No real “Juno” animus

There are no rivers of Juno-hate. Stu Van Airsdale‘s rant aside, there never has been. There is only a sense of Juno proportion, which is where I’ve been coming from all along. Take shots but don’t throw grenades because it’s a good film about perk and snark and emotional conviction. It’s smart, appealing, likable. Just not Oscar-winning. And that’s not a putdown. Fox Searchlight is delighted with how it’s performed and been received. It’s all to the good. Count the money.
Update: Van Airsdale just wrote to say he’s being “misrepresent[ed]” as a Juno hater. “Read my rant again,” he writes. “We’re saying the same thing. I like the movie fine, I just want to keep its box-office and feel-good creds separate from its Oscar creds. If one is synonymous with the other, then maybe the bigger issue is not *what* the Academy recognizes as its ‘Best Picture’, but rather how it defines such. For people who care about the institution and its history — let alone the industry that banks on its imprimatur — it’s not an irrelevant matter.”

29 thoughts on “No real “Juno” animus

  1. Daniel G. on said:

    I don’t know if “it’s all to the good” that we’re going to be subject to Diablo Cody’s writing for some time now – but, you’re right about proportion. Few people hate it, but fewer can legitimize a Best Picture nod.

  2. Remember that bizarre post when Jeff said he had trouble believing a girl who looked like Ellen Page could get pregnant, or something along those lines? Wierdest post ever. Gee, can’t imagine a horny 17 year old wanting to stick their dick in her!

  3. I agree completely with Carr’s take. The quality of the movie aside (and yes I’m a fan), there is definitely a section of the “proportionists” that would have been saying “Its a damn shame the Academy didn’t honor a movie like Juno” if it made 10 million dollars total and got zero nominations.

  4. I’m starting to hope for a Juno oscar win just for to sight the shitstorm that’ll hit HE.
    I didn’t care much for Juno either, but it’s the best story out of the five movies.
    NCFOM: great genre movie exercise that fizzles out at the end. Been there a long time ago. Two brutal genre movie wins in a row? No.
    TWBB: The emperor has no clothes. I loved Punch-Drunk-Love, but atonal music + DDL histrionics does not equal deep filmmaking. Overlong, laboured, shallow, kind of boring.
    Michael Clayton: a satisfying conventional Hollywood movie. Would deserve to win.
    Atonement: a mildly-satisfying, conventional Hollywood movie. A by-the-numbers adaptation of a great novel.
    Like it or not, Juno is the freshest kid on the block.

  5. I don’t know about where you all went to high school in, but the pregnant girls at my school didn’t really resemble Ellen Paige. More often it was the cholitas and the white girls trying to be cholitas. Of course any female with a working reproductive system can get pregnant but more often than not the girls getting pregnant in high school aren’t surprising anyone.

  6. I still don’t get the hatred directed at something’s success. “Who does that movie think it is, winning all those awards and making all that money. Bitch!”
    I was friends with “Juno” when it was nothing! Now it won’t return my calls!

  7. I’m starting to hope for a Juno oscar win just for to sight the shitstorm that’ll hit HE.
    I didn’t care much for Juno either, but it’s the best story out of the five movies.
    NCFOM: great genre movie exercise that fizzles out at the end. Been there a long time ago. Two brutal genre movie wins in a row? No.
    TWBB: The emperor has no clothes. I loved Punch-Drunk-Love, but atonal music + DDL histrionics does not equal deep filmmaking. Overlong, laboured, shallow, kind of boring.
    Michael Clayton: a satisfying conventional Hollywood movie. Would deserve to win.
    Atonement: a mildly-satisfying, conventional Hollywood movie. A by-the-numbers adaptation of a great novel.
    Like it or not, Juno is the freshest kid on the block.

  8. I was talking about this last night with my girlfriend (who incidentally loathed Juno: cannot stand the dialogue as substitution for character developments, felt the film missed many opportunities to go deeper into Juno actually dealing with the pregnancy rather than making a million jokes and sticking in a little unearned pathos at the end).
    Anyway, the reason Juno’s pregnancy seems implausible in the first place is she’s not sexual at ALL. Ellen Page is cute but plays the character like a teenage boy (she even dresses and walks like a guy). It’s hard to accept anything sexual about her — even the time she had sex is an intellectual exercise, which is why it doesn’t make sense that there was apparently no birth control used.

  9. I finally got to see Juno, took forever to get to our little town. Even after all the hype I still enjoyed it. Yes, it is calculatingly cute and quirky, but the filmmaking is good enough that they’re able to get away with it.
    That said, I don’t think it should be up for best picture. Into the Wild and a few others, I thought were more deserving. But I liked it more than Little Miss Sunshine, which was in the same boat last year.
    I think all the hatred for it comes out of jealousy. Diablo Cody went from blogger to Oscar nominated screenwriter, something most of us wish for.

  10. And check out the scene where Juno goes over to the couple’s house and hangs out with the husband. On the way there you can see remnants of unmelted snow on the side of the street, meaning there must be a measurable ground temperature of 30 degrees fahrenheit if not colder. Yet Juno is wearing a t-shirt with a cotton or cotton-blend hooded sweatshirt over that. At the front door she shows no signs of hypothermia nor does she even appear uncomfortably chilly. The film lost me there. It’s awful, just plain awful.

