed to having it uploaded to our brain like Neo in The Matrix. 

I know kung fu.

Let me end my pathetic attempt at saying something and talk about something actually important like breasts and such. Here are those sexy sluts, the Yays and Boos.


Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

  • We open things up with a special montage of hotness. Let me high five the guy who decided to include the cavalcade of sexy ladies from Deal or No Deal. Brilliant!
  • Ernie Davis, er, Rob Brown as Jon's friend Bobby. Not only is this guy a very solid voice of reason, but he drops this line Your mom do got some big ass titties so matter-of-factly, you have to love him.
  • Honestly, the rules of real sex vs. porn are perfect. If you watch this movie with a man, turn and watch him during this scene. He will be compelled to nod. Like, if you held his head absolutely still, his body would sway back and forth instead. 
  • Tony Danza. Holy shit, Tony Micelli is hysterical in this movie. His reaction to how fine Barbara is, is priceless (especially his awkward goodbye). Though the TiVo argument was pretty funny, too.
  • His mom, too. I loved her.
  • The movies at the theater. Hopefully SO HARD SO FAST 3D ends up getting made like all the ridiculous flicks that Grindhouse spawned. 
  • Confessional. Forgive me father for how awesome I am...
  • That Carl's Jr. commercial. Apparently, they're not only serving delicious codfish, but also massive boners.
  • As a former educator, let me say this movie is possibly the most pro-school film ever. Not only will the Black Widow dry hump you in a hallway if you promise to take a class, but when you actually do? Cue the choir: Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaallelujah.
  • One thing Jon and I really do have in common? Incessant cursing behind the wheel. 
  • The sister must be a huge Clerks fan, because she drops some wisdom Silent Bob-style. You know, there's a million fine-looking women in the world...But they all don't bring you lasagna at work. Or in this case, vintage pornography at school.
  • The ladies. Sure, Scarlett Johansson gets the short end of the stick playing the bitch, but damn does she look good doing it. Lately, Julianne Moore has been killing me, but I really enjoyed her as Esther. 
  • And finally, Joseph Gordon Levitt. Not only did this guy write and direct a very entertaining movie that obviously resonated with me. But the credits started to roll at the 84 minute mark. F--king genius.
That voice. Equal parts sexy and Please God, make it stop.
Boooooooooooo!
  • Twos and threes are some open-minded ladies. C'mon ladies, you're better than that.
  • Of all the unnecessary, awful and unsexy things in porn, the moment they show the guy's face is number one.
  • When finding the right clip actually bums you out. Aww.
  • Barbara. Hot? Undoubtedly. Crazy bitch? Indeed. Who doesn't want a guy that likes a good Swiffer? And yes, I mean the actual cleaning product, not the sexual position. (You don't know what that is? Rookie. It's when the girl has a long white beard and, while standing, you grab her ankles together and push her around the house totally naked until one of you passes out) Um, I'm pretty sure that's a thing.
  • I was just reading e-mails! We've all been there. Seriously. I find it best to read all my mail at two in the morning. Without pants.
  • Poor Jon is forced to set his masturbatory personal best, which I think turned out to be 11 times in one day. This isn't a Boo exactly, other than it reminded of this guy Craig across the hall in college. Craig confided in me that his personal best was 22 times in one day. He even went on to describe the state of his penis after that twenty second and final time. He makes the international sign for jerking it (and/or bottle shaking), dry heaves and shrugs, all in silence. That moment still haunts me. And now...you.
  • Speaking of beating your dick like it owes you money, poor Jon ends up pleasuring himself to Barabara's Facebook page. So sad...
  • Another lesson learned in college: The Carlson Rule. If you think about jerking it, you pretty much have to. There's no going back once the thought crosses your mind. Jon, it seems, knows all about this rule.
  • Lying to your friends about the crazy sex you're having. Huge Boo. 
  • Internet history. Ladies, do yourself a favor. Don't look. It's not going to end well.
  • Subtitle Guy: C'mon, bro. Leave a little to the imagination, please. While it could have said [crinkling], this dude went with [condom wrapper crinkling].
  • And finally, the end. It was satisfying thematically, I guess, but I really didn't buy it. I don't know how I wanted it to end, but that definitely wasn't it.
While I was writing this post, one of my friends came over and we, of course, got to talking about movies. I told him I was working on my post for Don Jon and that I was kind of embarrassed. It seemed like I was going to be saying way too much personally about internet porn and sex in general. When I started telling him what the movie was about, he didn't even hesitate for a second when he said, So it's about me? Apparently, it's about us.

All of us.

