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January 29, 2008



I have none of the concerns expressed here with the film. Jason Reitman has his own little rapid patter film world carved out for himself, so why change now? My beef with the film was that the subject of teenage pregnancy was so glibly handled. So many things can go wrong when the birth mother is under 20 and none of these issues were addressed. I won't go into the gruesome list of details (fistula, death, etc.) that can happen even in the developed world, but now I wonder how many not so bright, smart-ass teenage girls are going to think it's okay to get pregnant because in the end, your boyfriend who knocked you up will stand by you, you'll be okay to have other children later and some cool, rich woman will adopt your kid.

Yeah, and even though I'm too old to identify the soundtrack as twee indie rock, it bothered the crap out of me as well. Hire a goddamn composer next time and stop relying on pop music to convey your subtext!

Looking forward to your ANTM posts.


My Chinese immigrant mom and dad came home from the movie mostly pleased, but a little bit annoyed by the "ALL BABIES WANT TO GET BORNED" scene. They have worked hard to make sure that my brother and I speak English well (and Chinese semi-decently), and that sort of stuff hurts their feelings.


As the mother of a bi-racial son, I have a tendency to notice when "black" slang is used by us white folks and it happens all the time. For example: I recently heard Matt Lauer use the term "24-7" on The Today Show...and could anyone BE more white than Matt? I think not.


I have taught high school English in a rural school with a 4% other ethnicities to a 96% caucasian ratio for 12 years, and the smart-ass dialogue and urban slang greatly reflect the language patterns of the teens I teach.


The dialog just killed me. I hated the movie. When they were in science class I just finally blurted out, I HATE THIS MOVIE! I was feeling the comparison with movies like Heathers, but one, Heathers was fantasy, and I *think* Juno was trying not to be (or maybe it was and I missed it), and two, I watched Heathers when I was in middle school and I talked like that, and it wasn't being praised by 40 years and nominated for Oscars (was it?).

Juno strikes me as a cute/clever movie for this generation's tweens/teens a la Heathers, but the hype has gotten way out of control.

Perhaps if their weren't so much praise for it from all over, I would have watched it and thought, 'eh, that's cute' instead of wanting to kill it.


...wasn't being praised by people in their 40's...

That's what I meant.


Wait. "24-7" is black slang??


I really enjoyed it when I saw it, but then as time wore on it also started to irritate me... I think because I saw it when it first came out so pre-hype which as dampened it a bit for me. But you've put your finger on exactly why I liked it, then it annoyed me, but I still like it anyway.


Hey, she totally said fuck!

"Ow ow fuckity ow!"

So theres...

Love ya, Rich!


I have to agree that Rich is taking the so-called "urban slang" thing way too seriously. I honestly didn't even notice what he's talking about, and I don't particularly think of the examples cited as fitting that description. Fact of the matter is, that slang is common ground these days pretty much no matter what kind of environment kids grow up in or what kind of music they listen to. Other than that, I agree with this review entirely. So many things about this movie did grate on my nerves, and yet on the whole I liked it.


Also: I could excuse a lot of Juno's irritating dialogue because it occurred to me that 16-year-olds really DO have a tendency to try too hard to sound cool. I winced hearing it, but I know if I'm being honest I probably did the same thing at her age. What I couldn't excuse was the screenwriter putting that same voice into every character's mouth.


Two words: Whitey McDown.


I totally agree with the overall sentiment of this review. It's almost as if the trying-too-hard-iness of the beginning, especially with the slang and music, made it that much more rewarding when the story finally won me over by the end.

I DO think that white teens use hip-hop slang whether or not they listen to hip-hop music. I did notice the presence of hip-hop slang mixed in with the rest of the slang, and it was one of the things that felt most authentic about it, actually. Yes, it's obnoxious, but again, it added to the overall obnoxiousness that was so forgiven by the time I saw the baby in Vanessa's arms.

Also, I thought Alison Janney was awesome.

classical historian geek

Well, really though, Jupiter and Zeus are the same dude in different languages, as are Juno and Hera. So you're right, it's not technically correct to say that Juno was Zeus's wife. But it's hardly her not knowing the origin of her own name.


