Hey there Drinkers!
Let’s get stimulated! Open up a bottle, crank the Barry White and awwwww yyeeaahhh! That’s right folks, today we’re drinking Eagle Rock Brewery’s Stimulus while watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 2013 film Don Jon. And yes, I will be discussing sex and porn, so if you’re uncomfortable with that maybe you should skip to the beer review portion of today’s BAAM. Otherwise, let’s get it on!
For those of you who don’t know, Don Jon was written and directed by the professionally trendy/attractive actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is also the star. Already a well-established and accomplished actor, JGL shows his chops in all fields in this movie. Just for the sake of understanding, Don Jon follows the life of JGL’s Jon, a stereotypical Jersey playboy with a dependency on porn, which complicates his emerging love life with the professionally sexy Scarlett Johansson (aka Barbara Sugarman). The movie is fast, electric and funny. We instantly understand who Don Jon is; his loves, interests and troubles. The first few minutes are a remarkable bit of character explanation aided by some fun voice-over and a few porn clips. It’s on the nose but that’s how the movie wants to be. Actually, for a movie filled with purposefully vapid characters, everyone feels distinct and fleshed-out. The only exception is Johansson’s swift and abrupt ride on the crazy train. We’re briefly shown that she can be demanding of her men (no Swiffering!) but it doesn’t feel like enough to warrant how she characterized later on as a woman who ceaselessly demands things from her men.
Aside from the sharp, humorous writing, it’s also a great display of deliberate editing. Like Jon’s muscles and the porn he watches, everything in this film is heightened and exaggerated. A show for us to behold. And the editing reflects this. Generally speaking, the editing stands out and highlights the absurd repetitions of his life. His road-rage filled car rides, his church confessions, his trips to the gym. All of these, along with his porn problem, are part of his routine and become the visual routine of the film. And for a first time director, it’s actually quite impressive to watch.
Finally, I just want to point out that this film has, at least in my opinion, an earnest look at love and sex. While in many movies, sex seems like a side effect of love, Don Jon treats sex as its own, important part of the human experience. And yes at times its crude but that doesn’t make it less true. For a movie about porn, it has a lot of interesting things to say about sex.
And was our beer just as stimulating? Yes it was! This was actually the second time I’ve enjoyed this beer from Eagle Rock Brewery (one of my favorite breweries), so I already knew what to expect. This Stimulus Belgian Amber is brewed with Intelligentsia Coffee, which serves as the primary flavor for the beer. It pours a beautiful golden amber color with a tame, white head that quickly dissipates. Off the nose you’ll get hints of coffee, malt and just a little bit of sweetness. When you take a sip, you’re going to get that lovely amber mouthfeel that is fairly light and smooth. And while you don’t really get that classic Belgian flavor, you will be treated to a tasty mix of coffee, toffee and malt all balanced out with just a hint of sweetness. It’s also not very hoppy, making it smooth and easy to drink with a 6.6% ABV. Really just another winner from ERB. If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle or stopping by the brewery for a pint.
So there you have it folks, a stimulating movie with a stimulating beer. A pairing about love in its many forms. And a great excuse to look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt without a shirt. Thanks for reading everyone and please have a fun, safe 4th of July.
And as always keep drinking, my friends.
-Fast, in every way
-Sharp, funny writing
-Strong directorial vision