So here I was, writing a ponderous post about a difficult film trying to explain why it made my feminism hurt, when a friend sent me a link to a video in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a lip-sync contest with Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Merchant.

Naturally I stopped everything and watched. Because that’s what Joe is to me: my internet stalking crush.

Oh, Joe. So young, and with such a weightless little frame, with its rubbery capacity to move and dance and perform impressive physical feats. Like when he reprised the Donald O’Connor number, “Make ‘Em Laugh,” from Singin’ in the Rain as a guest host on Saturday Night Live. Backflips, bouncing off walls, collapsing a sofa — Joe can do it all.

In another life he would have been Gene Kelly.


Let’s not forget the silly scene in the middle of (500) Days of Summer, in which he dances to the somehow-it’s-good-again bit of ’80s awfulness, “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates. He might show a moment or two of awkwardness, but he throws himself into this scene and illustrates the magic of what a white guy can do if he’s willing to move his shoulders and hips at the same time.

His new film, Don Jon, is getting pretty good reviews at the moment — I’ll see it eventually. I must admit, I’m less enamored with the macho version of manliness that he takes on every now and then, like in The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, and Premium Rush. (Curiously, he adopts a New York-ish accent in all of them. I disapprove. I want the un-macho Joe.) But he’s directed this new one — apparently something he seeks to do more often — and therefore, with the Brick and Mysterious Skin versions of Joe in mind (both of which are wonderful), I’ll trot off to buy a full-price ticket to show my box-office love, not just my creepy middle-aged lady internet stalking love.

And then I’ll talk to my therapist about working through these issues.


Count this as my biggest disappointment of the year. The preview was great. What a terrific idea, I thought, to develop an action movie around bike messengers in New York City. And then there’s the fact that it stars my secret boyfriend, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. How wrong could I be?

premium-rush-2Let me count the ways:

The premise is nonsensical and kind of racist. It’s populated with mysterious Chinese, incomprehensible money-exchange policies, and patronizing Orientalism to last a decade. (Joseph, darling, you went to Edward Said’s Columbia University. How could you?)

Showcases the geography of New York City streets only to get that geography all wrong, which is obvious to anyone who knows it. And hello, a lot of people know that geography. The worst is when he leaves Columbia University (at 116th St, we’re told explicitly) to head downtown, yet he then spends a lot of time dodging the bad guy underneath an elevated train trestle, French Connection style (which is uptown starting at 125th St). Director David Koepp has said he wanted to make this a “map movie, where you see this guy who has to get from here to here” — well, criminey.

Speaking of getting NYC wrong, I’ve never seen the city with so little traffic and so few red lights. Guess what time of day, precisely, the film takes place? 5:30pm to 7pm. [Bangs head against wall.]

Total waste of Michael Shannon as the bad guy. Yes, he is tall a crazy-mean looking. Yet the backstory is soooo boring.

Really? The helpless girl motif? Don’t get me started.

Joseph Gordon Levitt

Now, I still like this premise. I liked some of the action scenes. And oh, that Gordon Levitt — he sometimes puffs out his chest as if to make himself seem larger, but his real magic consists in moving with the grace of Gene Kelly. If only he’d been enough to save this stupid script.