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Guest CrimsonCane

Saw the movie about two weeks ago, but was reminded to post some of my thoughts after discussing it with a friend the other day.

 

I can certainly see how people who are generally opposed to the "hipster" movement or see it as blatantly superficial might have a problem with a film like this. However, I'm not in that group and I happened to enjoy it immensely. The dialogue is smart and witty and Ellen Page's delivery is spot on the entire movie. I find this film to be the best comedy of the year and one that I'll definitely be viewing multiple times.

 

As for the argument that this movie's endless array of pop-culture references makes it time specific and less likely to hold up over time, I'm not so sure that it's any more guilty of that than other comedies. I'm a huge Woody Allen fan, but I can definitely attest to the fact that his earlier comedies may not have included pop-culture references but there are alot of city-specific references. In order to fully get the jokes, you occassionally need to know things some pretty obscure things about New York City. Additionally, I think the pop culture references are a way of being true to the chracters. Juno is supposed to be a high school "hipster" (whatever that means). The entire hipster movement is practically based on the ability to come up with obscure pop culture references. Hell, Chuck Klosterman has basically made a career out of little else.

 

Now, on to the screenplay. I found myself laughing alot and really enjoying myself throughout this entire film, but I don't think it's deserving of any best screenplay award. At first, I kind of had this feeling after leaving the film, but I think my friend put it into words the best way possible. The entire time throughout this movie you don't really get the idea that you're seeing distinct characters so much as a single screenwriter speaking through multiple characters. There really is only one voice in a way (If you discount perhaps Jennifer Garner's character) that's shared by everyone. Don't get me wrong, I'm thoroughly entertained by that one voice, but, for me, a screenwriter needs to do a bit more to earn high praise from me.

 

That said, 9/10

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If you let yourself get wrapped up in the dialogue I guarantee you won't like it.

 

The reason I think the dialogue is so good in this is, as unrealistic as it may be for you or me to converse like this, its completely natural and realistic and not out of the ordinary for the setting Reitman has created.

 

 

Well, I guess I let myself get caught up in the dialogue. I hated this movie within the first 15 minutes. I am stunned that it is a success with critics and audiences, I just don't get it.

 

It is a caricature of every successful quirky 'indie' movie to come out in the last five years. The Dialogue, the characters, the music, the scenery...every thing was so meticulously picked out to make it seem as off-the-wall as possible. Maybe that's the point, and Jason Reitman is a genius. He did make an excellent satire in Thank You For Smoking. :confused

 

IMO though, Juno tried way too hard.

 

* out of ****

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Here's the thing: I know people who have discussions about pop culture, and they sound exactly like the ones in this movie. I'm not sure it matters what they are talking about specifically. It is about pop culture archetypes. You could replace Sonic Youth and Mott The Hoople for anything and it would make just as much sense. They just represent the type of music that certain type of person listens to.

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Guest CrimsonCane

Woody Allen references are more timeless and age better. I just re-screened Annie Hall recently and was amazed on how much humor I gleaned despite not being a 1970s Jewish New-Yorker. Much more clever writing. More character depth. Better visual craftsmanship. Better film.

 

Woody Allen weaves references to Joyce, Fellini, Bergman, poetry, etc (all timeless references) into his film. Cody, however, resorts to lengthy and superficial exhanges between characters about her very own hipster music. I haven't seen such blatant soundtrack plugging and dialogue superficiality since Zach Braff handed his head phones to Natalie Portman and said "listen to this!" and she did!

 

To compare Diablo Cody to Woody Allen is a stab through the heart, especially since films like Annie Hall have proven to stand the test of time for 30 years.

