2.11.2008

Juno vs. Crash: Which one is more barftastic?

According to Slate's Dana Stevens, there's now officially a Juno backlash.

I'd just like to go on record as saying I disliked this movie before it was cool to dislike it. As reason #1, I'd cite Stevens' own recap of the film's first couple scenes:

The nadir of cuteness is the much-reviled opening, in which Ellen Page's pregnant teenage heroine trades stiff quips with a convenience-store clerk (Rainn Wilson): "Your eggo is preggo"; "Silencio, old man!"; "This is one diddle that can't be un-did, homeskillet." Soon after comes the too-cute early scene in which Juno breaks the news to her best friend, Lea (Olivia Thirlby), on her hamburger-shaped phone, provoking such interjections as "Honest to blog?" and "Phuket, Thailand!"


Is this really how the kids are talking these days? Really?

My main problem with the movie was that its main character was almost wholly unlikeable. Which is a pretty big flaw, in my mind. As Stevens points out, the movie gets somewhat less annoying as it goes one -- it seems to eventually find a less grating tone, for one thing -- but by then I'd already rendered judgment on Juno and didn't care too much what happened to her.

I will say, though, that the film's smaller roles were well-occupied.

6 comments:

aaron said...

Junohateitville: Population You.

I fear that you are right, and this movie has received so much saturation I won't be able to ever see it for his merits or demerits. Same went for Little Miss Sunshine, which I thought was decent but not great...maybe I would have liked it better if I hadn't heard one and all adore it like a newborn Christ child.

Speaking of which, a buddy of mine just started to watch the Wire and doesn't like it...who does that? seriously though, Slate needs a contrarian article on the Wire stat! Isn't that what they are all about?

TMC said...

There are plenty of people who don't like the wire... they usually give up 2-3 episodes in because it's too slow, or not enough like the other cop shows.

Of course, they're making a terrible decision by giving up on it, though.

Anyway, Mike, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have an unlikable or even awful person as your protagonist. The problem is that the writer doesn't seem to realize how awful Juno is; in fact, the movie seems to be telling us that she's likeable, lovable, and cute. In that case, it's a disaster for her to be as obnoxious (and mostly unbelievable-- about halfway through, it's clear that she's turned into some idealized male fantasy type of character, with her obsessions with obscure punk rock, bloody horror films, and stuff that nobody likes unironically) as she is.

JP said...

I think by now you pretty much know how much I adore you, so you won't really mind too much when I tell you, in regard to this post and with no apologies, that you wholeheartedly suck.

Mike said...

Well, JP, I'll just chalk that up to you living in L.A. You've forgotten what earnest, likeable people sound like.

Edan Lepucki said...

I thought "Juno" was really funny; I didn't find the eponymous heroine unlikeable at all (overly clever, yes, but not unlikeable). I thought "Juno" better than "Little Miss Sunshine" which everyone was going nuts for last time around.

Mike said...

Edan: see my comment to JP :)

(though I know you're in Ohio at the moment)