Chicago Sun-Times
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What will Diablo do now?

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As my esteemed colleague Bill Zwecker reports today, the much-lauded, Oscar-certified Brook Busey-Hunt of west suburban Lemont -- better known as former stripper/hipster poseur/seamy underbelly tourista turned "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody -- has plenty of projects on her plate to capitalize on her 15 minutes of fame, including an autobiographical screenplay about her days at Lisle's tony Catholic prep school, Benet Academy. Nearly as funny, however, is the spoof "leaked Diablo Cody screenplay" posted by the humor Web site Something Awful, first brought to my attention by reader Chad Mummert.

The heroine, named "Quotey," is -- surprise, surprise -- the sort of riotous grrrl who's "different and doesn't care who knows it." Picking up her Sports Illustrated football phone to chat with her dad -- "What's the haps, super-paps? It's your dime; spill it!" -- she waters her Christopher Walken chia pet while listening to Spoon, Broken Social Scene, Animal Collective and the Unicorns... though a helpful note in the margin of the screenplay emphasizes that that "could change if these bands become popular."

Great stuff -- and alas, all too true.

And, while we're doing a bit more "Juno" web-surfing, Ken Ota of the Chicago-based newspaper Revolution brought this article to my attention. Despite the publication's leftist agenda, the piece pretty objectively charts each barely hidden signifier combining to form what I've called the film's anti-feminist/anti-woman agenda. Oh, and it notes something I missed, an amazingly obvious "doh!": Juno is, of course, the Roman goddess of fertility, childbirth and marriage. How's that for championing family values?

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I was pretty surprised that Juno won. Leaving aside the merits of the movie, I didn't the writing itself was all that strong. Even among people who like the movie, it's pretty well accepted that ACT I is cringe worthy ("You're Eggo is preggo").

Ellen Page was responsible for the Moldy Peaches being in the film. Wasn't a good 45 minutes of the movie just montages set over that music? All kidding aside, what was the original ending before they had "Anyone Else" to play?

As usual, Jim proposes unique perspectives to the cultural phenomenon of Juno. I am worried...this is a subject I have not disagreed with Jim once (what's next? A book celebrating Tom Waits?)

Is that a real script from Diablo? If so I am worried. Marking out the character's "Arcade Fire" t shirt because she saw them on TV the other day? What? Are you playing the subversive cool card? The entire Juno script and the characters in this 'new' script seem like total projections. It reads like trite outtakes from Gilmore Girls!

Beyond the heavily leftist politics at the end of the article link. The hammer hit the nail. Juno celebrates traditional archetypes: woman=mothers while man=fathers. There is no muddy middle to the images present in the movie. The cactus and the fingernails? Argh!

The movie still made me want to rip my hair out and turn up the PJ Harvey and Patti Smith...give me true subversion! Not this modernized Ozzie and Harriot crap!

Hmm, wow. This all seems a bit low. Bashing "Juno" seems to be the new cool; I look forward, in fact, to the outtake scene on the DVD where they dash off a line about how lame that movie is (how meta!) now that it's popular.

Regardless of my feelings on the movie, point is:

A) Diablo Cody is getting a great amount of credit as a writer and as a woman. For a movie that people have actually seen. In an industry that does not typically reward any of those things (writers, women, or movies people like to watch). Quite a victory, actually, for all you feminists. I say let's stretch those 15 minutes.

B) Juno has sparked a meaningful, thoughtful, and largely intelligent discussion of issues central to modern women. Isn't that a good thing?

It seems quite rare for a movie to reach the public consciousness these days that has this sort of weight and debate behind it. The film itself isn't making the political statement, it demands it of the viewer. It's encouraging viewers to think about these things by not just laying down easy to either side of the political spectrum.

Perhaps this happened and I missed it, but I wish the same discussion had arisen from The Darjeeling Limited, the Wes Anderson movie of this past year (whose films seem to have influenced, if not defined, Juno) that relegates the entire culture of India to a set-piece and numbly kills locals so that our American brothers can find some manner of spiritual enlightenment...and yet its largely considered a minor, colorful buddy-movie.

I think there is great worth in these ironic treatments, but only if the discussion on all sides is willing to engage the material, not simply agree or disagree.

Jim, you should replace Ebert as movie critic.

I love Sound Opinions, and though sometimes I disagree with some of Jim's album analysis, I have respected his opinion - on MUSIC-related matters. However, I feel that after reading the article he refers to above from the Revolution paper and reading this line "Despite the publication's leftist agenda, the piece pretty objectively charts each barely hidden signifier combining to form what I've called the film's anti-feminist/anti-woman agenda," I have to say that Jim needs to stick to reviewing music and not film.

First, the writer of that article lacks a sense of humor and read his own agenda into the scenes he refers to. There was no objectivity to be found in any part of that article. Juno was a COMEDY. That protester in front of the clinic was meant to reflect the absurdity of pro-lifers arguments against abortion. I agree, Jennifer Garner's character was creepy in her desperation to achieve motherhood and I believe this was intentional, but not as a hidden statement supporting a return to traditional "mother" roles for women. Rather, from the perspective of a staunch pro-choice advocate as myself, I believe that she was taking a stab at all the women out there who have that "I am born to be a mother" mentality and who are singularly obsessed with having children.

I could go on and on, pointing out the gross subjectivity of that article, but I just wanted to say that I was disappointed in Jim for referring to it as objective and in turn have lost a little respect of his opinions in other matters.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on February 26, 2008 8:35 AM.

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