I am in no way comparing Diablo Cody to Woody Allen. Annie Hall is hands-down my favorite comedy of all-time. I liked Juno and all but I'm not gonna put it in the pantheon of great comedic films alongside Annie Hall. The point I was trying to make was that I think the distinctions drawn between the references in Woody Allen's works and those in something like Juno are somewhat arbitrary. I don't really get how a reference to Sonic Youth or a presumably obscure indie band is any less audience friendly and timeless than something like this line in "Manhattan" said by Woody Allen's character, "I feel like we're in a Noel Coward play. Someone should be making martinis." I mean both rely on you getting the reference in order for it to be funny. I guess Allen draws from what more people would consider high culture: classic films (bergman, fellini), history, greats works of literature. You have to be a fairly literate and cultured individual to actually understand why you're laughing in a Woody Allen movie. On the other hand, Cody draws on low/pop culture references: obscure horror/B films, modern music, etc. It has the same effect of singling a particular group and letting them be in on the joke. Allen just chooses to appeal to people who know their Freud, foreign films, and history. Cody chooses to appeal to the hipster crowd. I don't think they're comparable in terms of quality and humor, but I think labeling one as superficial is a tad undeserved.

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Outside of the horrendous soundtrack, I don't get anyone's beef with this movie. I thought it was fun, funny, entertaining, engaging... what more can you ask for? I am most definitely NOT a hipster and I thought it was a fun and quirky film. I have to admit that I had a bit of a crush on Juno by the end of the film.

 

I also don't understand the knocks against Jason Bateman's acting. He wasn't supposed to be playing "subtle." The whole point is that his wife wants a child so badly and is so fixated and single-minded of purpose that she doesn't even recognize the obvious signs that her marriage is in trouble. This is all set up by the perfect home she keeps with her perfect pictures mounted perfectly on the wall. In the mean time, her husband?s space is reduced to a single room in the home and his basement ? two places that will not impinge on her perfect domicile. It is further set up with her hemming and hawing about the super subtle differences in hue between two yellows in her ?nesting? phase.

 

Anyway, I thought even the worst performances were good. Ellen Page, though, was flawless. I don?t know if anyone could have possibly done a better job in that role. She was incredible.

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Either Jason Bateman's performance was poor or Juno's response was terribly miswritten. The film is clearly trying to establish a "moment of truth" scenario and it simply does not work.

I didn't see it as a "moment of truth." Juno knew something was wrong. Why do you think she kept asking if his wife was home when she stopped by? She just wanted to feel connected to someone. Also, she wanted her baby to grow up in a complete home - not a broken home like hers where she was pretty much raised by her father alone. She is, despite her spunk and witty dialogue, "so young." That's the point.

 

I think if you rewatch the movie, you'll see that this all makes sense.

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I'm speaking of the dramatic interplay between the audience and character (a sense of irony). Too much is revealed too soon...

Dramatic interplay? There isn't supposed to be drama. That's the whole point. Again, the whole point is that it should be plainly obvious to any outsider that Bateman's character is not in a loving marriage and is not ready to have a child but that he is simply "along for the ride" because it is so important to his controlling and obsessive wife.

 

You are trying to write a different movie where the revelation that the husband is leaving his wife is a shocking turn of events.

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For what it's worth, the only performance I admired was Juno's female friend. I'd like to see her in more films.

 

She was absolutely awful. I couldn't stand her. I wanted to kick her in the teeth.

 

You have major gripes with the screen play and then you praise the most unreleastically written character in the whole film.

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For what it's worth, the only performance I admired was Juno's female friend. I'd like to see her in more films.

 

She was absolutely awful. I couldn't stand her. I wanted to kick her in the teeth.

 

You have major gripes with the screen play and then you praise the most unreleastically written character in the whole film.

*performance, not her dialogue. There is a considerable difference. No character was well written in the whole cast, but I found her to be the lesser of the evil's along with the guy from Traffic who played Juno's father.

Yeah - we're just going to have to agree to disagree. I think we saw two different films with the same name and a similar plot and cast of characters.

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Am I wrong to assume that Bateman's character was hinting as his affection for Juno?

I think you are absolutely right. Not only does he have affection for her but, in a much larger sense, he's showing himself to be a peer of Juno's. Thus, like Juno, he is unready to be a parent.

I like that perspective. Maybe it wasn't the attraction to her, which he had there, but instead it was more about him. His immaturity and his inability to become an adult or parent.

