Nick and I finally caught Juno, and we were truly excited to see it. I have to say, though, that I really didn't like it -- in a strong, well, dislike kind of way. Afterwards, we both jumped online to re-read the reviews and try to figure out why everyone on the planet is falling all over themselves about this movie. (We're still mystified, but for what it's worth we did find one critic who perfectly summed up our conflicted feelings about the film.)
It's not that I didn't get it. I like winsomely quirky indie fare about so-geeky-they're-totally-awesome teens with winsomely quirky indie soundtracks just as much as the next aging wannabe (but-never-really-was) hipster. I mean, Napoleon Dynamite is actually one of my favorite movies ever. But Juno? Stop drinking the Kool-Aid, people.
Don't get me wrong -- I love that a movie written by an ex-stripper about a smart, dorky girl has made over 100 million bucks and has people lining up at the cineplex. I'll grant you that the performances, without fail, were lovely: Ellen Page, as the titular knocked-up 11th grader, was luminous. (She's equally impressive as a barely pubescent avenging angel in the sort of disturbing Hard Candy.) Jason Bateman was perfect as the initially super-cool, ultimately sad and creepy adoptive dad who you don't know if you want to punch or, like, make out with. Jennifer Garner? Surprisingly excellent. J.K. Simmons? Wish I had a dad like that. And I'll watch Michael Cera in anything -- even in those yellow shorts.
But from the self-consciously twee music (much of it by Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches and Antsy Pants -- how's that for precious?) to the equally twee illustrated opener to the absolutely ridiculous dialogue that by all rights would get you flunked out of Screenwriting 101, Juno seriously bugged me. "This is one doodle that can't be un-did, Homeskillet" -- from the guy behind the counter at the drugstore, no less, who of course is played with a generous ladling of irony by Rainn Wilson? Pardon me while I retch -- I think I have an eye-rolling-induced migraine.
To me, Juno is like a cute, smart, funny, talented guy who just tries way too hard to be cool and clever, and winds up being really annoying as a result. (Like, I don't know ... John Mayer.) And for this, the movie gets Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture Oscar nominations? Please put down the crack pipe, Academy voters.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch My So-Called Life on DVD.
(Thanks to Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times for mentioning this post in one of his own critiques of the movie. Juno-haters of the world unite!)
P.S. Speaking of annoying viewing experiences and dumb award shows, how unbearably ass-y was the Grammys last night? Even knowing that it would, as always, be totally lame -- and recording the broadcast so we could fast-forward through the whole thing in, like, half an hour -- it was painful.
The only performances that didn't have us peeking out from behind our hands in cringing horror were Feist, who seemed to be making an effort to minimize the cheese factor by keeping it stripped down; the Foo Fighters, who are always effortlessly kickass (though I thought the John Paul Jones-conducted orchestra accompanying them was sort of pointless); and Amy Winehouse, who barely seemed to know where she was, but who was sort of glorious in her smacked-out way nonetheless. (How long do you think before she's dead, or at least completely toothless? I'm taking bets over here.)
And wait -- the White Stripes win two awards, and they don't even show them? Just one minute of endearing Jack-and-Meg awkwardness would have gone a long way toward making the rest of that sad snoozefest worth watching, IMHO.
Agree? Disagree? Discuss.