Juno Junko

juno_movieI know they've got a lot of good lawyers out in Hollywood. I'm not so sure about writers and filmmakers. But it would be my suggestion for Wes Anderson to get himself one of those sharks and take out a suit against the makers of Juno. The people who made Garden State, and Sideways, and Little Miss Sunshine might want to join in, in a kind of quirk-infringement class action suit.

Except that they're all too nice to do it.

And, from what I can tell, the mainstream cinematic press certainly won't act to stamp out the odious brand of sweetness being peddled in Juno. So it's up to me.

Rather than go through the moral and ethical crimes committed by this simpering sweet, lily white, toothless, lifeless, TV commercial, I'll just use bullet points, in my quirky, indie-influenced, ready-for-Sundance, all-knowing, snark-free fashion.

(SOUND UP: FAUX NAIF INDIE JANGLY GUITAR MUSIC)

* Hand-written squiggly titles.

* Jangly, soulless emo music.

* Rampant dropping of brand names, pre-vetted for coolness (Sunny D), just far out enough to be on the fringe -- Sonic Youth, Iggy, ycchy.

* Egregious Coca-Cola product placement.

* A sprightly spunky Midwestern teen that nobody understands (anyone remember "Pretty in Pink?").

* An untoward pregnancy with resulting hilarity, especially involving that laugh riot known as the ultra-sound. (Anyone remember Knocked Up?)

* Cardboard cutout characters moving on and offscreen and showing the dotted lines.

Sombre seriousness. Random runners. Jangly guitars.

Let me count the ways.

These are not homages. These are rip-offs. As you watch the movie, you can just hear the meeting at the BIG STUDIO -- cigar-chomping producer, or today's version, wheatgrass-chomping producer -- "GIMME ONE OF THOSE WES ANDERSON THINGS WITH SOME OF THAT LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE SHIT."

"How high?" respond the minions.

Almost wish Harry "don't say yes till I stop talking" Cohn were still around.

The swindle is that this piffle is being taken as serious film. Not even comedy. We are being told to like it. And so, like lemmings, we file into darkened theaters and wish to have plugs in our ears and file out, ripped off. I WANT MY TWO HOURS BACK, I was silently screaming. And, from the glum looks of the throngs piling out of the theater with me, they were singing the same tune.

Why do I care about these people on the screen? What are they showing me about life? Or film? Or anything?

I only wish the estate of Francois Truffaut could get in on the lawsuit, but after seeing Juno, it's apparent that anyone involved with it hasn't seen, let alone ripped off, any of his work. If only. If only...

'Til next time. - Ken Krimstein

Ken.jpg

Mr. Krimstein is a writer, professor, cartoonist, father, and grump who used to live in New York City. So there.

Sorry for a dumb question,

Sorry for a dumb question, but I really can't get, what GIMME is?...

it's an easy shot...so easy you don't even have to take it...

like in golf, if your ball is right next to the hole, you could tap it in with your eyes closed. that's a gimme. you don't even have to take the shot and you get it.

something like that...

ken

A smug review by a man reveling in his own forced misanthropy

This critic clearly can't tell the difference between a studio film and an indie. He knows nothing about the director's (Jason Reitman) past films, and he holds up PRETTY IN PINK as a prime example of a quality teen-in-hormonal-agony epic. Looking at his photo, Mr. Krimstein was possibly a teen or at least slightly younger than 30 when Pretty in Pink came out. No wonder he still holds that adolescent offering dear to what's left of his heart.

That John Hughes' offering was refreshing as it was in retrospect because there was a honesty about its characters and the dialogue compared to all other teen films coming out at that time. The same now with Juno. This is a deliciously vibrant portrait of a young woman who thinks she's in control of the world, and soon discovers otherwise.

(An argument has been made to me by several women that Juno is just another nail in the coffin of the pro-abortion movement; I would disagree, but that's an argument for another day.)

Returning to Mr. Krimstein's relentless rant, he apparently is pining for a Truffaut film, but who isn't? In the meantime, if you want to laugh with (not at) intelligent characters spouting witty dialogue who are made concrete by highly talented actors, Juno will satisfy you completely.

Brandon, were you involved in the film?

B, you're sounding defensive as if you worked on the film (or knew someone who did).

Sometimes movies try hard to be refreshing -- too hard. Sound like this may have been one of them.

I also hated Juno

Dany

Just read the last comment. Witty dialogue? Intelligent characters? Give us a break. Good actors, yes, I'll grant you that, particularly the dad and step-mom. But c'mon, this was no indie -- the hands of the studio were writ large over the entire messy project, not to mention Ms. Cody's self-conscious, forced dialogue. Mr. Krimstein's review is on the button and I am relieved to see that finally, someone isn't buying the derivative crap coming out of the west coast in the name of talent. I totally get the objective of Juno but it's mediocre and just doesn't deliver. It's a great premise gone awry. There is nothing vaguely honest or earned in it -- other than the one scene in the school hallway when Paige confronts Michael Cera with some home truths -- the characters are superficial cutouts who spout words that vaporize into thin air the moment they are uttered. There are no emotional connections created in this movie that leave a lasting impression and if short-term memory entertainment is what you're after, much like a cool 30-second commercial, then this is truly it. Sorry, but in a world of great moviemakers, Reitman is a cop out. This was a vignette put to music, not a movie. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is an Indie worthy of its genre. Go see it. As for Pretty in Pink -- it was a great, honest flick about teen angst that endures to this day. And I pine for Truffaut the same way I pine for an independent bookseller in New York City. Why shouldn't we hold everyone up to his standards? Your comments give me another great reason to go watch Small Change and revel in movie-making that doesn't show but tells.

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