Good movies change me. People still make fun of me for saying that Patch Adams changed my life but I stand by my claim that it was a good movie. Robin Williams is fantastic in his role and while I get that they over exaggerated and villanized the “establishment,” I argue that in the movies there sometimes needs to be exaggerations to make the point more clearly. Especially in commercial movies like Patch Adams. After I saw it I decided that I needed to change my attitude and philosophy about many of the things I thought about my career. I was in grad school at the time and I contend that I worked a little harder after seeing the movie. It indeed did change me.
Great movies are ones that cause me to sit still in the theater in awe when they’re over. As the end credits rolled for Juno, I felt no compulsion to leave the theater in a hurry. I could not believe the masterpiece that I just saw. My friend said it was a “sweet movie,” and while I agree, that hardly captures the magic that unfolded for 96 minutes. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and I got uncomfortable – and I never once felt manipulated.
Juno is the story of a 16-year-old girl who accidentally got pregnant by her dorky and loveable boyfriend the first time he (and we assume she) ever “did it” with anyone. While most teen comedies make sex the punch line or the climax (American Pie, Porky’s, Meatballs, et cetera and so on) here it is simply the exposition. I’ve seen a hundred movies about teenagers. I work with teenagers everyday of my life, learning about their deepest, most secret thoughts and feelings and I can say unequivocally that everything about Juno was unexpected and wonderful and real. Please see this movie.
The acting was superb; Allison Janey, J.K. Simmons, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman all were perfectly cast and were exquisite in their subtlety. Michael Cera, who has had a prolific career already at 20, could not have embodied the typical “nice dorky boy” character any better. And Ellen Page deserved the Oscar; I don’t care who else was nominated. No one else could have exceeded her performance here; she was truly brilliant.
I know I’m heaping praise on this movie and its no secret why it became such a hit in spite of its indie status. Please watch this film and please, someone, make more like it. Juno didn’t change my life; but it affected me like few films have.