CATEGORIES Movie NewsCan Joseph Gordon-Levitt's stock go any higher? If "Don Jon's Addiction," a new film which he wrote, directed and stars in, is any indication, then yes. Premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival, the movie has JGL playing against type alongside an all-star cast of Scarlett Johansson, Tony Danza and Julianne Moore. If you also take into account its lurid sexual storyline, this movie could be one of most talked-about films of the festival.
In "Don Jon's Addiction" Gordon-Levitt stars as the titular character Don Jon, a Jersey bro obsessed with one thing: pornography. (We'll give you a second to wrap your head around the often suave and sophisticated Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a character with a "Situation"-esque lilt who loves pumping iron and surfing PornHub.) Sure, he enjoys the weekly one-night stand -- an area he has no trouble succeeding in -- but it doesn't give him the same pleasure as online smut. What follows is scene after scene of JGL staring into the digital ether as he pleasures himself to carefully cropped footage of triple-X clips. (There's going to be a lot left on the cutting room floor if they want to get this film an R rating.)
Soon, Don Jon falls in love with whom he calls the "perfect girl." Her name is Barbara Sugartown and she's played by Johansson. Like Gordon-Levitt, ScarJo is also going against type -- dolled up in tight shirts and short skirts, with large hoop earrings dangling from her ears and a thick thick Jersey accent to boot. As Don Jon begins to fall for Barbara, he attempts to balance his new relationship with a beautiful woman (the two stars share a few steamy sex scenes), and his on-going relationship with porn.
So, in an era where Hollywood is producing a noticeable lack of movies for adults, Gordon-Levitt has managed to deliver one right on our doorstep. Yes, it focuses heavily on porn, but this film is more about the physical and emotional relationships human beings have with each other, and why many today fall short.
"I wanted to tell a love story, and in my observations, what always gets in the way of love are people objectifying each other," said an animated Gordon-Levitt after the first official screening of his film. "Rather than engaging with a unique human being, you go 'What's her face like? What's her ass like? How much money did you make?' So I wanted to tell a story about that. In fact I was thinking about it in terms of movies before I was thinking about it in terms of porn. The way that people learn what they're supposed to like is from Hollywood romances."
In a sense, Gordon-Levitt has pulled off the anti-romcom, with a clever storyline, a talented cast and spectacular direction. This would be an admirable feat from any filmmaker, but coming from an A-lister like JGL, it's both eye-opening and a bit improbable, especially if you take into consideration the success he's had in the last year, starring in three certified blockbusters: "Lincoln," "Looper" and "The Dark Knight Rises."
JGL is one of the few high-profile celebrities today admired on both the mainstream and indie level. Directing a film of this caliber is will raise his profile even further. There aren't many out there who have tried to pull off what Gordon-Levitt is attempting. The reason people continue to follow and support his career is because he manages to do it so seamlessly.