Thursday, January 24, 2008

culture round-up!

i saw juno tonight. in a sense, it's almost a victim of its own success, in that the audience we shared the movie with was laughing at stuff that wasn't funny...because i suspect they knew they were supposed to be laughing, as opposed to the jokes earning it. the beginning of the movie starts poorly, with screenwriter diablo cody (whose presence in the pages of my bible, entertainment weekly i wholeheartedly DO NOT endorse) filling the characters lips with lines like, "honest to blog?" or "phuket, thailand" which are cringe-inducing in their attempts to seem quirky and precocious and teen-y. the thing with diablo cody is (and as her editorial column in entertainment weekly indicates)...she old, son. and like, old in the way that's not as hep and kicky as she'd probably like to be. her frame of reference is old. not unacceptable, parent old. but like, douglas coupland-striving-for-relevance old. and it kind of comes off as forced, like when you see those faux-librarian types with pink hair at 39 competing in roller derby in olympia or some other fog-encased liberal west coast clime, their bust magazine clutched in their retro-revival kittenish hands.

the movie settles down after that point and unfolds quite nicely. it's cute and funny, and i liked it oodles better than little miss sunshine, which tried to pander to every age group's heart and succeeded in being mawkishly sentimental in the nouveau-quirk way that is wes anderson's tragic legacy. nice cameo from the cut chemist, and jason bateman is great. ellen paige deserves the kudos she's getting (certainly more than keira knightley ever has). the supporting cast is fantastic all around, and the chatty self-conscious banter settles down and becomes more normal. here are some things i wish could be changed:


- just once, i'd like to see a character go through with the freakin' abortion. just once. and i also suspect that jason reitman is a neo-liberal conservative in the libertarian kind of sense (bolstered by the individualistic attitude of thank you for not smoking).

- i wish that this film, like knocked up didn't have to rely on the tiresome dichotomy of the "baby crazy, responsible respectable woman" and the "juvenile man-child who's painfully attempting to recapture his youth".

- i also wish that the film hadn't inserted the vague sexual tension between juno and jason bateman's character. it just wasn't called for, and seemed excessive to the story.

- the pete bjorn and john "young folks"y intro should also be scrapped. we get it! you're talking 'bout my generation!

finally, i worry about the longevity of michael cera's career. kid is damn funny...but can you be a 39 year old awkward boy? isn't that kind of gross? i do love him though.

i finished reading david sedaris' naked, which means that with that, barrel fever and holidays on ice i'm officially done his non-fiction oeuvre. i've tried reading his fiction works, but i find they lack the verve and acerbic pucker of his family and menial-job based recollections. i can't recommend david sedaris enough. i've picked up zadie smith's on beauty, but after sedaris, it just doesn't pull you in the same way.

for dinner tonight we went to the bloor street diner (in the manulife centre), where i had a perfectly respectable burger and fries, and calamari. the food is a step up from the average, and i was surprised by the quality.

now i'm beat. tomorrow is a big day: work, then hot pot dinner with my mom, the dotytron, and dr. rei up in markham, then back downtown for the tittsworth show at wrongbar, where i get to dance alongside my k-w-g and toronto crew. fun!!!



Hannah said...

Hey Lee,
I thought I might tidy up my blog (and have a look at yours) in preparation for my early retirement! I agree whole-heartedly with your review of Juno. The dialogue was forced and lousily written early on but somehow I really liked it toward the end.

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...