Accomplished Don

I think I recall seeing the trailer for Don Jon last summer.  It came & went, and now I’ve caught up with the Don on the small screen via pay per view.

I recall having an argument with a director once after seeing an audition.  The girl didn’t get the part even though she brought me to tears.  I asked him if maybe he didn’t cast her because she was too good.

“No!!” said the director, upset with me.  I knew I’d struck a nerve. It was an ensemble show and he was not just our teacher, but a bit of a svengali / control freak.  Of course he wouldn’t stand for someone he couldn’t mentor, someone who showed up with a full bag of tricks and all too ready to rock his world (although nobody used that expression in those days… just as, come to think of it, nobody really uses it anymore).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, formerly a child-star on Third Rock from the Sun wrote & directed Don Jon.  It’s a scary piece of work that’s maybe a bit too racy for Hollywood, concerning the prominent place of porn in the life of some people.  It’s a very offbeat romantic comedy.  I’ve written a few times in the past couple of years about comedy.  The willingness to go beyond the boundaries of the usual seems to guarantee laughs, possibly to guarantee commercial success.

But maybe Oscar—that naked statuette—is ashamed of letting anyone see his bulges.  Why is the most accomplished piece of work I’ve seen this year going unappreciated?  Perhaps because it feels taboo?

You may recall the trailer.  If not, here it is, and  –for once—the trailer actually resembles the film without telling you everything you need to know.  Wow, how mature, how daring.

And how unfortunate for Mr Gordon-Levitt, as in Oscar decided to Levitt alone.

It’s an astonishingly simple piece of film.  Confessions to his priest supply necessary pieces of narrative logic.  We are given a very subtle piece of film that deconstructs reality especially romantic reality as we know it.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson take us inside the modern romantic animal, giving us a few versions of hotness..  Julianne Moore is her usual intense and fascinating self.  Tony Danza is surprisingly good too.

Why didn’t this film get any acknowledgment from Oscar?  I often think that the big statuette took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, so I shouldn’t be surprised that the Academy got it wrong again.

Don’t let that stop you from seeing this wonderful film.  I know i’ll be seeing it again.

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