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January 24, 2008

Juno you got suckered


We love it when people agree with us, especially when we bond over our mutual distaste for a movie -- "Juno" -- that's getting awards/critical/audience attention far disproportionate to its quality.

We're not kidding ourselves here -- we know there's no real backlash against the tart dramedy. And before we're completely dismissed as enemies of all that's sweet and light (and alt!), let us just note that we dug the performances. A lot. In fact, we support our commenter from the other day who believes that Ellen Page is a revelation. We begrudge the young actress nothing.

Now, on to the thrashing.

The Projectionist sums up At Least 10 Things We Hate About Juno, starting with its oh-so-wacky dialogue and extending to its ever-introspective characters:

"On and on, with sitcom banter laboring to be epigrammatical — except that each sequence ends with a switcheroo in which the characters display unexpected (and dramatically improbable) insight."

David Edelstein, we could kiss you full on the mouth for that assessment, along with saying that Page's nomination for best actress "will inspire screenwriters all over town to overwrite like mad."

Thank you, voice of reason.

Even "Entertainment Weekly," which gave the movie a near-perfect A-minus, drew attention to its "hyperverbal smart-mouthing" and its "extra serving of cute," though sheepishly figuring that being more critical would brand them way uncool.

Our biggest problem may be this: to knock "Juno" is to do irreparable damage to your own street cred. Maybe ours is too far gone to even care. We'd like to hear from you. Of course it's better when you think like we do (but we realize how rare that is). Dig in, folks.

Meanwhile, for the nonhaters, Carpetbagger has gone all squishy on us with his two cents and a react piece from director/Oscar nominee Jason Reitman. Et tu, Bagger?


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Oh, so happy to read your thoughts regarding the over-hyped hype about this "Juno" screenplay. It's not that it's a terrible script, but it ain't all that and a bag o' chips, homeskillet.

I hope she can take all this attention in stride, but if I were Diablo Cody (aka Brooke Busey), I'd attempt a lower profile until project #2 hits the blade. Time will tell.

Len Rubin

One of the basic problems with Juno is its treatment of teen pregnancy as though it's like drinking an extra can of beer. It's no problem, girls, if you get pregnant at 16. Your parents will simply say it's better than drugs -- no "grounding" such as you'd get if you missed curfew (which apparently is a more serious offense), no punishment for disregarding all parental instruction, no illnesses during pregnancy, no remorse, and except for one wistful moment, no emotional reaction to giving the baby up for adoption. Absolutely true to life.


I had mixed feelings about the movie--I hated the first ten minutes of dialogue, especially the scene with Rainn Wilson in the convenience store. But I found the rest of the story incredibly likable and sweet. Also, in response to the comment above, this isn't really a film about the morality of teen pregnancy, any more than Grosse Point Blank was a story about the morality of taking human lives. It's just a nice story. Perhaps not worthy of Best Picture, but a nice story.


Actually, I thought one of the basic problems with Juno is that the lead character has no arc. Despite what others around her think about her situation, she seems pretty unfazed. And her journey in the movie doesn't change her at all. Her emotional peak, if you want to call it that, occurs because she sees this yuppie couple (whom she's idealized) breaking up. The pregnancy storyline is secondary to everything. That she goes back, seemingly unchanged, to her dopey nebbish boyfriend (whom we haven't seen at all) is completely unearned.


While I do think the dialog was overly smart at times and a bit annoying, the film was very entertaining and the teen pregnancy theme original. This movie maybe an indie, but it's intended to be a crowdpleaser for ALL ages. I think it's successful in accomplishing that and I wonder why so many are analyzing it to death and taking it soooooooooooo seriously. It's not meant to be a brainteasing epic. Maybe we should lighten up a little?

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

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  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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