  11. Please don’t misrepresent me, Jeffrey. Read my “rant” again. We’re saying the same thing. I like the movie fine, I just want to keep its box-office and feel-good creds separate from its Oscar creds. If one is synonymous with the other, then maybe the bigger issue is not *what* the Academy recognizes as its “Best Picture,” but rather how it defines such. For people who care about the institution and its history — let alone the industry that banks on its imprimatur — it’s not an irrelevant matter.

  12. Juno is a smug and shallow fantasy. It does not represent the actual emotional experiences that happens to teenagers and their parents when teenagers become pregnant. It can’t hold a candle to the emotional truths of NCFOM or TWBB.

  13. Monument,
    Have you done an ethnic survey of girls getting pregnant in high school recently, or something? Is it not conceivable that many potential Junos have abortions before you know they’re pregnant?
    Joel,
    How do you account for Juno’s thoughts on “pork swords” or her insistence that Paulie was good “in chair”? It strikes me as a latently sexist assumption that because a girl dresses “like a guy” (not in skirts?), she inevitably has no sex drive. And I think you have to outright ignore much of what she says to successfully make the claim that she is emphatically not sexual AT ALL — no sir!

  14. No Qwiggy, I think the words “my school” are pretty specific, but I am confident in my last point that the high school girls who end up pregnant are not surprising anyone. And in the decade since I was in high school, teenage pregnancy and abortion has steadily declined. Still though, if I were to visit my high school, I’m sure I could find you a few pregnant cholas. Some things never change.

  15. CRASH, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, CHICAGO, GLADIATOR, AMERICAN BEAUTY, TITANIC.
    I’d take JUNO over any of those Oscar Winners any day of the week.

  16. And in the decade since I was in high school, teenage pregnancy and abortion has steadily declined.
    Thanks to our leader, George W. Bush!

  17. “How do you account for Juno’s thoughts on “pork swords” or her insistence that Paulie was good “in chair”?”
    1) She seems more disgusted than fascinated by said “pork swords.”
    2) No one would EVER tell her parents the boy who got her pregnant was good in bed, so that was just a stupid example of Diablo Cody trying to make a joke. Which didn’t strike me as remotely funny because my immediate response was, well, “No one would say that to her dad.” Because Juno is a movie about quirky dialogue and not real emotional truths.

  18. All of this would be solved if they actually honored comedies and dramas in different categories. Except for the fact that there just aren’t too many good comedies made…

  19. “I just want to keep its box-office and feel-good creds separate from its Oscar creds. If one is synonymous with the other, then maybe the bigger issue is not *what* the Academy recognizes as its “Best Picture,” but rather how it defines such.”
    How it defines such is that it nominates and votes for what it likes. Period. If you do your homework you’ll find that Juno is not unlike many films to make it to Best Picture. There is Sideways, for instance. What about Chocolat? How about The Full Monty? Pulp Fiction was….important? Juno is a popular film and a defining one for this moment in time, which is about how the Academy decides it. If you are looking for groups that honor critically acclaimed and/or “important” films above all others, perhaps you should not be blogging about the Oscars but rather about, say, the LA Film critics or the IFC awards.
    I wouldn’t have cared that much if Juno had been replaced by Diving Bell or Into the Wild. But I have long since given up this idea that the Academy nominates the very “best” of any given year. Nope. It’s about what they “like” at a particular moment in time. Very few of them ultimately stand the test of time. Can someone please tell me if they think, in ten years, people will look back on Sideways and say it deserves all of the critical acclaim it got and subsequent Academy attention? Uh…..oh wait, that was a story about dudes! No wonder no one complained.

  20. And in the decade since I was in high school, teenage pregnancy and abortion has steadily declined.

    Thanks to our leader, George W. Bush!

  21. I see where you’re coming from, Zimmergirl, but the Academy’s response to (i.e. “affection” for) Juno, Sideways, Chocolat, Full Monty and Pulp Fiction (not to mention Little Miss Sunshine) has less to do with the “moment” and more to do with Miramax and Fox Searchlight aggressively marketing and angling their Best Picture nominations as precious underdogs voters can feel good about. Paramount couldn’t do that with Sweeney Todd or Into the Wild (at least not with Sean Penn at the helm); the new Miramax couldn’t do that with Diving Bell.
    I’ve never argued that Juno isn’t “important,” especially in industry terms. Moreover, the Academy *did* recognize what I thought was the best film of ’07, There Will Be Blood, whose campaign is based almost entirely on critical acclaim; there’s not a marketable frame in that movie. So I don’t think it’s an either/or situation — taste might be secondary to timing, but it *is* there.

  22. Joel,
    She says that whenever she sees those boys running, she always pictures them naked, and all she sees is their penises. You can call that disgust if you like, but the fact remains that Juno thinks about sex all day.
    As for telling her parents about Paulie’s sexual prowess — what a fine argument you have there, whereby Juno is not a sexual being because you are not convinced anyone would tell her father that. According to this logic, if you did not personally buy Clooney as a bag man in Michael Clayton (as I didn’t; his ethical code doesn’t show it), his character is very simply not a bag man, even if everyone in the screenplay repeatedly tells us he is. Would that we all wrote each of these screenplays, so that we could misread them any way we like and still be correct.
    Zimmergirl,
    I mostly agree. However, LAFCA, who fit your criteria of honouring important films, did give Sideways a great big bundle.

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