Rich, Did you ever see the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated? I bet, given your disdain (and mine) with PG-13, that you'd love seeing it, while at the same time hate seeing it, because it exposes the rating system in general for the sack of ass that it is.

I haven't seen Juno yet, but it's on my list, swear to blog.

House of Jules


I agree with Jesse... When did "24-7" become "black slang"??

I hear plenty of us Whiteys say that all the time.


I am totally feeling what you're saying about Juno.
I have to say that I left wanting to complain about a lot of the things you mentioned above, but in the end I was too charmed by it to hold any of that against it.
I would say Juno is that guy who you know is a douche, but he's so damn charming you like him anyway.


The ultrasound technician appeared to be South Asian.


Hey rich, never commented here before, but I've been reading this for a while...I haven't seen this movie yet, but what you were saying about the use of black slang in the movie sort of interested me, simply because I'm a white high school kid in the suburbs, similar to what I'm assuming the character of Juno to be. The school I go to is about 60% black, 40% white, and so most of the white kids use a lot of "hip-hop" language. I would be saying this to defend the movie's use of this kind of thing, but seeing as you say there aren't even any black characters in the whole damn film, I'm a bit skeptical. I guess it can be written off as an aspect of pop culture that is basically ingrained in the lives of anyone growing up today; i.e. the omnipresence of rap and hip hop icons in today's society. What you were saying about the "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" mentality is spot-on, though. That's exactly the way everyone I know uses it, and it's not really that great. I'm not sure if anyone else has been saying any of this stuff, but yea, that's just my personal take on it.

Sorry to sound so obnoxious there. Anyway...

The Over-Thinker

Being from the near the area where Juno takes place, I can tell you that there are even more errors than the one's you called out. That being said, I still liked the movie. Will not be purchasing the soundtrack.

Maybe I'm coming late-to-the-dance, but is that Brittany from ANTM in the Cerebral Itch ad??


Kimya Dawson isn't white...she has a lot of songs on the soundtrack. But yes, I agree with you in general on this movie.


I'm really glad you said that part about Zeus was Greek and Juno is Roman because I noticed that right away.


a.) I'm from white-middle-class-land in Pennsylvania and I know people whose slang is (more or less) much like Juno's racial ickiness. There are a few black kids at my school but they're all friends with white kids and they all do the "hells yeah" and "shiz" thing. I know Juno spewed wit the way that real people simply do not, but the slang was largely realistic for me. Then again, I'm 17.
b.) Indie-tweeness was inexcusable, I agree.
c.) Juno was supposed to be unbearable and immature. I found that her flaws and problems were written very deliberately. The people who OMG LOL at every one of her quips are obviously misinterpreting the film, and the people who get mad at the OMG LOLers for not noticing the EGREGIOUS WRONGNESS OF THE SCRIPT!!! are taking the characters way too seriously and allowing details to interfere with storytelling.
d.) Kimya Dawson sucks.


I was under the impression that Zeus=Jupiter and Hera=Juno, but Hera is the Greek name and Juno is the Roman name. So yeah, what a couple people may have said already, though it is weird that she's mixing the languages in her pairings. Anyway, I'm glad you articulated a lot of the objections I had with this movie, but couldn't explain. The constant obvious attempts at quirkiness, the really insider indie cool, and the dialogue at times really got to me. I kind of like '90s twee indie-pop, but if you're trying to be so fresh and hipsterish, it's a little misguided. Whenever I tell people what I think about this movie, I end up bitching for a really long time, then concluding with, "But I kind of liked it, I guess."


Ooh, to Katie re: the "ALL BABIES WANT TO GET BORNED" thing.

That bugged me too. I think the girl was supposed to be Korean, but what bothered me about it was that she spoke completely perfect English otherwise. Either she was supposed to be retarded, or it's kind of racist. I'm pretty sensitive about people making fun of others' English, though, because I teach English in Japan. I know English is really, really hard, and I listen to and try to understand people who make tons of language mistakes, and I never judge them. However, that girl was not in the process of language-learning, and it just seemed like a cheap joke.

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