Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oh no you didn't...

Sure, Hollywood has occasionally served up edgy female outcasts, such as Winona Ryder in Heathers or the forlorn geek girls in Ghost World played by Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch. But those characters were more weirdos than antiheroes. - EW's Juno article

Dismissing a film's predecessors (whom it obviously owes a LOT to, btw) and insinuating that Juno McGuff is somehow better than Veronica, Enid and Rebecca in two throwaway lines? Nice one, Entertainment Weekly. I don't buy that Juno is an antihero (this is one of the many threads not fully developed in the film - she's presented as this 'wacky loner!' but is then, inexplicably, best friends with a cheerleader, not traditionally the company kept by cinema's oddballs), but she is sarcastic and intelligent and funny, like the girls in Ghost World and Heathers. Blithely chucking away their legacy as "more weirdos than antiheroes" - could somebody clarify what the hell that means? - is just rude and dishonest.


I liked Juno. I liked it a lot, actually. But I have one large quibble with it; Ellen Page's smart-alecky Juno is not the definitive voice of my generation. I'm two years older than Juno and her friends were supposed to be in the film, but if anyone had ever said "Honest to blog?" to me, I would've been horrified. Same goes from the forced ebonics that are so laboriously ladled onto the script, in a film utterly devoid of black characters or black culture, it just looks embarrassing. I'm less appallled by the barrage of pop-culture references, everyone has certain films/tv programmes/whatevers that they quote from, regularly and often tediously, (why hello Mean Girls!) but it's not the be-all and end-all of a person's character. I liked Juno best when she was chatting honestly with her father or Bleeker, rather than namedropping Iggy Pop. It's a frivolous worry, but I'm concerned that Juno's tastes will be absorbed by osmosis by teenagers who couldn't be bothered formulating their own. A generation of girls who assume Sonic Youth are "just a bunch of noise"? Noooooo!*

But back to the original article. Like Juno, Veronica, Enid and Rebecca were all smart, individualistic girls with their own set of problems, interests and quirks. Acting like Juno is somehow a superior, more accurate portrayal of being a teenager is ridiculous. In my opinion, the earlier three were better developed characters, less like a fictionalised version of a smart-aleck teenager, more real and true-to-life; but in the Great Big Cinema High-School In The Sky, they'd all probably get along (or, at least have grudging respect for each other). Lord knows we already have a small enough number of interesting teenage girls in the movies; there's enough for one more without throwing the others out.

*I'm partly joking about this. The music of Juno is a topic for a whole other blog post, but the ragging on Sonic Youth was uncalled for!

13 comments:

sarcastig said...

Hear, hear!

nick plowman said...

I feel you, to a certain extent.

I am 16, and the way I talk with my friends would probably annoy everyone just as much as Juno's wording clearly has.

Cinemaniac said...

This made me wet in the boxer briefs.

This is BEYOND true. I have a similar, er, off-color way of speaking around my friends. Why isn't there a movie about me? K, I didn't get pregnant, but like...Was coming out not enough?!

I will have vennnnnnnnngeance....

Cinemaniac said...

Oh, um...it should be noted that me getting pregnant is anatomically impossible. Just saying.

Just a girl said...

The Juno soundtrack was awesome. Ellen Page was awesome.

Honest to blog?! Not so.

x
Just a girl

Kamikaze Camel said...

I didn't mind the dialogue, but I did much prefer it when it was more realistic (the moments with Alison Janney were particularly refreshing). I don't have a problem with it though because the movie isn't realistic (is there ever a 15-year-old girl so blase about getting pregnant that she actually uses it as a way to feel superior to people?)

Ghost World though is a far better movie.

Hey, Catherine! I saw your comment on RJ's blog about Jane Fonda. Have you ever heard "Gym Tonic" by Bob Sinclar? It's Jane Fonda's work out put to a disco beat. It's a-freakin-mazing!

Catherine said...

No, no I haven't. But it sounds amazing and I'm hitting up Slsk as I type to see if I kind find it.

Kayleigh said...

I loved Juno, I'm rooting for Ellen Page at the Oscars as well as Diablo Cody (although I'm sure she sold her script through stripper means) but the more I think about it, the more the film kinda niggles at me. Juno's actions are always seen as cool as is she. Her decision about the pregnancy is met with next to no opposition and is perceived as being the cool thing to do. If I got pregnant, my parents would murder me! Plus I have never said "For shizz" in a conversation. Having said that, It's my 2nd choice for Best Picture.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Also, are they saying that Juno MacGuff is an antihero? Cause my idea of an antihero is someone you root for when they're doing something that is socially unexceptable. Such as, say, Hannibal Lector or - hello - Enid from Ghost World. What she's doing is terrible, but you can't help but love her.

Catherine said...

Yeah, that was my problem too. It's just lazy writing, "Okay...this girl speaks in a sarcastic tone and likes Patti Smith - I gottit! She's an ANTIHERO! Article: written. What's for lunch?"

WatchingStar said...

I loved the dialogue. It was quirky and weird. And different. But I do agree- Juno an antihero....what the?? Hardly. If she'd been the anti hero she would've run off with that guy and done who knows what to the kid.

Nice blog by the way.

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