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Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard
Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Home Theater: Don Jon

Editor’s Note: Home Theater is the first in a recurring series in which noted (614) film scholar V.R. Bryant takes a seat in a local living room to chop up a Netflix movie. Spoilers ahead….


I wanted to ask Maya if, in her professional opinion, it was a bad idea for a married man to go by himself to a sex therapist’s house to watch a movie about f*cking. The prospect had certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Naturally, to avoid suspicion, I appointed my friend Katie Toomey “special intern” and took her along to “improve the vibe.”

When Katie and I arrived at Maya’s house in Upper Arlington and saw pictures of kids on the refrigerator and crayon cave paintings on the walls, I realized that I might just have let my imagination run away with itself.

About Maya

“You could say my training has been…varied.”

Ohio native Maya Jordan can dance ballet. She can play the piano. She can probably make a mean grilled cheese, too. There really wasn’t time for that, though.smiley sweater high res

She can speak volumes about men and women and how they interact, and she can flash an impressive vocabulary while she’s at it.

She can also get naked to Def Leppard really well—well enough to have been a stripper at the famous Scores in NYC, where stripping is done right. (I can only assume.)

You hear about dancers like that pulling down six figures, easy. I didn’t ask, of course. It’s gauche to talk about money. But I did note that Maya is walking proof that sometimes they actually are putting themselves through college. Or graduate school, even.

It’s completely overblown, of course, the stripper story. For an alpha female who says that she dreamt of stripping even as a kid, it seems incidental in a life spent kicking ass in general.

These days, the mother of two, and Jill-of-all-trades dwells in suburbia with her fellow alpha mate and calls her own shots. In addition to running her own very successful consultation practice, she writes for her own website (MayaJordan.com) and notable lifestyle blogs (SluttyGirlProblems.com and ModernMaleLifestyle.com), and broadcasts a show for Playboy Radio from her basement.

“I’m just trying to educate people—men as much as women,” she said. “I encourage men to be men, to stop wilting and withering in the presence of women. You can go to therapy with some kind of Dr. Phil d*ckhead, find your inner child, all that horseshit. Or you can take an action approach. Get out there, meet people, approach people.

“Look at chimps: there are all different kinds. Relational chimps, player chimps, fraternal, familial chimps…you have to find your equal, individuate, and grow together.”

Maya is big on sexual expression and ownership, so it stood to reason that we’d watch Don Jon, the sexually-charged directorial debut of the very talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

About the Movie

Don Jon is the story of the eponymous main, a greasy Jersey guido bartender whose ambition to lay women down is eclipsed only by his ambition to watch porn and whack off. It’s an interesting premise, and the movie received generally positive reviews. But what do movie critics know about sex? Not as much as Maya, I’m betting.

The first big reaction was to Jon’s car, something in the neighborhood of a ’72 Chevelle (Maya nailed it—apparently she knows about cars, too).

“There’s no way he can afford that car. He’s a bartender, right?”

Jon lurches around in his cherry ride, dropping f-bombs on other drivers. Typical machismo nonsense. The movie’s going fine until Scarlett Johansson enters the picture. Not that her presence went entirely unappreciated.

“I’d watch it all over just to see her in those little pants again. But she’s not alpha. She’s a game player. Trying to meet his friends and family—it’s a trap to get him to commit. She brandishes sex as a toy; she doesn’t own it.”

Jon, in the end, meets and (very predictably) winds up banging Julianne Moore’s character, an aging-but-not-aged night-school classmate whom Maya describes as “the magical cougar,” her placement just a bit ham-handed in a movie trying very hard to be real. As for her professional diagnosis?

“It’s my understanding that porn addiction isn’t in the [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders]. The original version of the movie (the one that made the festival circuit) closely followed his sex addiction, but a lot of that material didn’t make the theatrical release. So in short, I wouldn’t diagnose him with anything with my professional hat on.

“Professional hat off—I would diagnose him as a d*ck. His discovery of what sex should be is a bit trite and precious, like they’re trying too hard to affect an emotional reaction in the audience. I just don’t buy it. Sex is a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s not necessarily the act of ‘losing yourself’ in your partner. I see what he’s trying to do in giving this kid an arc to his character, but it comes off flat in the end. He lacks emotional depth, so I doubt he’s going to successfully go tantric on us in one hour and a half.”

At one point in the film, Jon boasts having successfully masturbated 11 times in one day. So Maya’s final rating: two out of 11.

Harsh words perhaps, but it takes better than average to impress an expert.

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