My idea for a blog called The Film Geek was inspired during a walk to lunch with my friend, Hoyt. As we walked to the restaurant--a local Chinese place, I recall--we struck up a conversation about our mutual passion: movies.
Now, Hoyt knows a lot more about movies than I do. He has a real love and admiration for the history and the art of film, but he digs a great popcorn flick too. Like me, he gets geeked up over all kids of movies. We also share a frustration with seeing too few films in the big screen these days. Neither seems to have the time to view as many in-house movies as we would like.
When I learned that Hoyt made it out to see Juno earlier this year (and knew I wasn't gonna get to), I asked him to write a review about his experience for this blog. I was thrilled he agreed.
When Film Geek invited me to write a review of "Juno,"my first thought was "Cool!" My second thought was"Oh, man, the pressure is on me now because, Film Geek is THE guy who really crafts a great flick post!" That's what you expect from a Film Geek film review.
My expectations for a flick work on me in a similar way and often influence my reaction to it. There's nothing like having a low expectation for a film and having it exceed your initial impression. On the flipside, it truly sucks when a film all your friends have raved about does not deliver on its promise.
Before I saw "Juno" a few weeks ago, it was difficult for anyone to miss the film's hype. For awhile, it seemed like Diablo Cody, Juno's screenwriter, had taken over the helm of "Entertainment Weekly." Reviews praising "Juno" seemed to appear every issue, then Cody become a frequent contributor to the magazine, then more acclaim followed. So on that Wednesday afternoon when I finally played hooky to catch a matinee of "Juno," I expected "Juno" would mark yet another disappointing moment when my anticipation of a flick exceeded its fulfillment.
But I was wrong. "Juno" rocks. That's not to suggest that I think this film is the 141st best film ever as currently ranked by IMDb users (it's actually the172nd best film ever) or that it's one of my favorite films (not yet because that takes time) or that you should drop everything and go watch it before you see the Oscars (and that wouldn't be the worst idea, either). But Diablo Cody, Ellen Page and company have created something special on celluloid (man, I dig using that word!), and I have no doubt that Cody will win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay tonight.
If there's any justice, Ellen Page will snag a Best Actress award, too.
Juno MacGuff is a teenage girl who gets pregnant by accident. What marks "Juno" as a unique film is how Juno approaches this event and how her family, friends and the couple who seek to adopt her baby react toJuno's situation.
Ellen Page, as I've noted, merits an Oscar for "Juno."Some have suggested that she's simply playing herself. To those that have, I suggest that they watch Page's performance in "Hard Candy"--where she portrays a14-year-old girl who turns the tables on a pedophile. (Insert yet another parenthetical here: If you haveNetflix, add "Hard Candy" to your "Q" and bump it to the top.) Page can act, and she infuses her performances in "Juno" with such perfect nuances that it's easy to forget she's acting.
Although Page didn't surprise me with her performance, Jason Bateman did. It's tough for me not to think of Bateman as Ricky Schroeder's nemesis from "SilverSpoons," and, again, it rocks when something exceeds your expectations. Bateman's acting did that for me.
What else can I tell you? Jennifer Garner displays she's not simply another beautiful actress from action movies; Michael Cera leaves no doubt that he's got the chops after "Superbad," and, please, someone make sure that J.K. Simmons nabs more acting roles in major motion pictures.
Finally, on the day I caught "Juno," I was the only one in the theater, and several times I heard myself "laugh out loud" at what I saw on the screen. I don't often do that, and considering how sick I was at the time, I take my laughter as another indication of how wonderful "Juno" plays as a comedy. (I would have probably cried a little, too, if I had felt better.)
Thanks, Film Geek, for letting me share my thoughts here on "Juno," and I'm hoping that you have a chance to review every flick that's nominated for the 2009 Oscars!