Joseph Gordon-Levitt has come a long way since he played a superannuated teenage alien on 3rd Rock from the Sun — he just directed his first movie, which he's currently promoting at the Sundance Film Festival. Don Jon's Addiction, according to The Daily Beast, features JGL playing a guy who's addicted to porn who starts dating a women (Scarlett Johansson) who's addicted to romantic comedies. Does that mean we're in for a genre-bending cultural critique about how we objectify people that features at least one scene with JGL making a gross cum face while he pretends to masturbate? You're fucking right we are — take it away, JGL:
Well, I wanted to make a movie about love and what I've noticed is what often gets in the way of love is how people objectify each other; they put expectations on each other and they've learned these expectations from various places, whether it's their parents, friends, church, or different forms of media. So I thought making a love story about a guy who watches too much porn and a girl [Johansson] who watches too many romantic movies would be really funny and get at this theme.
Julianne Moore, who pops up in Don Jon's Addiction as a character not completely in the vise grip of pop culture, offered a pretty concise overview of just how thoroughly we've all been infected by certain narratives, to the point that we're all more or less pretending to be a princess/superhero/animated Disney protagonist acting out the sordid cinematic experience called "life." Romantic comedies and porn, according to Moore, tend to skew an audience's perception of reality:
They're fantasies being fed to people that are fueling an unrealistic expectation of how they should be. There's the princess fantasy. I understand role-play with kids, and both of my children are interested in superheroes and princesses, but the way we've saturated our culture with these ideas is that a little girl thinks that's how it's supposed to be, but it's unattainable, and yet that's a fantasy that persists. So, you have romantic comedies, pornography, media images that are unrealistic and they're all preventing people from being themselves.
In other words, we're all living out our own little Truman Shows. The only difference, and it's a totally depressing difference, is that nobody is tuning in to our lives so they can achieve orgasm or enjoy some emotional catharsis.