Sunday, October 6, 2013

Don Jon Review

You know those movies that you never hear about until the day before they're released, look kinda good, so you go see it the next day out of curiosity, not knowing whether it's going to be good or bad? Yeah, that was Don Jon for me. And yeah, it's a movie that has me split.

I can't quite put my finger on why Don Jon has me split though. Is it because of its content? A bit, but it doesn't bother me a lot. Is it because of its meandering nature that ruins any chance for a tone to be established? It's bothersome, but not really a way to ruin the movie for me. What about the repetitive nature of the movie? Well I understand why it's repetitive, but that doesn't help the movie out from being boring. It's just a cavalcade of confusion for me. But that's for later down the road, might as well start from the top.

After a seizure inducing title screen that loudly proclaims this is DON JON(and you thought Porygon was a seizure nightmare...)... actually, no I need to stop for a second. The opening is just Don Jon being flashed in your face for a good 30 seconds, and is completely disorienting. Why does it open up with giant letters that fill the screen with seizure lights? Anyway, the movie properly starts of with DON JON explaining the most important things in his life; his pad, his bod, his family, his church, his women, his porn, and his other things that I can't even remember despite the fact the film drills in his routine Every. Damn. Minute. But out of all of those things he cares about, it's his porn that he values more than any other thing in his schedule.

See, JON is a porn addict, so we spend several montages of him just looking at porn. There's even a sequence where he describes the difference between porn and sex, where porn is much more fulfilling because of the dissonance between the viewer and the actual porn stars, while sex doesn't live up tot he lofty expectations that porn does. So pretty much porn is better cause it's fake, and sex is worse cause it's not as fake. Make of that what you will.

The internet is for porn!
Now I will admit that this is a concept I can get behind. The idea that porn gives a lofty expectation that sex is incredible and extremely sensual, but in real life may not live up to expectations. That's a great concept for a movie! Analyzing the differences between reality and fiction! I can get behind this! There's just two problems with why this movie just doesn't click with that interesting concept.

1) This movie is repetitive. Repetition is a very tricky tool to use in a movie. When used properly, it can be used to show how a character has progressed throughout the movie and how they've changed into a different person, for better or worse. In this movie, repetition is used to drill his routine in and see his daily cycle. The problem with this is that for a large part of the movie, his routine doesn't change, and when it does, it's insignificant.

Take "his bod" for example (which I know a lot of women would like). He goes a gym in the beginning of the movie and works out. In terms of repetition, this is a base line. We see him on a normal day before the events of the movie happen. But as the movie goes on, it barely changes at all. He still works out at the gym, except one time he works out with his girlfriend, played by Scarlett Johanson. When the movie ends though, he still goes to the gym, but instead of lifting weights, he plays basketball. Deep?

When the entire movie is based around a routine, but that routine barely changes, then the audience gets bored eventually, and before the movie was even halfway over I was bored at watching him go through the exact same motions.

2) If you're a man, you're a terrible person. Oh my word every guy in this movie is a meat head. I know fully well that I am a guy, but every single man here is just arrogant, standoffish, and pretty much are Jersey Shore rejects, and that is a statement I don't make lightly.

I would say T-shirt time, but this movie beat me to the punch...
Every male character, with the exception of DON JON's two friends, is your stereotypical Italian New Jersey man. They're rude, not particularly nice, and even at times can be a bit sexist. I know, a movie about a porn addict that's one night stands women and then immediately goes for porn after sex is a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiit sexist. Surely you jest! But speaking of the main man himself, DON JON is very unlikable half of the time. It's only towards the later half of the movie that he actually develops some level of maturity to his persona, but even then it's just skin deep and comes right out of nowhere without any decent buildup.

Speaking of that late in the game mood change, that's really the one part about this movie that I found slightly enjoyable. Mostly because the focus was on Julianne Moore's character, an older woman that takes classes with John at a local college. Every single time she's on screen, she seems to have the most logic and sense out of all of the characters. She isn't obsessed with sex and is the most level headed of the entire cast, and because of her revelation, the movie ends on a mature and very "real" note. It's almost touching the way that it ends.... before being blasted with the seizure inducing credits say DON JON in giant flashing letters. Because why should we end on a nice note when we can end on a GIANT FLASHY ENDING ZOMG!!!!!!1!!!1!!!

If I could have this flash, I would
I just this movie really underwhelming and a complete disappointment, even though I had no expectations for this movie at all. I will give Joseph Gordon-Levitt this; he has an eye for angles. His camera work and the way he uses music works strangely well and was the one thing in this movie that I was positive about. The rest is just repetitive, boring, and makes me hate all of the characters.

I give this movie 2 Hail Mary's out of 5.

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