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January 29, 2008



nice review


Finally, my exact thoughts about Juno written down. I kept telling people I liked Juno, and then complained about the screenplay for an hour. But overall, I swear I liked it!

Also, I really think that Jennifer Garner's performance was totally underrated. Her character could have been easily underacted, but she gave it realism. I cared more about her than I did about Juno herself.


Excellent review. I couldn't agree more! I loved the film, but the exact same thoughts crossed my mind while watching this - this movie is trying to be this generation's "Clueless." The whole "indie" thing was a bit grating as well. That said, I did love the movie, moreso than I thought.


Totes. At the risk of sounding redundant, I, too, thought I would hate this film and ended up being charmed. Mostly by Jennifer Garner, who could charm the pants off anything, really. But she was terrific. I also loved that they made Jason Bateman's character into such an ass. Like, he was supposed to be all too cool for school, like Juno, but it shows how that is even more unattractive that it is when you are teenager.


I think the fact that you found sympathy for the supporting characters, and not necessarily the main character, is a testament to the fact that this is a poorly written movie with a confused and schizophrenic message. It seems almost accidental. The reason that the Paulie and Vanessa characters seemed more "real" is because the writers didn't spend time (over)developing them...


Good review, Rich. I just want to say that the random hip-hop slang is a pretty accurate reflection of language in the white suburbs, whether it's good or bad. I don't think it was intentionally excluding black people, but rather, it happened to take place in an overwhelmingly white suburb (I grew up in one myself; they're very strange places to be).

But, no. Nobody says "homeskillet" and "what the blog". The script is vastly over-praised and the dialog unabashedly unrealistic, but nonetheless, I liked the movie. It did have its charm, and that easily made up for its flaws.


Well...Suspiria might potentially qualify as a slasher (structure-wise), but you're right - Wizard of Gore is pure exploitation/splatter, and not at all slashery.

And boy, would I love to hear your hinge theory regarding the PG-13 rating. You're twice as clever as most grad students, and a hundred times less pretentious than the average film school theory-geek.

Oh well. I'm no stranger to suffering...


Um, Rich? Baby? *puts blog hand on your shoulder* Not sure if you have any teenage nieces,nephews,or cousins but: teenagers ARE smart alecks, baby. It's in the contract. Suburban or urban, black or white - they shoot the gift with ninja-like precision. I saw Ms. Juno this weekend also, and agree the hip shooting of the gift was overdone, but the lip? Right on time.


One more thing.

Someone PLEASE help me understand the appeal of Kimya Dawson's music? I've heard nothing but gushing over her since the soundtrack came out, and to me she sounds like she rode the short bus to jr.high.


Maybe Juno's supposed to be wrong about her namesake and the movies and things like that? I used to teach high school - a lot of the kids talk out their ass about stuff like that. Even the sharp ones. It's like this self-conscious posturing thing. Usually the ones who really know stuff like that are the awkward, dorky ones. Not to, uh, label a bunch of people in one fell swoop or anything. Ahem.


i also really liked jennifer garner's performance and think she was underrated.

omg rich, i went to see persepolis this weekend and while i was in the theater waiting i was casually talking to my boyfriend about how juno made that comment about juno being zeus' wife, and in true juno-wannabee-esque fashion a sixteen year old trickface know-it-all sitting to our side said juno was indeed the same as hera but the roman version... after i shot her a mug, i took so much joy in telling her juno was hera's COUNTERPART! look it up on wiki! it felt as if i was telling juno macguff herself, and it felt damn good

thankyou for reminding me, and im glad you noticed :)


I'm kind of surprised that you are unaware that hipsters and nerds use hip-hop slang in an effort to mock it, then as they mock it so often it just becomes a part of their normal speech.
Saying "what the blog" was fucking retarded though. I say that with the utmost sincerity.


pitch perfect post.

McSnuff the Crime Dog

I've never posted here before, but I absolutely adore your blog, Rich. I enjoy your ANTM recaps and we share a love of freestyle (Stevie B. por vida!), but your recent insights on pop culture are wonderful. I've seen Juno and I adored it, but then, I am a sucker for indie films featuring nothing but white people saying funny things and wearing bad clothes. That said, your whole review was spot on, especially about the music. Worst soundtrack ever. As for the dialogue, I didn't make the Clueless connection until you stated it, but it makes sense.

For all of it faults, Juno is an endearing little film. Plus, I got a kick out of Schillinger being a lovable dad to his knocked-up teen daughter.

One more thing. There was a black person in the film. She was at the abortion clinic, which I'm pretty sure was the only place we saw any non-white characters. Even the film's Asian character was standing outside of it.

Oh yes you did ...

"She's such a know-it-all, with her machine gun tongue that shoots out quips, that I delight in finding her wrong."

Honest to Blog, that's gotta be the most perfect (and unintentionally funniest) examples of irony I've ever read.


I'm a teacher at a junior high school (in a very white suburb) and I can support Kristasphere in her assertion that kids these days do talk like complete smart asses. The urban slang is common to every kid, too.

Anyways, I liked this movie. It was so cute I barely noticed the flaws.


I mostly agree with you. For me the dialog grated most sharply in the first 10-15 minutes of the film. I'm not sure if it let up after that or if I just got used to it.

And I agree with those who praised Jennifer Garner's performance. I thought it was brilliantly subtle, but very nuanced.

