North Texas Daily

Interview: Joseph Gordon-Levitt on “Don Jon” and college

Interview: Joseph Gordon-Levitt on “Don Jon” and college

Interview: Joseph Gordon-Levitt on “Don Jon” and college
September 26
19:42 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

Rating: 4/5

Audiences have been aware of Joseph Gordon-Levitts screen talents ever since he stepped onto a baseball field with co-star Tony Danza in 1994’s “Angels in the Outfield.” Now, the acclaimed actor has broadened his skill set to the other side of the camera— writing and directing the hilarious new comedy-drama “Don Jon.”

The film tells the story of Jon (Gordon-Levitt), a college student who objectifies everything – including his car, crib, church, family and women. His best friends, Bobby (Rob Brown) and Danny (Jeremy Luke), even gave him the name “Don Jon” because of his womanizing qualities. Yet even the finest of ladies don’t even compare to the buoyancy that Jon achieves while sitting in front of his computer watching Internet pornography.

Discontent with his life, Jon decides to embark on a journey to a more satisfying lifestyle, learning substantial lessons about love and relationships from two different women, Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and Esther (Julianne Moore).

While the “Don Jon” does feature many unsettling images, it’s not a movie about a man and his porn addiction, as many have alluded. It’s a transcendent portrayal of people who become so absorbed in themselves that they lose their ability to interact with others on a more humanistic level.

Porn has deadened any chance of Jon being able to have any true feelings. His girlfriend, Barbara, played by the towering and gum-smacking Johansson (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” 2012), has an overly romanticized perspective of relationships because she watches too many romantic movies. She is determined to break Jon of his ways and make him a housetrained husband.

Joining Johansson in superior acting is Danza, who reunites with his “Angels in the Outfield” co-star, as Jon’s father. His quirky behavior and family quarrels are sidesplitting. But one cannot forget the gifted Moore (“The Big Lebowski,” 1998), who brings warm and charming qualities to Esther, a woman that Jon encounters in one of his classes. She is one of the more prominent characters of the film, and her performance tugs at your heartstrings

Not only is “Don Jon” an excellent feature with clever editing, explosive sound effects, witty dialogue and engaging performances, but it’s a film that raises many profound issues of modern relationships. So be sure to make a trip to the theater to see this unforgettable piece of entertainment.

The North Texas Daily had the opportunity to talk to Danza, Gordon-Levitt and his on-screen sister Brie Larson earlier this year at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and recently had the chance to catch up with Gordon-Levitt about college classes, his website and side project hitRECord.com.

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“Don Jon” opens everywhere tomorrow.

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