19 comments:

  1. BAHAHAHA! Yes, this is about us, all of us!

    And I'd totally let Barbara Sugarman walk all over me. That's why I married her, and let her give me three kids! And...that's why I only get to actually have sex in the missionary position and once every other week. It's a fucking curse.

    But pre-marriage dry humping was epic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here's yet another entry into the Comment Hall of Fame.

      Ah, we're like Tobey Maguire walking toward the camera at the end of Spider-Man.
      "This is my gift. My curse."

      Epic, indeed.

      Delete
    2. Is it horribly gross that I now want to dedicate my Mt. Rushmore to cinematic characters I want to have sex with?

      Delete
    3. Not. At. All. I started that one too. Got to Jessica Alba...then became light-headed and had to go lay down.

      Delete
    4. It's truly worrying and disturbing I didn't come up with the idea Fisti has for your blogathon.

      Delete
    5. You could still probably make sweet love with the four dudes on your list. I mean, one at a time anyway.

      Delete
    6. I went there.

      http://afistfuloffilms.blogspot.com/2014/02/mt-spankmore.html

      Delete
  2. I like your writing technique, it's different (in a good way) and sets your blog apart from the countless other bloggers out there.

    I wasn't interested in seeing this movie at first, but after your review, I'm really considering it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has come a long ways since his early childhood role in Disney's Angels in the Outfield

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha. Technique. Suggests that I write like this by design, rather than being incapable of anything else. That said, I appreciate what you're saying here. I do.

      Gordon-Levitt has definitely come a long way. Who knew the kid from 3rd RockI would be such a talent. Anyway, I easily recommend this film. It's short and an easy watch (in addition to being, in my opinion, loaded with hilarious truths).

      Delete
  3. Hey, hey, hey, ladies nodded during the rules of real sex vs. porn too! Well at least I did, actually we both nodded, me and the guy I saw it with. So I guess the film really does say some universal things.

    I'm with you about the ending - I didn't buy Jon being cool dating a woman who wasn't a 10. He would probably give her 5 or 6, he was so shallow. But I did like the film and Jon's parents were awesome as was the whole confession routine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. I had hoped that ladies would nod along, too...I just wasn't sure how much females would actually believe (or admit to believing) about guys. You're a little younger, so it might be different. I'm not sure how much my wife wanted to believe.

      Anyway, I'm currently arguing the ending with a friend as I type this. He says it's decidedly un-Hollywood, but I think it was a bit of a cop out. He thinks I'm an idiot. I think we're both right.

      Confession routine was great. The fluctuation of the numbers was clever and amusing (maybe even impressive).

      It's weird, I never really thought of Jon as shallow until you said that. I guess I was too in awe.

      Delete
  4. If you can see me reading this right now, my friend is holding my head still, so I am currently swaying my body back and forth in agreement.

    I'm counting the days till we get to see people have sex uploaded to our brain like Neo in The Matrix. I reckon it'll be another 13 years. In your part of the world probably 25.

    After that I can say in my best Keanu voice.... I know the swiffer postion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I stayed up late enough to see your comment come in live, as opposed to taking up to it (as usual).

      Your future jokes are much appreciated, but I'm actually kind of pissed about that Neo quote. Because I was going to edit something in along those same lines, damn it.

      Once again, you beat me to something.

      Damn it.

      Delete
  5. Good review M. Not an amazing debut for JGL, but still one that's good enough to have me interested in what the guy has next up his talented-sleeve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess i'm with you that it wasn't amazing, but I still think that it was very, very good. Especially for a first time writer/director. I think the story is a lot smarter than most people will give it credit for.

      Maybe that's just me...

      Delete
  6. See ... I knew I'd been away from your blog too long. It's been ages since I had a smart, articulate blogger add words like "boner-inducing" to my lexicon. That said, I skimmed most of your review because I actually plan to see this at some point, and I want to go into it knowing as little as possible.

    I've never really understood why guys dig porn so much. I watched a bit in high school, just to appease my curiosity, but then I was *done.* I do like a bit of gratuitous nudity from time to time, mind you, but I like the best bits to be left to my imagination. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. STEPH!

      Whoa, good to hear from you. Skim away, please. Probably for the best regardless.

      I like to use my imagination, for a second, then have it 100% confirmed or denied with egregious visual evidence.

      Maybe that's just me...

      Delete
  7. "I like to use my imagination, for a second, then have it 100% confirmed or denied with egregious visual evidence." Ha ha! That's awesome. :-) I'm pretty sure my husband is the same. He's never completely admitted to me he digs porn ... but, well ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe when it comes to his thoughts on porn....maybe instead of going for a full admission...maybe just use your imagination.

      Delete