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I don’t know how much more there is to say about Juno. Through Oscar season we had the hype, the acclaim, the backlash, the backlash to the backlash… All I can say is that I loved the movie and that it was one of the few films I saw that I immediately wanted to see again.

Most of the controversy seems to revolve around the script. Is the dialogue too cutesy, are the characters too quirky? I don’t think so. The first five minutes smacked of trying too hard, but throughout I thought it adeptly walked the line to keep it from becoming too precious. Too much time has been spent complaining that Juno doesn’t speak realistically. Um, it’s a movie. No one in a movie talks realistically! Real people don’t have the coherence, dramatic touch, or comedic timing of movie characters. But, honestly, Juno doesn’t talk all that weirdly. Yes she doesn’t talk like a normal teenager, but she does talk like a self-absorbed, know-it-all, cocky, hip teen who thinks she’s awesome… which is exactly what Juno is! A viewing companion mentioned that he couldn’t believe that Juno would think Mark wouldn’t know Mott the Hoople. I think a sixteen-year-old who thinks she knows everything about music would definitely make that mistake. Teens think they’re bees knees and everyone else is lame. It’s a time honored tradition. I think sometimes Juno so frequently plays up how put-together she is that we forget she really isn’t.

The lingo-filled dialogue might have propelled Diablo Cody to a well-deserved Original Screenplay Oscar win, but it’s really the characters that make Juno special. I love how Juno’s layers are pulled back, revealing the self-sure dynamo’s insecurities. Ellen Page deftly lets the emotion peek out, never ever stooping to the melodramatic. Jason Bateman’s Mark and Jennifer Garner’s Vanessa start out looking like one type of couple and shift into something completely different. JK Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno’s father and step-mother are the caring and wise (and witty) parents that movie parents are rarely allowed to be. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best movie of the year. Period. Granted, this statement is made without seeing every movie (or even every movie up for Best Picture) but I feel pretty confident. It would take quite a feat of film making to make me recant. In fact, in our little behind-the-scenes ranking, I gave Juno a perfect 10 – and I stand by that grade. As a testament to this movie’s prowess, I went into the theater with very high expectations (which you should never do) and not only were they met, they were exceeded. So, you might as well prepare yourself because if you plan on reading any further, the rest of this post will exclusively deal with how awesome this movie is.

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Chuck Klosterman once wrote something along the lines of: “It is much harder to explain why you liked something than to explain why you didn’t like something.”  And I’m finding that to ring true as I’m going through the Oscar movies and not only trying to pick out my favorites, but explain why they are the best of the bunch.  Juno will end up being one of my favorite movies of the year, if not my most favorite.  And I’ll try (and probably fail) to express why that is.  But perhaps the simplest thing I can say is that of all the 2007 movies I’ve seen so far, Juno is the only one I’ve felt comfortable and confident recommending, no matter the person asking for the recommendation. Read the rest of this entry »

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