I think some of the casting about of the film kept it more real. Like the uncomfortable dancing scene between Juno and Mark that could have been blown way out of proportion in a lesser movie, but it just kind of awkwardly diffused and disappeared, which was probably more realistic.

Liz K

Havent seen the movie but couldnt agree more on the soundtrack. I keep hearing all this hype about Kimya Dawson/Moldy Peaches, so I finally heard the song (via clip from The View on Jezebel) and was immediatly struck by its god-awfulness. And so many of the commenters kept talking about how they liked that song "first," one going so far as to say she listend to it while in a european hostel. Ugh.


I've yet to see the movie, and knowing the characters use words like "what the blog" and "home skillet" doesn't make me want to. (I'll wait for the DVD.) It is very reminiscent of Clueless or Heathers with its "What's your damage." (Something I'm loathe to admit I still say every now and then.) That being said, it's a quirky little movie that under normal circumstances wouldn't see much action outside the Sundance channel, so... good for Diablo Cody.

I am happy for Kimya Dawson's success with the soundtrack. I know, not everyone's cup of tea, but I've been a fan of hers for a few years now, and it's nice to see her get some recognition.


i love that you know all that shit that no one else catches. your wealth of knowledge is much deeper than antm recaps would allow someone to assume. no offense at ALL. i know you're brilliant and hilarious and your wit is unreal, but you know a lot of shit too. and that's cool.


I noticed what commenter McSnuff did - the only non-white characters were at the abortion clinic, and the Asian girl outside was suuuuch a caricature it made me wince. "All babies want to get borned," she says. Poor English skills, FOB name (Su-Chin???), and ignorantly pro-life... now, now, Diablo, tell us how you REALLY feel about Asians.

Loved your review, Rich. You can be Whitey McDown whenever you want!


Thank god! Vindication at last. Juno does have a few wonderful small scenes (Venessa's touching Juno's stomach in the mall was really well done) but they are all tied together with the writer's fantasy of what she should have been in high school. As a friend said "I just spent 10 bucks to watch pedo-narcissism."

The male lead, Paulie is such a ridiculously cliche' chick fantasy and so non-threatening, - "I've been waiting for this", I shall hold you while you cry, we are best friends, You look pretty while pregnant - that he's practically asexual. (They only have sex once in the movie.) Even at the end, they are making beautiful music together.

The overly precocious dialog grated after a while. There's never an indication that Juno is a lit nerd. And the soundtrack. Ugh! Like being beaten repeatably with a hand-sequined My Little Pony lunchbox.

That being said, some of the all-too obvious "let's turn the teen comedy on it's head" gestures worked. (The very real adults, the cheerleader who is supportive) Hopefully we'll see more of that as the wave of Juno meets Porkies flicks overwhelms us.


"The general tone just seems like: we're pillaging what we perceive to be black culture not out of any admiration, but just because, haha, we're white and it's funny when we talk black. It's just really gross to me, and I'm not even sure what the point of it all was. Was it to accurately reflect the habits of white kids in the suburbs? Doesn't the cliché follow that those who talk the talk also listen to the source material? And if they don't, why are we supposed to find them endearing instead of despicable? I'm sorry to be Whitey McDown here, but it just all seems so cluelessly disrespectful."

I guess you've been out of touch with teenage culture for too long, or something (which I can't say is a bad thing as I'm in the midst of it and am more than ready to escape), but only the most PC-obsessed person could complain about the "hip-hop" jargon used. Yes, there could stand to be more non-white characters in the film, but it is set in a predominantly white suburb. Why make Juno more of a fairy tale by adding in falsified diversity? From my experiences when non-black kids using "black lingo" it's not to make fun of other races or belittle anyone's culture. It's simply a modern mixing of cultures made easier by the internet and mass media, no "source material" required. I'd suggest not to read into it too much: more than nine times out of ten the white kid yelling "Yo, what's good?" to his friend down the hallway has no other intentions other than to ask what his friend is up to.


i have to say i'm slightly annoyed by your review.. i suppose just as much as you were annoyed by the film.. i think you took the slang (which we all use no matter what colour we are) and the soundtrack way too seriously... i think it was as real as it could be.. just because there are many quirky teen movies..shouldnt take away from its uniqueness and charm. I say.. don't overthink it.. it's just a movie.. and a good one too.. i bet if it was not as well liked as it is you may have taken a different point of view.


I think everyone can probably agree that the scene at the beginning with Juno and Rainn Wilson set the bar for insufferable dialogue pretty effing high; happily, the movie gradually backed away from it after that bit.

I agree that the script has been overpraised, but I think the real beauty of "Juno" is how the film becomes increasingly silent and wordless as it goes on; by the end, barely anything is being said at all. In the beginning, the tone is just as overly verbal and smart-assy as Juno herself, but then as her experiences continue and she finds out how little she knows, she has less and less to say. The moment after Juno gives up her baby, with Paulie holding her while she wordlessly sobs from feelings she could never express verbally, is just sublime.

As for all the Kimya Dawson, I'm a fan, so I can't complain. The film is giving a relatively obscure artist a much bigger spotlight that she ever could have imagined, and I think that's great. She's not for everyone, but she deserves to be heard much more than whatever earnest punk-pop crap would normally play over the end credits of a teen flick like this. Although I think it's dumb to assert that Jason Reitman is some sort of unreasonable overzealous twee indie-pop fan. Because there were just so many cutesy whispered vocals in "Thank You For Smoking."

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