Don Jon Blu-ray Review
There’s an Internet meme going around that shows a smirking Joseph Gordon-Levitt and reads, “Stars in the first movie he writes and directs. He plays a sex addict and his girlfriend is Scarlett Johannson.” All of those are true of the man and his debut, DON JON.
Jon Martello loves a lot of things in life: his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, and his girls. At the top of the list, though, would be porn. It’s a ritual. He starts with stills and moves to videos. He could have any girl in New Jersey (and has had his share), but it’s the sound of his computer turning on that really gets him going. His personal masturbation is 11 times in one day. It’s a wonder he has time to work out, hit the clubs and earn his nickname, Don Jon, after Don Juan, the fictional Spanish hypersexual who started popping up in plays and poems in the 1600s.
And yet there he is, ordering Grey Goose and assigning numbers to women. One is a sexy blonde in a slim red dress ordering a vodka-cranberry. She’s at least a nine, her name is Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) and she has an accent as thick as the bubblegum in her mouth. They begin a relationship, complete with, you know, feelings and rom-coms (like the kind Anne Hathaway and Channing Tatum might star in). They even meet each other’s families. Eventually, they have sex. But again, it’s not porn, and it’s only a matter of time before Barbara catches Jon with his pants down.
From the opening credits—complete with images of sexy cartoon foxes, busty weathergirls and Phoebe Cates coming out of the swimming pool—it’s easy to nail DON JON as a perverted sleazefest. But it’s not just about some North Jersey douchebag hooking up and whacking off. In actuality, those that see it as only that and think of Jon as a role model completely miss the point.
In between all of the thrusts and discarded tissues, there’s a message. (And no, it’s not that you can act like a complete jerk and feel OK about it once you confess your sins in church.) Sure, there are a lot of jokes to be made (a number of which flop, primarily because it’s so hard to chuckle along with that sort of person), but then there’s no reason the topic of sexual addiction can’t be approached in more lighthearted ways than it was in, say, 2011’s SHAME.
DON JON is a romantic comedy with its heart and brains in a far different place than most. But what’s wrong with that? It has the smarts to think outside of the box and show how relationships can be torn apart by issues that can be more dangerous than we’d think.
DON JON premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it screened as DON JON’S ADDICTION. For his work, Gordon-Levitt earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his screenplay.
DON JON BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video transfer of DON JON is very good, with a clean picture throughout that captures details in skin, clothes and more, as well as fine clarity in both daytime and nighttime scenes.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Subtitles in English and Spanish. While the dialogue is as clean as one can expect in a romantic comedy, the audio transfer actually surprises at times, most noticeably when putting rear speakers to good use in the club scenes.
Making of DON JON (6:44) is a promotional piece for the movie, complete with interviews and clips.
Don Jon’s Origin (7:19): Joseph Gordon-Levitt discusses how his directorial debut, first thought of in 2008, came to be.
Joe’s Hats! (4:50) looks at the many roles—writing, directing and acting—Gordon-Levitt had in DON JON.
Objectified (5:07): This piece looks at the way the character of Jon objectifies others in the movie.
Themes and Variations (5:39) puts composer Nathan Johnson under the spotlight.
HitRECord Shorts: There are five here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “My Favorite Things Request Video,” “My Favorite Things Remix,” “My Favorite Things Remix: Film Preservation,” “My Favorite Things Remix: Love of Objects,” and “Vinegar.”