Sunday, January 6, 2008

Winter Movie Fest, part one

For most of the past dozen years or so, we have made a serious effort to see several movies in the time frame of Christmas vacation, extended. I refuse to list every movie we have seen in the last three weeks, although I shouldn't have to apologize for my fondness for Marvel comics, and at least my tolerance for some of the movies made from them.
Let me concentrate on what we enjoyed and can recommend to others. We saw one rental and one new movie that we considered clearly four stars, and two more movies in theatres that we enjoyed. One of them can't exactly be taken seriously, but was fun.
Saturday, at the actual movie theatre, we saw Juno. Somewhere I read that this was this year's Little Miss Sunshine, a movie I enjoyed, but certainly didn't think was the greatest thing since sliced bread, as many did.
Really, the comparison is superficial: the movies are independent features featuring young females, as well as pretty salty casts for indies. I don't really see much similar beyond that.
In any case, I absolutely loved Juno. I will admit to being a sucker for snappy dialog so it is probably not a total shock I would tend to like this. The movie also has a heart and a certain sweetness, not cloying. A great cast of supporting actors(Allison Janney, Jennifer Garner, JK Simmons,whose face you'd recognize, if not the name) help a lot, but the movie is made by a young Nova Scotia actress named Ellen Page.
The movie is essentially a story of a sixteen year old getting pregnant. Early on she decides not to get an abortion, a fact seized upon by many. That is really secondary, however, to the movie's real story, that of a smart as a whip high school junior girl who, when faced by adversity, grows up. She has the support of good friends and parents who care.
Sample not quite exact dialog from the parents, upon learning of the pregnancy:
Dad: Did you see this coming?
Mom: Yeah, but I was hoping she was expelled or into hard drugs.
Dad: Or a DWI.
More favorite dialog, with Juno and best friend discussing the pregnancy and the possible adoption of the baby:
Leah: You should look in the PennySaver.
Juno: They have ads for parents?
Leah: Yeah, desperately seeking spawn.
The movie was directed by Jason Reitman, who directed Thank You For Smoking, and whose dad directed Stripes and Ghostbusters.
The movie is already much beloved, with a small developing backlash that says nobody really talks like they do in the movie, and it is not in the least believable. Imagine that: a movie criticized for not being believable.
I'll go ahead and post this and add more later about what else we saw.

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