Oct 062013
 

Don Jon Movie PosterA New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love. Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull “10s” every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don’t compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women.

In Theaters: September 27, 2013; MPAA Rating: R (for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use.) Genres: Comedy

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Writer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson, Rob Brown, Jeremy Luke, Paul Ben-Victor, Italia Ricci, Lindsey Broad, Amanda Perez

Me and Lay watched this movie in Brandon Friday night. We both enjoyed it, and got a lot of laughs. I’m OK with some romantic comedies, but generally they can be formulaic and unrealistic. I thought Don Jon went against that grain, and provided a more challenging story line. He takes a topic not usually handled in a serious way, and presents it realistically, but with great humor. Indeed, the film is very non-judgmental in its handling the topic of how we all get self-absorbed, and misguided by expecting a Hollywood experience in life. Continue reading »

Finding Forrester

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Finding Forrester
Mar 122005
 

Finding Forrester (2000)An afro-american teen writing prodigy finds a mentor in a reclusive author.

Directed by
Gus Van Sant

Genres
Drama

Cast
Sean Connery, Rob Brown, F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes, April Grace, Michael Pitt, Michael Nouri, Richard Easton, Glenn Fitzgerald, Lil’ Zane, Stephanie Berry, Fly Williams III, Damany Mathis, Damien Lee

It could definitely have been a better movie, but then again what movie can’t you say that about? In terms of plot and character development what it needed most was another 30 minutes, but at two and a quarter hours already most studios would never allow that. (Note that the movie did not seem nearly that long to me.) Perhaps the plot and story could have been tighter, but it’s really a remarkable job for first-time screenwriter Mike Rich.

The acting, while not always remarkable, was quite good. Connery brilliantly underplayed Forrester, yielding a less dramatic but much more realistic portrayal of the writer. Rob Brown’s portrayal of Jamal was equally reserved yet forceful. The directing held the two characters in balance well. The other characters were well-acted though not generally well-developed (hence much criticism of this movie).

Others have compared Finding Forrester to Goodwill Hunting (also directed by Gus Van Sant) and to Scent of a Woman, suggesting that it is just a ripoff of the plot in those two. If so (which I doubt), those are two pretty good movies to plagiarize. The basic concept of Forrester’s story (first novel wins Pulitzer — what do you do for an encore?) has also been done before, but I’ve never seen it done so well (and without resorting to The Bottle as an excuse for a wasted life).

What’s been missed in the reviews I checked was a discussion of who found whom. When you boil it down, Jamal found Jamal and Forrester found Forrester (just in time), though they found themselves by reaching out to each other and forming a bond of friendship across a gulf of age, suspicion, and race. The way they do this, without the usual twists of self-destruction and miraculous salvation, is both touching and refreshingly real. And finding oneself, in its essence, is what EVERY good drama is about, so, yes, there is a similarity to Goodwill and Scent and every other good movie ever made.

All in all, while not The Great American Movie, it’s a very good movie and well worth watching.

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