Monday, January 28, 2008

'Juno' ...

I took myself to see Juno a week and a half ago.

Here's my mini-review from that night: I liked it. I liked it quite a bit. But I didn't love it. I think it's been a bit over-hyped. It wasn't the second coming of filmmaking and screenwriting I was expecting.

Here's my extrapolation: I think it's cool as hell that Diablo Cody has found such amazing success with this film. To have your first-ever screenplay turned into a hit movie is a huge accomplishment. To then be nominated for an Oscar for that screenplay must be completely, freakishly overwhelming.

I am way behind on my movie viewing this year, but I've heard about some of the other Best Picture nominees and I'm thinking, "Really? Juno is in the same category as No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood?"

And while Ellen Page probably doesn't have much of a shot at winning, she was nominated for Best Actress, and I'm thinking, "Really?" Hers was a good performance, but really, it was one of the five best performances of the year? I didn't love A Mighty Heart as a film, but Angelina Jolie was amazing as Mariane Pearl. Was Ellen Page's performance better than Jolie's? Not for my money. Jolie deserved a nomination for the one minute in the film alone when she learns of Daniel's death. I can still hear her wails of grief. They still bring tears to my eyes.

But my biggest gripe with Juno lies in the writing. The story holds together very sweetly, but I was very aware of the dialogue. Maybe that's because I've been writing a movie (for a long time now!), but I was very aware of how Cody seemed to be trying to make every single line of dialogue clever. I grew weary of it.

Like I said, I liked it quite a bit. It's certainly better than a lot of what Hollywood is slinging these days. But for all the hype, I was braced for a transformative film experience. I expected to emerge from the multiplex forever changed, having witnessed the dawn of the next era of filmmaking.

But I didn't. And I really didn't like the opening titles animation. And most of the songs in the movie annoyed me. Juno is into amazing bands from before her time. Why was the soundtrack so cutesy?

I may be the one person on the planet who doesn't adore every syllable and frame of this movie. Or am I? Did you see it? Your thoughts?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Ethan said...

I think certain articles of pop culture (songs, movies) resonate with people not necessarily because of their composition, but because of the heightened poignancy that results when art meets real life.

That was a mouthful, so here is a fine example from Scrapbook Land of how the movie resonated with one viewer: Well I Never

There are songs that provoke an emotional reaction, for instance, but in a vacuum they seem, well, silly. Juno is probably one of those movies.

Despite my personal enjoyment of the movie, the soundtrack absolutely drove me nuts. And naturally, my sister, who embodies the kind of girl that jocks supposedly crave as per the movie, LOVED the soundtrack and wants the CD. Sighghghghghhhhh.

But anyway, you so have to see There Will Be Blood. I am eagerly anticipating your reaction to the movie.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I have to admit that despiteall the hype, I am still not going to rush out abd see Juno. Ultimately it just seems like the sort of film I'd wait to come out on DVD rather than see in the cinema.

Anyway, you definitely have to see No Country for Old Men. I thought it was a great film and definitely the best film I saw from last year (keeping in mind I have yet to see There Will Be Blood).

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

We just saw Juno last night, and I think I agree with your review here. That's all I can think of to say about that right now.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

OK, I'm back. :-)

I agree that the soundtrack is a bit off. I understand your qualm about the snappy dialogue, but I really enjoyed it, especially the bit with Rainn Wilson in the beginning of the film. I thought that the stepmother's "voice" was excellent.

The opening graphic didn't bug me too much.

I'm not sure this is the kind of film that needs to be seen on the big screen. I really did enjoy it, though.

OK, NOW that's all I have to say about that! :-)

8:36 PM  

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