Right out of the oven:

Agitatated neighbor and apparent John Denver-hater murders 8 guests attending ill-timed John Denver karaoke party next door, including the gunman's brother-in-law...Locomotive, tractor-trailer and police sharp shooters remind rogue cows to stay out to pasture...Mail fraud reaches new heights in under-garment fashion trends...Irritating cat-next-door leads to more irritating dope bust...In other pet news, Spuds MacKenzie ingratiates himself with new owners by mistaking mother and daughter for a 6-pack of Bud Light...Judge Judith Shriar lectures defendant on the seemingly obvious: "Regardless of what's going on in the home and background, you do not take two knives to the bedroom and stab your husband in the penis and buttocks."... And finally, San Diego police think the skull found behind area hot dog stand might be related to the skull-less skeleton found on the other side of town last week. I think I'd take that bet.

Bonus material:
The Cupcake recently took a trip to NYC. L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated referenced the article I wrote about it here (scroll down about half-way for the bullet and link)

Juno what? Juno sucked.

I finally got around to seeing Juno last week. You know Juno. It’s the film about the pregnant teen and her Superbad boyfriend with sharp dialogue and a killer soundtrack shepherded by stripper-cum-Oscar-winning-
screenwriter Diablo Cody. A surefire recipe for “indie” brilliance one would assume. Hmmm…seems a funny thing is happening to “indie” cinema – it’s starting to get awfully predictable and formulaic. The problem is not what’s wrong with Juno, it’s what’s right with it.

Even Tarantino has rarely written more finely crafted dialogue than the dialgoue you'll find in Cody's Juno – it’s just that gangsters are usually the ones saying it in his films, not annoying teenagers who apparently face no parental consequences for committing the ultimate teenage unforced error. Let’s put it this way, if all American 16 year olds are this sharp and acerbic, we’re gonna be outsourcing jobs in the State Department to India 20 years from now cuz no one else on the planet will be able to stand us.

Juno also has all the casting staples to satisfy the "indie" palate; you have the formerly-laughable-but-now-accepted-has-been (Jason Bateman), the currently-laughable-but-desparately-seeking-street-cred-wannabe (Jennifer Garner – who, in her defense, is very good in this film), the talented secondary actors whose names are not, and likely never will be, house-hold names (J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney), the standard flavor-of-the-month (Michael Cera) and, of course, the discovery-that-has-since-gone-mega (Ellen Page). Considering every other indie film on the planet has been following this formula since the quasi-indie progenitor Easy Rider, perhaps a rethink is in order. By virtue of adering so strictly to this formula, the narrative played out rather predictably.

And then you have the pregnancy thing…“indie” has started trending toward socially-blind and feel-good as opposed to socially-conscious. Films like Drugstore Cowboy and Requiem for a Dream were difficult to watch and tackled issues the major studios wouldn’t dare go after. Juno would have been great if actually having an abortion had been addressed (you know folks, that happens too). That decision was glossed over as a mere inconvenience and treated a woman’s right to choose with Mel Brooksian tact through its portrayal of the “neighborhood” abortion clinic. I wanted to throw up. If right-wing fundamentalist Christians have infiltrated American cinema, this is surely their Plymouth Rock. Put it this way, most everyone in Germany circa 1939, excepting the Jews of course, thought Joseph Goebbels’ inlfuence on culture was all shits and giggles too until the Allies discovered Auschwitz.

To its credit, Juno offers a magnificent soundtrack and the cinematography is truly beautiful. Its willingness to sell-out, however, supersedes these two achievements. Its hip-quotient prevents Juno from getting out of its own way and is, simply put, trying too hard to be indie. You can’t be lo-fi, it just happens. And therein lays the problem with Juno; it came off as a studio-film in indie clothing.

I understand Diablo Cody’s working with Steven Spielberg these days. What a surprise.

You should check out:

Rambo & Leroy – Last One Standing; The last band to open for a fully-functional New Order. If I need to say anymore, don’t waste your time.

Air Traffic – Fractured Life; The Cupcake was lucky enough to review this album for Astralwerks Records here. Lower-grade Coldplay. Below-average Athlete. Still some good tracks here…

(3) Comments

  1. Elizabeth On April 7, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    I like your thoughts on Juno but for the record I completely dissagree with the description of the formerly-laughable-but-now-accepted-has-been (Jason Bateman). I think he is CURRENTLY laughable. Holla!

    Elizabeth On April 7, 2008 at 3:59 PM

    I like your thoughts on Juno but for the record I completely dissagree with the description of the formerly-laughable-but-now-accepted-has-been (Jason Bateman). I think he is CURRENTLY laughable. Holla!

    Aji On March 20, 2009 at 2:40 AM

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.