Is Don Jon’s Excessive Use of Porn Justitied?

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Don’t you just love sitting in the theater with your significant other, watching the movie of your choice when suddenly bam! POW! Boobs and butts are all over the place!

I have a tendency in those moments to push my seat back as far as it will go and peer out of my peripheral so as to gauge the reaction of my loved one, who is now undoubtedly shaking their head (mentally) as they think “He had to pick THIS one, didn’t he?”

But can you argue for it’s decision to show much of what the main character watches?

If you didn’t catch Don Jon last September (or in January, depending on where you were), you should know it’s the current ruler of the type of movie described above. While the message was a great one, many audiences couldn’t see past the copious amounts of porn footage shown, which is featured due to the title character’s obsession with it. Looking back on it, is it justified in anyway?

“Honey, I swear I didn’t know it was like that!” was what many had to explain as they left theaters.

If you’re unaware, the plot of the film revolves around a guy as a typical New Jerseyan and his life; he loves his family, friends, his car, and church. Oh, and porn. He is addicted as one can be to the internet’s number one trafficker.

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And even though he’s met his fantasy girl and he thinks he’s done with it all, he always ends up going back for more. The film deals with Jon’s maturity as he figures out what he really wants in a woman and why he’s been unsuccessful thus far.

Throughout the film, we’re shown flashes of either what’s on Jon’s computer screen and or what’s going through his mind. And much of it is graphic. Originally, writer/director/star had to cut back on how much he’s featured so as not to get an NC-17 rating and have people as though the movie is solely about porn.

One of the movie's fake movie posters.

One of the movie’s fake movie posters.

But there’s still a very high threshold for what you can get away with showing.

Though to say that it’s about Jon’s addiction (The original title being Don Jon’s Addiction)) is limiting the movie. It calls into question modern relationships and what’s considered genuine and what simply is. Levitt’s character begins dating Scarlett Johansson’s and she quickly assumes the pants-wearer; having him go to school, refusing to let him clean his own apartment, and generally telling him what is and what isn’t supposed to be in a relationship.

Barbara: Don’t talk about vacuuming in front me, come on!
Don: Why, what’s wrong?
Barbara: Why? Because it’s not sexy, that’s why!

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Many of the things she wants for him are admirable, but then the suggestions turn into demands and it becomes that much more apparent Johansson’s idea of a relationship is also skewed but in a more socially acceptable way.

When watching a romance movie that Jon can’t stand, his girlfriend is eating it all up as though she were experiencing it first hand. The way he describes her movies is the same way one could describe what porn is for many men.

“I don’t watch too many movies. The pretty woman. The pretty man…they drive off into the sunset. Everyone knows it’s fake. But they watch it like it’s real life.”

-Cut to Jon watching porn.

After talking to several female friends (Girl time!), all of them with the exception of one found the movie too gross to get anything out of. They seemed to understand what the movie was about, but the constant clips of Jon’s nightly proclivities was too much for them to get anything out of. “They didn’t have to show all that.” they would say.

And I guess they’re right. Levitt and co. didn’t need to show as much as they did; so why did they?

One idea is that the clips we’re shown are meant to tell us that the porn that Jon watches is no worse for his relationship and mindset than watching romance movies are for Barbara. While men often watch porn and begin to let it twist their view of what a woman is supposed to be and do. It seems to be just as common (and more acceptable) for women’s idea of men to involve living up to a standard that they just can’t live up to.

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It happens on a regular basis and our lives are saturated by it; how we’re supposed to act, what will make us cool or attractive, what a relationship supposed to be.

It’s no wonder the Twilight movies combine for a gross of over three billion. It’s an impossible relationship featuring certain acts and gestures we recognize, making many feel like what they’re watching could be real if they could just find the right person.

"Which perfect guy do I choose? They're both so...perfect."

“Which perfect guy do I choose? They’re both so…perfect.”

It sets many women up for major disappointments because they have unreasonable requests that cannot be fulfilled and where is a relationship to go from there?

Now this isn’t to say that there’s no difference between Romance movies and pornography. But the differences are already apparent which is why it’s so easy to watch Dear John and The Lucky One with no criticism but for it to be known that you watch porn is dragging your skeletons out of the closet.

So what’s the point ol’ JGL is trying to make? It seems to be along the lines of cutting loose what kills your spiritual/mental growth. Barbara’s room is done up like she’s a twelve-year old princess. Not in the way that makes you believe she never goes in there but in a way that says she thinks she’s an actual princess. She expects Don to act in a way that’s unnatural to him and not in a way that makes him change for the better but simply in a way that she wants.

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But the point of the movie isn’t the same point as this article though the ideas intersect at times. Does the excessive nature of the clips featured all throughout the movie bring about any kind of deeper thought on what holds back a healthy relationship? The decent answer is “No! Of course not! Ew!”

And I wouldn’t necessarily say it is. But the discussion that comes up from it all does make me think it’s worth a look into what’s holding back your maturity.

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