Honest to blog.

heathers.jpg

I promise this ain’t solely a linkblog, but Jim Emerson hits the nail on the head about the backlash on Juno, which has become the whipping boy (girl?) for frustrated critics everywhere.

My take: I liked it. I didn’t love it. It didn’t change my life. But I don’t believe it wasn’t supposed to.

Did Roger Ebert, others give this movie the Curse of the Critics? Isn’t it true that everybody that talks about this movie has to choose a side and defend it to the hilt? Can’t it just be the quirky indie it wants to be? Yeah, the dialogue is a bit campy. Is camp that far from quirk?

And the actors find a way to actually make it work. Eventually, the dialogue gives way, the situations become a bit more real and director Jason Reitman’s steady hand brings it home.

Strange about the dialogue backlash: didn’t people feel the same way about Heathers? That no teens talked that way? But that’s what I loved about that movie, that it felt like it was from a different world, although I recognized a big part of it. Remember Clueless? No one I knew used the phrase “as if” prior to the movie. Neither of these is a perfect film, and don’t claim to be. But my generation got it. We understood at the heart of those characters, we shared a common element.

The thing about Juno is that it sees those movies (among others) and aches desperately to be them, but it never can be. Although many of them share a similar structure, times have changed. And with a baby on the way, the stakes are higher than ever. So the people behind the wonky diatribes start to talk in real terms. I know I was stung by the attack on Jason Bateman and his stupid shirt.

Starting to think I’m gonna have to re-watch Juno and think fondly back on Winona Ryder clad in black. Hmmm.

In the meantime, cue the anti-backlash backlash!

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Posted on January 18, 2008, in Film news and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Have you seen the film Brick? It’s a sort of neo-noir that takes place in a high school, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The dialogue in that is *highly* stylized, like an Ernest Lehman script on meth. I heard an interview with the writer on The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell, and he said he deliberately made up slang so the movie wouldn’t seem dated in a few years. I suppose the same could be true of Juno (which I haven’t seen yet, so I can’t judge).

    Heathers was aweseome. “Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.”

  2. I liked Brick.

    I didn’t like Juno. Probably because I found her incredibly annoying. Michael Cera was great, though, and his performance was the only one that rang true to me.

  3. Brick’s another great example, and a good flick.
    And I agree, Michael Cera was great. His delivery is impeccable. Man, I’ve got to see Superbad.

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