Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Juno Overcomes Unsettling Start
2007-12-05 09:55
by Jon Weisman

Juno starts off with dialogue so precious and seemingly contrived that I feared I was in for a depressing ride, but that's just a facade. In truth, the film could hardly be more sincere about its subject, ultimately evolving in a subtly cunning way. By the end, I found it rich and touching, in the good sense.

Ideally, all parts of the movie would be perfect, but assuming you're in for the whole picture, it's less important to start strong than finish strong, don't you think? And in the months since I first saw the film, I've come to think that the overarching dialogue at the film's start was designed to be slightly offputting, to set up a character still learning that wit is cool but insight and understanding even more so.

I've had a couple of Juno-related pieces at Variety lately: a short interview with director Jason Reitman, and a longer piece on the many films this year relating to pregnancy.

2007-12-05 11:27:21
1.   Penarol1916
Every review I've read has said the same thing, that the movie basically starts out like an overly cutesy independent movie cliche before turning into a great movie. You're the first person I've read that has suggested that perhaps this is on purpose. Maybe someday I'll go see a grownup movie in a theatre again.
2007-12-05 12:23:03
2.   Jon Weisman
It might be on purpose - I really don't know. And certainly, it's a risky approach to take. Though I do have several colleagues here who weren't bothered by the dialogue of the opening scenes at all.
2007-12-05 12:33:59
3.   Jon Weisman

The National Board of Review has announced that "No Country for Old Men" has won top honors as best film.

Besides "No Country," here's NBR's top ten, in alphabetical order:

"The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford"


"The Bourne Ultimatum"

"The Bucket List"

"Into The Wild"


"The Kite Runner"

"Lars And The Real Girl"

"Michael Clayton"

"Sweeney Todd"

2007-12-05 12:34:22
4.   Penarol1916
Actually, I think that is a very interesting take on the movie, and given the other reviews I read, I just find it amazing that noone else has suggested it. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense, even if it weren't intentional, it would still be a very cool way to read the movie.
2007-12-05 14:56:24
5.   Jon Weisman
Look at this - Dana Stevens in Slate:

Juno is a wildly appealing heroine, a bright, tart-tongued girl with a self-possession beyond her years. But what saves her—and the movie—from foundering in a sea of snark is Juno's slow realization that brains, wit, and good taste in music aren't enough to get her through an experience as lifeshaking as pregnancy.

2007-12-05 19:51:10
6.   T Money
Loved, loved, loved "Juno." Didn't hate the first fifteen minutes, but the film certainly became miles better as it went along.

The NBR list is interesting. Haven't seen a couple of the entries yet, but agree that, from what I have seen, "No Country" is the best film of the year. (I'd probably have "Once" in my #2 slot, however.) A few of their top picks (Lars, Jesse James, Into The Wild) made me want to tear my face off.

Any idea if the NBR list is devoted entirely to narrative, English language films? A number of my favorites of '07 ("The King Of Kong," "My Kid Could Paint That," "Deep Water") have been docs. Not sure if they're even eligible.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.