March 6, 2008
Finally caught up to "Juno," the supposedly sensational little flick about teen angst.
Well, let me warn you. Nothing explodes. No one gets shot. I don't remember a single car chase. They call this a movie?
There's lots of salty language, sure, but that's just the way today's teenagers talk, and if you've ever stood in line at Starbucks you've probably heard most of these words. Teens have no shame dropping the F-bomb in front of adults. "Hey, punk, you eat with that mouth?" I always want to say. But I don't. One of my greatest fears is being beaten to death by a scrum of 11-year-old suburban kids.
Anyway, I finally saw "Juno" because my 16-year-old thought it was pretty good and she's never been wrong about popular culture before.
"Does it have dogs in it?" I asked.
"Huh?" she burped.
"Did it have dogs in it?"
To me, dogs are some of our finest actors. "Old Yeller" was overlooked by the Academy despite a nuanced performance that will stay with us forever. When you're a dog, all scenes are nude scenes. Imagine a human actor having to work naked all the time (strangely, Tina Fey comes to mind).
Anyway, I don't get out to movies much, yet like everyone in L.A., I consider myself an expert. So let me tell you about "Juno," a lovely little story about makin' babies (DON'T!!!).
Juno is a 16-year-old girl who, by most parents' standards, is charmingly insufferable, not to mention pregnant, which is low on the list of what parents like about children.
Let me just say that children should not be having children. It's debatable whether adults should even be having children. But that's another movie, "Cheaper by the Dozen," which I also liked. Different, sure, but that Bonnie Hunt always cracks me up.
Anyway, despite the grim subject matter, this movie is very interesting. So is the popcorn, though I have to confess I always end up with way too much. Really, all I want is a little popcorn, about as much as could fit in an upside-down baseball cap. That's all the popcorn I need, not a 40-gallon lawn bag of popcorn, which is standard issue these days.
And I only need about 6 ounces of soft drink. Sure, it's nice to have your own entire keg of Coke. But it's more than I can usually drink in one sitting, let alone carry to my seat.
One other note: The stuff they pour over popcorn, a diseased cousin of what we refer to as butter, seems to have all the grippy qualities of caramel and none of the health benefits. When I get home, I always have to take a full body shower. In fact, if you don't set the water a little too hot, the stuff never rinses off. Brush your teeth three times and you still feel a slight film.
Back to the movie: Young Juno is full of angst toward her parents and other living things. Having had a 16-year-old daughter myself -- well, two if you count both of them -- I can verify that this occasionally happens. From the time our girls hit 15, I couldn't understand a thing they said. They talked 100 mph in a language that sounded like Mandarin Chinese, though it might've been Mandarin Spanish. Between sentences, they would cry.
That's what I know about 16-year-olds, and Juno is no different. In the first line of the movie, she scolds a barking dog with, "Jeez, Banana, shut your . . . gob, OK?" For a moment, I thought I was back at the house.
The rest of the movie is pretty much a blur. I would do more movie reviews, except that I always get a little drowsy an hour into the movie and never remember much after that. Also, I tend to fall asleep during love scenes (just ask my wife).
Seriously, whenever there's a love scene, it's as if they pumped sleeping gas up my nostrils. You could hit me in the forehead with a brick and it wouldn't wake me up.
That said, "Juno" seems to be a pretty good movie. The lead character, this Juno person, is battling abandonment issues (aren't we all?) while giving away her own baby. The message I took from it is not to make babies till you're absolutely ready to settle down with your dweeb boyfriend. I second that notion.
From what I hear, kids can really be a lot of work.
Chris Erskine can be reached at email@example.com. For more columns, see latimes.com/erskine.
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