This afternoon, I took a break from working on my highway pages (which is proving to be a bear this month) to take my daughter and a friend to go see a movie. The movie she wanted to see was “Juno”, principly starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janey, J.K. Simmons, and Olivia Thirlby. Juno tells the story of a 16-year old teen, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) who had sex with her boyfriend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Predictably for a movie, she gets pregnant (otherwise, there wouldn’t be a story). She initially decides to get an abortion, but then changes her mind. Instead, using the PennySaver, she finds a yuppie couple to adopt the child, Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark (Jason Bateman) Loring. Her father Mac (J. K Simmons) and step-mother (Allison Janey) support her decision throughout this. Over the course of the movie, we see how the pregnancy affects her, how it affects her relationships, and how she interacts with the adoptive couple (who have their own difficulties). It actually is a very touching story.
I found the movie very well done. It wasn’t the sort of movie where I noticed the cinematography or direction: it was a good story, simply and effectively told. It particularly related well to a teen audience, in that it used (what I believe to be) more modern language and references. My daughter found it particularly well done, and wants to get it on DVD to watch it again and again.
What got to me was the music. I noticed it first off: this movie had a really good soundtrack. The artists included folks such as Barry Louis Polisar, Kimya Dawson, The Kinks, Buddy Holly, Mateo Messina, Belle & Sebastian, Sonic Youth, Mott The Hoople, Cat Power, Antsy Pants, Velvet Underground, The Moldy Peaches, and Michael Cera and Ellen Page. It was one of the few shows where I walked out saying, “I want this soundtrack.”
I’ll note that the film was an official selection at this year’s Telluride, Toronto, and London film festivals and received the Best Film award at the Rome International Film Festival. I highly recommend it. With all the news about teen pregnancy (thanks to the younger Ms. Spears), this movie is a much more refreshing way to discuss the subject.
By the way, I haven’t mentioned previews much. That’s because there’s not much that has screamed “see me”. At Sweeney Todd, the only memorable preview was for Momma Mia, although my wife seemed intrigued at the preview for “27 Dresses”. At Persepolis, the only interesting preview was “The Business of Being Born”. Today, the only preview of interest was “Made of Honor”, which is memorable only because I must avoid it. I take that back: there was a preview today for a new Pixar movie, “Wall*E”, that looked relatively interesting. I did have to sit through that silly National Guard video again (“Citizen Soldier”) — I think we have a new type of torture!
And with that, another year of reviewing comes to a close. We closed the theatre reviewing two weeks ago, and now the movie reviews have reached the end of 2007. I hope folks have enjoyed reading both types of reviews; I’ve certainly enjoyed writing them. Here’s to a great year of entertainment — both live and film — in 2008.