Two for Tuesday: Two Different Movies, One Message

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I love movies. Like–I love them ferociously. I believe in the power of film to not simply entertain and inspire, but to perhaps even change an audience’s paradigm completely. With that in mind I bring you today’s Two for Tuesday.

The two films Don Jon and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are vastly different approaches to the same story. Both movies open up with a man and a computer screen, which is kind of a weird coincidence. One film approaches it from the perspective of a shy guy; the other, a seeming stud. Both are ultimately about how people relate to one another, our perceptions of reality and how we need to find connections outside of our imaginations and computer screens.

I’ll start with the easy one. I got carried away with a FB post that sums it up–let me just cut and paste it here.

“I Saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with my kids per their request… It was nothing that any of us expected. We didn’t really know what to expect. This was a sweet, meaningful, inspiring movie with a great soundtrack. Ben Stiller not only produced and directed the film but also revised Danny Kaye’s starring role. I was impressed… Sean Penn makes a powerful appearance. Kristen Wiig is adorable. No sex, few swears and only one or two, ‘hmm am I going to need to explain that?’ lines.”

There aren’t too many movies like that out there, aside from animated films… This movie offers some beautiful scenery, lots of imagination and ultimately a sweet message of hope. Here’s the soundtrack. Totally worth a listen.

 

 

Don Jon is the September 2013 film, written and directed by and starring  Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is no longer in theaters but is available currently on-demand–and I’m telling you that if you can stomach it–you really should see it.

Let me just say, I was so pissed watching the first hour or so of this movie, and yet I was intrigued to continue watching. The great acting and cast allowed tolerance for disgusting objectification, as I believed this was going somewhere. It really did.

Considering his involvement in this film, it would seem to me that this was a story and a message that Joseph Gordon-Levitt wanted to make sure was out there. He’s kind of a renaissance fellow. I like that about him. He says “if you think that ‘love’ is something you go after, that you can have, um, you’re missing it.” You can read his whole quote and much more that you should know to be impressed with JGL on his Wiki page.

JGL claims that the movie was about the clash of the guy who sees life through porn and the girl who sees life as a chick flick. Oh but my friends, this was so much more than that. The movie hilariously, uncomfortably and damn near painfully exposes the reality of oversaturation of porn and such, and how it affects the way men view women. Period. It affects the way men see women. Do I need to say that again? Anyway, our ADORABLE main character goes fairly quickly from a “stud” (if it was a female character they would have called her a slut) to a sweetie when he is whooped by the likes of Scarlett Johansson. Who can blame him, really? She is irresistible, and she knows how to work it. The truth of her character is revealed in the only words Jon’s sister Monica, played by Brie Larson, says through the whole movie. I’m not going to tell you what they are. They are worth waiting for. And Julianne Moore’s character–she is just perfectly real. Loved her.

If you can wade through the taboo topics of porn and the objectification of women; if you can handle the discomfort of watching JGL do his thing behind the screen while the computer screen glows on his face, (somehow he makes this work), I promise you that you’ll see the beautifully redemptive truths within this film. You will understand so much more about people and relationships and the expectations that harm them…

I have to wrap this up–I am way over my word count. I wanted tell you so much more about Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his project hitRECord; I wanted to offer my opinions about him being a collaborative genius in the world of art and entertainment. Check out hitRECord. You’ll see what I mean.

Let me conclude by saying this–as much as we love, need, are addicted to, depend on and think we can’t live without our digital forms of connection, what we want–what we crave–are authentic relationships with real people.

I love both of these movies for bringing that same message in different ways. The longer we wait to cross that bridge to authentic vulnerability, the harder it will be… Nevertheless, no matter how long it’s been, no matter if you’ve never had that kind deep meaningful connection with another real live human before, it’s never too late…

But you will probably have to turn off the computer…

Cover Photo Source: JStone / Shutterstock.com

 

 Jennifer is Director of Content & Ideation at SJG. I am convinced that every human being is innately creative – Picasso said the key is to remain childlike within the body of a responsible adult, or something along those lines. As the oldest member of this opinionated clan, I feel responsible to share a different perspective. Engage me – I love a good debate!