As an actor, I’ve always thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (here on referred to as JGL) as a pretty cool guy.  Not only was he in 3rd Rock From The Sun, and as a KID no less, but he managed to transition successfully from child actor to grown-up actor…without getting addicted to drugs, marrying at 18 or divorcing his parents (Macaulay Culkin who?).  What a winner.

Born 17th February, 1981 in Los Angeles, his parents were amongst the founders of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.  Furthermore, his mum ran for the United States Congress in California in the 1970s for the Peace and Freedom Party.  Respect.  On top of that, JGL’s grandfather, Michael Gordon, was a famous film director.

What would have otherwise been a perfect family history, except in 2010 JGL’s older brother Dan, whom he worked alongside with for his website hitRECord, died under unknown circumstances (people say drug overdose, but we don’t do nasty gossip on here).

Since he’s been around for years and years and years (pretty much) I’ve picked five of his films that I’ve seen, plus the soon to be released, Looper.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999):

JGL plays Cameron James (not James Cameron, thank goodness), a newcomer at Padua Stadium High School.  In short, he falls in love with Bianca Stratford, a beautiful student who can’t actually date…unless her crazy, anti-social older sister, Katarina does.  Awks.  So Cameron, along with his friend Michael, ‘hire’ Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger, ah), an eccentric outcast, to date Kat, so Cameron can, in turn, take Bianca out.

If you haven’t seen the film, but it sounds familiar, it’s loosely based on Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew.

OK, from a cinematic perspective this film doesn’t stand out.  It’s your standard high-school romantic chick-flick where everyone ends up happy as a clam.  Eh.  Whatever.  I still enjoy the hell out of it.  It’s funny, it’s relatively fast-flowing and the characters are all super likeable.  And to be honest, this was the first film that I saw JGL in since his 3rd Rock From The Sun days, and I was just excited that he was still cool.

(500) Days Of Summer-(2009):

Tom (JGL) is a romantic.  He wants true love.  He wants heart-stopping romance. He wants it all.  And why the hell not right?  Isn’t that the point of life?  To find someone to love?

Summer (Zooey Deschanel, always a pleasure) thinks love is a crock of shit.  Why depend on someone else for your happiness?  Why stay with the one person for the rest of your life, when you can be with many people?

Both make good points.  Each to their own.  Except then they meet, and they date.  And things start to go awry.

This is, hands down, one of my most favourite films.  Everything about it is wonderful.  The soundtrack?  Full of The Smiths, Simon and Garfunkle, Regina Spektor.  Can’t go wrong.

The cast?  Zooey Deschanel meeting Joseph Gordon-Levitt?  You’re killing me!

The plot, which is out of chronological order?  Makes what could be boring and predictable something entirely new.  The best scene in the film actually is when Tom’s ‘imagined’ scene and the reality are played together at the same time, on a split screen.  Well, the best scene in my opinion.

But, above all else, what I love about this film is the storyline.  “This isn’t a love story.  This is a story about love.”  I adore the storyline because it’s accurate.  Some people don’t fall in love, some people do.  Some want the world out of someone, but they can’t give it.  And the thing is, this doesn’t make them bad people.  What is so wonderful about this film (directed by Marc Webb, who went on to do The Amazing Spider-Man), is that it speaks the truth is a really un-cliched way.  Love happens.  So does heartbreak.

Inception-(2010):

I’ve already gone into Inception quite a bit on this website, and pretty much everyone has seen it, so I’ll skip the plot summary.  JGL plays Arther in Inception, who is the right-hand man of Cobb so to speak.  His job is to research and manage the assignments that they do; in short, to understand how everything works.  Perhaps you could call him the project manager (can you imagine?  What a cool job).

So what’s so fantastic about this film?  Everything.  The all-star cast, which, I will admit, allows JGL to not stand out for a change. Amazing, I know.  The direction, because, as you may know, we’re big Christopher Nolan fans here at Set In Motion.  The special effects (once again, the Nolan effect).  But overall, the storyline.  Being able to manipulative people through their dreams?  Can you imagine a cooler power to have?  Yeah me either.

One final note; did you know that if you use the first letter of all the main characters you get the acronym DREAMS?  It’s OK.  My mind was blown when I found that out too.

50/50-(2011):

Imagine a comedy that’s central theme is a guy in his 20s who gets diagnosed with cancer.  And there’s a 50% chance that he’ll die a slow painful death.

You’re right, it sounds hilarious!

That’s what 50/50 is all about.  JGL plays Adam, a 27 year old relatively average joe that gets diagnosed with a rare form of ‘back cancer’.  Luckily for him, his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) is there for him.  Which is probably for the best since his girlfriend Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a selfish bitch, and his therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick) doesn’t really have a clue.

I know this was supposed to be a comedy, but it didn’t really make me laugh. Partially because I’m not a massive Seth Rogen fan, but probably because from any angle cancer is awful.

What I did love about this film was the sheer honesty that it portrays and JGL’s performance.  I don’t usually like performances that show heart-felt emotion, which is probably why I stick to comedies.  But JGL’s depiction of a nice guy in a shitty situation was dead-on (ignore the pun).  The scene when he finally, FINALLY breaks down is downright heart-breaking.  I literally started crying.  And this was only worsened when we see real fear in his eyes before he goes into the operating room.  Seriously, why do you do this to me JGL?

The Dark Knight Rises- (2012):

We all know how much I loved this film, and why.  So let me just add this.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Robin AND Batman.

Could a movie get any more perfect?  Only if he we found out he was related to Andrew Garfield and he popped up in Batman as well…Spiderman.  THEN it would be perfect.

Looper-(2012):

This is the newbie that is set to come out in about 2 weeks.  Starring JGL as a 25 year old assassin in the year 2044, the film centres around the idea that time travel is real, but only available on the black market.  JGL’s character, Joseph Simmons, acts as a ‘looper’, who have to kill and dispose of agents sent by their employers from the year 2074.  Their targets must never escape.  This is all well and good, except when one of his targets is himself (Bruce Willis) from the future.  Oh shit.  It also stars Emily Blunt.

This film will either be very confusing and terrible, or downright amazing.  Possible new Inception?  Oh no I didn’t.  Well, we’ll see.

 

Are you a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt?  Have you seen any of his films?  Let me know!

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