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I viewed it as the other way around - she was pushing herself more upon him.

In the scene where she puts the lipstick on before she heads over to the house? That is the scene where they dance et cetra. For some reason I can't remember what prompted her to go over there though, was it a fight?

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I thought Juno was being naive and couldn't pick up on the fact that Bateman's relationship with her was starting to reach a very inappropriate stage. To me, Bateman either had a thing for Juno specifically, or his interactions with Juno helped him realize that he was just in the wrong relationship, and that there were other people out there--and other lifestyles--that would be better suited for him.

 

There was a line early in the movie from Juno's stepmom where she warned Juno that it was inappropriate for Juno to drop in like that on a married couple's home, and I thought the stepmom's concerns more or less foreshadowed what we saw play out in the film. Juno just didn't get it. But I don't think Juno had a thing for Bateman; she had just found someone she liked to hang out with.

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If she didn't have any interest in Bateman than the repeated visits to his home and the discussions on music and film were highly unnecessary (only Allen has been able to make such dialogue work). If Cody's intent was greater than to plug her own entertainment tastes and wanted to portray his own maturity on account of Juno, then I feel this film was severely misguided. The relationship between Juno and her boyfriend is reduced to nothing. It's underdeveloped to the point where it is puzzling that the father has zero displayed input or concern for the destiny of his child.

 

This is just one mess of a screenplay. For such a short feature there is no solid reason to delve that much into the third character other than to simply to drop pop culture reference after another. Juno is not a static character by any means, but Cody took a wrong turn from my vantage point.

 

I agree that the relationship between Juno and her BF is very underdeveloped. It's almost not developed at all.

 

But I don't understand this point about Juno's visitis to the House of Bateman being unnecessary. It feels like you wanted the script to do something that it didn't do, and so you're calling it unnecessary because it didn't fulfill your goals for the movie. But those scenes seemed necessary to the goals of the person who actually wrote the movie. I thought those visits played a role in developing both characters, and the House of Bateman served as Juno's refuge during these troubling times. We saw that she felt more comfortable there than anywhere else, and then we saw what happened when that comfort was taken from her. Those visits definitely set up the maturation of her character.

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How are the lengthy discussions on music and film assisting with her maturation? That consists of the bulk of her visits. It sounds like you guys are reaching a bit too much.

 

Again, my complaint is that Cody is trying so damn hard to make the film "hip" through the dialogue and hipster art form references that major characters are left underdevoped. Who is this film about? Bateman? Page? The confrontation between the two is a rather inefficient means of serving the maturation at hand. As I've said numerous times now, if Cody were actually focused on writing the core narrative rather than over-writing to suit her personal interests, the film would have worked much better.

 

I would clock those visits as somewhere between like 7-12 minutes. I'd be curious to know just how much time you feel was devoted to this stuff.

 

The conversations about music and film showed they had a lot in common. And they weren't that lengthy, at least not as I remember it. This is in many ways the same disagreement we had earlier, where you said the film was just loaded to the brim with pop-culture references, and I said the pop-culture references were mildly annoying, but that just weren't that many of them for it to be a big deal.

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How are the lengthy discussions on music and film assisting with her maturation? That consists of the bulk of her visits. It sounds like you guys are reaching a bit too much.

 

Again, my complaint is that Cody is trying so damn hard to make the film "hip" through the dialogue and hipster art form references that major characters are left underdevoped. Who is this film about? Bateman? Page? The confrontation between the two is a rather inefficient means of serving the maturation at hand. As I've said numerous times now, if Cody were actually focused on writing the core narrative rather than over-writing to suit her personal interests, the film would have worked much better.

 

I think the conversations work in two ways. 1. yes maybe to impose her hipster mentality in the film (which was evident and annoying on the letterman show) or 2. to show the relationship between them. He was the fatherly figure to her in a sense, the guy who helped her mature showed her things. He showed her movies, music, et cetra which then lead to him making a move on her. This move almost worked as he tried to show her something else but it went to far. Reminds me of a typical college guy, and I think that is how he was supposed to be portrayed.

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