Saturday, April 19, 2008
Everybody Loves Juno... except me
For months now all I've heard, when asking the generic question, "Seen any good movies lately?" is "Have you seen Juno? Oh my gosh! It's so awesome. Seriously, one of the best movies I've seen in a long time." I usually just turn around quietly and wish I hadn't asked the question. I saw Juno several months ago, and I'm pretty sure I didn't like it. This may sound a bit Obama-esque, but I'm not quite sure why I didn't like it.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I could barely understand Juno, the main character, and her quirky band of whiz kid friends. I wanted to ask them, "Is there a reason you're talking like what seems like a teenager designed by a committee of adults that have researched youth by watching MTV around the clock?" The dialogue was clever... too clever. And where did all this cleverness lead us? Well, the most annoyingly intelligent teenager ever to grace the silver screen brought us the warm tale of teen pregnancy, marital strife, divorce, constant references to unborn children as "it" or "the thing", and overbearingly child-obsessed suburbanites. It doesn't get much more clever than that!!
I kept asking myself if I was supposed to be happy with the way things turned out in Juno. Everyone else I knew walked out of the film pretty excited about the way it ended. I just kept thinking, "That's it? I'm supposed to feel good about that? I'm supposed to think it's great that the girl gave up 'the thing' for adoption to the most emotionally disturbed character on the screen?" But hey, at least she didn't get the abortion!
Don't get me wrong, Juno is funny, light-hearted, and complex. Ellen Page is great as the main character, and her Father uttered one of the funniest lines I've ever heard in a movie ("I'm gonna punch that kid in the wiener the next time I see him."), but let's face it, teenagers aren't that clever. Most of them are pretty un-clever. Instead of uttering quick quip after super quick quip, most teens I know are busy exclaiming, "Dude, check out my new ringtone!"
The movie does demonstrate that there is a frightening stupidity in our society about children, what a blessing they are, and how wondrous the path to new life can be. Kids in this day are objects of consumption and convenience, and that's pretty sad.
So, I thought Juno was clever (cue annoying indie song). It was cool for shizz, but in a totally hamburger phone kind of way. In other words, it was so clever that it almost made me forget how stupid it was. I liked the movie. I found it enjoyable on the surface, but underneath it seemed shallow to me. There were a couple of times when I felt like I was watching a bad action movie or a cheesy horror film. I wanted to yell at the screen, "Oh, yeah right!! Like that would ever happen!!" Then I'd look around to see if anybody was with me, only to find that the film had found a captive audience, believing every over-intelligent smirk.
In conclusion: Teenagers aren't that smart, and they don't really talk that way! Plus, kids are good, and they aren't "things." The end.